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The Gospel of John offers theology that brings people to belief in Christ and strengthens the faith of those who already believe. This is nowhere more apparent than in the “Upper Room Discourse” of John 13–17. In The Disciplemaker, Gary Derickson and Earl Radmacher provide a masterful study of John 13–17, calling Christians to return to the neglected task of discipleship.
In the “Upper Room Discourse”—the subject of this book—Jesus speaks to his disciples with a message that goes beyond justification to discipleship. This work of God is the concern of Jesus as he teaches his disciples in the final hours before his sacrifice on the cross. These last words take on special significance as Jesus seeks to instruct his disciples who are about to be scattered and even betray him. In spite of this knowledge, Jesus knows that he must provide comfort, direction, and prayer to guide them to be the kind of men who would one day be pillars of the church and evangelists to the ends of the Roman Empire.
The theological and exegetical insight in The Disciplemaker is considerable. We find in these chapters Christ’s teaching and example of servanthood, the possibility of failure and the denial of which each of us is capable, and the comfort and encouragement of God. We discover the secret to Christian maturity in the metaphor of the vineyard, and we learn of the assurance of God’s abiding presence in the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the most exciting and humbling part about this is reading the actual prayer of Jesus to the Father for each of us—the true Lord’s Prayer.
This sorely needed study of John 13–17 outlines the content and the process of Christian spiritual growth. The theological and exegetical insight is considerable, and it is written in a manner that makes it easily understood by students and laypersons.
Christian reader, this extended section of the New Testament is tailor-made for you, a person who already has come to faith in Jesus, but who needs continued teaching by him concerning the life he would have you to live. Radmacher and Derickson bring you into the room. You can nearly hear the breathing of those who heard these words the first time. And then you will hear your own breathing. Here you will enter the roadway of discipleship. This is not just another path. It is even better than a road on which Jesus walked in ancient times in Bethsaida. It is the path you may walk along today!
—Ronald B. Allen, Th.D., Professor of Bible Exposition, Dallas Theological Seminary
Gary Derickson studied biblical exposition at Dallas Seminary and earned his Masters of Theology degree in 1986. Wanting to study further, he continued doctoral studies under four godly men: Drs. Elliot E. Johnson, Stanley D. Toussaint, J. Dwight Pentecost, and Homer Heater. He left Dallas to teach at Western Baptist College in Salem, Oregon, where he continues to minister until the present as a Professor of Biblical Studies and Chairman of the Ministries Division.
Earl Radmacher was born in Portland, Oregon just a couple of miles from Western Seminary, where he would later serve on the theological faculty for thirty-three years (1962–1995) and in administrative positions as Dean of the Faculty (1964–1965), President (1965–1990), and Chancellor (1990–1995). In 1995 he was designated President Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology Emeritus. In addition to this book, he is also general editor of Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary, a contributor to the Nelson Study Bible, and a contributor to Understanding Christian Theology.