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Gospel-Centered Discipleship
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Gospel-Centered Discipleship

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  393 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Everyone’s idea of discipleship is different. Some people emphasize evangelism—sharing their faith. Still others promote a hierarchical system for spiritual growth, a way for older Christians to pass on best practices to younger believers. Yet, both ideas are incomplete. Real discipleship is so much more.

Avoiding extremes and evaluating motives, Jonathan Dodson insists on
Paperback, 176 pages
Published March 7th 2012 by Crossway (first published March 1st 2012)
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Shawn Woo
What is the difference between evangelism and discipleship? The common answer is that evangelism is converting non-Christians while discipleship is maturing those who are already Christians. However, Jonathan Dodson argues that this is an artificial division, since both evangelism and discipleship are about proclaiming the gospel–that Jesus lived a perfect life, died for our sins, then defeated death in His resurrection, so that we can be justified, sanctified, and glorified in Him. The gospel i ...more
Josh Mccoy
Clear, concise, and to the point. This book has 3 main sections.

1. Covers what the Gospel is and why it is important. Also goes over the other main religious ideas that we commonly believe such as religious moralism and religious license and why they are deadly to the believer.

2. Covers the fundamental concepts of discipleship such as the 'why' the 'theoretical how' and the 'who.' Why = we are commanded to grow as Jesus' disciples and we will be accepted by him by living to the image he purchase
A Powder-Keg

Gospel-Centered Discipleship is a small book at roughly one-hundred and fifty pages but it’s a powder-keg of gospel truth. Dodson develops a biblical theology for discipleship centered around the gospel. He exposes what should be the foundation for growing in Christ by reexamining the Great Commission and exposing common pitfalls in discipleship theology. He defines a disciple as “someone who learns the gospel, relates in the gospel, and communicates the gospel. In short, disciples a
Brian Daniel
I would recommend this to two different groups. (1) Anyone looking for a practical form of discipleship, how it works, and how to find a more personal and effective discipleship experience (2) Those looking for an alternative to their current group life. Dodson does a great job at laying down both a foundation and rationale for what he calls Fight Clubs. These are small-groups of 2-3 individuals (perhaps more) that essentially "fight" for their faith. More than accountability, the author advocat ...more
Matt Mason
I read an article on spiritual community by Dodson several years ago, so I was glad to see that it was expanded into this. Dodson's discussion of the aim of discipleship is extremely helpful. Theologically-nuanced, practical, and encouraging.
The idea of gospel-centered discipleship is nothing new. It is a conversation that has become increasingly popular over the past decade. Authors such as Jerry Bridges, Tim Keller, Tim Chester, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Tullian Tchvidjian, and Jeff Vanderstelt have helped us to understand that the gospel's goal is not to simply save us; it is intended to sanctify us as well. Building on this idea, Jonathan helps us to see that the goal of discipleship is not to simply make us more Bible literate (knowle ...more
Josue Manriquez
I would give this a 3.5 if I could.

I think Dodson could have been more clear in his explanation of what it means to "teach everything that Jesus commanded" (cf. Matt. 28:19-20). I get that the gospel permeates everything. I get that "the teaching is gospel including the breadth of the redemptive, Christ-centered story and the depth of later doctrinal reflection on that story..." (ch. 1). Yet to claim that "the Great Commission commands us to learn the gospel by the gospel" doesn't clarify this v
Harold Cameron
In his book, Gospel-Centered Discipleship, Pastor Jonathan Dodson takes a bold new and innovative look at the issue of discipleship and the church. I really like and believe wholeheartedly what he writes in the foreword of his book, “Over the years, I have become painfully aware that people tend to drift away from the gospel soon after their conversion and begin to try their hand at sanctification. In other words, they operate as if the gospel saves them but doesn’t play a role in sanctifying th ...more
Seth Urquhart
Definitely a book I need to read again. It has good stuff in it, the most helpful thing Dodson brought up was the balance of outlooks Christians have on the performance of our Christians lives. We easily fall into one of two camps; I have and still do all the time. There is religious performance, where you try to earn a likeness before God, or spiritual license, where you give up on obedience and just rest in a future grace you know you’re promised. Instead our lives rest in the work of what Jes ...more
One of my passions and interests is to help people grow as disciples of Christ. I also really like the gospel. So when I saw a book called Gospel Centered Discipleship coming down the pike, I just knew I had to review it. Jonathan Dodson, pastor of Austin City Life Church (located conveniently in Austin) has written a thought provoking book addressing what discipleship properly centered on the gospel is. In part 1 he defines discipleship, in part 2 he addresses the motivation and power behind di ...more
Discipleship is about relationships and from them you have the spread of the Gospel which is evangelism. This book is written in a foundation that is built up in how to form Gospel-Centered relationships. Many times our motives are twisted with legalism or license to sin, and thus distort the gospel. One of the things that was impressed upon me was the working of the Holy Spirit or as he likes to quote Francis Chan, the forgotten God. I have read that book, but I felt like his teaching was more ...more
Philip Mcduffie
Chapter five was the most helpful chapter in the entire book. Throughout the entire chapter Jonathan dealt with the role of the Holy Spirit in being a disciple of Christ. We, as westerners, often mistake the presence of the Holy Spirit for our own conscience or "enlightened" reason. This misunderstanding leads us to be disobedient to the Spirit's promptings. Although chapter five was my favorite, the rest of the book was very Christ centered and extremely applicable as it deals with gospel cente ...more
Ben Wicks
This book taught me that discipleship must be authentic. It taught me practical ways to start practicing biblical discipleship - intentionally and regularly spending time with one or two other guys who are serious about fighting sin with the promises of scripture. I thought the section on the Holy Spirit was extremely spot-on and what I needed to hear (it helped that I was reading Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit at the same time as that chapter). Reading this book ...more
Matt Chapman

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Dodson is very clear in showing how gospel-centred living is not driven by license or legalism but instead delight in, and devotion to, Christ. Chapters 1-4 are superb. Chapter 5 on the Holy Spirit is very good although I'm not totally sure about his emphasis on praying to the Spirit to the degree he advocates. Chapter 6 was the problem chapter for me - I agree with many of his conclusions but I'm doubtful about some of the hermeneutics he used to get there. Chap
Great book on discipleship. Took a lot of good things from it.
Nick Moklestad
Excellent book that explains clearly what it means and looks like to keep the gospel central in all of our discipleship endeavors. The author does a good job of deconstructing a lot of flawed ways of thinking. He is also very honest about his own failures in the past, and gives very helpful and practical advice on what these concepts look like being actually applied in the context of real life in the church. Highly recommend it! I read it once through, then went through it a second time underlin ...more
So clear and so powerful.
Simple, yet powerful. So simple in fact, if we don't have ears to hear we may miss the point entirely.
Overall, this book was encouraging to read and served as a good reminder regarding what should be the focus in discipleship. Here and there, there were points I didn't completely agree with but that's usually typical of any Christian-life book. I really liked how Dodson addressed both legalism and using salvation as a license to sin. I feel that Christians lean toward one extreme or the other, and I wish believers understood living pure lives in humility. Myself included.
I loved this book. As the title suggests, Dodson focuses on how the Gospel is absolutely central to the disciple making endeavor. North American believers generally see the Gospel as being essential for evangelism (justification), but give it little more than lip-service when it comes to how the Gospel effects the everyday life of the believer (sanctification). Dodson shows that the Gospel is central to the whole of the Christian's life. I'll read it again.
Unfortunately, after I began this book I had a couple of months this summer where I couldn't read it. When I picked it back up, though, I found myself excited about the ideas Dodson presented on discipleship. I love the idea of fight clubs to help fellow men to know each others' sins, to fight sin, and to help each other trust in the Savior. Fight clubs seem like they are easy to implement. I'll definitely bring this idea to my church.
May 2013 - Gospel-Centered Discipleship is practical, easily read, and Gospel soaked. Particularly helpful to me was the reminder of the freedom the Gospel gives us to fight hard against sin, without being "hung up" on trying to present ourselves as better than we are, despair over being too bad for Christ, or deceive ourselves into thinking that we've got everything together. Definitely a great book to read as a church family!
My wife got me this book for my birthday last year and I finally finished it. I was very encouraged and helped by this book. It contains so many encouraging reminders and truths about the gospel and its implications in our lives. I was particularly blessed and challenged by Dodson's chapter on the Holy Spirit and his appendix of gospel-centered questions to ask. I commend this book to your reading!
Helpful intro to disciple-making. Especially helpful in talking through discipling for mission vs. discipling for holiness. The writing is a little sloppy, though, most noticeably in the author's insistence on including the word "gospel" in about every sentence. Still, it's practical and accessible enough that I would give it to someone who is looking to learn about making disciples.
Josh Montague
I absolutely love the view of discipleship presented in this book. Simple, biblical, reproducible. Highly recommended for my pastor friends who want to see the gospel sink deep into the relationships and rhythms of their church. Don't skip to the (very helpful) practical tools in the last chapters. Get the theology and vision clear as you teach people to fight for the gospel.
I liked this book. It didn't contain earth-shattering revelations or really anything new at all! But it was relentlessly gospel centered and I found it to be very practical. There are probably a few things here or there I didn't like, but those are minor quibbles compared to the treasures of discipleship relationships that are presented here.
Ben Krueger
Very insightful first 1/3 the book, diagnosing and identifying trends within Christian discipleship-- very fitting for me personally. Excellent help in righting the ship back towards a christocentric grace-based discipleship. Last 1/3 of the book contains practical helps for doing small group discipleship.
John Furlow
If you disciple others as they seek to follow Christ, you should read GCD. Dodson focuses on the gospel as our goal & our motivation for leading others. I was freeing to have legalistic myths and methods about a performance based walk with Christ replaced with grace and joy. Highly recommended.
Mike Gorski
Just finished reading this book with a friend. Short and helpful, especially in his treatment of being spirit dependent, and in his description of how 'fight clubs' work. Very practical and helpful in maintaining a balanced and biblical view of discipleship and the christian experience.
Eric Botzet
The best book on discipleship I've ever read. As our tendencies are religious legalism and spiritual license, Dodson reminds us to "fight to keep Jesus, not rules, central in our discipleship." This gospel-saturated book on discipleship is a fine tool to have in my tool belt.
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Unbelievable Gospel: How to Share a Gospel Worth Believing Fight Clubs: Gospel-Centered Discipleship Raised?: Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection The Unbelievable Gospel: Say Something Worth Believing Called Together: A Guide to Forming Missional Communities

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“We need relationships that are so shaped by the gospel that we will exhort and encourage one another to trust Jesus every single day. We need gospel-centered discipleship.” 1 likes
“The gospel calls us back to look at Jesus over and over again. A disciple of Jesus is a person who so looks at Jesus that he or she actually begins to reflect his beauty in everyday life. The gospel gives us the eyes to see Jesus as well as the power to look like him.” 1 likes
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