Advent Apologetics Day #9 – Changing Minds?

starIf repentance = “Changing one’s mind,” and “repentance leads to life” (Acts 11:18, 2 Corinthians 7:10), then changing one’s mind leads to life.  

If that’s correct, then the goal of apologetics should be to help others (with the hope) (1 Peter 1:3) change their minds.  

The Bible points out that true repentance will result in a change of actions (Luke 3:8-14; Acts 3:19). Acts 26:20 declares, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. The full biblical definition of repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action.

Regarding these thoughts, I’ve come across two interesting quotes that seem to contradict each other:

1.  “It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking, than think your way into a new way of acting.”  

This quote comes from Jerry Sternin’s book The Power of Positive Deviance: How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World’s Toughest Problems.

and

2.  “You have to change your mind before you change the way you live and move.”  

This quote is by singer Scott-Heron and pointed out in a book by Kim Hammond and Darren Cronshaw titled Sentness: Six Postures of Missional Christians

I love the tension in these two ideas, especially as it relates to apologetics and this series. Whether we must act our way into a new way of thinking or think our way into a new way of acting well represents the challenge and friction in modern-day apologetics.

It would be easy to say this is a “Both & And” situation and not an “Either Or,” but how you approach apologetics and people will demonstrate which approach you are more disposed to.  Two questions:

What has been your best approach to get another to change his or her mind?

What does an apologetic action look like to you?  Be specific.  

 

Celebrate Advent by feeding a family over the Holiday Season.  Click here for more details.

 

Advent Apologetics Day #8 – It’s the Question That Drives Us

15356016_342069826161549_973305508_n“The best responses to the questions people ask us about our faith are not those borrowed from textbooks, logically forced from biblical texts, or based on  some ecclesiastically machined template.  The best ‘defenses are those developed by individuals acting apologetically as they reflect on the questions being asked, the situations of the people asking them, and the resources available to answer them.” *

Apologetics can be problematic if we only want to regurgitate what we’ve eaten from traditional theological troughs.  Good alliteration there huh?   What we’ve learned form a book or classroom, absent from real life situations, may just be well reasoned but self-serving and ungraceful banter.  If your apologetics is only making you feel better about yourself, then it’s quite possible that it’s parasitic. You might just be defending a position instead of a hope.

Advent Apologetics is about communicating joy, coherence, relevance, and hope, but also rightly handling the anxieties, difficulties, and concerns of others.  Advent Apologetics is a dialogue or narrative.  We enter in to other’s stories and share our own.  Humans, whether we like it or not, don’t process this sort information in bullet points as well as in story form.  We strive for bullet point apologetics because, if we’re honest, we don’t want hear other’s stories, and we really don’t have one of our own to tell.  We’d rather go in blindly with assertions to deliver than dare to let our audience dictate the proper course of actionable conversation. 

This series is called “Advent Apologetics” for the season, obviously, but I’m convinced that this “good will toward men,” in how we approach apologetics year-round has merit.  What if we considered, at least for a season, that apologetics is about being drawn into the life scenes of other people and living in such a way as to have them written into ours?  

Our text for today is 2 Corinthians 5:20

“So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” (NLT)

We model the values of the gospel in our response to people. Like it or not, we’ve been tasked with putting God’s graciousness  on display, not our human arrogance or impatience.   If we strive for patience, politeness, consideration, and helpfulness with others and their stories, then apologetics won’t be something we have to trained up for.  It will be second nature.

* For the past 10 years, we have been ADVENTING during the holiday season by providing tons of food to the families in need during the holiday season. It’s not a fanfare and forget event. We go back throughout the year and visit with them, pray with them, and give them a message of hope. Please consider sponsoring one family this year. Find out more here.

 

 

* Adapted and edited from McGrath, Alister E. (2012-01-01). Mere Apologetics: How to Help Seekers and Skeptics Find Faith (pp. 158-159). Baker Book Group. Kindle Edition.

