Famed NT scholar Richard Longenecker served as the editor of a series of biblical studies on topics like prayer, discipleship, and more. I continue to turn to Longenekcer’s edited volumes because they’re succint studies that typically comprise viable scholars on the topics when they were published.
The quote below is by Longenecker from his article on Luke-Acts in the volume entitled, “Patterns of Discipleship in the New Testament“, pg. 75;
- Discipleship is based on what Christ has effected for the redemption of humanity [through his resurrection with cosmic redemption in scope].
- Discipleship must always be rooted in and shaped by the apostolic tradition.
- Discipleship needs always to be dependent on God and submissive to his will, hence the importance of prayer.
- Discipleship must always recognize the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
- Discipleship is to be involved in prophetic proclaimation, with that proclaimation focused on the work of Jesus.
- Discipleship is to cherish, both in thought and in action, the understanding of God’s grace and the gospel as being universal.
- Discipleship is to be committed to a lifestyle that allows no allegience to take the place of allegience to Jesus.
- Discipleship is to be concerned for the poor, the imprisoned, the blind, and the oppressed.
- Discipelship is to follow the example of Jesus and the apostles, particularly Paul, in matters of service, prayer, and cross-bearing.
- Discipleship is to be a life of development in both one’s faith and one’s practice.
I liked Longenecker’s summary very much but I approach defining the character of discipleship on even simplier terms. For me to live as a disciple of Christ means having his message, his praxis, his pathos, his mission continually shaping me. A transforming process that is ongoing, that happens by God’s intent inside the local church, but not just any local church. A local church that is actively living for God’s Kingdom agendas in her local setting.
How would you describe discipleship?
(Photographic art by maloe4, peice entitled “Bokeh man vs the colour wall“)