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Mere Discipleship

One of my favourite books is “Mere Discipleship” by Lee C. Camp.  The discipleship he describes is anything but ‘mere’! He writes about our ‘western’ culture “Perhaps in our well intentioned efforts to bring all thing’s under the lordship of Christ, American Christianity (Canadian too) has been guilty of baptizing unrepentant social systems and structures. Is it sufficient to “sprinkle” the culture of a city or nation-state and dub it “Christian”?” (page 22)

This would seem to me to be the lingering effects of the Constantine Curse. While society has thrown off the remnants of Christendom the church does not look critically enough at the social systems which may be antithetical to the teachings of Christ. Paul reminds us that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood but with principality and powers. The world systems which do not express the heart of God ought to come under our severest scrutiny.

A discipleship which rescues people who are swept up in the currents and under toes of life is a tremendously important one and I heartily endorse this kind of ministry. In fact much of the time spent at Taylor College is intended to equip people for just such service. But an equally if not more important service would be to see why it is that people are falling in the stream in the first place and erecting fences to protect people from such a fall, or if people are being thrown in to stop that activity.

It strikes me that we cannot do that if we blindly buy into the political and social systems of the culture around us. I am not advocating a particular response, though I have some definite opinions, but I think that we must give our careful critical attention to these systems. Some suggestions to look at are : the mental health system, the welfare system, poverty, racism, equality, environmental stewardship …. the list can go on. It is of the upmost importance that as a part of our discipleship we find our way and our voice in ‘speaking the truth in love.”

I recommend reading Camp’s book as a start.

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One comment on “Mere Discipleship

  1. It is a great book. Interestingly, he wrote it to do a popular presentation of the theology of John Howard Yoder.

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