Advent Apologetics Day #7 – The Samaritan Approach

James Fissel, Jim Fissel

Jesus was the greatest apologist who ever lived.  If there ever was an archetypal model of how we should do apologetics, I believe it was The Christ. 

I love Jesus’ questions!  I especially love the ones where he politely checkmates his opponents.  I’ve never thought of the Parable of the Good Samaritan as an apologetics text, but I believe it’s well suited to be one.  After Jesus was challenged on how one obtains eternal life, and who qualifies as a “neighbor” by “an expert in the law” (Luke 10:25), Jesus tells a parable.  We know this parable as that of “The Good Samaritan.”  Jesus told this parable in the context of the hope for eternal life.  

Let’s take a look:

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.  The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

I think there are 9 Attitudes we can adopt from this passage that reflect Advent and Apologetics;

1. But a Samaritan, “as he traveled,” – Went about his life routine, disposed to help others.

On this, Dallas Willard said, “We should not only want to be merciful, kind, unassuming, and patient persons but also be making plans to become so.  We are to find out, that is, what prevents and what promotes merci­fulness and kindness and patience in our souls, and we are to remove hindrances to them as much as possible, carefully substituting that which assists Christ-likeness”  – The Great Omission, p. 29.  

2. When he “Came where the man was” – Assessing his context, evaluating the situation, and conscious of his environment. 

3. Saw him – He sees people and not just the problem.

4. Took pity on him – not with disdain, not disingenuous pity, and not unrighteous judgement, but real empathy.

5. He went to him and bandaged his wounds – brought healing, restoration, and human touch.

6. Pouring on oil and wine – Spirit motivated love and shared joy comes at a cost.

7. Then he put the man on his own donkey – Gave up his comfort and stature and became lower than the man.

8. Brought him to an inn and took care of him – expended time as if it were not his own (availability)

9. The next day he took out two denarii, and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ – committed to the future care and development of the man. (Hospitality) It was not a hit and run “act of passion.”

The above 9 components of Jesus’ apologetic by parable may be applicable in many situations where we are inclined to defend our faith instead of giving a reason for the hope within us.  An Advent Apologetic is one that’s courageous, compelling, caring, helpful, hopeful, unselfish, generous, sacrificing, available, hospitable, and neighborly.  What do you think?

10153045934835087For the past 10 years, we been adventing during the holiday season by providing tons of food to the families in need during the holiday season. It’s not a fanfare and forget event. We go back throughout the year and visit with them, pray with them, and give them a message of hope. Please consider sponsoring one family this year. Find out more here.

 

Advent Apologetics Day #6 – Countering Foolishness

8x8 multi-media

Living in the tension between foolishness and wisdom while being amongst others can be a delicate matter, even for the most mature of believers. When tempted to give an answer to asked or unasked questions, prudence decides between:

“Not answering a fool according to their folly and becoming like them.” (Proverbs 26:4)

and

“Answering fools as their folly deserves,That they not be wise in their own eyes. (Proverbs 26:5)

Foolishness has a certain appeal, a form of freedom if you will. Foolish people don’t stop to reflect on their actions and often are convinced that they don’t need to. They are characteristically unimaginative, don’t stop to consider how their words affect others, and amplify their own thoughts through anger, selfishness and ignorance. Foolishness despises wisdom and teaching (Proverbs 1:7), quarrels over opinions (Romans 14:1), serves with divided interests (Luke 16:13), and seeks refuge amongst insecure people and places (Psalm 118:8).

Advent Apologetics is about hoping with others, not heaping hurt on them.

But being smarter or even right doesn’t always equate with being more reflective or thoughtful. For many, apologetics is more about proving rightness rather than showing and righteousness. Dallas Willard once said;

“A thoughtless or uninformed theology grips and guides our life with just as great a force as does a thoughtful and informed one.”

Leading up to everyone’s favorite verse on apologetics, 1 Peter 3:15 on Christmas Eve, today’s text comes from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:

“Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:20-22)

Paul is not asking where the Grecian sophists or well reasoning rabbinical hair-splitters are. He’s asking; “Where are those who have hope?” Where are the proclaimers of hope and what is their message?

