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Our group more or less unanimously thought Willard’s claim of discipleship omission is not really applicable to the Chinese Church.

A few of us shared our experience the culture of discipleship. Some experienced a more “serious” attitude towards discipleship in Chinese churches versus a more lenient Caucasian (mainstream) churches approach. Other experienced similarly “serious” attitude more in churches in Hong Kong versus a more relaxed or laid-back North American churches approach.

When asked what led them to the impression of “seriousness” about the culture of discipleship. A couple people mentioned the frequency of Bible studies and the constant emphasis of the Word of God as the main source of the impression. (I want to inject here that it may well be our own bias issue that leads us to observe what we observe since the observer can seldom be truly objective. “We can only observe what we can observe.”)

One surely can question whether is some circles discipleship is defined narrowly by how much we cognitively about the Bible. (The contrary would be experientially know or have “walked the talk” or a more fancy word would be “orthopraxy” i.e. the doctrine of applicable actions.  Almost all of us in the group agreed that discipleship should be extended to other spheres such as loving people or the environment or attitudes in those directions. One of us put it this way, it is “changes in the ‘smallest’ of attitude and action”.

“The disciple is one who, intent upon becoming Christ-like and so dwelling in his faith and practice, systematically and progressively rearranges his affairs to that end. “ – Willard. There must be “intent” (willingness), “dwelling” (grace, presence), “systematically” (planning and setting measurable goals) and “rearranges” (visible changes?).

A couple more comments and questions were raised but was not given the time to further developed:

·          What is the difference between discipleship and mission?

·          Studying the Bible and prayer are means to discipleship; they are not the ultimate goal. Then what is the ultimate goal?

All of us agree the capacity for discipleship is there but the willingness is not really there. In the shadow of the mighty self-deception I just wonder does the lack of willingness actually reflect our lack of faith. Are we truly a disciple in reality or are we just giving ourselves excuses.

 

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