Followership: We Follow a Person

E. Stanley Jones helped me a long time ago to recognize that we follow a Person, not a principle or a philosophy.  We follow Jesus.

Unfortunately, some quarters in Christianity put more emphasis upon rules and regulations than upon relationships.  This is foreign to the very nature of the Gospel, the example of Jesus himself, and the witness of the early church.   I’ve spoken about it previously on this blog, under the phrase sapiential theology—early Christianity’s way of asking, “What do your practice?” as well as “What do you believe?”

Leonard Sweet has a powerful passage which confirms this ancient truth for today’s Christianity…

Jesus says it is quite possible to have a sincere devotion to the Bible without being devoted to him.  It is possible to sit with and observe the Scriptures while refusing to allow those very Scriptures to penetrate our hears, to allow them to examine us and bring us to his feet.

We will always fail to find the way if we just read the Bible without letting it read us.  But we discover ourselves walking in the way when we let the Word of God seep into our bones and saturate our way of living.  Our way becomes one with the Way (pp. 76-77).

It is a sobering, but necessary thing, to remember that it’s possible to be propositionally correct and yet be relationally deficient.  Doctrine is not our savior—Jesus is.  And when we know him, he teaches us not only what to think, but also how to love.

About jstevenharper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
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