“It is one thing to show (or attempt to show) that assorted arguments against religious faith are weak or unsound; it is a rather different task to offer people reasons why they should believe. The latter is the task of Advent Apologetics.” ~ Adapted from Ronald Nash

It’s easier, for all of us, to be cynical or angry than hopeful or kindly towards others where matters of faith are concerned. It’s easier for us to leave the true work of apologetics to the few “gifted ones.”

Advent Apologetics is not an intellectual enterprise for the elite or a franchise for the few. Advent Apologetics is the task of all believers at all times. We can all give reasons for the hope within us.

10152232767335087For the past 10 years, we have been adventing during the holiday season by providing tons of food to the families in need during the holiday season. It’s not a fanfare and forget event. We go back throughout the year and visit with them, pray with them, and give them a message of hope. Please consider sponsoring one family this year. Find out more here.

Advent Apologetics Day #5 – It’s Humane

054_hcd1104_ufig1An Advent Apologetic is one that speaks to the entire person. It speaks to the intellect, emotion, imagination, and experience. Make one of these the primary goal of apologetics at the expense of the others and your ‘apology’ will crumble and you will take down the hopeless with you.

Apologetics can no longer be about providing answers to questions and then defending those answers. An Advent Apologetic seeks to answer the deeper spiritual questions that lie just underneath casual perceptions.  Ultimately, apologetics is about souls (people), and not theological problems and puzzles.  John MacArthur once said;

“If the truth offends, then let it offend. People have been living their whole lives in offense to God; let them be offended for a while.”

While I understand the above statement, it still sounds overtly superior. In contrast, lets look at Paul’s advice to Timothy:

“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth.” (2 Timothy 2:24,25)

Paul doesn’t separate apologetics from people. He is not inhumane. We don’t have to be either. While planting a seed of hope is much more difficult than defending a stance, our target is the former. Our goal is to augment faith, not argue someone into it.  Sinclair Ferguson once said;

“We best defend the Lord’s glory by speaking first TO Him about unbelieving men rather than speaking first ABOUT Him to unbelieving men.”

That’s our ‘ready posture,’ our premeditated hope, and our inclination to be human. We identify with image of God in others, amongst others, and for others. We finitely incarnate, to the best of our ability, the infinite person/human of Jesus.

For the past 10 years,we have been adventing by providing tons of food to the families in need during the holiday season.  It’s not a fanfare and forget event.  We go back throughout the year and visit with them, pray with them, and give them a message of hope.  Please consider sponsoring one family this year.  Find out more here.  

Advent Apologetics Day #4 – Christ Conquered Chaos

masterpol_modern-confession“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)  This verse is not about apologetics.  Unfortunately many use it to justify their chaotic and abrasive approach to it. 

We’ll eventually get to everyone’s favorite apologetics verse, 1 Peter 3:15, but over the course of the next couple of weeks I wanted to look at some seldom considered apologetics texts and combine them with some Advent meditations.  Here is today’s text.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (Col 3:15-17)

We should strive for peace with one another because Christ has conquered chaos. (Col 3:15)

Advent Apologetics assumes the role of a peacemaker. (Matthew 5:9)  If your apologetics is disrupting peace or creating chaos, then it might be time to reconsider your approach. Of course this begs the question; “Can apologetics be peaceful?” I’d like to answer that question with a quote from an unlikely source, John F. Kennedy –

“If we make peaceful revolution impossible, we make violent revolution inevitable.”

There is much violence in modern apologetics. Violence thrives in chaos. Advent Apologetics seeks peace, establish bridges to peace and uses peace a conduit for hope. Alister Mcgrath, in Mere Apologetics: How to Help Seekers and Skeptics Find Faith (p. 154) states:

“Many are moved to ask about faith when they realize that their friends seem to have something they do not—for example, a sense of peace or purpose, or a deep-seated compassion and love for their fellow human beings. “Where did that come from?” they ask, secretly wondering if they could possess it as well. The love of God is both embodied and proclaimed when Christians serve their neighbors or the world.”

