Sharing Some Thoughts On The Participatory Paradigm

Keith KettenringChristian Living, The Uncommon Journey

I’m doing some thinking out loud today. Will you join me? 

[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]


Here’s a (still developing) description of the Participatory Paradigm:

The Trinity possesses all you need for living. Access into the life and work of the Father, Son, and Spirit is yours through Jesus Christ. Your responsibility, journey, and goal is to participate as fully as possible in their life and work. Conversely, the Triune God’s life, work, and virtues are constantly moving in and through you. Your life is consistently transforming as you commune with God by participating in Him. 

Here’s a (still developing) description of the Spiritual Growth Model:

This model involves a self-determining, gradual ascent to spiritual maturity while cooperating with God who assists you to become who you think/imagine you need to become. Spiritual maturity is the goal. Spiritual development takes place in defined steps or stages which can be analyzed and measured.


Are all bible passages appropriate to all Christians? The spiritual growth model claims that some passages are applicable for the immature and others for the mature since there are at least these two classes of Christian. The Participatory Paradigm claims that to be a Christian means living into all scripture passages more fully over time. 

Is the common understanding of “spiritual growth” based on a developmental model unknown to early church? The early church would not understand the idea of measuring a Christian by “degrees” – hot, cold, lukewarm, backslidden, or “on fire.” You were a Christian or you were not. A Christian was one who was living more and more fully into the life of Christ and His church. This process may not be progress. The journey might not be upward. 

Why is this topic so important? It touches on the reality of the Church, of God’s relationship to all creation, and of the bible in the Christian life. There’s a pragmatic angle – does the model work? The topic addresses one’s understanding of salvation and the gospel. We think we understand fully but are challenged by realities and ideas outside our safe theological boundaries. 


And then there’s the incomprehensible statements of scripture that, if we were honest, make a mockery of our Christian life. Like, Ephesians 4.13 –

until we all come to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Or Hebrews 6.1-3  

Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith towards God, of the doctrines of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits. 

And, Philippians 2.12-13

work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 

I hope you’ll chew on these thoughts as I have for the past few weeks. If you have questions or thoughts, share below. Thanks! 

Dr. K