Biblically Hebraic Foundations for Asia-Pacific Discipleship

By John D. Garr, Ph.D., Th.D.

Over the past ten years, it has been my distinct pleasure to participate in conferences by the Asia-Pacific Consultation on Discipleship (APCOD) that were conducted in Colombo, Sri Lanka APCOD 2003, Auckland, New Zealand APCOD 2006, and Chennai, India APCOD 2010. The deeply spiritual and biblically astute delegates that APCOD conferences attract from all across the Asia-Pacific make have always made these gatherings very stimulating and enriching spiritually and intellectually.

The leadership of APCOD has distinguished itself by presenting quality programs with an internationally acclaimed faculty that encapsulates timeless truths in terms that make them understandable and applicable to all the cultures where the gospel message is being presented. Taking a truly biblical perspective that discipleship begins in the family and community and extends thence to the marketplace of commerce and ideas, APCOD equips leaders with insights that enable them to contextualize and indiginize the foundational teachings of the Holy Scriptures for every audience that has an ear for the good news of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus as Lord and Messiah.

The diversity of the plenary sessions and workshops presents a wide array of challenging and inspiring materials for attendees. APCOD has given special attention, however, to reexamining the long-lost or obscured Hebraic foundations of the Christian faith with a view toward restoring the faith of Jesus and the apostles. Recognizing the importance of interpreting the Scriptures in the light of the grammar of the texts themselves and in the light of the history and culture of the Hebrew peoples to whom and through whom Scripture was given, APCOD has been leading the way in a recovery of Christianity’s most ancient biblical foundations.

In each of the consultations in which I participated, I found the local leaders inspired and invigorated with the APCOD vision and the conference participants attentive and responsive with excellent dialogue and questions that further expanded the understanding of the lecture materials. The readiness to embrace biblical truth without hesitation was commendable and made the exercise of teaching gratifying and rewarding.

All of this is important for APCOD because at bottom discipleship is a Hebraic idea that predated the time of Jesus. Both the effort to recruit new disciples and the laborious programs designed to convey knowledge and understanding to disciples of all ages and stages of spiritual and intellectual development were solidly Hebraic models that Jesus and the apostles took to new heights of excellence. These Jewish leaders of the earliest church understood the biblical methodology of discipleship, and they employed them with amazing results, even in the Gentile world where God’s Word had not prepared the hearts to receive their message of hope and salvation.

I heartily recommend any function that is organized, promoted, and produced by APCOD, knowing full well that it will be done with excellence and will be well worth the time and expense that delegates incur in participating in these events. Lasting friendships among people of diverse backgrounds and cultures are developed during the APCOD consultations, and leaders and laypersons are connected with scholars and spiritual leaders whose passion is to serve the body of Christ and the world at large.


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