See the progression there?  Love – Embodiment – Service – Curiosity – Peace.  

An Advent Apologetic is one that creates a space where others can dialogue. It’s not one that puts more space between those that have hope and peace and those that need it.

* For the past 10 years, weave been adventing by providing tons of food to the families in need during the holiday season.  It’s not a fanfare and forget event.  We go back throughout the year and visit with them, pray with them, and give them a message of hope.  Please consider sponsoring one family this year.  Find out more here.  

Advent Apologetics Day #3 – Helpless Doesn’t Mean Hopeless

12548977_167296426972224_4781146085929304973_nOne of the families we were happy to meet and serve during last year’s Christmas Basket Project in a community where the Gospel was not known. 

“If your apologetic isn’t rooted in hope, then it’s just an argument from malice.”

Advent Apologetics is about hope for the helpless.

 

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said;

“A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes… and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.”

Advent apologetics doesn’t put winning arguments over winning some. (1 Corinthians 9:22)  It doesn’t assume a posture of defense, but one of discipleship. It doesn’t contend without caring. It doesn’t overstate its case. It’s not the impersonal deliverance of facts meant to convince people of the rationality of Christianity. Advent apologetics “hopes all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7)

Advent Apologetics is about being the body of Christ in the midst of people. It’s not about being God’s Truth body-guard. While I respect much of what John Calvin has written, I’d have to take issue with this statement;

“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.”

Assuming this sort of posture makes us ready to pounce on others instead of being prepared to listen to them and lift them higher than ourselves. (Philippians 2:3) Quietness in apologetics, the absence of words, can be a powerful alternative. Hope incarnated depends and waits for God. Todays obscure apologetics text is Job 5:13-16;

“He captures the wise by their own shrewdness,
And the advice of the cunning is quickly thwarted.

“By day they meet with darkness,
And grope at noon as in the night.

“But He saves from the sword of their mouth,
And the poor from the hand of the mighty.

“So the helpless has hope,
And unrighteousness must shut its mouth.

“Apologetics often attracts people who have been emotionally hurt, and in turn, who use apologetics to hurt other people.” ~ Mark Matlock

Our goal in Advent Apologetics is not to hurt or hate or try to shut other’s mouths, but to recognize the helplessness and be hopeful.  Taking attacks of God’s truth personally might be a signal that you’re not personally hopeful.  Jesus already took it all… ‘personally,’ so you don’t have to.  

We’re leading up to 1 Peter 3:15 on Christmas Eve during advent.  I’d invite you to come back for Day #4 tomorrow. 

For “Giving Tuesday,” consider the following: 

gt2For the past 10 years, we  adventing by providing tons of food to the families in need during the holiday season.  It’s not a fanfare and forget event.  We go back throughout the year and visit with them, pray with them, and give them a message of hope.  

Please consider sponsoring one family this year.  Find out more here.  

 

 

Advent Apologetics Day #2 – Living and Searching Together

imagesEach day, during Advent, I’ll be posting a short article relating two things; Apologetics and Advent.  This is the second part in the series. I’d invite you to read the first part here.

It might seem odd, but I believe Advent and Apologetics do fit well together. Yesterday, I said that I would proceed on the following 2 assumptions in developing this series:

 

1. “Apologetics is not about defending your faith.”

and

2. “Advent is about being hopeful amongst others.”

Os Guinness had this to say regarding apologetics,

“Culturally, one of the best arguments we can make is, wait and see.”

It’s the hopeful attitude of active waiting that captures the imagination of people. Have you ever watched people waiting for something? Have you ever made judgements of their character about how the wait?

Standing around debating theological theory might be intellectually stimulating, but does very little in the way of transformative convincing. Advent is, or should be, about waiting, watching, and our working attitude in our hope.

As I said in the previous post, I hope to develop a new understanding of apologetics as we lead up to the linchpin of apologetic texts (1 Peter 3:15), by using some other obscure and often overlooked passages from the bible.

