In previous posts (here and here) I suggested that since the gospel contains truths for all aspects of temporal and eternal life, then “gospelism” (aka evangelism), is anything we do, whether word or deed, which reveals these truths to others.
But the question may arise (at least, it did in my thinking), “If gospelism is basically just teaching and living the truths of the gospel, then what is the difference (if anything) between gospelism and discipleship?” After all, doesn’t discipleship take place when we reveal the truths of Scripture to others through word and deed? Isn’t this the same as gospelism?
Gospelism and Discipleship are Similar
I think the first thing to remember is that disciples are followers of Jesus, whether or not they have believed in Him for eternal life.
I find that a lot of people think that only believers in Jesus can be disciples of Jesus, but this is not supported by Scripture.
A cursory reading of the gospels reveal that there were many disciples of Jesus who were not believers in Jesus. People followed Jesus and learned from Jesus for many reasons, even though not all of them believed in Him for eternal life. Judas is the prime example.
So I take from this that discipleship is open to all people, whether they believe in Jesus for eternal life or not. This is true of gospelism as well, so at least in this regard, gospelism and discipleship are identical.
The Primary Difference between gospelism and discipleship
But there seems to be a few primary differences between gospelism and discipleship. As I read Scripture, it seems that discipleship is more intentional than gospelism.
That is, rather than simply living the gospel as a way of life before anybody and everybody, discipleship is when we live and reveal the gospel to a select group of individuals for an extended period of time so that they might learn to model their life after ours and ultimately, after Jesus.
So here are a few distinctives of discipleship which separate it from gospelism:
- While gospelism is somewhat random in who it touches, we either seek out others to disciple, or they seek us out. It is intentional in who it touches.
- Discipleship must be regular. It is for the same group of people, over an extended period of time, with a specific goal in mind.
- All who are discipling others must themselves be a disciple of someone else.
So while gospelism is for all people, discipleship is when we gospelize a select group of individuals.
Tomorrow, I will share a story showing how some of this looks in real life.
See more on this gospelism series:
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