Follow Me: The Master’s Plan for Men. By David E. Schroeder. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992. 243 pp. Paper, $10.99.
This ambitious book lays out a discipleship plan especially for men based on the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its unique feature is that it focuses on character transformation in a small group context, focusing on fifteen character traits found in Luke. Some of the chapter titles are: “Obeying Anyhow: Teachability,” “Welcoming Newness: Flexibility,” “Praying Tenaciously: Dependency,” and “Living Carefree: Contentment.”
Mr. Schroeder is director of Higher Education for the Christian and Missionary Alliance and leads workshops and seminars for men. He writes with passion about the subject, and his eighteen years of study and experience with discipling men shines through the material. There is an accompanying workbook for discussion groups.
The author is to be commended for the effort he has put into this work. Too many works on discipleship delve only into mechanics or disciplines rather than changing one’s character.
However, the fly in the ointment, and a big one at that, is the Lordship slant to the book which comes out repeatedly. Discussing the new patch and the old garment (Matt 9:16), he comments: “Repeatedly Jesus implied, “Either take my teaching, my lifestyle, my world-view, and my kingdom fully, or do not take any of it. Do not try to pull bits and pieces together to make up your own religion”‘ (p. 44). Discussing selflessness, he writes, “According to Luke 9, what does being incorporated ‘in Christ’ involve? The terms of incorporation require three things: knowing who he is (vv 18–20), understanding the implications of discipleship (vv 21–22), and following him by fully identifying with him (vv. 23–27)” (pp. 102–103). So to be “in Christ” requires not just faith but full acceptance of the terms of discipleship! To make our position “in Christ” dependent on our “understanding the implications of discipleship” and “fully identifying with him” leads either to insecurity or Pharisaism. The implications of discipleship are not understood in a moment but over a lifetime. As always, this failure to distinguish between the free gift of eternal life and the high cost of maturing discipleship muddles the Scriptures as well as the Gospel.
Robert W. Oliver
Forked River Baptist Church
Lanoka Harbor, NJ