Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Discipleship

Thinking about how many Christians seem to respond upon hearing that someone famous may have converted to the faith: "Christian Celebrity Mascots: The Dangers of Conversion Without Transformation":
.... The hollow back-patting and pride with which we rejoice in celebrity conversion neglects a Biblical manifestation of Christianity — the true nature of which revolves around transformation. When we become more concerned with who is one of us and who is not than with giving glory to God and seeking genuine transformation, we tend to gloss over the inherently gritty nature of Biblical transformation, which is seldom instant, easy, or black and white. By and large, the Bible addresses the idea of transformation within a context of gradual change — a process that is learned at the hands of more mature disciples who are ready and willing to bear with new Christians as they work to first digest spiritual milk and then eventually solid food.

Romans 7:14-20 aptly describes the baffling intensity with which a Christian grapples with his own sinful nature — a battle of wills made infinitely more confusing by the fact that the dual desires at war belong to the heart of one man. That one person might simultaneously desire to good and desire to betray his better intentions in order to sow the seed of evil in his heart is perhaps the singularly most difficult thing about being a Christian, and while time and maturity might never make this easy, it makes one practiced. While a trusted support system might not be a foolproof safeguard against sin, the support of genuine Christian fellowship and accountability is at the heart of discipleship. A new Christian has access to neither experience nor fellowship, because both of these things take time, effort, and often failure.

The evangelical Christian community has a history of glamorizing conversion stories not only when that conversion falls from the lips of a celebrity, but perhaps particularly so in those instances.... [more]