Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Book Review: Mere Discipleship

Lee C. Camp, Mere Discipleship: Radical Christianity in a Rebellious World (Brazos Press, 2003).

Many of us were introduced to Christianity through C. S. Lewis’ classic apologetic, Mere Christianity. It’s a classic for a reason, but Lewis presents Christian faith in terms which do not emphasize discipleship, but beliefs. This is even more true of the doctrinal primer, Basic Christianity by the Anglican evangelical John Stott.

Lee Camp, a minister in the Stone-Campbell (Christian churches/Churches of Christ) movement (and, thus, broadly “baptist,” though not “Baptist”) was one of the last Ph.D. students of the late Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder, one of my mentors. He took on the task of trying to present a “Yoderian” approach to Christian faith and discipleship in a Lewisian Mere Christianity format. The result is this slim and wonderful volume.

Here is the radical Jesus and the radical results of the simple proclamation that “Jesus is Lord.” I love the way that Camp shows that nonviolence is part of the right worship of God and that for Christians to not reject war and killing and embrace nonviolence is to fail to understand our own worship–or to really be worshipping the nation-state or some ideology or other false god. This is just one of the gems of this challenging, but easy-to-read (as Yoder often wasn’t!), slim volume.

Highly recommended. Go get it and read it, now. Then teach it in your youth group or adult Sunday School class. Are you still here? Why aren’t you ordering this book? Seriously. I get no kick-backs and often recommend books, but seldom does one come along as important as this one.

ESPECIALLY if you and your church are in North America, where “Christianity” has so lost touch with the Jesus of the Gospels that Christians here regularly support war, the death penalty, violence, neglect of the poor, etc., then you need to get this book immediately. Further, this volume is almost as challenging for political liberals like myself as for political conservatives–because following Jesus is RADICAL.

June 14, 2008 - Posted by | theology

1 Comment

  1. A well written review of a book which attempts to decifer who Jesus was, and what his disciples should be, gets no comments.

    A seemingly insignificant remark, buried in a movie review, stirs up a combative, name calling, hate-fest.

    North American Christianity may indeed have lost touch with Jesus. ūüė¶

    Comment by MikaelBjarturMoolsentheBaptist | June 18, 2008

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