Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"The Jesus Paradigm" - Discipleship

Dave Black's The Jesus Paradigm is a call to radical discipleship.

Although the bedrock for this book is consistent biblical hermeneutics (interpretation), the main desire of the author is that Christians look to the bible for how to live out the Christian life in all areas. This pertains directly to discipleship.

Black believes that following after Jesus Christ is not something we should do because it is the easy thing to do culturally. Rather, he calls the reader to self-sacrificial following that often includes suffering. On page 17, Black says of the church, "We are to be a people committed to mutual service, even costly service."

Of serving others, Black says on page 23, "Jesus invites us to be poor, and that is much harder than serving the poor. The downward path of Jesus is a way of spiritual poverty - a consistent lifestyle of sacrificial service rather than occasional acts of solidarity with people who cannot give us anything."

Employing a consistent hermeneutic, Black makes the case that followers of Jesus should try to emulate the life of Jesus Christ. This involves rejecting the world's values, seeking to glorify God, thinking of others before self, rejecting comfort and ease, and being willing to suffer so that others will believe. The author rejects wholesale the current American view of cultural Christianity.

As I have already said, this book makes me uncomfortable. This is because Black does not waver in what he is saying. He does not "pull any punches." He leaves no loopholes. What he does is point to scripture, point to what we are doing today, and ask why there is a difference.

Black's conclusion is that we must restore the church (and personal discipleship) to what it was in the early church. If we are to be Christ-followers, we must be radical followers who are willing to give up all for the cause of the gospel.

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