In chapter 8 of John’s Gospel, Jesus says, “If you abide in my word you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” But are churches in our time known for their love of truth? Are we really making disciples who abide in Jesus’ words, or merely entertaining consumers with feel-good messages and upbeat worship? That’s what’s on tap for this edition of the program as we present a classic White Horse Inn panel discussion of chapters 8 and 9 of the Gospel of John (originally aired February 17, 2013).
Michael Horton: “Jesus said to the Jews, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” What is it to be a true disciple of Jesus?”
Term to Learn
“Discipleship of the Reformation”
The Reformation brought an incisive change in the understanding of discipleship. With his thesis of justification by faith and grace alone (sola fide, sola gratia), M. Luther (1483-1546) radically challenged the idea that the state of alienation from God that resulted from original sin could be removed by meritorious works. Hence he viewed the types of discipleship by imitation as well-meaning but needlessly self-torturing attempts at self-justification. According to Luther, imitation does not make sons, but sonship makes imitators.
For Luther, focusing on the cross of Christ is ecclesiologically relevant and allows him to lump together Jews, enthusiasts, papists, Turks, and heretics as people who all try to set their own meritorious works in opposition to the grace of God. Freed from the need to justify themselves, the Reformers (including also J. Calvin and U. Zwingli) could give concrete form to discipleship in every personal and social relation.
(Adapted from The Encyclopedia of Christianity, s.v. “Discipleship”)