40. The Cult of Discipleship


The Discipleship dilemma….the Lordship Salvation predicament


The discipleship/shepherding movement of the past decades very soon became cultic in its doctrine and leadership structure. 


Bob Mumford issued a "Formal Repentance Statement to the Body of Christ" in November 1989 and was quoted as saying, "I repent. I ask forgiveness."

In the same article, Mumford also acknowledged abuses that had occurred because of his teaching on submission: "...Mumford decided that he needed to publicly 'repent' of his responsibility in setting up a system where so many people were hurt by misuses of authority. 'Some families were split up and lives turned upside down,' says Mumford. 'Some of these families are still not back together.'" This emphasis resulted in “perverse and unbiblical obedience” to leaders, said Mumford.

"In his statement, Mumford admitted that he had not heeded earlier warnings about doctrinal error from Hayford and two others. "While it was not my intent to be willful," he said, "I ignored their input to my own hurt and the injury of others." ...He admitted that there had been an "unhealthy submission resulting in perverse and unbiblical obedience to human leaders." He took personal responsibility for these abuses, saying that many of them happened under his sphere of leadership." 


While the goal of the discipleship movement was not for men to control the sheep it certainly was the outcome contrary to the scriptures. 

1 Cor 7:23
23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.     NKJV

1 Cor 11:3
3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ , the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ  is God. NKJV


The other major issue was that it imposed on the children of God a burden to be a 'disciple'...by our behavior rather than by our faith and the spirit leading us.

Eph 2:7-9
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.    NKJV


This certainly did not result in what Jesus promised for us as God's children

Matt 11:28-30
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."    NKJV

Brethren if you are BURDENED by what you hear...it is NOT of Christ...but men seeking to put you under the Law.


There are many churches today however still going around saying that in order to be saved we must be disciples who follow Christ’s every commandment….ie make Him Lord of our lives. This argument is based in part on the following scripture:-


Matt 5:17-20

"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.  18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.  19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.


Luke 6:46 
"But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord ,' and not do the things which I say?    NKJV

Was Jesus saying that the only way we could be saved is to obey all the 613 commandments of the law…something which none of the Pharisees (the religious zealots of that day) ever did?


Was Jesus saying that we must be more righteous than the most religious people of the day to be saved?   (or was he possibly hinting that we needed a different kind of righteousness?  ... ie the righteousness that comes as a gift from God)


Looking at the words of Jesus it soon becomes clear that 'discipleship' in this form is almost impossible to achieve.

Matt 5:27-29

"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.'  28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Have you ever lusted after any woman?…or looked at porn on the internet?…AND you still have both eyes?


Matt 5:30

 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell

Have you ever done anything wrong? ...  or not done the right thing?….to Jesus’ standard?… AND you still have both hands?


Matt 5:36-37

36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.  37 But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one

Have you ever not done what you said you would do?…or done what you said you would not do?


Matt 5:38-42

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'  39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.  40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.  41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 

Do you believe it is your role to resist EVIL PEOPLE?...or do you just let Jesus deal with them?


42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away

Have you always done this ?…..A good test is what happens when strangers come to you or your church asking for money….do you give them from the ‘storehouse’…or do you point out that they need to have tithed to your church first?


Matt 5:43-45

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'  44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven;

Have you obeyed this?….ever?…let alone ALL THE TIME? 


Matt 5:48

48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

How is your current ‘perfection’ rating?….has it always been so since you got saved or is it deteriorating as you walk through life? (clue Heb 10:14)


Matt 6:14-15

14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 

Have you also always done this….or will you face a Father who will not forgive you on Judgment Day? (clue Col 2:13-14)


Matt 6:24

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. 

You who teach others to not love money…do you deceive them about their requirement to tithe their money to YOU and to sow money into your ministry?


Matt 6:25

"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.

Do you worry about the numbers of people at the 'service'…and the amount taken at each offering? ...as you preach out of your lack of faith that others should trust God while giving their last dollar to you!




Matt 7:12
12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.  NKJV

The sermon on the Mount was about the LAW..not the New Covenant of grace. Jesus preached the LAW to Israel in all its purity and holiness to show them their NEED for a savior and the New Covenant of GRACE. 

The apostles did NOT teach the Law to the Gentiles ...Acts 15...and most of Paul's epistles confirm this.

Acts 15:10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they."  NKJV



Matt 7:21-23

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 

Have you always done the Fathers will?…..do you even know what it is most of the time?

(Clue John 6:40 "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day")


Matt 7:22-23

22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'  23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

Have you always fully obeyed all of the Law (613 commandments) all of the time…if not then have you not also practiced lawlessness?…and therefore you cannot be blessed ..you must be CURSED as a 'law-breaker'!

