Making Disciples is More Than Just Teaching Others How to Hear God's Voice.

grande orelhaIf I hear something more than a few times in a short period regarding the Making of Disciples, it sticks with me.  I ruminate on the repeated idea, saying, or assumption, until I can no longer contain it.  Recently, I’ve heard one of those things.  In essence, it’s this; Making Disciples is simply about teaching others to hear God’s voice.

Without going into too much detail, here are my concerns with this idea:

1.  It tends toward existential, subjective, and unsubstantiated claims of special revelation and teaches others to seek the same.

2.  It tends towards not receiving what “has been spoken,” and mastering those things, “all things,” which Christ commanded first.

3.  It ignores the idea that listening for the Father’s, Son’s, or Spirit’s voice is only one of the many commands which Jesus gave.

4.  It suggests that “hearing God’s voice is something that is learned.  Whereas Jesus said “my sheep hear my voice.”

5.  It tends towards the abandoning new disciples in the trash cans of the world, indefensible, cold, and hungry.

Addendum:  I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting we shouldn’t strive to hear from God, or better yet, ignore all the other noise so that we can hear God, I am simply suggesting the Making of Disciples is more than simply teaching others to hear His voice. 

I will add more to these initial thoughts, but I wanted to ask you one question:

Is Disciple Making, in essence, just teaching others to hear God’s voice? 

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0 thoughts on “Making Disciples is More Than Just Teaching Others How to Hear God's Voice.

  1. Rob Kampen says:

    I have no issue with encouraging would be disciples to seek the hearing of God’s voice, His revelation – i.e. the Holy Spirit revealing aspects of life that I currently do not see.
    Our culture blinds us, we filter what we see and hear by our cultural grid and discard or mask those things that do not fit our mental image or world view.
    This is why we do need to hear and be open to having God speak and deal with issues in our lives.
    As to disciples – lets not make it complicated, it is simply following the same disciplines that the master – Jesus followed and practised.
    He loved the Father and did nothing other than what the Father revealed and wanted Him to do.
    As I said, simple – making disciples is encouraging folk to become like and live like Jesus did.
    The first and greatest commandment in first place – Love the Lord your God with all your mind, soul, heart and strength. The second – love your neighbour as you love yourself.
    This second one is not as easily understood today as many folk do not love themselves as they are meant to.
    If we simply pursue these two things in all we think, say and do we are going to be well on the way to being disciples.
    Note that is was “disciples” that were first called Christians – Christ like ones. May I suggest that the word Christian has largely lost its original meaning in the 21st century, and the meaning and understanding of the word disciple seems to be under threat too.
    A little more living what we know and have heard so often, a little more encouraging others to be all that God created them and desires for them to be – just like His Son.
    He so much loves us, gave everything necessary for us to be able to live the lives in relationship with Him that He created us for, we just need to die, to let Him live, not my will, but His – as John the Baptist put it that “He must increase, but I must decrease” – John 3:30 – Discipleship in two short phrases.

  2. David Woods says:

    1. Only if God does not exist is this a concern. If God is real, then this excuse is just that–a complete cop-out. A real God can be trusted to speak to them just like He does me and you.

    2. No it doesn’t, it teaches them to hear from God so that they can build up from the foundation laid by Scripture–those things which “have been spoken”

    3. Not really. Ignoring the one command does not accentuate the others. in fact, it makes it harder to accomplish them. We need to hear God’s voice so that He can tell us on an individual level how to keep all the others.

    4. This one is solved simply by teaching people that they CAN hear God’s Voice, and having them read Scripture so they recognize it when they hear it. So that they become His sheep. But you are right on this one. A person should not be taught “how” to hear God’s Voice, just be informed of the myriad ways it may come.

    5. See Comment # 1. Same answer. It only does this in the absence of a real God.

    In reference to the final question: Every thing else you may want to teach them should (IMHO, of course) come only after laying the foundation of Scripture, and teaching them that they can hear God’s Voice. If you were to leave or, God forbid, die tomorrow and never give them another lesson, they could take these two (assuming normal intelligence level of course), and take it from there.

    Most Christians can remember the beginning of their walk with the Lord when He spoke to them through the Scriptures. They would need an answer for life, and they would open the Bible, close their eyes and point, and Bam! There their answer would be. Rudimentary maybe, but I think most long-time really dedicated Christians can relate. Most can also recall the day when they tried this, and their finger landed on a verse about vile serpents or being thrown in the lake of fire, or some other such horrible thing. I’ve personally met many that can nod their head when I mention it, and kinda shake their head and laugh, knowing it’s true. I have yet to meet one though, who got confused by this, thinking that God was condemning them, or telling them something bad. Most knew that the verse their finger landed on was not what God was telling them. They “instinctively” knew that was not their answer. That feeling of “instinct”was the very Voice of the Lord Himself. I believe it was at this point that God was attempting to cause them to seek Him another way. He wanted to speak to them through something besides the Bible at that time. A sort of “step two” in their walk with the Lord. He wanted to take them to a higher level. Many may have understood this, many may not have, but when they didn’t get their answer their, the only thing left to do is start praying, and if one is smart, trying to seek God’s Voice by whatever way He has for us at that time. He knows good and well we’ll not always have a Bible in hand, and we must be ready to hear from Him at all times, and through whatever circumstances He has for us. In His way. Even if we are arrested, and thrown in an Iranian jail without access to a Bible for years on end. He wants us to hear from Him, and I don’t really see how much of anlything could be more important than this.

    • David Woods says:

      I must also say that I don’t equate hearing God’s Voice with receiving special revelation that should then be added to the Bible. I really don’t see how some people make this leap. Sometimes, God just wants to tell us to “Go on to bed for tomorrow is a big day” or some other such thing that is just for us, and just for that moment. It doesn’t automatically become Scripture or absolute or anything else. It’s just a command that we will obey if we are smart, and suffer for not obeying if maybe we’re not completely “with it” at the moment.

  3. Mark Guinn says:

    Hearing allows us to know what part of “all things” to focus on. That’s an oversimplification of discipleship though. Hearing is a big part. Rhythms of life is a big part. Outside input from community is another big part. I find the problem is that often the areas God wants to talk about are blind spots where we need others to speak into a situation (or life-circumstances to shake us) to even know to listen deeper.

  4. Marshall says:

    David’s responses to the questions presented are helpful.
    2) Hearing His voice (whether we learn His voice like young Samuel, or like Saul/Paul on the Damascus Road, or like John being found “in the spirit”, or….) very much supports what has been written (with adequate disclaimer for language translation, copying, etc.). The written and spoken need not be cast as dichotomous. I pray for those with a neo-pentecostal hangover from all the silliness that religion has invent.
    4) How do the Master’s sheep “learn” to hear the Master’s voice? Are we assuming that His sheep are all re-born that way? Many are. Possibly there is room for a sheep to be practicing the hearing of His voice, as the flesh is toward forgetting significance.
    5) Hearing from/in the Spirit does not genuinely lead to disciple abandonment. After all, what you are hearing from Him should be worth sharing, and so we are thereby strengthened together.

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