Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: disciple

The fulness of the time – today

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News reports are dismal: mass shootings; random killings; skyrocketing suicide rates; ethnic conflicts; antisemitism; recreational drug use on the rise, with fatal consequences for some; economic instability; political instability; refugees fleeing conflict in search of safety, many dying in the attempt; violence against women; and on and on.

It would seem that the condition of mankind today cries out for the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to be proclaimed. Does anybody believe it anymore? In most countries the agnostics and atheists outnumber those who call themselves Christian. Even those who call themselves Christian don’t appear to have much of an answer. Many have detoured into save the planet activism; others into pop psychology and others into feel good emotional revivalism. None of these offer a genuine solution or a durable healing of the gaping wounds in the souls of men and women.

The gospel of Jesus Christ offers exactly the healing balm that allows men and women, young and old, rich and poor, of any skin colour or ethnic identity to be made whole and to be able to love and respect others, and to be loved and respected by others.

The gospel needs to be proclaimed, and today we have the modern equivalent of the Roman road system that allows the gospel to be carried into all the world. It is called the internet. Yes, there is immorality being offered on this highway. Yes, there are other wares being offered that are harmful; Yes, there are deceptions and dangers out there on this highway. Christians of two millennia ago faced exactly the same dangers along the Roman roads; but they went out to proclaim the gospel and the gospel changed the world. Can that happen again?

Part of the inspiration for this post comes from Bill Sweeney’s blog, Unshakable Hope. Bill suffers from ALS and cannot speak or move any part of his body – except his eyes. He has a computer that is controlled by his eye movements and he is able to share his testimony and the saving truth of the gospel with people around the world. I first read the comparison of the internet to th Roman road system in his blog.

Gospel Tract and Bible Society of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, of which I am a member, has a web site offering free gospel tracts to people around the world. Tracts are available in 100 languages, they can be read online or printed. Copies can be ordered at no charge for distribution, questions can be asked (though perhaps in only about 20 of those languages). Of course there comes a time when interested people need a personal contact. Visits are made and when there is a need missionary couples are sent to mentor and disciple. Churches exist in many countries today which originated from some individual reading a tract and then sharing it with friends.

I have a French-language blog. Last month at least one person in 65 different countries looked at that blog. I take no credit for that as most of what I post there is writings of the Anabaptist-Mennonite faith from hundreds of years ago. Are people reading out of curiosity or out of a hunger in the soul? Does it matter? It would be enough for curiosity to be a beginning.

To return to where I began, I believe there is a hunger in the souls of men and women the world around that is not being satisfied. Most cannot even identify what they are hungry for and try to satisfy it with things that do not satisfy. That leads to despair. Christians need to proclaim the message of hope, and with the internet I believe we have the means at our fingertips.

Discipleship

A disciple is a learner. When we are born again we are babes in Christ, there is so much for us to learn. And just like a small child, most of what we learn comes from watching what others do and trying to do the same thing. Thus, just like a small child, we are as much in need of good examples as we are of good teachers.

The apostle Paul could say: “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17). Hebrews 13:7 instructs us to “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”

In order to learn how to walk this Christian way, we need to seek out Christians who are sound in the faith and who live that faith in everyday life, and imitate their faith and their way of putting that faith into action.

Jesus is of course our ultimate example, yet without consecrated followers of Jesus as contemporary examples, we can form ideas about how to walk that will leave us weak and handicapped.

This leads to the question of where to find such examples. It seems to me that the best examples to follow are those who are still learning themselves. Anyone who thinks he has got this Christian way down pat and has nothing more to learn is definitely not a good example to follow. The best leaders are those who are still learning to follow Jesus and who expect that there will always be more to learn. An eagerness to learn and to grow more and more like Jesus is the best description of humility that I can think of.

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