Here is an assortment of comments on the Paradigm Series, sent in from all over the world (Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Australia). We have edited some of them for length and clarity.
Church members respond:
- "Your insights in the paradigm shift were so succinctly stated. So freeing to us in knowing that others feel the same way we feel. My approaching 86 years has led me in my journey to be more embracing, tolerant and God loving in my relationship with others. The paradigm shift and the discussion will lead to much good!"
- “I’ve never really been able to explain our conversion method in comparison to the conversions in the Bible – now I feel like I can.”
- "Thank you for the Paradigm Shift Seminar! Christians need to be open-minded on how God wants us to seek and save the lost, and this approach seems promising. Thanks to Jamie Robbins and Douglas Jacoby for striving to be like Jesus Christ and teaching God's word, in order to win souls for God."
- “I prayed specifically for a ‘paradigm shift’ in thinking this year. A few seconds later I received the link to the series!”
- “Your message in the PS series has been very timely, encouraging and empowering – especially with the issue of unity vs. conformity.”
- “I just started listening to the series, and am blown away with the clarity of the direction of your series.”
- “Thank you DJ, and by the way—you have no idea how much your class plus all of Jamie Robbins have blessed me. I've made copies and also encouraged all the leaders to sign up for the Webinar. Suffice it to say that our congregation needs to shift with the rest of the movement, or we may get left behind building monuments.”
- “Thank you, Jamie! God is so much bigger than the box we’ve tried to put him into. I've been telling anyone who will listen to watch these lessons. I’m so grateful for you and Douglas!”
- “Just a quick note to say 'Thanks' for last night's webinar, for the perspectives shared and quite significantly, for the tone of humility, grace and goodwill with which it was shared.”
- “I feel that much of what you are sharing we were already thinking but either were afraid to speak up, find it hard to break out of our own habits, or not sure if what we felt was the right thinking or not.”
- “I learned and grew so much in my faith with the Paradigm Shift videos. I appreciate your genuine intentions and heart. Thanks for not making this a storm, but a breeze of new, fresh air.”
- “Great material, though I’m not sure this is really that much of a ‘shift.’ I suppose time will tell.”
- “I'm watching this series and it has really been blowing my mind. I think it's timely and insightful.”
- “I just recently completed the entire Paradigm Shift series, recommended by one of my friends, and was completely blown away! It really forced me to question how I’ve been living my life as a disciple.”
- “I believe that God is trying to start a revival within our fellowship. We do a lot of things right, but the way that we’ve taught salvation sometimes causes doubt, lack of self worth, anxiety, and guilt. He is moving in the hearts of many here in our church. I have recently learned of several people who have been thinking, praying and asking about some of the same points you’re making in this series.”
- "I do not think that the Paradigm Series is enough of a ‘shift’ to have the impact on numbers that Jamie hopes for, as God and the Spirit are a huge component of that happening!... Unless we are serving the poor in our communities, and in our own churches, the world is likely to dismiss us as yet another self-absorbed group. And that, dear brother, could also be a reason that the HS has limited our growth due to not manifesting Jesus as we should. Although our churches are obsessed with ‘restoring’ the early church's ways (as in followers of ‘the Way’), many leaders and members seem to not acknowledge that the early church grew from 120 to 20 million in 300 years, without Bibles and the internet, due to the Way they lived, not the study series they used.”
- "I am inspired by the healthy, open, and spiritual dialog that is taking place. I believe God will bless it, provided we are able to maintain a positive tone and refrain from judgmental and sectarian attitudes... I am concerned about superstructures that tend to squelch openness, transparency, and meaningful dialog among leaders or members. Many disciples are hesitant to speak their convictions, including paid staff..."
"I would like to congratulate you both for stepping out with a message which I believe is from the Spirit of God, which addresses fundamental truths and points out something in our hearts and minds we already know -- that God is calling us to let go of some of our traditions, to let go of our tendency to micromanage the conversion process, to be a bit less judgmental and to call people to follow Christ and make Him the object of our devotion, worship and faith. Then it becomes more about Him and less about us. More about living by faith and being guided by the Spirit and less being restricted by things which we cannot truly establish from scripture but are more based in man made formulaic approach, which many have trusted in to generate proven results. The only problem with that approach is that God and His Spirit don't always work that way, and the Bible is filled with examples of it. I know there will be some fear, some opposition and some aspersions cast on what was shared in the series, but really, in the end it's just common sense. It is nothing anyone should be or feel threatened by. What people should be afraid of is rejecting people whom God accepts and tying up heavy burdens and making it difficult for people to become Christians -- this is not what God wants. You guys are on the right track and I believe God will lead us places even we did not think He would take us -- because that is His plan and His plan is always superior to ours. Keep up the good work!"
