Book Review: Mere Discipleship (May-Jun 2008)

By Matt Dabbs

by Josh Graves
May – June, 2008

A few years ago, Lee Camp wrote a provocative (and slightly controversial!) book, Mere Discipleship: Radical Christianity in a Rebellious World.

In short, this book is an introduction to a “a different way” of doing/practicing Christianity: the committed practice of non-violence and reckless love. Brazos Press has done a second printing which will be out in a few weeks. This book has had a major impact in evangelical circles, as well as broader Christian groups.

Not long ago, for example, I got an email from a pastor in Southern California from an Episcopal church who was trying to teach Mere Discipleship to his church in a class on mission.

I am honored to have written The Study Guide for Mere Discipleship with Lee last year. Not only was Lee one of the most influential professors during my tenure at David Lipscomb University (Hazelip School of Theology), I also consider him a good friend, a source of wisdom and wise counsel.

Someone recently asked me, knowing how polemical the book has been, “Do you agree with what Lee is proposing in this book?”

Here’s my (not so) simple answer.

I don’t agree with everything in the book. Most of it, yes, I think he’s right (why I think he’s right and what I don’t agree with are for another day and perhaps another venue). However, I know this for sure. His challenge to American Christianity is one of the most important voices in contemporary dialog. He’s a prophet of sorts, and I have a clearer picture of The Jesus Way because of his writing, teaching and, most importantly, the way in which he lives his life.

Mere DiscipleshipShane Claiborne has this to say about Mere Discipleship.

“What a book. This is one of those books that you wear out carrying around, marking up, and loaning out. Camp’s words are timeless, and timely. And the crazy thing is this: the church is actually ready to hear them. In post-Religious Right America, there is an entire generation that is not willing to settle for the dream of America over the dream of God. There is a hunger for a Christianity that is not just something we believe but something we live and embody, a church filled not just with believers and worshippers but with disciples. Lee Camp points us towards a Christianity that is worth believing in.” -Shane Claiborne, author of The Irresistible Revolution, coauthor of Jesus for President.

Read the book. It will mess you up.New Wineskins

Joshua J. GravesJoshua Graves is a minister serving the Rochester Church of Christ in Rochester Hills, MI and adjunct professor of religion for Rochester College. Josh did graduate studies at Abilene Christian University and Lipscomb University (M.Div.). Currently, he’s a doctoral student at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta. He’s co-written the Study Guide for Mere Discipleship (Brazos Press) with noted author Lee Camp (June, 2008). He is married to Kara, the real theologian in the family. You can reach him at jgraves@rochestercoc.org or visit his online journal at [www.joshgraves.blogspot.com].

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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