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Devils Advocate – Diffusing Discipleship

If you had the other teams play-book, and knew in advance when they would execute those plays, you certainly would have a great advantage.  When it comes to discipleship, discipling, being a discipler, or the overarching subject of making disciples, many presume to have the playbook.  In fact, there are many play-books, and many different approaches to this all too critical “game.”

There are valid and biblical processes to making disciples, and then there are some questionable and often unbiblical methods.  Plays executed under certain conditions in the arena which forget that we are dealing with human beings, a diversity of culture, and the various stages of growth within each. 

We have our play-books.  We need the opposing team’s game plan.  I think, though, that we (the church) the body of Christ collectively have the opposing teams play-book already.  I am not simply saying the “enemy’s” play-book in some wormwood-esque fashion, but also all of our experiences where someone else has tried to dissuade you or diffuse your disciple-making from within the church.  In these past two years since I have started the Making Disciples Page on facebook, and have with others sought to bring a resurgence of  focused discipleship, many have come from within the body to debunk Christ’s command for us to do so and to diffuse & confuse even the most basic concepts of the gospel.

Finally, there are those who are not yet disciples of Christ who are very good at keeping our heads out of the game or putting us in the penalty box, or even calling “ off-sides” at every forward motion.  I want to include these as well in our assembly of the other teams play-book.  I know beyond any doubt that all of  you have a page of this playbook that the rest of us might not have.

So, here is the challenge.  Let’s assemble our collective experiences, our play-book pages, and write, so to speak, an online resource, a syncroblog of experiences in the comment section where we all can share what ways friends, enemies, or the indifferent, have sought to dissuade or diffuse your disciple making endeavors.  We have the opposing team’s playbook in our collective experiences.  Let’s open it up and share them together.


In order to stimulate thinking, here are a few questions:

What have others said or claimed with respect to disciple making that have caused you pause?

What have those outside the church done or said to make you doubt yourself or your efforts?

What tactics would you use, knowing what you know about the church’s weakness to diffuse discipleship.

Please use the comment section below as a running list of Screwtape type letters where you play the part of one trying to dissuade, diffuse, or destroy a disciple making movement.  I will keep this blog post updated and assemble it into a single document when done with all reference to the original authors.

Here is my first contribution as an example:

Dear Mathēte,

I has come to our attention that there is a resurgence of desire to make disciples of all nations.  Despite our best efforts to diffuse these outbursts, I must again point out the importance of attacking this at it’s core.  We must simply convince those that are about to, or are in the process of making disciples, that this command of the ancient one is no longer valid or applicable for the church today.  That is was given only to the disciples of old, and that its intent was for a single generation. Finally, you must cease every opportunity to insert distractions or detours into the command itself that keep them away from the 3 basic means by which the ancient one commanded, namely going, teaching them to obey all that he commanded, and baptizing them in the name of… well you know who.

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