My online discipleship group is for people who know they don’t have all the answers, who want to seek truth, wherever it is found, and who like to be challenged in their Christian beliefs and practices. If that describes you, join us today!
On the other hand, below are 10 reasons why you might not be a good fit for my online discipleship group.
You should NOT join my discipleship group IF …
1. You are pretty sure that all of your theology is correct.
I teach some challenging ideas in my discipleship group, and question some fairly traditional church teachings. This might ruffle your feathers.
If you do not like to have your theology or your understanding of Scripture challenged because you think that everything you believe is already 100% correct, the RedeemingGod.com discipleship group will not be a good fit for you. We value asking the hard questions and enjoy discussing difficult issues.
2. You think that the only right way to do church is the way you do it in your church
Several of the courses that are offered in the RedeemingGod.com discipleship area will challenge the way you think about church and do church. For many people, the way they “do church” is the only right way to do it, and anybody who does things differently is doing it wrong.
If that is how you think, the discipleship area is not for you. Our discipleship group contains many people who faithfully follow Jesus every single day without ever stepping foot inside a church building. I think that’s fantastic, because “being” the church does not require “going” to church.
3. You think it is a sin for men to have long hair.
Ok, this one is a little light-hearted, but you would be surprised to know how often I get emails and private FB messages from people who challenge me on the length of my hair. “How can you claim to be a Christian and teach the Bible to others if you have long hair?” they say. “Don’t you know what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:14?
The answer, of course, is that I am very well aware, but I understand the verse in its original context, and so believe it is not a sin at all for men to have long hair. (Paul doesn’t even say it is a sin, by the way.)
The point is that if my hair length is a sticking point for you, this is an indication that you will also have difficulty with the rest of what we discuss inside the discipleship group, and therefore, it is probably not for you.
4. You are a die-hard Calvinist, Arminian, Pentecostal, Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, non-denominationalist, or “Fill-in-the-Blank.”
I don’t promote any one specific tradition or belief system inside the discipleship group, and try to encourage others to do the same. Rather, we try to learn from each other, and pull the good ideas and practices from all Christian backgrounds and traditions. So if you are firmly part of one particular tradition and want to push and promote it on others, this discipleship group will not be a good fit for you.
Furthermore, if you are fully invested in one of these traditions, it is quite likely that some of what we teach and discuss in the group will challenge some of your beliefs and practices, and if you find this offensive or scary, you are probably better off joining a group that is from your particular tradition or practice so that everybody agrees with you and affirms what you do.
In other words, to be part of our discipleship group, you have to be able to be gracious toward those who disagree, and be willing to learn from others,
5. You believe that there are some questions that are “off limits.”
We ask some hard questions inside the discipleship group. Some people are uncomfortable with asking hard questions because their faith cannot handle the challenge. We ask, for example, whether or not God actually exists, whether or not Genesis 1 teaches 7-day creationism, and whether or not a person can be a Christian and still go sin all they want. We even ask some questions that make you squirm, such as “Is masturbation wrong?” or “What was Jesus’ view about homosexuality?”
If these sorts of questions make you angry or uncomfortable, the discipleship group is not for you.
I believe, however, that truth can stand up to any and all questions, and that since God made us to be inquisitive, creative, rational people, it is our duty and obligation to ask any and every question that comes up. If we are right in what we believe, then asking the questions only strengthens our faith, but if we are wrong, then hopefully we want to know it, and we only discover the truth by asking questions.
If you like to ask questions, the discipleship group is for you.
6. You don’t like to read, study, learn, or think.
My online discipleship group is information heavy. It is mostly focused on reading, listening, and writing. There are online courses, quizzes, and books. You will be asked to study, think, and inquire.
A good rule of thumb is that unless you like to read (or listen to) at least 30 books a year, you probably won’t like my online discipleship group. The discipleship area is focused on text and audio material, and so if you don’t spend much time reading theology books, studying Scripture, or listening to theology podcasts or books on audio, you probably won’t enjoy the discipleship area of this website.
But if you love theology podcasts, listening to sermons on the radio, and reading books about Scripture and theology, then the discipleship area will be great for you. This is especially true if you love having your mind stretched, if you embrace difficult questions, and if you enjoy being introduced to new ideas and different ways of viewing Scripture.
7. You only want to study and learn if you get an accredited degree out of it.
If that’s the case, you should probably just go to a Bible College or Seminary. While much what I teach is at the Bible College or Seminary level, and while my discipleship area is 99.99% cheaper than Bible College or Seminary, you are not going to get an accredited degree out of it.
