I grew up Mennonite, as did my wife Lise. (Our two churches were separated by a half a mile.) This meant we often heard from the Sermon on the Mount, which many have said is the central text of the Mennonite faith. You might immediately think of the “turn the other cheek” teaching found there (Matt. 5:39), and the importance of pacifism in Mennonite circles. But actually it’s more than that. From the beginning of the Anabaptist movement in the 16th century, from which the Mennonite church emerged, these believers displayed a signature emphasis in their intent to be obedient to all of Christ’s commands, including the hardest ones. And as you probably know, the Sermon on the Mount has many difficult commands.
Gee, what to do with a pastor’s blog? Many things, I suppose. One idea is the “cutting room floor”, that is, writing about an additional item or two that didn’t make it into the sermon. Another idea is addressing some relevant issue, or talking about a current church endeavor. And sure enough, this blog has been used for those types of things in the past, and more.
This week in my sermon on discipleship (specifically Jesus’ call to Levi to follow him) I made reference to Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his remarkable book, The Cost of Discipleship. In this post I want to say more about Bonhoeffer and this book.
I continue with what I have written about discipleship in my book, Beginnings, soon to be released by P&R Publishing: In my opinion, the core problem with discipleship, as it is now understood in the Evangelical church, is not with methodology but with content.
I have had the opportunity to write about discipleship and I thought some excerpts from what I have written could help to reinforce our study for 2015 on discipleship. The following is taken from my book on spiritual birth, soon to be republished under the title Beginnings—Understanding How We Experience the New Birth. Here is what I wrote: