This site was created for new Christians, older ones who were never taught the basics, and for anyone else who would like to learn
more about a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Access is free and no registration is required.
We invite you to partici- pate in our learning, discussions and Bible readings as we system- atically cover the basics with a very
intentional focus on Jesus.
The basic discipleship course on this blog is a work in progress, and should be considered a template. It is
open to the suggestions and revisions of authors, editors, theologians,
evangelists, psalmists, artists, pure-hearted zealots, and most importantly, new Christians who tend to ask the most piercing and
pertinent questions of them all. Questions, in fact, are completely open, and no subject is off limits as long as it's not too much
of a rabbit path. There is no such thing as a stupid question if sincerely asked. But making comments, suggestions or other insights
requires special consideration:
First, any comments or suggested revisions must be based on Biblical truth. This is not a course in worldly
philosophy, medieval church tradition or new age liberalism, but in who Jesus is, as the Scriptures portray Him.
Second, everything in this basic template is authored for the purpose of pointing to Jesus more clearly,
so the aim of each comment or suggested revision should be the same. Therefore, if you want to suggest a change, let's think about
this. If it already points to Jesus, why would you want to change it? So we are looking for a clearer perspective than we have seen,
an improved explanation, correction where necessary, or viable alternate perspectives. These entries will be very earnestly
considered, for the truth is in Jesus and in our heart-of-hearts we are seeking to learn of Him (Eph 4:20-21).
Third, the truth must always be spoken in love. Even in disagreements, our love and respect must be shown to others
so that a bond of good will, and a basis for a new consensus, can be promoted.
Finally, if you wish to participate, you may comment on the main posting or in relation to the comments of other
participants. But in the event of a disagreement, please site Scriptures to explain why you think a point that was offered was
wrong. Then offer in its place what you believe to be the true perspective, again supported by Scriptures, and explain how it
points us to Jesus more clearly. If this is done in love, no one should have a problem considering it fairly.
". . . till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man,
to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and
fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful
plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-- Christ-- from
whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working
by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."
Unless otherwise noted: All Biblical quotes are from The New King James Version. 1996, c1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
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.... The Bible foretells a reformation that will occur in the church of the Last Days, to be centered on the Person of Jesus Christ. As such, it will be the great defining event of church history and of the ages. This reformation will spring from a hermeneutic called ‘The knowledge of the Son of God’ or, ‘the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord’ (Ephesians 4:13; 2 Peter 1:2).
.... A ‘hermeneutic’ is a method for interpreting the Bible. The end time herme- neutic, first of all, will seek the testimony of who Jesus is: His heart, mind and Divine nature, as shown to us through the Scriptures; and secondly, it will apply those concepts to us as we abide in Him. The entire concept is highly relational as opposed to being merely religious. For a fuller description of this reformation, please click on the break-out module for the The End Time Church.
.... But how does a reformation begin?
.... Berry Alvis is my work fellow and a major inspiration behind this site. He envisions blogging as a catalyst for the end time reformation, and uses an interesting example to explain his concept:
.... "Who created the Linux software?" He asks, "Or who created Mozilla Firefox?" These are the popular OS and browser softwares that are available free online.
.... The answer is that nobody created them - and everybody! Both programs were the product of an online, relatively open collaboration. Someone began with a basic template and other software engineers added new capabilities as their contributions.
. .... In a similar way, the basic lessons of this course should be viewed as a template, and each lesson remains open for discussion in the ‘comments’ section. Through thoughtful insights, challenges, questions and the examples of sincere Christians everywhere, a better ‘feel’ for each lesson will emerge. This will make them far more effective for discipling new believers. Also, through the best of these comments, the basic course itself will be subject to future revision.
....(note: the entire basic discipleship course has now been posted online, and we are currently on our third round of revisions. These lessions can be viewed under the Table of Contents, and we will be updating these articles as future insights warrant.)
. Rules for Participation
.... In the same passage that foretells the end-time reformation, the rules for participation are given:
.... "but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-- Christ."
.... The discipleship course on this blog is open for the suggestions of authors, editors, theologians, evangelists, psalmists, pure-hearted zealots, and most importantly, for new Christians who tend to ask the most piercing and pertinent questions of all. Questions, in fact, are completely open, and no subject is off limits as long as it’s not too much of a rabbit path. There is no such thing as a stupid question if sincerely asked. But making comments, suggestions or other insights requires special consideration:
.... First, any comments or suggested revisions must be based on Biblical truth. This is not a course in worldly philosophy, medieval church tradition or new age liberalism, but in who Jesus is, as the Scriptures portray Him.
.... Second, everything in the basic template was authored for the purpose of pointing us to Jesus more clearly, and the aim of each comment and suggested revision must always be the same. So if you want to suggest a change, let’s think about this. If it already points to Jesus, why would you want to change it? So we are looking for a clearer perspective than we have seen, an improved explanation, correction where necessary, or viable alternateperspectives. These entries will be very earnestly considered, for the truth is in Jesus and in our heart-of-hearts we are seeking to learn of Him (Ephesians 4:20-21)
.... Third, the truth must be spoken in love. Even in disagreements, our love and respect must be shown to others so a bond of good will, and a basis for a new consensus, can be promoted.