You will, however, deepen your knowledge of Scripture, grow in your relationship with Jesus, and learn how to love and serve others in a more meaningful way, but you will not be able to put initials before or after your name.
8. You only want Bible study material that is free.
I sometimes get the objection that it is wrong for me to charge for access to my material. When I get this objection from Christians, I always ask them, “Have you ever bought a Christian book? Have you ever paid to attend an Evangelism training seminar? Have you ever wanted to go to Bible College or seminary? Do you tithe to your church?”
You can think of my discipleship area in the same way, except that you also gain a connection to me and other like-minded people around the world. Think of it like buying a book or attending a conference where the author and other attendees are all hanging around to talk with you. Also, while 95% of what I teach and write is available for free in various formats, the discipleship area is how people are able to get my most in-depth teaching in logical format and order.
And just like some people tithe to their church or to some Christian ministry because they believe in what that ministry is doing, there are some people who join my discipleship group because they like the online ministry that I provide around the world. Of course, I am not currently a non-profit organization, and so gifts and membership costs are not tax-deductible, but that should never be the reason you support a ministry anyway.
I do give a lot of material away for free, and even have a free section in my discipleship group, but I work really hard at preparing the books, teachings, and courses that I provide inside the discipleship area. The reason I charge for them is so that I can keep this website up and running and offer the free stuff that I do. Without your support, this website would disappear and I would no longer be able to offer free Bible and Theology training to millions of Christians around the world.
9. You believe that Bible study and theology is always serious and never fun.
I will freely admit that I don’t have the greatest sense of humor. When I was a pastor, I was a terrible joke-teller, so one Sunday an elder gave me a “Laugh” sign and told me to hold it up whenever I told a joke so that the congregation would be prompted to laugh.
Nevertheless, I believe that Bible study and theology should never be boring, and that it is okay to laugh, have fun, and approach Scripture light-heartedly. Sure, it is the most important area of study in the world, but this doesn’t mean we have to approach it with nothing but frowns and furrowed brows. Let’s laugh, smile, joke, and have fun.
10. You get angry and defensive when someone challenges your beliefs, and you start calling them names like “heretic” or “false teacher.”
If you have a habit of calling people heretics and false teachers on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog, this discipleship group is not for you. We do not allow divisive behavior like name-calling and public shaming to occur. It is completely okay to disagree with me or anyone else in the group, but it is not okay to try to “win the argument” through abusive and bullying behavior like name-calling and shaming.
So if you only want to join the discipleship group to push your theological agenda and force everyone to believe the way you do, you might want to look elsewhere.
11. You believe that most Democrats (or Republicans, or Progressives, or Conservatives, or Liberals, or Socialists, or Anarchists, or “Fill in the Blank”) are evil.
We are not about politics here. We do believe that theology does guide our politics, and we agree that political views can be discussed as part of the discipleship process, but just as we do not condone or allow name-calling and shaming of other people because they hold different theological views, so also, we do not allow name-calling or shaming of people who hold different political views.
If you hate all people who voted for Trump, or if you hate all people who voted for Hillary, this group is not for you, because we have people in the group who did both.
12. You get a thrill out of pointing out where people are wrong.
If you saw point #11 above, and said, “Hey, Jeremy’s a liar. He said there was only 10, and this is number 11! And now he’s moved on to #12!” then maybe the discipleship group is not for you.
Look, I appreciate it when people point out my typos (If you find any in anything you read of mine, please let me know!), and I love a good debate about theology and how to understand Scripture. So if you love these things too, then you will be a good fit for the discipleship group.
If, however, your goal in everything you read or hear is to find the one area in which you disagree just so you can point out to someone where they are wrong, well, you might not be a good fit for the discipleship group.
Still Reading? Please Join Us!
We are a diverse group of people from diverse backgrounds with diverse beliefs. We focus on the core essential elements of following Jesus, and leave room for disagreement and friendly debate. If that sounds good to you, please join us!
The information page about the various discipleship levels contains more information, as well as numerous testimonials from people who are already in the group. Visit that page to read what they have to say, learn more about what is available to you, and join us today. See you on the inside!
If you read through this entire list and are thinking, “Wow, this actually sounds like a place I want to be part of! I would love to learn in this sort of setting!” then register today and start learning along with the rest of us! Go here to learn more and choose which Discipleship level is right for you.