I am now blogging at a new blog: erdman31.com

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Thursday, October 12, 2006


Traditionally discipleship has focused upon two areas—knowledge and skills. Churches have poured enormous energy into communicating knowledge about God through preaching, classes, and small groups. In recent years an increasing number of voices have challenged the effectiveness of information based discipleship. That has resulted in churches shifting their focus to skill driven formation—“how to” have a healthy marriage, share the gospel, or parent difficult teenagers.
However, knowledge and skill based models, while necessary components of spiritual formation, both miss the imaginative aspect of the human spirit. And by ignoring the intuitive capacity of the mind the church has essentially surrendered people’s imaginations to the pop secular culture without a fight....
Without significant re-cultivation and sanctification of the imagination, aided by God’s Spirit, a disciple will be incapable of weeding out sin and living obediently. Oswald Chambers understood this reality. He knew that if “your imagination of God is starved then when you come up against difficulties, you have no power, you can only endure in darkness.”

I think there is a distinction in this post between "transference" and "imagination."
Discipleship that focuses on transference will primarily busy itself with transfering doctrines or life-skills (the above quote calls these the "how-to's"). Nothing wrong with transference, in and of itself. It is good.

The problem, as I see it, is the neglect of engaging each other in a struggle of imagination. Only in the struggle can such doctrines and how-to's become relevant. It is one thing to simply absord the transfer of knowledge, but another thing altogether to struggle through what this means for me in my stream of life.

An example: To rationally ascent to the doctrine that God knows everything is one thing. To live my life with the knowledge that God's eye pierces into the deepest recesses of my soul....well, that's quite another thing. Much safer to just have a doctrine that I "believe" than to live my life with a feeling that I am saturated by the presence of God: that would be dangerous...