TOPIC:“Discipleship Does Have Its Demands”
by Rev. Dr. Reg Dunlap
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” (26, 27)
Many years ago an inquisitive young student asked a Harvard professor this question: “What does it mean to be a Christian?” As this highly trained teacher glanced out the window to carefully ponder the question, he saw the saintly Phillip Brooks walking by. Then immediately he said to the student: “Well, as a matter of fact, it is hard to define a Christian, but there goes one.” Phillip Brooks demonstrated what it meant to be a real Christian. That truth, I believe, is why Henry Drummond, the great Scottish preacher of the 19th century, once said: “The best argument for Christianity is a Christian. That is a fact which men cannot get over.”
Or as F. F. Bruce, great 20th century Bible scholar, writes: “Even today it is true that the reputation of the gospel is bound up with the conduct of those who claim to have experienced its saving power. Non-Christians may not read the Bible or listen to the preaching of the Word of God; but they can see the lives of those who do, and form their judgment accordingly.”
Now if this be the case that the best reflectors of Christianity are redeemed and radiant Christians, then the discipleship that we Christians profess must be dynamic and devoted, not defective and divided. And yet, when one stops to think about it, the discipleship of today is a great contradiction to that which Christ wanted described in the verses before us.
Many of today's disciples are often half hearted in their commitment to Jesus Christ. They are fractional in their consecration instead of being full. They are weak in their dedication instead of being strong.
Frankly I ask: Where is the strong and steadfast discipleship that our Lord spoke about upon the pages of the New Testament? What has ever happened to the spirit of devotion and dedication of those early disciples of long ago? What has become of the consuming passion which so characterized . . .