In our text for today, Paul tells the Colossians…

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth… To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:3-6,27

Again, we see that a hope anticipated, activates the people of God to live amongst the “Gentiles” or unbelievers in such a way as to make known the glory of our hope, Jesus the Christ.

Instead of a combative apologetic that assumes a defense-defense-attack posture, the Advent Apologist seeks to enter into communal vulnerability with the unsure and be hopeful among them.

J.D. Greear, in “Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary,” says;

“In a post-Christian, skeptical age, love on display is the most convincing apologetic.”

An Advent Apologetic is one that does not seek to control others by overwhelming them with information and dominating the conversation, but one that is ready to say “I don’t know, but if you’d like to walk with me for a while we can search together.”

“Apologetics is about persuading people that there is a door to another world—a door that perhaps they never realized existed. Evangelism is about helping people to open that door and enter into the new world that lies beyond.”  ~ Alister E. McGrath

* My name is Miguel Labrador. I am a missionariy in the Cloud Forest Region of Ecuador. We have been Adventing for the past 10 years by providing food to those in the region that have needed it most during the holiday season. We’d invite you to join us in this. Find out more.

Advent Apologetics Day #1 – What’s it All About?

MagnificatWhat is Advent?
Advent is the four-week period beginning on the Sunday nearest the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle (November 30) through the following three Sundays. Historians estimate that Advent has been celebrated since the fourth century. The period originally began as a time for converts to Christianity to prepare for baptism, but is now more commonly associated with the anticipation of the traditional anniversary of Christ’s birth on December 25.

The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word “adventus,” which means “coming” or “visit.” In the season with this name, we keep in mind both “advents” of Christ, the first in Bethlehem and the one yet to come.

What is Apologetics? 

One of the more standard definitions is as follows;  ‘Apologetics is the branch of Christian theology which attempts to give a rational defense of the Christian faith.’ I take a different approach to apologetics which you can read here.

Christian Apologetics has gotten a bad name, and I believe it’s deserving.  Red-Faced fellows with loud voices speak cleverly crafted words to defend their stances while speaking little of the Savior and the hope of His Gospel.

B. B. Warfield, nicknamed “The Lion of Princeton,” defined apologetics as:

 “The systematically organized vindication of Christianity in all its elements and details, against all opposition.” (Works, 9:5)

Much of modern apologetics remains rooted in this sort of militaristic mind-set, tactics over tactfulness, hype over hope, and debate over discipleship. It might seem odd to throw Advent and Apologetics  into the same arena, but for the coming days, I’ll operate under the following two assumptions;

“Apologetics is not about defending your faith.”

and

“Advent is about being hopeful in the midst of others.”

Advent Apologetics is about being inclined to hope and poised to demonstrate that hope amongst others.  It’s about being a living sacrifice and our reasonable service of worship to God and others. (Romans 12:1)

Over the course of Advent, I hope to lead up to the most well known and most misapplied text of Christian Apologetics, 1 Peter 3:15.  I’ll develop the theme by using some other obscure and often overlooked passages from the bible.

Today’s text is Jeremiah 1:9,10

“Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me,
“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
 “See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms,
 To pluck up and to break down,
To destroy and to overthrow,
 To build and to plant.”

This passage speaks to the true connection of Apologetics and Advent.  It starts with hope for Jeremiah and the people and ends with the same.  It’s about deconstructing and restructuring unhopeful assumptions, residing in community, and reassuring those who need it most.  It’s about accepting our calling to do God’s will amongst His people in His strength.  It’s about advocating in transforming frontiers. It’s about the reconciliation of the marginalized.   It’s about recognizing our struggles and the struggles of others as we live and move and exist. It’s about alleviating fear which paralyzes hope and remembering God’s promises as we take part in His ADVENTure.

I am a missionary in the Cloud Forest Region of Ecuador, We have been Adventing for the past 10 years by providing food to those in the region that need it most during the holiday season.  We’d invite you to join us in this. Find out more.

