Meanings of Discipleship
Being Disciples Then and Now
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Discipleship is a foundational concept of Christian life which has become a popular and ubiquitous description of belonging and growth in early 21st ecclesiastical language. Discipleship courses and popular writings abound and the term is used liberally in official church documents and strategies for growth and development, particular in a western context. But does recent use of the word risk reducing the wide range of meanings of discipleship to something less rich and inclusive than is warranted?
With contributions from an array of leading thinkers, scholars and theologians, including Rachel Mann, Kirsteen Kim and Anthony Reddie, this book argues that there is need for more clarity, precision and depth in defining what meaningfully and constructively is construed as discipleship.
Beginning with an overview of how the concept of discipleship has been understood in history, the volume goes on to consider some of the key figures who have shaped our understanding of the concept, and finally to reflect on what discipleship might look like in contemporary society.
1 Introduction 1
Stephen Cherry and Andrew Hayes
Part 1 A Very Short History of Discipleship
Early Foundations of Christian Discipleship
2 The Gospels and Acts: Discipleship and the Kingdom 7
3 Early Church Discipleship: Adherence, Argument and Community 22
4 Pilgrim People: Medieval Discipleship 36
Architects of Discipleship
5 Following in Community: Saint Benedict’s Flexible Vision for Faithful Discipleship 53
Sister Johanna Marie Melnyk, OSB
6 Called to a Life of Piety and Holiness: John Calvin on Discipleship 68
Randall C. Zachman
7 Grace Bearing Fruit: John Wesley’s Conception of Discipleship 81
8 Courageous, Prophetic and Liberating: The Discipleship of Pandita Ramabai and the Mukti Mission 93
9 Visible and Hidden Discipleship: The Witness of Dietrich Bonhoeffer 108
Part 2 Imperatives for Discipleship Today
Following Christ’s Commandments
10 Missionary Discipleship: Being Called and Being Sent 123
11 Eucharistic Discipleship: Participating in the Body 136
12 Relational Discipleship: Putting Kindness First 150
Priorities for Contemporary Disciples
13 The Secularization of Desire: Is Discipleship a Remedy? 167
14 Interfaith and Discipleship: Faithfulness, Discernment and the Common Good 180
Richard J. Sudworth
15 The Quest for Catholicity: An Anti-Racist Model of Discipleship 194
Anthony G. Reddie
16 Discipleship as Gardening: Reflections on Ecological Conversion 208
Sam E. Ewell III
17 The Power of the Personal: The Promise and Challenge of Transgender Identities for Christian Discipleship 219
18 The Authenticity of Discipleship 231
Stephen Cherry and Andrew Hayes
Index of Names and Subjects 241