Questions for preachers to ask themselves (via Dallas Willard)

Dallas Willard expresses concern in The Divine Conspiracy that the idea of discipleship is lost on both the “left” and “right” sides of the theological spectrum. He believes that discipleship has been replaced by doctrines of “sin management” (or what Bonhoeffer might call “cheap grace”) that is disconnected from the person of Jesus Christ. This leads Willard to exhort Christian teachers:

“Must not all who speak for Christ constantly ask themselves these crucial questions: Does the gospel I preach and teach have the natural tendency to cause people to hear it to become full-time students of Jesus? Would those who believe it become his apprentices as a natural “next step”? What can we reasonably expect would result from people actually believing the substance of my message?”

In contrast to doctrines of “sin management” and teaching a gospel that is disconnected from our “real” lives Willard offers this solution:

“To counteract this we must develop a straightforward presentation, in word and life, of the reality of life now under God’s rule, through reliance upon the word and person of Jesus. In this way we can naturally become his students or apprentices. We can learn from him how to live our lives as he would live them if he were we.

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