Virtuous Christian Discipleship: A Redemptive Framework of Human Flourishing

Ministry leaders, practitioners, and scholars must seek the redemptive flourishing of the body of Christ by establishing discipleship methods in the overarching biblical-theological metanarrative of Scripture.

In this presentation, I will argue that without a thoroughgoing doctrinally informed biblical doctrine of sanctification, discipleship is diminished to the detriment of the individual and the church. The spiritual health and care of those being discipled are damaged, with potentially catastrophic consequences. An over-emphasis on experience supplants the scriptural truth of sanctification, consigning the biblical demand to disciple others and grow in spiritual maturity to an optional or interpretable activity. Practitioners have articulated conceptual frameworks of sanctification; however, a biblical manifestational framework of discipleship offers a practical framework of sanctification through catechesis and a manifestational ethic of “communicating (God’s truth) so that the body of Christ bears fruit for the kingdom of Christ” (Trentham, “Mere Didaskalia,” 221). Such a manifestational framework of discipleship occurs through an intentional “interpersonal ministry” of “discipleship, friendship, family, small group,” and mentorship that “happens and thrives” in “knowing and being known” (Powlison, “Calvinism and Contemporary Christian Counseling,” 500).

I will develop this presentation in two phases. First, I will summarize the redemptive and confessional doctrine of sanctification, steeped in the Reformed tradition, found in the overarching biblical-theological metanarrative of Scripture. Second I will summarize the confessional doctrine of sanctification in John David Trentham’s Mere Didaskalia and Virtuous Christian Knowing paradigms and then apply that conceptualization to an articulated manifestational framework of discipleship.

During this session, I will propose two terms to articulate a manifestational framework of discipleship:

Virtuous Christian Discipleship and commissional catechetical confessionalism.

Virtuous Christian Discipleship

is an articulated manifestational framework of discipleship that espouses in order to live a wise and virtuous life, one must develop virtuous thinking, engendering the cultivation of a deep and abiding relationship with God through prayer, study of Scripture, and participation in Christian community.

    Commissional catechetical confessionalism

    describes the redemptive biblicaltheological system articulated in the Reformed paradigm of Virtuous Christian Discipleship and deems the sovereign work of God through the Holy Spirit as the means necessary for the teleological commitment to accomplishing the Great Commission.

The Virtuous Christian Discipleship framework further articulates a redemptive and confessional doctrine of sanctification for a biblical perspective on human learning, growth, and development in light of the imago Dei. My work will show the applicability of a manifestational discipleship framework to a locus of systematic theology as well as its implications for Christian living.

4 thoughts on “Virtuous Christian Discipleship: A Redemptive Framework of Human Flourishing”

  1. Good summary, but could have been a bit better
    The paper proposal on its own is a good summary of the intended purpose. Papers are not required to connect to the theme, but it would have been interesting to see this intriguing proposal about sanctification at least touch on this year’s theme in passing.


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