Discipleship-More than Your Church Told You

Sunday Afternoon Musings

Clarence Jordan

I quoted this passage from Stanley Hauerwas’ theological commentary on Matthew this week as I exposited the text from Matthew’s gospel (4:12-25).

He was relating a story about Clarence Jordan. I just might spend the rest of my life studying the life of Clarence Jordan. What a great man of God! I’m looking forward to meeting him in glory one day.

Thank your Lord, for such men and such preaching.

Clarence Jordan, the founder of the Koinonia Community, an interracial farm in Georgia . . . illumines the difference between being a disciple and those who simply admire Jesus. In the early 1950’s . . . Clarence asked his brother, Robert Jordan, who would later be a state senator and a justice on the Georgia Supreme Court, to represent Koinonia Farm legally. His brother replied:

“Clarence, I can’t do that. You know my political aspirations. Why, if I represented you, I might lose my job, my house, everything I’ve got.”

We might lose everything too, Bob.”

“It’s different for you.”

“Why is it different? I remember, it seems to me, that you and I joined the church the same Sunday, as boys. I expect when we came forward the preacher asked me about the same question he did you. He asked me, ‘Do you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ What did you say?”

“I follow Jesus, Clarence, up to a point.”

“Could that point by any chance be–the cross?”

“That’s right. I follow him to the cross, but not on the cross. I’m not getting myself crucified.”

“Then I don’t believe you’re a disciple. You’re an admirer of Jesus, but not a disciple of his. I think you ought to go back to the church you belong to, and tell them you’re an admirer not a disciple.”

“Well now, if everyone who felt like I do did that, we wouldn’t have a church, would we?”

“The question,” Clarence said, “is, ‘Do you have a church?”
(First reported in McClendon 1990, 103)

Cited in Matthew, Stanley Hauerwas
(Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2006), p. 57


  • Are you taking discipleship as serious as Jesus did?
  • If not, how can we call ourselves His followers?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.