The Making Of A Disciple -- By: Charles C. Bing

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 05:2 (Autumn 1992)
Article: The Making Of A Disciple
Author: Charles C. Bing

The Making Of A Disciple

Charles C. Bing

Editorial Board
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Pastor, Burleson Bible Church
Burleson, Texas

How does God make a disciple? Does a person who becomes a Christian also automatically become a disciple? When Jesus said, “Follow Me,” was He inviting people to salvation or to something more? This second article in our series on the nature of discipleship will continue to explore the two different views of discipleship espoused today and how they relate to the issue of salvation.

I. Disciples: Born or Made?

The opening questions can be phrased simply: Are disciples born or made? In the first article of this series we concluded that a disciple is someone who is a learner or follower of a teacher or master. We learned that in relation to Jesus Christ, the term was used of those unsaved, those saved, and those saved who have made a serious commitment to Jesus as Lord and Master of their lives. What all three groups had in common that merited the designation disciples was that all were following Jesus Christ to some degree. Discipleship is therefore best understood as a journey, a direction, an orientation of one’s life toward becoming like Christ. This can only be accomplished by following Christ.

The most common use of the term in the Gospels was in reference to those believers who followed Christ wholeheartedly, especially those who were later called apostles. This fullest sense of discipleship is the focus of this second article. Are such committed disciples born or made? Is the call to salvation the same as the call to discipleship? We will examine specific calls to discipleship in the Gospels to see if they are calls to salvation or something more, that is, if they are calls to a life-commitment beyond the issue of one’s eternal destiny. The calls we will consider are those that relate to the life of the Apostle Peter, for reasons which will be explained later. First we will summarize the two basic views about the relationship between the call to discipleship and the call to salvation.

A. View 1: Disciples Are Born

This view claims the call to discipleship is the call to salvation. The calls are identical. The conditions of discipleship, hard as they may sound, are also the indispensable conditions of salvation. This teaching is basic to the Lordship Salvation position, which teaches that one cannot merely relate to Jesus as Savior, but one must also give total control of his or her life to Jesus as Lord and Master in order to be saved. The term disciple therefore emphasizes the obedience and “costliness...

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