christ as teacher

September 13, 2006

The following is cross posted from The Great Omission study blog. Comments are closed here, but you are welcome to comment on the original post

We have lost discipleship largely because, in the evangelical tradition, we have lost Christ as Teacher. The idea of Christ as Teacher no longer means much, if anything at all, to evangelicals. This has historical roots in the modernist/fundamentalist controversies of the past century. In those controversies, fundamentalists and conservatives began to understand talk of Christ as Teacher as code for “he is just a man.” And it was, in fact, often a way of omitting the divinity of Christ. – pg. 167

My Greek professor in Bible college preferred to translate the word disciple as learner. He felt like that communicated the idea of what a disciple was in a way that we could immediately relate to in our modern language. I’m not sure I like to simplify the idea of disciple down to that, but I like how it captures what Willard says above.

It is a shame that Christ is often portrayed as Savior at the expense of being portrayed as a Teacher. Much time is spent focusing on the immense impact the cross had on human history, and yet his teachings are often seen as footnotes or nice things he said in the few years before his death.

May that never be so for me and you. Christ came to live out life as God designed it. His humanity was not at odds with his divinity. Rather, his life was humanity as God designed it — a full expression of what the unshattered image of God in humanity looks like. His teachings are not just moral guidelines, but beckonings to live.

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