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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Monday, July 18, 2005
Indoctrination is not discipleship...
One of the saddest things I am seeing in many churches today is a lack of discipleship.
And among the few churches that have made any effort to offer discipleship, most are really just offering indoctrination.

Indoctrination is the process by which a new believer is spoon fed the tenets of their faith. In some churches this is quite an elaborate process - some even insist that new converts begin to memorize the various confessions of faith (Westminster, Belgium, etc.)!

Now, knowing or even memorizing one or many of the various confessions of faith is not a bad thing - and isn't to be discouraged, and that isn't the point of the distinction - that is, we are not saying that indoctrination is a bad thing, nor are we defining the best method of indoctrinating believers (bible studies, confessional statements, etc. etc.) We do however want to make the distinction between indoctrination and dicsipleship.

Matthew 28:20 says that the disciples must be taught to obey and practise every single command given by our Lord. This is the pathway of discipleship. Knowing what those commands are is very important - this is where indoctrination comes in. But knowing those commands and obeying them are not the same thing. Discipleship isn't the teaching of doctrine alone, it is the teaching of obedience to that doctrine - and this is the teaching that is sorely lacking in many churches today.

Jesus never said that his disciples would be known by the purity of their doctrine - he said that they would be known by their love for one another. One of the first mistakes made in discipleship is to try and fully indoctrinate another person (or worse, become fully indoctrinated yourself) before putting discipleship into practice. Is it correct to urge converts to strive for purity in their doctrine, while all the while neglecting practical obedience? Should they strive for holiness in a vacuum - without the fellowship of the Holy Spirit fellowship? I presume that the Lord will opens their eyes, even if they are entirely blind to it - but before that happens unless someone has to point it out.

When we disciple a person should we not place equal emphasis on the practice of the Christian faith as we do on the definition of Christian faith?

That isn't to suggest that we throw out bible study and sound doctrine, but it is to say that a person ought to be walking in fellowship with God during his or her foray into any Christian apology or theology. Study is either going to puff the student up with knowledge or humble the student in God's presence and thereby directly impact one's relationship with God.

Sadly though there are many who have been indoctrinated without having been discipled - whose heads are full of knowledge, whose mouths even swell with praise, but whose their hearts are far from God -- because they are still babes in their faith, having never put all their knowledge into practice. I speak as one who has walked this road.

One of the reasons this is so prevalent today is because we have learned to admire academia rather than faith. We look to biblical scholars and professors for their opinions before we turn to that godly man who sits in the center pew of our own church. We give glory to men because of their own scholastic acheivement - and ignore the people God has used to build His church.

Having made this distinction, we must guard against the pendulum swinging the other way - that is, we must beware of the possibility of dismissing all scholarly or intellectual pursuit. Such is as much a folly as the other. Academia only becomes an "enemy" when it is replacing spirituality.

Let us be on our guard - discipleship includes indoctrination - but that is not the end of it!

posted by Daniel @ 11:09 AM  
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