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RETHINKING EVANGELISM AND DISCIPLESHIP

RETHINKING EVANGELISM AND DISCIPLESHIP

RETHINKING EVANGELISM AND DISCIPLESHIP
Pastor W. A. Dillard
 
Ask most active members of a Baptist Church to define the Great Commission. He/she will tell you right away that it is the marching orders of the New Testament Church to preach the gospel in all the world, to make disciples; to baptize them; and to teach them the commandments of Christ Jesus, citing Matthew 28:18-20 as a proof text. That answer, accepted as correct by most all Baptists, begs amplification for both new Christians and seasoned church members due to the pollution and restrictions of the definition of terms over time and human design.
 
Modern times are filled with religion whose worth is based not on origin, doctrine, and dedication to the Bible, but on numbers of participants, and dollars in the church coffers. It is a criteria of worth spelling disaster. Such actions necessary to bring both of those things to a state evoking from others carnal swooning, succeeds in producing a religious country club out of what once may have been a church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
In so doing, the purpose of that church is shifted mainly to providing an exclusive comfort zone for its members; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. One of the ways this comes about is in redefining biblical terms to fit a more modern, humanistic mindset. Take the terms “evangelism,” and “disciples” as examples. “Evangelism,” is a Greek word transliterated into English. It literally translates as “Good News” in English. It is the word that gives us “gospel” which is a term that has evolved in English from “Good news,” or “Good story.”
 
But the “Good News” of the New Testament is not that men might now be saved by grace. That has always been the only way of spiritual salvation. Rather it is that spiritually saved individuals may now achieve a high degree of spiritual maturity under the New Covenant which is embodied as local New Testament churches dedicated to the tenants of the Holy Word.The term “Disciple” comes from the Old English and Old French languages, and it designates a learner. The term in the New Testament is a translation of the Greek work “Mathetes,” designating one who is increasing in knowledge, being informed; to learn by use and practice. (common Greek lexicons).
 
It should be obvious by now that the burden of this article is to underscore a vast difference in the term “Disciple” as in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, et, al. to the way it is commonly employed in modern religion. In modern religion, the terms “Evangelism,” and “Soul-winning,” are accepted as the home run of disciple-making rather than first base. But the obvious bible truth is one may be born from above in a moment of time, being bathed in repentance from sin, and faith in Christ Jesus, but that alone does not a disciple make, even though being a disciple of Jesus is predicated upon it.
 
FOR THOUGHT: Do you see a large number of church members today that do not fit the definition of a disciple of Jesus? Are you a disciple of Jesus? Do you give some time in bible reading, thought, and prayer to be more like Him? Are you engaged in definable learning?