.... Finally, if you wish to participate, you may comment on the main postings or in relation to the comments of other participants. But in the event of a disagreement, please site Scriptures to explain why you think a point that was offered was wrong. Then offer in it’s place what you believe to be the true perspective, again supported by Scriptures, and explain how it points us to Jesus more clearly. If this is done in love, no one should have a problem considering it fairly.
.... Through comments, and possibly through additional break-out modules, help from other sincere Christians is needed and appreciated. Please pray about joining us and tell a friend who may also be interested. And if you lead someone to the Lord, please think about sending them here for their most basic lessons.
Yours in Christ,
Loren D. Bishop
For further information on the structure and use of this basic discipleship course, please click here.
.... The Apostle Paul received a special grace from God for laying the foundation of our Christian learning, and his writings contain the clues for creating a proper discipleship course: one that is firmly founded on the Person of Jesus Christ:
....". . . According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
(1 Corinthians 3:10-11)
.... In constructing this online course, the Scriptures have been searched for every subject that is described as ‘basic’, ‘elementary’, ‘foundational’, ‘the first thing I taught you’, or by similar wording. These are the subjects that a truly basic course must include, and within them we must always focus on Jesus Himself; for in finding their testimony of Him, these subjects show us how to abidein Him (2 Corinthians 1:20). This is the heart of the New Testament's meaning, transforming our beliefs from religion into a relationship. .
.... A Christ-centered teaching is like Christ Himself, in that it is always a little different from the standard beliefs of the day. But like Christ again, that difference is spirit and life. For many of us, moving toward this perspective requires both learning and some unlearning, but a genuine focus on Jesus will always win the allegiance of true-hearted Christians over time (Ephesians 4:13). Therefore, it makes sense for new Christians to pursue this emphasis from the very beginning:
....". . . till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ . . ."
.... Within those most basic lessons, attention must be given to the sequence in which they are introduced. Certain lessons are truly primary. For example, how does one dig down to the rock to lay the foundation? What is the foundation itself, and it’s cornerstone? Which lessons should come next, and in what order, as the whole structure ascends? A Scriptural, thoughtful and even practical sequence must be considered.
. .... Over time these lessons will interconnect with each other, making their content and sequence even more important. So comprehensive is this effect in its scope that everything else we learn as Christians may arise from these core concepts. Therefore our wise master builder (who is ultimately the Holy Spirit, through the Scriptures), must be carefully consulted at each step. And according to His own ministry, He will constantly guide us into seeing Jesus in all that He teaches us (John 15:26).
. .... The material in the basic discipleship course is the result of more than twenty years of study, proving and discovery. It is our sincerest hope that the Lord will connect with you here and use this material in your life, for His glory, and for your eternal benefit.
. The Structure of the Course
. .... The truly primary lessons of this course are contained in modules 101-108, for a total of 95 daily lessons. The rest of the basics follow in modules 201-208, in the order that a new Christian is most likely to encounter them (which is the same way they were presented in Hebrews 6:1-3.)
. .... If you will look in the right-hand column, you'll see an intermediate level of discipleship contained in a series of break-out modules; and over time, additional modules will be added. They include a significant apologetic element to provide living applications for these lessons.
.. .... With every lesson, basic or intermediate, please take careful note of the perspective that emerges and the potential that it offers. For the Scriptures foretell a Christ-centered reformation that will occur in the end time church, and this course has envisioned that goal from the outset (Ephesians 4:13). Even a reformation (and especially this one,) must start with the basics, and so in hindsight the connection with that goal will become more apparent. For further information on the end-time reformation, please click here
Benefits and Limitations of this Course
.... Research for this discipleship course began in 1982, and it first appeared on this blog in a daily series from March 2005 to February 2006. It was designed as a forum for discipleship in which the thoughts of many sincere Christians could be exchanged. This would provide new Christians (or older ones who were never taught the basics) with a place to build their foundation in Christ through online discussions. But it also introduced a limitation:
. .... In the background of such a course, and especially for the sake of new Christians, a local pastoral element is always needed. The 'blog' format allows for the exchange of ideas so questions are likely to rise that require discussion and counseling. Friendships are often made this way and often, for unchurched persons, this can lead to a new church home. Yet the members of a single, world-wide community may never have the opportunity to meet each other in person, which puts those interpersonal benefits at risk. Furthermore, a single blogmaster/pastor might soon be overwhelmed by the scale of response and find themselves unable to minister effectively.
..... Because of these limitations, a discipleship blog is much better tailored for local communities, just as churches themselves are designed for a local outreach. So wherever possible, the vision of this discipleship course must join itself with sincere churches in their own vision and calling.
.... If your church is interested in it’s own version of this discipleship course, please contact the author at: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to see an example of how this course can be adopted to a local church, please click here.