Are You an Admirer of Christ or a Disciple of His?

White American pastor Clarence Jordan asked his brother Robert Jordan (state senator) if he would serve as legal representative of his church – the Koinonia community (an inter-racial Christian community, where white and colored people worshipped together, severely persecuted by white Christians in 1950s) and the following was how the conversation went.

“Clarence, I can’t do that. You know my political aspirations. Why, if I represented you, I might lose my job, my house, everything I’ve got.”

“We might lose everything too, Bob.”

“It’s different for you.”

“Why is it different? I remember, it seems to me, that you and I joined the church on the same Sunday, as boys. I expect when we came forward the preacher asked me about the same question he did you. He asked me, ‘Do you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ What did you say?”

“I follow Jesus, Clarence, up to a point.”

“Could that point by any chance be – the cross?”

“That’s right. I follow him to the cross, but not on the cross. I’m not getting myself crucified.”

“Then I don’t believe you’re a disciple. You’re an admirer of Jesus, but not a disciple of his. I think you ought to go back to the church you belong to, and tell them you’re an admirer, not a disciple.”

“Well now, if everyone who felt like I do did that, we wouldn’t have a church, would we?

“The question,” Clarence said, “is, ‘Do you have a church?'”

(From the book, “Mere Discipleship: Radical Christianity in a Rebellious World” by Lee C. Camp)

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