About the Basic Discipleship Course


.... 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 abide in Him (2 Corinthians 1:20). This is the heart of the New Testament's meaning, transforming our beliefs from religion into a relationship.
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.... 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 . . ."
(Ephesians 4:13)
.... 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.
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.... 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).
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.... 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.
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The Structure of the Course
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. .... 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.)
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.... 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.
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.... 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:
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.... 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.
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..... 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.
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.... If your church is interested in it’s own version of this discipleship course, please contact the author at: ldbishop@cox.net. If you would like to see an example of how this course can be adopted to a local church, please click here.

2 Comments:

  • Hey, this looks like you have put a lot of time into this! ;~)
    Will you just leave this up now as is, instead of posting new things every day? Does POLD now become more like a self-serve buffet?
    (I'm just curious how your blog will operate from here on out.)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/18/2006 12:52 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Thanks for stopping by! For the time being at least, POLD becomes a self-paced discipleship course for anyone who wants to use it. Of course, if they add comments along the way, those are sent to me and I can return to the same articles to discuss their points with them.

    What I'd really like is for individual churches to take an interest in this concept, and start their own church discipleship blogs (like the AGCC blog). I don't have a problem with them using my articles as a basis, and modifying them to their own needs.

    I'm still praying about my own future in blogging. Look for more break-out modules, especially on apologetic topics, but I'm not sure about individual posting type articles yet. I may start a new blog for that, probably in concert with Nancy. I would appreciate it if you'd pray for us about that.

    I see that you're about to join in a joint blog as well. I haven't had a chance to check it out yet, but I definitely will!

    Say 'Hi!' to John for us, and we'll be stopping by your blogs often.

    Loren

    By Blogger Cleopas, at 2/18/2006 2:14 PM  



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