I am currently reading a book by Charles Crabtree titled Transformational Discipleship. I'm only two chapters into the book, but it has already given me plenty to think about. Here are a some quotes:
The church can be deceived into thinking that because they have converted someone to their fundamental truths, that person is born again. In the same way that Nicodemus was considered a fine, moral man, many in the churches of America who believe they are Christian because of their bloodline or their works or their intellectual indoctrination would be shocked to hear Jesus say to them, "I tell you the truth [no question about it, no deception, no exceptions], no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." (pp. 22-23)
It seems incongruous to have to emphasize the need for and the process of being born of the Spirit, but observations and experience compel me not to take the issue of basic soteriology (the theology of salvation) for granted. The facts are glaring. A host of people in America say they are born-again, but there is no evidence of a transforming experience. (p. 23)
If a person is not born of the Spirit, it is a waste of time to try to make him or her a disciple of Jesus. The reason is simple: the process of discipleship is a spiritual process. (p. 23)
Makes me wonder if we've ever tried to disciple someone who had not really ever had a born-again transformational experience. Probably so.