the weblog of Alan Knox

A disciple is…

Posted by on Nov 22, 2010 in blog links, discipleship | 7 comments

A disciple is…

Geoff (his blog is called “My Blog“), a regular commenter here, has a very good post called “What is a disciple of Jesus.” Geoff’s short post is built around Dallas Willard’s definition of disciple:

A disciple is a person who has decided that the most important thing in their life is to learn how to do what Jesus said to do. A disciple is not a person who has things under control, or knows a lot of things. Disciples simply are people who are constantly revising their affairs to carry through on their decision to follow Jesus.

There is much to affirm in this definition. Like the disciples who actually walked with Jesus, we also often misunderstand and must correct our steps. We occasionally find ourselves heading in the wrong direction, or making a wrong turn. But, Jesus is there (just as he was with his disciples while he walked this earth) to correct us.

So, I like the connection between “constantly revising” and discipleship. It also shows that when we (or others) think that we’ve got it all figured out, we’ve stopped being a disciple.

What do you think?


7 Comments

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  1. 11-22-2010

    To be perfectly honest, I am starting to find myself pausing to pray for more discernment, when I hear people make statements like, “we don’t have it all figured out”…

    Not because I do think that I (or anyone else), actually do have “it all” figured out, but because I have seen these sorts of statements being made by emergent and pseudo-emergent types more and more, and when you really dig beneath the surface, what they really mean is that “followers of Jesus” should not claim that Jesus is the only way. This cry against claiming to “have it all figured out” seems to be a common approach used by universalists/ecumenicals…

    Even though I don’t have everything figured out, there ARE some things that I do know for certain! I know the gospel, and that Christ set me free. Even though I am constantly being brought under the correction of the Spirit and the Word, this doesn’t mean that I can’t really know anything for sure (yet that is exactly what many Emergent teachers are openly teaching…)

    I’m not saying this is how you’re using it Alan, just sharing about something I’ve been encountering more often lately…

    Have you noticed this as well?

  2. 11-22-2010

    Daniel,

    While that’s not the way that I was using that phrase, I agree with you, and think you’ve made a good and necessary corrective.

    There are some things that we can know as disciples, and in fact, some things we must know. For instance, I think a disciple of Jesus must know that Jesus is the son of God, that he physically appeared on earth as a human, that he actually died, and that he was physically raised. I think that if I changed my views on these things, I would no longer be a disciple of Jesus.

    Otherwise, I also think it is very important for a disciple of Jesus to be willing to “constantly revise their affairs” as they humbly accept the fact that they do not know all things, and need the Spirit and other disciples to help them.

    -Alan

  3. 11-22-2010

    Totally… I guess that’s why it’s such an effective theological “cloaking device”, since there is a degree to which it is absolutely true. It just breaks my heart that people manipulate such truths to try and defend some seriously unbiblical ideas…

  4. 11-22-2010

    Alan,

    I was pleased to see Daniel’s wise comment. I have known people who claimed to be His disciples, and did as Jesus did on a practical, ethical level, but who did not recognize Him as the incarnate Son of God, nor believed in His finished work on the cross.

  5. 11-22-2010

    Willard also describes a disciple as an “apprentice.” I like that because it speaks to the learning that we are constantly doing as we follow the Rabbi.

  6. 11-26-2010

    A “Disciple of Christ” is… One who learns directly from Jesus. NO middle man. ;-)

    And, doesn’t Jesus call us to be disciples and make disciples?”

    And to be a “Disciple of Christ” it will cost you;

    A “Disciple of Christ”
    Will;
    Forsake all…
    Hear His voice…
    Love not the world…
    Love not their own life…
    Just want to know Him…
    Count all things but dung…
    Always take the lower place…
    Do nothing apart from Jesus…
    Take on the form of a servant…
    Make themselves of no reputation…
    Count others better then themselves…
    Gives thanks for all things… All things? Yes.
    Deny themselves and pick up their cross daily…
    Count all the shame, “joy,” for what lies before them…
    Love the Lord their God, love their neighbors, love themselves…
    Forsake all honor, glory, praise, power, profit, prestige, recognition, reputation…

    A “Disciple of Christ”
    Will NOT;
    Lord it over…
    Exercise authority…
    Honor themselves…
    Seek their own glory…
    Be called rabbi/teacher…
    Be called Master/leader…
    Receive honor from man…

    Peace…

  7. 11-29-2010

    A. Amos Love,

    Great description. Thanks!

    -Alan