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The Message of Discipleship: Authentic Followers Of Jesus In Today’s World (Bible Speaks Today Themes)

By Peter Morden
July 2019 | Review by Dennis Hill
  • Publisher: IVP
  • ISBN: 978-1-7835-9493-1
  • Pages: 276
  • Price: £12.99
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Book Review

Discipleship is a vast theme, including virtually the whole life of the believer. The author is surely right when he rejects the idea of there being two classes of Christian, the believer and the disciple. We are all called to full-orbed discipleship.

He breaks down his material into three sections: the foundation, the resources and the practice of discipleship. Each chapter looks at some relevant portion of Scripture. The foundation is Christ (the crucified Christ, the exalted Christ, the missionary Christ, etc).

Among the resources, he starts with the disciple’s authority, which comes from the Word of God. So many excellent things are said about Scripture and its authority. But words like perfect and trustworthy and even sometimes infallible can be interpreted in different ways. Inerrant—a word which isn’t found in the book—is clearer, meaning without error—which I take to be the historic evangelical position. Sadly this omission leaves one uncertain, since throughout the book the author mentions and quotes with approval a number of authors who wouldn’t hold to an evangelical position on Scripture.

The practice of discipleship takes up the longest section of the book. Morden covers a wide and interesting range of topics, from resurrection and holiness to finance and love. In a very helpful chapter he looks at Psalm 88, the darkest Psalm in the Bible, and discusses how discouraging times come to the disciple. But Christ walks with us through them, though we may not always feel His presence.

The book begins with a lengthy bibliography, perhaps fitting for a distinguished visiting scholar at Spurgeon’s College! I did feel that it suffered from too many unnecessary footnotes.

There are many helpful things in this book. There is a kind and gentle spirit throughout. But sadly the uncertainty regarding inerrancy would lead me to recommend other helpful books that are clear on this vital doctrine, which Francis Schaeffer rightly called the watershed.

Dennis Hill

Kingston upon Hull

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