Editor’s note: The following is an abridged interview with Dr. Charles: Dunahoo given by pastor R. J. Umandap over station TBC 88.5 FM in Kingston, Jamaica. Dr. Dunahoo gave the interview during a recent visit to teach his new book, Making Kingdom Disciples: A New Framework.
Listen to the Entire Interview (47 minutes):
R. J.: The church has been regarded as being “personally engaging but socially irrelevant.” This is the way one philosopher has described Christianity. Unfortunately, it has become all too true in our day. Recognizing this problem, Dr. Charles Dunahoo has written a book entitled Making Kingdom Disciples. He has graciously accepted our invitation to be interviewed today so we are welcoming Dr. Dunahoo to our program.
You say that we have been operating, often unintentionally, with more of a man-centered rather than a God-centered approach to making disciples. Would you explain?
Charles: Thank you for the opportunity to talk about something that is very dear to my heart. Clearly, we are not being effective in making disciples and it’s being demonstrated by the reality that Christians are living like non-Christians. It’s hard to tell them apart in the culture today. I have researched, studied, and interviewed people involved in disciple-making and concluded there are elements not being incorporated in our methodology, especially the concept of the kingdom of God. Many approaches…tend to focus on us and our spiritual development more than on God and His perspective, which of course will affect our spiritual development. The kingdom aspect helps us understand that Christ is the King in all of life. There is no area of life over which Christ has not said “Mine.” I have to be more than a “Sunday Christian.” I have to do more than just read my Bible and pray. I have to learn how to interact with the world as the salt and light because Jesus said His disciples are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Our presence is to be known and felt in the world. Being a kingdom person, “thinking God’s thoughts after Him” as we learn them in the Scriptures and apply them to all of life, I believe is the key missing element. Actually the name of my book, Making Kingdom Disciples: A New Framework is not a new framework; it’s all in the Scriptures. It’s a biblical framework that we have not been using.
R. J.: You talk about living under the reign of Jesus Christ and I guess you need a bit more of a framework for understanding what it means to live under the reign of Christ.
Charles: One of the things often missing in a person’s Christian life is that ability to see the Christian life as a total life system–a total way of life. Christianity not only refers to my relationship to Christ and my church but to my family, my work and my friends, as well as the decisions and choices I make. I have to do that consciously as a kingdom person because Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” A kingdom disciple is someone who is committed to seeking that righteousness in everything they do.
R. J.: To consider that Jesus Christ is king over all of my life and every aspect of my life seems to imply my way of viewing the world itself must change. Would that be a fair statement?
Charles: Absolutely! Because of our relationship to Christ. If I understand what the Scriptures are saying, it’s a perspective that not only affects my personal relationship to the Lord, but also to the world around me. Jesus, in His Great Commission before He ascended to heaven, said that we are to go into the world and make disciples by teaching them. Christianity has a broader implication than my own personal growth, development, and service in the church. The church is the central part of that kingdom that trains and equips us to live for Christ every day of the week. One of the problems we have in western Christianity is that people don’t know how to incorporate their faith in Christ into their every day life. They bought into the idea that “here is a part of my life that belongs to God and I’ll call that the sacred and here is the rest of my life and I call that the secular.” We don’t see how God is involved in our work and in our family and in our friendships and in everything we do. In reality, it’s not about us but about Him and our whole way of life should reflect this.
R. J.: You’re talking about a world and life view and what you’re saying is that many Christians have…a dualistic world and life view. Can you explain this or talk about it?
Charles: Every human being as the image of God, has a worldview. God has put us together wonderfully and fearfully, as the Psalmist says, to live and act in certain ways. [We] may not know what [our] worldview is, but we all see the world through our worldview. It’s the spectacles through which we see life and affects how we interpret life. What has happened in Western Christianity over the past 200 years is that we have bought into a non-Christian notion that we call dualism, which grew out of the ancient Greek philosophers’ view that there is a part of life that is secular and a part that is sacred…There is a part of life that focuses on the supernatural and a part of life that focuses on the natural. What we have to do as Christians is realize this is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches a unified total life. There is no dualistic secular and sacred.
David says, “How precious are your thoughts to me, oh God; how vast the treasure of them.” He did not say, ‘how precious are my thoughts about you’ One of the things I found that Christians often do that lead [us] in different directions is we spend most our time thinking our thoughts about God from our command center…Without starting with God we will not reach the right conclusions. Therefore, our responsibility as kingdom disciples is to think about God the way He tells us in the Bible how to know and think about Him. For example, we lost a five-and-half month old grandson a few years ago. He died after a heart transplant. The only way I could make any sense out of that was having God as my framework in trying to figure out why my grandson went through that. Five and a half months of his life was spent in the hospital waiting on a heart and then getting a heart and then it not working. That was hard for me to deal with until I stepped back and got God’s perspective on this and it helped us as a family to cope with that crisis.
Continued, page 2.