Charles H. Dunahoo
Reviewed by: Stephen D. Doe.
Making Kingdom Disciples: A New Framework, by Charles H. Dunahoo. Published by P&R Publishing, 2005. Paperback, 249 pages, list price $12.99. Reviewed by OP pastor Stephen D. Doe.
Charles Dunahoo's recent book, Making Kingdom Disciples, is a welcome resource for pastors, sessions, Christian education committees, teachers, and parents. Dunahoo is familiar with the challenge of making disciples for Jesus Christ, being the coordinator for the Presbyterian Church in America's Committee for Christian Education and Publications.
Combining deep and broad reading with years of ministry experience, Dunahoo sets out to show that traditional approaches for encouraging Christian maturity are not serving well in our postmodern context. In a culture marked by relativism, what is often lost in the church is the transformation of lives to be citizens of God's kingdom. Dunahoo puts it this way: "A kingdom disciple is someone who thinks God's thoughts after him, and applies them to all of life" (p. 5). Kingdom disciples have a world-and-life view shaped by Scripture.
To unfold this, Dunahoo begins in part1 with a presuppositional approach to epistemology, the question of how we know what we know. We begin with God and his revelation as the basis for all our knowledge. Then Dunahoo describes what is meant by "the kingdom of God" (chapter 3). He fleshes out the importance of understanding our world-and-life view - that is, the view of the world that we bring to everyday life (chapter 4). Then he relates how Reformed theology (chapter 5) and our view of the covenant (chapter 6) should shape how we see the world.
Part 2 is the place for Dunahoo to discuss the context in which kingdom disciples live, namely, a postmodern culture where the pursuit of absolute truth has been abandoned and an all-pervasive relativism has taken its place. Next, whatever one thinks about the labeling of different generations (boomers, busters, X-ers, etc.), he tries to interact with the challenges of how different generations think about life.
His concluding part 3 helpfully takes three portions of Scripture (Acts 17, Ecclesiastes, Genesis 13) and applies his paradigm of the kingdom disciple to each one. This effectively reinforces many of the points that he made earlier.
Two other features make this book useful for study and discussion. Dunahoo suggests questions for discussion, and they go beyond the frequently shallow questions in many study guides. And he provides a reading list at the close of each chapter to open up further study.
Dunahoo is committed to the Reformed faith and seeks to apply it to our day. As a result, Making Kingdom Disciples is a useful tool to help the church meet the challenges of our time.
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