Why ‘Christian Accountability’ Fails to Make Disciples.

letting-go-2‘The great Christian apologist C. S. Lewis wrote that the word he detested most was ‘interference.’ “Interference occurs when someone sticks his nose in your business. However, that’s precisely what discipleship is all about. If you want to grow in a meaningful way, you not only must tolerate another person’s intimate knowledge of you, you must also willingly invite that person into your life. Even more startling, you’ll grow to love and depend on the “interference.” *

If you’re like me, this quote might tweak you just a bit. In part, because genuine privacy is becoming elusive, and in part if we’re honest with ourselves, we don’t like to be told what to do.  Accountability is touted as the key to effective discipleship, but I have to wonder if that’s true because accountability partners and groups don’t seem to be making any more disciples than those without.

Have you ever heard this?

 “I teach, you watch.  I teach, you help.  You do, I help.  You do, I watch.”  

It’s the last part that, I think, that speaks most to genuine accountability.  While there is, in my opinion, a sliding scale of accountability in the progression above and perhaps even a lot of overlap, one segment generally leads to another. At what point in the discipling process does one move from the assumption that you have the right to ‘teach’ another (interference), to letting them go and doing likewise within their spheres of influence?

Jesus said to “teach them to obey all things I have commanded you,”

(Matthew 28:20)  

He didn’t say “and stick around to make sure they do them.” 

 

Let me share my experiences of accountability.  When I’ve had “accountability partners,” they have usually been a like minded people who, for the most part, have a genuine desire to see me grow in the Lord.  We would get together over a meal or coffee, exchange platitudes, and get to the purpose of our meeting, the confession of our sins and struggles to one another.  The assumption is that this brief time of transparency and openness will motivate us to “do better” next week.  We would pray, read scripture, and encourage one another.  The next week however, and the weeks after, I began to notice that the same struggles and the same sins were being confessed over and over again.  My ‘accountability partners’ had become my handicappers.  While they didn’t outrightly condone my sins and struggles, they rarely called me out on them either.  We were like folks who go to confessional, get our sins absolved, and continue on the same track as before.  Instead of accountability, we were creating an environment of excusability. As Jonathan Dodson once said,

“One surefire way to ruin your accountability relationship is by making it ‘a circle of cheap confession’ by which you obtain cheap peace for your troubled conscience.”

Have you experienced this?

Some dear friends of mine and well respected ministry colleagues have developed a system called Life Transformation Groups.”  The activities of these very small groups focus on  scripture reading/discussion, prayer, and accountability.  At each gathering, A set of very probing questions is asked by others so that a mutual assessment can be taken on how well we are following Christ.  I have seen these groups used in such a way to impact entire communities.

Accountability can also take on a more institutional form where entire churches or communities monitor the behavior of others and “enforce” compliance.  While this may appear outwardly effective, I think this tends towards creating religious adherents and not disciples of Jesus.  What do you think?

Overall, I think the idea of accountability is captured well by the author of Hebrews when he says; “

“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24–25).

If only accountability were more like this instead of some religious performance to assuage our consciences.  Being considerate, spurring others on toward love and good deeds, ‘meeting together,’ encouraging one another, and preparing one another for what lies ahead is hard and messy work. It is virtually impossible to ‘avoid conflict’ and advance in accountability simultaneously. The Body of Christ, by nature, is interconnected, and we have a duty build one another up.

Finally, and really the driving point behind this post, I’d like to suggest that true accountability should be measured more by the ones we are serving rather than how well the ones ‘leading’ us gauge our obedience.

What other biblical texts speak to you about accountability? 

 I have seen the concept of accountability or “accountability partners” function well, and I have seen it be a detriment to discipleship.  I have some ideas as to why sometimes accountability is fruitful and why sometimes it is not, but I wanted to ask you, the reader, a few questions:

  • What, in your opinion, is a biblical definition of accountability?  Which biblical references would you use to support it?
  • Why do think accountability works in some cases and not in others?
  • Are we, biblically speaking, to be accountable to one another?

  

*Bill Hull. The Complete Book of Discipleship: On Being and Making Followers of Christ (Kindle Locations 182-185). Kindle Edition