One of the most significant books I have read in the last forty years is Kierkegaard and Radical Discipleship (1968) by Church of the Brethren scholar Vernard Eller. There is bad news and good news about that book: the bad news is that it has long been out of print. The good news is that it is available online, available at this link.
Eller (1927-2007) was a prolific writer, and many of his works are available online (clicking on his name produces a list of those writings). He was a faithful minister in the Church of the Brethren, and he was also a big fan of Kierkegaard. He even named his second son Enten Eller, which as I indicated in my previous posting was the name of Kierkegaard's Danish book known in English as Either/Or.
It is not the second on my list, but one of the "thirty true things" that I plan to write about--in spite of the naysayers--is, "Jesus must be Lord of all, or he is not Lord at all." That is, to be sure, an assertion that has been around for a long time, but I don’t get the impression many Christians think in those terms much any more.
In fact, I get the impression that some Christians now think that we need a much broader view of the world than is possible through Christianity or through Christ. Talk about the lordship of Jesus is for them, it seems, an outmoded idea that we need to move beyond. But I strongly disagree that commitment to the lordship of Jesus is an "ensmalling" act; rightly understood, it is an enlarging one.
For example, in my previous posting I wrote about my intention to be on the side of the oppressed rather than on the side of the oppressor. That has strong implications for how I treat and what I do for and/or with African Americans, Native Americans, women, gays and lesbians, etc. My desire to be on the side of the oppressed, though, is not in spite of my being a follower of Jesus Christ; it is precisely because I have confessed Jesus as Lord that I must seek to be on the side of the oppressed.
Further, as I have written previously, I firmly believe we should treat all people with justice and respect. And also in this regard, that is not a position I hold resolutely in spite of being a Christian but one I hold because I have committed my life to the lordship of Jesus.
The radical discipleship that Kierkegaard espoused and that Eller wrote about so well doesn’t narrow our interests or restrict our actions. On the contrary, being a radical disciple of Jesus expands our interests and challenges us to act boldly, especially for the benefit of all who in any way fit in the catch-all category of “the poor and oppressed.”