To disciple is archaic?

I was looking for a simple definition of the word “disciple” for my Missional Mondays group, and this is what I found under the Dictionary.com entry:

The noun usage was pretty standard stuff.

But the entry for the verb “to disciple” surprised me:

–verb (used with object)

5. Archaic. to convert into a disciple.
6. Obsolete. to teach; train.

What interested me was what has caused this usage to be archaic:

a) Has it just fallen out of general (except Christian sub-culture) usage?  Possible, likely and no train smash.

b) Has the very concept of anyone actually being discipled by anyone else become archaic, along with the notion that we ought to convert anyone to any other viewpoint other than their own?  I cannot imagine the concept of me discipling anyone to be popular in a world where self-determination, self-fulfillment and self-realisation are kings of the pile.

That really interested me because one of the weaknesses of the church in our time is a failure to create disciples – we make converts, Christians, get people saved, encourage people to make decisions for Christ etc but do we actually make disciples (I  know we use the terms but practice seems to point in the other direction)… Is the concept of making disciples, archaic not just in word use and in the prevailing culture but actually within the church itself?

More thoughts on this later…

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~ by John on September 11, 2009.

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