(Deut 28:15, Galatians 3:10-12, James 2:10-11)   (Clue Gal 3:13)


You who say that other people should be discipled…are you a disciple?


Matt 8:18-22

And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. 19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go."

20 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." 

You who claim to be a disciple….do you have a house…a bed…a place to sleep? (almost every pastor I have ever known has one..or more)


21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."

22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead." 

You who claim to be a disciple…..do you honor your father and mother?….

Would you bury them…or would you miss their funeral?


Luke 9:61-62

61 And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house."

62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." 

You who claim to be disciples….do you still tell your family where you are going before you go on a missionary trip?


Luke 9:23-25

Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.

You who tell others that they have to deny themselves to be saved …are you living this in your world of 'prosperity'? 

You who tell others to 'die to themselves' ... do you really believe you have achieved this??


Luke 14:26

26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.

Now this is clearly a problem ….Do you hate your parents?…Can you hate and honor them at the same time as loving them as we are commanded elsewhere?.... (so for this part it is OK to spiritualize what Jesus said rather than to take it literally… Are you sure of this?)

Do you hate your wife….when the word states we are each to love our wives as Christ loved the church?

Do you hate your own life?


Luke 14:33

33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple

Have you forsaken all to follow Christ? (this certainly rules out every ‘prosperity’ preacher I have ever heard about …especially those draped in gold jewelry, living in mansions and driving expensive vehicles)


But the ‘mother of all’ commands which many think we all should keep, is yet to come:-


John 13:34-35

 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." 

You cannot possibly ask me to believe that you love other Christians as much as Christ loved you!

Especially those who are judging fellow Christians harshly!


Now perhaps you are beginning to see what Jesus is saying here?


YOU CANNOT BE JESUS DISCIPLE!…you cannot do it in your own strength….and if your salvation depends on your own righteousness you WILL FAIL!


Luke 6:40

40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.

How close are you to being like Jesus…almost good enough to make it to heaven in your own right?


The only way you can succeed in being a disciple is when the Holy Spirit comes to live in you….AFTER YOU ARE SAVED BY HIS GRACE…this was Peter's lesson!


In the NEW Covenant it is your FAITH that saves you...not your 'works of discipleship'


Luke 22:31-34

31 Jesus predicts Peter's denial

And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.  32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." 

33 But he said to Him, "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death."

34 Then He said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me." 


Matt 26:35

35 Peter said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!"

And so said all the disciples.


Guess what happened ….they ALL denied Him …they all failed…..at the cross!

So why did Peter return….because He repented?…..or because Jesus prayed for him? Luke makes it clear that this was a work of God.

So in whose strength are you, ‘Mr Disciple’ doing your Christian walk?


Are you judging sinners?….while saying in your heart ‘look how good I am’?

Luke 18:9-14

Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.  12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.'  13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!'  14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." 


Decide this day…are you a ‘sinner saved by grace’…or a self-righteous Pharisee……. someone ‘trying to be disciple’….and according to Jesus...NOT JUSTIFIED!


The knowledge of HIS Lordship comes when we are saved and have this REVEALED to us  (Mat 16:17)

 …and discipleship will become part of our lives after we are saved by grace. It will be a love response, empowered only by His indwelling Spirit ...rather than being a work of our religious flesh!


WE ARE NOT SAVED BECAUSE OF OUR WORKS!  or our ‘Discipleship’  But by relying on Christ’s work for us alone!


The cross is the place where we realize that it is "NOTHING of me .... and ALL about JESUS"


Gal 5:1-4

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace      NKJV

Trying to ADD to the cross means you MISS OUT


Rom 3:20

20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.   NKJV


Rom 10:3-4

3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.     NKJV


Rom 9:30-32

What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.   32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law.    NKJV


Mr ‘Disciple’ …. Are you still in works or are you 'of the faith'? 


Heb 4:9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.  NKJV


Have you realised what Jesus did for your...or are you still working to try to impress God?
Heb 10:10-14
10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  
14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.  NKJV
Brethren ...take a deep breath...and rest in what the Father has GIVEN us in Jesus completed work for us.
Breathe again ...and now freely live as His Spirit leads and empowers you.
No Guilt...No pressure...LIVE AND GIVE as God enables and empowers you to do.
... and another clue is the sense of 'condemnation' which the Law brings.
Rom 5:1-3
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. NKJV
Rom 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.  NKJV
The sense of being BURDENED or CONDEMNATION is a clear sign that we are 'in works' rather than resting UNDER GRACE!
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