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date: 25 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

How one thinks of discipleship within evangelicalism depends upon how one draws the line around that movement. In the post-World War II period, the strongest association of evangelicalism was with evangelism, and for many citizens of North America the only thing they knew of evangelicals was that they were evangelistic. They were intent upon proclaiming a gospel of “salvation” and upon winning converts to Jesus Christ. The most visible evangelical of the period was the world-renowned evangelist, Billy Graham. And the subgroup of evangelicals most associated with programs of discipleship, the Navigators, was focused upon winning converts. Their founder, Dawson Trotman, was an ardent disciple of Jesus by any sane standard and one of the greatest twentieth-century Christ followers. But as disciples, Navigators were far better than their theology and their program. They have blessed and continue to bless the earth with their lives and testimonies. Nevertheless, in them the essential disconnection between post-WWII evangelicalism and discipleship prevailed and still prevails today.

Keywords: Jesus Christ, evangelism, evangelicalism, discipleship, evangelicals, Billy Graham, Dawson Trotman, Navigators, disciples, salvation

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