Saturday, August 18, 2007

Vampire Christianity

In my last post I sort of set the tone, I hope, for what is to come here at In the Clearing. I said I would be about "the joyful business of cleaving to Jesus." Well that's very poetic and all, and maybe even inspiring, but now that it's time to write the next post, I'm wondering where to begin.

In the past few months I've slowly journaled through the Gospel of John, and in doing so I found that what really stood forth for me as if written in gold were the words of Jesus on his last night with the disciples, as he prepared them for life without his "physical" presence, after his return to the Father. I'm going to go back to those chapters in the coming days and perhaps use them as a Biblical base of operations for investigating that which we call "discipleship."

But for now, I want to direct your attention to a quote from Dallas Willard, recently shared by Jared Wilson. [Go ahead, read it and then get back here.] Willard has been thinking and writing about discipleship for some time. When we really think about something, we stop taking it for granted, and we stop clinging to our convenient presumptions. Willard has probably thought more clearly and with more discipline than most in our day about this thing we call discipleship.

Willard says that to be a disciple of Jesus is to be his student; his apprentice. To follow him, learn from him, imitate him, become like him. As Jesus himself said, it is to abide in him. "Abide" implies a kind of intimacy with Jesus over time. And as Jesus again and again teaches, it implies obedience.

In another place Dallas Willard quotes Tozer: "salvation apart from obedience is unknown in the sacred scriptures." Willard goes on from there to say:
This 'heresy' has created the impression that it is quite reasonable to be a "vampire Christian." One in effect says to Jesus: "I'd like a little of your blood, please. But I don't care to be your student or have your character. In fact, won't you just excuse me while I get on with my life, and I'll see you in heaven." But can we really imagine that this is an approach that Jesus finds acceptable?

And when you stop to think of it, how could one actually trust him for forgiveness of sins while not trusting him for much more than that. You can't trust him without believing that he was right about everything, and that he alone has the key to every aspect of our lives here on earth. But if you believe that, you will naturally want to stay just as close to him as you can, in every aspect of your life.
[Willard quotation from this article on his website.]

1 comment:

NaNcY said...

i think that your study into the book of John will make for very good post reading. God be with you always.