The idea that disciples are made in God’s image but yet are fallen and have made the choice to learn puts a lot of stress on the ability for a person to choose to learn. What if the fall demonstrates that choice is not rational? In other words Adam and Eve both made a choice that brought sin into the world, but does the bible ever record a choice that brought salvation into the world? What choice did Marry make to conceive the Christ child? Marry did not have a choice to conceive the Christ child, but instead she was just simply told what God’s decision was for her life to carry the Christ child as seen in Luke 1:28-33.
Salvation thus brought about by Marry, giving birth to Jesus Christ, demonstrates how God chooses to do exactly what he wants with people regarding their salvation. Many people thus ask, “if people do not have a choice regarding salvation, then why do evangelism and discipleship?” On the other hand some people could ask, “if people have a choice, then why do evangelism and discipleship?”
Some could thus argue that if a person can make a choice to be saved, then free will becomes more dominant and powerful than God’s power, so why convince people to choose God when their choice would appear to put a person in a position of authority over God to judge God and make God second place to their own free will. So much work is done by evangelists to make the case convincing enough, sincere enough, and acceptable enough that the picture of Christ has gone from that of a great king judging on a throne all the way down to the lowest of the lowest people groveling at the feet of the heathen trying to get someone to choose him. Today even the Hindus in India have at some point made Jesus into one of their millions of gods, and this has to be a direct result of evangelism that stresses the importance of personal choice to learn about Jesus Christ.
When people say, “if people do not have a choice, then why do evangelism” what they really mean is that a person’s choice is what changes a person’s belief and that this is required for changing a person’s mind. Consider what would happen if someone came up behind you suddenly and frightened you, “would you have chosen to feel afraid?” Could you choose your parents, or better yet could you choose to love? The fact thus is that the things that are most impacting are the things that we do not choose because we are not in control or our own lives because God is in control of all things.
The work of the true evangelist does not rest in human skill or ability to convince, but instead it rests in the power of God (see 1 Corinthians 1:17). 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 indicates that we see Christ dimply, and what is greatest among what we have is faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love. The power of the true evangelist thus rests in the ability to introduce faith, hope and love into other people, and if these things come truly from Christ, then the evangelist would see a reflection of these things that would then produce correct doctrine because these three are greater than anything else (in fact instead of the Bible summarizing God as truth it instead summarizes God as love 1 John 4:16). The point is that love, faith, and hope are like the transformers of a world gone astray, and both truth and doctrine are the byproducts that give a history of what happened.
The discipleship process thus begins as a person has first received faith, hope, and love, or these are more greatly built upon that foundation of what has been first received. The faith, hope, and love that is received by the person who receives discipleship does not originate with the person conducting the discipleship because even Jesus says, “Why do you call me good? … No one is good-except God alone.” Mark 10:18 (NIV) God thus transmits all good things through his power to his people.
Since disciples are created in the image of God, they can look at Jesus as through looking into a mirror dimply in order to see what they do not have that Jesus does have (1 Corinthians 13:12-13). This process can act as a channel for receiving more and more qualities from God. In other words the identification of Jesus as Christ brings the process of seeing Christ in the mirror, and as the understanding of Christ becomes clearer so to do his qualities that appear in the mirror that reflect upon ourselves. Learning in the process of making true disciples thus does not focus upon choice, but instead is focused upon reception of the talents given by God.
Most all Protestants would indicate that choice is the most fundamental cornerstone for any discipleship or evangelistic activity, but the truth is that choice may be another word for sin. The reason why is because first God existed eternally (and still does), second God created everything and it was Good, and third Adam and Eve made a choice and this meant sin. Adam and Eve had received everything from God, but choice caused them to receive what was not from God. Choice thus cased Adam and Eve to break from the receiving of everything necessary that was given from God, and to say that choice became any better over time would appear far too optimistic of a view for the Bible to support.
Salvation thus did not come from the choices of Adam and Eve becoming better and better, but instead salvation came from God making things better by what he gave to his children. The message of salvation is about God’s giving, but not about man’s choosing. From the fall of man more and more choices have been made, and now all those choices added together result in a fallen world such that everyone who has a choice is living the way they want to. The people that do not have a choice are often persecuted and enslaved by the people that do have choices and who can make choices, but this is not to say that a person who is incapable of ever making a choice would be saved because sin is more than something that is just mental (some might disagree). My ministry is not about convincing people to choose Christ, but instead it is about causing people to receive Christ as lord and savior.