I promised to address the need for discipleship.
First, what is discipleship?
Discipleship – is the need to follow a consistent teaching and mentor for a period of time, to get well grounded in the beliefs and doctrines of the faith. The majority of errors of today and in the past can be tied to this lack of discipleship.
Why is it important?
Many of the earliest errors in the Church can be tied to lack of discipleship. How so, consider that all early believers were Jews, fully grasping the Torah and teachings of the prophets & elders. As Gentiles joined, most at first were G-d-fearers, also grasping the Torah & teachings. Next came a mass influx of former pagan Gentiles. At first they learned from Jews & G-d-fearers, but as rebellions, expulsions, and time took it’s course, these Gentiles were no longer discipled as Jews or G-d-fearers, but were left to be taught by other Gentiles who did not have a understanding of Torah or the teachings of the prophets & elders. Because of this lack of discipleship, error & paganism began to come into the assembly of believers. Customs like Christmas & Easter replaces the Feasts of G-d, and Torah became evil, as did the Jewish people. Many of these beliefs persist even today.
Some people get confused over the statement of Sha’ul (Paul), that one plants, another waters. This statement in context is referring to bringing a person to a saving knowledge of G-d through Messiah, not discipleship. Imagine how confused a person would be come if they were to study under an Orthodox Rabbi, a Baptist Minister, and a Pentecostal Preacher? What would the person understand; would they ever get a complete view from any side? This is a real problem in todays, shop a different synagogue or church a week, world view.
How should a believer be discipled?
The true picture of what G-d teaches is a disciple is the Jewish talmidim. The talmidim is the Hebrew word corresponding to disciple. Many Rabbis’ of Messiahs time had students who went with them, and learned from them. These talmidim did not switch Rabbi’s weekly, monthly, or even yearly, but sat under the Rabbi’s teaching, often for several years. Messiah had many talmidim (not just 12), of which the 12 (and more) where considered emissaries. The talmidim of the Rabbis’ (and the Great Rabbi Messiah) went everywhere their rabbi went, they learned what their rabbi taught, and they did what their rabbi did. Thus a Rabbi was a teacher and mentor rolled into one.
In reading the 4 accounts of the ministry of Messiah Yeshua, we see this very picture. These talmidim walked with Yeshua for 3 or more years. They taught as He taught, they did the works He did, they slept where He slept, and ate what He ate. These men and women, after the resurrection, lived a life exemplified by Messiah, and changed the world.
Now no mere human Rabbi or Pastor can compare to Messiah, but they are given the task of “making disciples of the whole world”. As such, those wishing to follow the Messiah should be willing to invest the time to be discipled. This discipling should be with one person or group who hold like beliefs so a comprehensive Theology can emerge. If the person being discipled goes to question what is being taught, then those questions should be raised (respectfully of course). If the questions are not addressed, and the person then feels they are not learning, growing, or following the right doctrine, then they are free to seek another person to disciple them.
The fact is, every believer should be a disciple, and a discipler. We are all called to fulfill the great commandment of our Master – “Go and make disciples of the whole world”. Note, He did not say believers, He said disciples!