The Discipleship Void

If Jesus said that His followers are to disciple other believers, why then does the Church stink at fulfilling its core mandate? Enrichment Journal, a publication for pentecostal ministers, recently tackled that issue.

Charles Crabtree, a high ranking official with the Assemblies of God (AG), wrote, “Overall, I believe the state of evangelism in the AG is unremarkable. There are pockets of fervent evangelism, but as a rule, I am concerned about the state of evangelism. I do not see a remarkable influx of true conversions.”

Crabtree pointed out the following concerns:

  • Many people are making commitments for Christ but not joining in a local Church fellowship. This produces isolation. Crabtree said, “If a baby (Christian) is no in the care of the home (a local church), that baby is either dead, lost, or in deep trouble.”
  • There is a crisis of discipleship because many new Christians are not progressing in their faith. This is seen by a lack of obedience to Christian virtues and commitment to the faith. Crabtree pointed out that many “converts” do not get baptized in water and do not receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He commented, “If we continue this trend, I project in 10 years we will have a small minority of Pentecostals in the AG.”
  • A Me-focused Gospel has replaced a Christ-centric worldview. This can be seen as the cross has become less of a focus in much of the preaching today. People don’t want to hear about taking up their cross. All they want is to be left alone on earth and to go to heaven when they die.
  • Crabtree wrote, “It seems the American church says to those who pass through the doors, ‘You’re a good person, and the church can give you added value to the temporal life.’ And it will. But this is no the primary reason the church exists. The church exists to get people ready for eternity, not for tomorrow.”
  • The philosophy of universalism has watered down the importance of theology and doctrine. We have placed ourselves over the Bible not under its authority.

There are many more great points in the article by Crabtree. You can read it by visiting the following link. http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/200801/200801_022_Discipleship.cfm

Crabtree pointed out that there is a big difference between checking yes on a commitment card and actually being a true follower of Christ.

Reclaiming Biblical discipleship is a must if we want to see converts who actually make a firm commitment to follow Jesus Christ. This is a daily decision. Honestly, I find it hard to stick to at times because my soul has other ideas and plans. But at least, I know that the general direction of my life is headed toward God and His lordship not away from it.

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