I'm confused by the different explanations people have for "a disciple" and "a Christian." Some say that a "disciple" must be a "Christian," but that a "Christian" need not be a "disciple." In short, more is expected of a "disciple" than of a "Christian." Please help.
The controversy that you have heard about, that is, a person being a "Christian" without being a "disciple," is another one of Satan's lies. You see, there are people within the church that want to be able to explain why we have those who claim to be a Christian, but don't live the life.....no fruit. So they come up with the heresy that a person becomes a Christian first and a disciple later, thus giving justification for "Christians" who don't live the life of a "Christian"--they simply say they that these people are Christians but not yet a disciple!
This lie from Satan tries to hide the reality that a person who claims to be a "Christian" but lives an unholy life is either:
1. Not a Christian at all, or
2. A Christian living in willful sin and subject to the discipline of the Lord.
We have a lot of people today who "claim" to be "Christians" who are not. This is mainly caused by all the preaching of false and watered-down gospels, or "easy-believeism" gospels that make people think they are saved when they are not (a favorite scheme of Satan). Then these false believers try to live the "Christian" life but cannot do so, because they do not have the Holy Spirit within them, thus they are still slaves to Satan and their sins.
The truth is that a person becomes a "disciple" the moment they believe and are "born again."
Jesus commanded the Church to "Go.....and make disciples" (Matt 28:19). There is a three-step process in the command given by Jesus to the Church found in the passage:
1st - "Make Disciples" (28:19)
2nd - "Baptize them" (28:19)
3rd - "Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." (28:20)
The order is very important, for we clearly see in the New Testament, that when a person was saved, they were Baptized soon thereafter, "Those who accepted his message [saved by faith, thus made "disciples"] were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day." [Acts 2:41]. After becoming a disciple, they were baptized, then they begun the process of being taught all that the Word commands for the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Bottom line, a person becomes a "disciple" when they are born-again. A "disciple" is simply a person, "who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another." A person who Repents, Believes, and Submits to Christ clearly "embraces" the teachings of Christ, for that's what faith is all about. And for the rest of their life on earth the Christian (i.e., "disciple") continues to embrace the teachings of Christ and spreads those teachings to others, seeking to make more "disciples."
Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Tony Capoccia's Questions and Answers" by:
Bible Bulletin Board
Columbus, New Jersey, USA, 08022
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Online since 1986