DISCIPLES OR CLONES?
By George Card
Just what are we in the ministry trying to make? Are we trying to make disciples of Jesus Christ or are we attempting to create clones of ourselves. Sadly to say many ministers are trying to create clones of themselves. You walk into their churches and you can see that with slight variations the church members all dress the same, talk the same, and even pray the same as the pastor.
It is sort of walking into the movie multiplicity with Michael Keaton, but not as funny, more like the nightmarish type of world of the Stepford wives. Everyone in the church has the same appearance as the pastor with a heavy dose of submission. They have become soulless automatons or assembly line robots that are identical.
Isn't this good for unity? Should not everyone be in the same sheet of music? How else can the church play beautiful music? Why should we want dissent in the church? What? Do you think in heaven we all going to look alike and act alike? Do you think we are going to look like a colossal multitude of twins?
Unity is good but never at the expense of individuality. Isn't this a contradiction? Absolutely not! We can have unity through diversity. The church can have Jews and Gentiles. We can have churches that have white and black members. Churches that have Hispanic and Asians together worshiping and singing to the Lord. Yes I want a church full of whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Natives, and any other race I might missed.
We can worship together even if our doctrines are not exactly the same. I know this is anathema to some Christians, but why? In the early church there were controversies and divisions, yet they all worshiped in the same church. Even Paul and Barnabas had a difference of opinion.
I do not believe the all Adventist doctrines nor all the Methodist ideas, but I am sure we probably agree on some. They should be welcome to come and listen to our ideas and after church we can have a friendly discussion about our differences. This does not mean that I will accept their ideas only that I will be willing to listen to them.
We need to stop teaching uniformity and instead teach unity in the spirit. There is a big difference in uniformity and unity. Uniformity means that we are all the same, we are basically a copy of each other. Unity means that even though we are different, we stick together, because we have a bond of love.
We need to develop imitators of Jesus Christ instead of imitators of us. We need people to be like Jesus instead of to be like us. One of the mark of false prophets is in making disciples after themselves (Acts 20:30) One of the surest sign of a cult is when members become clones of their leader.
I do not want people to look like me, pray like me, preach like me, sing like me, worship like me or imitate me in any kind of way. I really do not want anyone imitating me, I want them imitating Christ. I want people who want to be like Jesus who are disciples of Jesus. I do not want anyone to say they are my disciples or others to say that they can recognize my disciples, for if anyone says those things, then I have failed in creating disciples of Jesus. I do not want to create disciples nor do I have any disciples; I want people to say they are disciples of Jesus Christ and that others say that they are indeed disciples of Jesus Christ.