BY KIMBERLY LUSTE MARAN, assistant editor, Adventist Review
ecent years have seen an upsurge in discipleship-themed material in our society. The Google search engine lists almost 8 million Internet sites related to this topic. Discipleship for Children, Discipleship Journal, Discipleship Training, Daily Discipleship, and the Discipleship Library are just a few of more popular listings. Even the bookseller Amazon.com ranks high by offering Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic book The Cost of Discipleship
among other products in this category. It seems that the earnest searching to make a difference in one’s community, to abide by the gospel message, and to live a more spiritual, Christ-centered life has encouraged a significant portion of the population to seek assistance in matters of discipleship.
But as with every good thing, a bad or not so favorable outcome develops. In the “training” of modern-day disciples, the very essence of the message—Jesus—has been eclipsed, and the very place where the message is best and most comprehensively found—the Bible—has been obscured.
We’ve seen it before. Well-intentioned devices designed to lead us down the path of discipleship become, themselves, the way. Look at the phenomenon caused by the books The Prayer of Jabez (and all its outcroppings) and The Purpose-Driven Life. The actual messages of these books are lost in the hoopla surrounding them, in the frenzied superficiality of riding the bandwagon. Following Christ means following His lead. It means understanding how and what to pray for. While advice on why and how to seek Him can be beneficial, there is a difference between being purpose-driven and being Spirit-driven.
Hollywood is quick to tap into society’s quest for spirituality. The book and the newly released film The Da Vinci Code stretch our imaginations. But instead of helping us discover what discipleship is all about, the tale casts a tawdry light upon Jesus and His first followers. With the story’s fiction and conjecture, which many will take as historical fact, it also pulls us away from what it really means to be a follower of Christ.
The point of Lynell LaMountain’s article is simple: without Jesus—the real story—we have no story. We have no reason to be. His story must be ours. Living it and telling it must be as natural as the air we breathe.