Monday, September 14, 2009

Fight Clubs .... Free Discipleship Resource

Jonathan Dobson (the lead pastor of Austin City Life Church) has made available a free e-book edition, as a gift to the greater body of Christ, his new book on discipleship: Fight Clubs: Gospel-Centered Discipleship. You can download the PDF edition here >>

No doubt, it is an unusual name for a book about discipleship, but once you get into it, you’ll understand. The core thesis he is presenting is that discipleship is a fight, a spiritual battle for the soul of its pursuer.

The chapter titles give you some huge hints to the gist of the book:

1. Why Fight?: The Call to Fight
2. Fighting for the Church: The Failure of Accountability
3. How to Fight: Motivations for Discipleship
4. Fighting with the Church: The Three Conversions of the Church
5. Fight Club: Practical Gospel-centered Discipleship
Appendix 1: Gospel-centered Questions to Ask
Appendix 2: Gospel-centered Resources

And here is a product description from the publisher:
If you’ve struggled to follow Jesus by veering away from the gospel into duty-bound legalism or moralistic indifference, then this book is for you! Fight Clubs is a radical call to fight the fight of faith in the strength of the gospel. In it Jonathan Dodson calls us to join the fight against sin, legalism, and license by looking to Christ and His gospel. Fight Clubs equips us to fight by exposing the fleeting promises of sin and drawing us into the grace-saturated promises of God. Displacing defective forms of discipleship, Dodson keeps the gospel at the center by tapping into various layers of biblical motivations to promote joyful obedience to Christ. He also provides a strategy to fight sin as the church, small fighting communities called Fight Clubs. Read this book; form a “fight club”; and start fighting in the joy of the gospel.

Tomorrow I will post a combination of a review and some commentary on Dobson’s work. But before jumping into this text, there are two things to keep in mind as you read it:

First, the book prescribes a way to think about the ministry of discipleship, and logically, a program to get there. The latter chapter of Fight Club describes how Dobson’s Church has adopted and implemented these ideas. But don’t get the idea he is selling a program. He is not! Program of not, there is much value in the core content of his presentation concerning discipleship ministry, that it makes this book well worth the read (that is, if this is an important issue for you).

Second, as the subtitle indicates, one will not get too far into Fight Clubs before you realize that Dobson is a “fully devoted follower” of the new-reform theological emphasis. The title, and the numerous quotes of Piper, Edwards, and Owens to legitimize his ideas, makes this obvious in Dobson’s writing. (Editorial Thought: Even though I appreciate these dear brothers—the new/young reformers—and what they are trying to communicate, I fear that the phrase “Gospel-Centered” has been so over used and not so well defined, that it is dangerously close to taking on a meaningless and overused, “cliché,” status.) Well, even though I have my disagreements with the strong Calvinistic and Covenantal tendencies of this movement, Dobson has some ideas worth reading and considering. If you are serious about discipleship ministry, I do not hesitate to recommend this text to you.

Over the next few days, I will posts highlights of the major ideas of the book; the things I think that will be most helpful for those concerned with discipleship ministry in the local church.
Before you read my thoughts, I suggest you download the e-book (it’s only 55 pages) and read it yourself:
Fight Club: Gospel-Centered Discipleship

3 John 8
Bill H.

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