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Guest Blogger: Humanistic Discipleship

Posted by on May 7, 2012 in books, discipleship, guest blogger | 3 comments

Guest Blogger: Humanistic Discipleship

I’ve invited several people to write “guest blog posts” for this blog. There are several reasons for this: 1) To offer different perspectives. 2) To generate even more discussion and conversation between blogs. 3) To introduce other bloggers to my readers.

(If you are interested in writing a guest blog post, please contact me at aknox[at]sebts[dot]com.)

Today’s post was written by Ross Rohde. You can connect with Ross via his Facebook profile, Twitter (@rossrohde), or his blog “Viral Jesus.” Also, check out the microsite for his book Viral Jesus.

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Humanistic Discipleship

In my book Viral Jesus in Chapter Eight: Viral Discipleship I note:

Today much of Christian activity seems to originate with human plans, and it is then carried out in human strength, with human results. It has nothing to do with the kingdom of God. The world does not need any more religion! It needs Jesus Christ. Religion is people’s attempts to do God’s work in their own strength. Jesus wants us to live and walk in God’s strength. God is only interested in His work, not our work. He oversees and empowers those things that originate in His heart. On judgment day, only that which was birthed and sustained by the Holy Spirit will survive.[1]

Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines humanism as “a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; especially: a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual’s dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason.”[2]

Most Western Bible-believing Christians are behaving as humanists. Yet most, if they are aware of humanism as a philosophy, would be offended by the idea that they are humanists. However, if we disdain the words, yet still behave like a humanist, we are a humanist.

The basic issue of humanism is that humans make the decisions and cause things to happen by their own will and ability, using their own rational intellect. We may do this for the best of intentions, but since we started from the wrong place and are functioning with the wrong operating system, we end up in a very desperate situation. We are lost in the woods thinking we know where we are going. All the time we are moving farther and farther away from home, away from God.

We have brought this same humanism into discipleship. Hence we focus on such things as witnessing techniques, small group dynamics, and biblical doctrine. None of these things are wrong, in and of themselves. The problem is the source of our accomplishment. We aren’t asking some prior questions. Rather than asking what is a good technique of sharing the gospel, perhaps we should ask: Did God set up this witnessing situation? How is He leading us to share the gospel? Instead of asking how can I utilize good small group dynamics to lead this group, perhaps we should ask how is God leading in the small group? Through whom does He want to minister? Instead of asking what doctrine is this Bible passage teaching, perhaps we should ask how is God ministering to us through the Bible? How is the Holy Spirit activating the truth of the Bible into our lives though His power?

For more on this subject read Chapter 8 of Viral Jesus.

  • Is it possible to do good things with the best of intentions and still end up “lost in the woods thinking we know where we are going?”
  • Do you believe God can actually lead the discipleship process, or is that our job?
  • Can we do God a favor?
  • If God leads discipleship, does that mean we have any involvement beyond being automatons? Is there any room for our creativity and thoughts?

[1] Brother Yun, Living Water, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), 54.

[2] Merriam-Webster Online, s.v. “humanism,” http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/humanism (accessed July 20, 2009).


3 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 5-7-2012

    “God is only interested in His work, not our work.” Very well put. It’s a sentence that offends the humanist-side of all of us. The flesh would love to have God ok our ideas, but that would not be a good thing.

    This post reminds me of Paris Reidhead’s sermon “Ten Shekels and a Shirt” where he speaks on how humanism has crept into the church.

  2. 5-7-2012

    Is it possible to do good things with the best of intentions and still end up “lost in the woods thinking we know where we are going?”

    YES, YOU ARE CALLING IT HUMANISM (iTS FLESH AND BLOOD) BUT HUMANISM WORKS

    Do you believe God can actually lead the discipleship process, or is that our job?

    NO IT IS NOT OUR JOB, WE ARE SAVED BY TRUST (FAITH) IN GOD THROUGH THE BURIAL, RESSURECTION, AND ASCENSCION

    Can we do God a favor?

    NO, ALL GOD NONE OF ME

    If God leads discipleship, does that mean we have any involvement beyond being automatons? Is there any room for our creativity and thoughts?

    GOD IS LOVE AND IT IS FINISHED HE DID ALL WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS. ONE COULD SEE THIS AS AUTOMATONS (ROBOTS), BUT I SEE IT AS REST IN HIM AND HIM DOING THE WORK THROUGH ME THE BELIEVER

    ANY ROOM, WELL I THINK OUR SOULS,(MIND WILL AND EMOTIONS) SURE DO TRY A LOT, AND IN PRAYER I LEARN WHEN I WALK BY MY MIND, WILL, EMOTIONS, EXPERIENNCES. GOD SHOWS ME THROUGH MY BORN AGAIN SPIRIT WHEN I AM NOT WALKING IN MY BORN AGAIN SPIRIT. MY SOUL IS ONLY A REFLECTION OF MY THOUGHTS FOR MY FEELINGS ALWAYS FOLLOW MY THOUGHTS. THIS IS WHY ONE CAN SO EASILY GO FROM SPIRIT TO FLESH IN A SPLIT SECOND, AND BACK AGAIN. THE DIFFERANCE IS FROM WHICH SIDE AM I SEEING FROM THE SPIRIT OR THE HUMANISM (FLESH)
    HOWARD

  3. 5-7-2012

    Andrew,

    I’m not familiar with Paris Reidhead or the sermon “Ten Shekels and a Shirt.” But, I agree that humanism tends to creep into our lives, both individually and as a group.

    Howard,

    And, of course, if we are viewing things from our human perspective, we may not realize it. We may even think we are seeing from the Spirit.

    -Alan