ST. LOUIS – Bill Hull, author of Jesus Christ Disciple Maker and The Disciple Making Pastor, shared his passion for disciple making at the Oct. 30 evening Core session of the 178th annual meeting here.
Hull quoted Dietrich Bonhoeffer as the heart of his message, “Christianity without discipleship is Christianity without Christ.”
Hull said the life of Jesus was an example to us.
“We need to create Christian communities,” he said, “that live by covenant, holding each other accountable. This would give us spiritual traction and a life-long journey of discipleship.”
Hull identified lack of discipleship as the problem of the church.
“You can become a Christian and not follow Jesus,” he said. “Many see confessing at the altar as the finish line. It gets you into the Kingdom and serving Him is optional. Faith is an action.”
According to Hull, there is a solution to the problem.
“We need to redefine the gospel as one in which discipleship is a natural part of salvation,” he said.
Hull went on to quote C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity.
“The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs,” he said. “If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose.”
Change is not easy according to Hull.
“When the church is suggested to change, it gets upset,” he said. “So, now, I change me, it is a transformation to reorganize life around the practices of Jesus.”
Hull discussed five views of the gospel and what those views create: Forgiven creates fans of Jesus with serving optional; Lift Old and New accommodates the culture and true truth is optional; Prosperity claims rights, creates entitlement and God management; Consumer gospel meets personal needs and produces self-indulgent addiction to desire; and the Kingdom gospel which is intent on living as Jesus lived.
“The Kingdom gospel is the right answer on the test,” Hull said. “It creates action like the disciples who dropped their nets. It is a relationship.
“Something vibrant happens in your life with the Word, when you read it and love it. The power of God melts the heart.”