"This series has been incredibly refreshing! We've been disciples for about 25 years and are so grateful that you did this right now, as our daughter had been studying the Bible for several months. Your series helped us to have a more biblical approach... She made Jesus Lord of her life and was baptized yesterday, an incredible new creation. Thank you so much for bringing this material to light!"
"Thanks, Douglas and Jamie. I became a disciple without a religious past to overcome from a doctrinal standpoint. I've been a disciple over 20 years now. Looking at these things from the perspective you're presenting has enabled me to walk in the shoes of people I've studied with, who believed a certain way for years only to be led in a Bible study to question everything they once held sacred. That perspective alone may help me in being more engaging with the person I'm reaching out to than on following a disciple-making 'formula.'"
- “My first friend will be baptized soon as I took on your challenge to teach in a non-scripted fashion – and I saw God work."
- "The paradigm series moved my heart, and I felt it lifting a big weight off my shoulders. Thank you. What you said needed to be said, and you said over and over that you weren’t down on our study series, but that 'the tool couldn’t be the rule.' I wish my church would follow your lead!"
- “As the senior evangelist in our congregation, I’m encouraging all our members to watch the PS series.”
- "Thanks for the series, and to you both for making it happen. It has been a good reminder to always revisit and evaluate everything we believe. If we are to truly remain restorationists we must remain willing to retest our foundations to make them sure."
- "As a campus minister, I just wanted to say how grateful I am for these helpful and inspiring videos. I want to thank you for your heart to speak about something that's been somewhat of an awkward topic. I had no idea how to approach this topic, but now I feel like God in his grace is teaching his people how to be all things to all men and to be exemplary ambassadors."
- "Here in the Middle East, we especially appreciate a source of such tremendous inspiration. The exposure to broader perspectives is enabling us to better interact with the outside world."
- “As a church minister I cannot thank you enough for the courage to teach these things. I am hoping that everyone in our staff group will listen, and be open to considering these changes.”
- “Absolutely love what you have to say here in this series. I think it is totally right on and brings out a much bigger issue: Are we ultimately going to allow God and the Holy Spirit to manage our churches, our evangelism, our work, our families and our lives?”
- “The series makes me a bit uneasy. I agree with most of it, but fear the approach to repentance may lead to cheap grace. I know you don’t advocate that, but our church is experiencing a season of growth, and I guess it feels as though this may be jeopardized.”
- "Hello from Trinidad! Just a quick note to say "Thanks for last night's webinar, for the perspectives shared and quite significantly, for the tone of humility, grace and goodwill, with which it was shared."
- "At times both of you come across as quite arrogant, not appreciating the significant attempts others have made to lead in a more godly way."
- “I’d heard some less than complimentary things about PS, but after listening for myself, I don’t get what all the fuss was about.”
- "As a minister and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, I want to thank you, James, for the Paradigm Shift. Your humble demeanor and clear presentation of healthy critical thinking has been tremendously healing for dozens of disciples I have discussed this curriculum with. This entire series resonated with many values and approaches that our ministry has been discovering over the last few years. I really feel the Spirit moving many of our churches to a much healthier and fruitful future with this very open-minded, faith-expanding mindset."
- “For me as a church leader, it’s always helpful to access solid material. We’ve been showing your series at our midweek meetings, and then having some great discussions with their members.”
- "You were both so humble. Thank you for your tone and your encouragement."
- "Your webinar definitely demonstrated a great spirit of collaboration and unity as you addressed concerns raised and better clarified your positions. I totally respect and appreciate how you did that as well as your call for greater growth in our families of churches."
- "I’ve felt my heart burning within me as I have listened to you, and a burden lifting from within. I'm so encouraged I just have to write a few lines to thank you as I am sure not all the feedback you are getting is positive. You are articulating so well what I and others here in Europe have felt for a long time... Despite thinking we were respected leaders in the church, when my husband and I tried to talk about our ideas for helping our friends, they were met with fear and distrust. I pray God can strengthen you and help you carry on to completion the good work you have started..."
- “Inspiring – Love can beat the desire to control in our church group.”
- “Although I deeply agree with what you’re teaching, some of these ideas really ‘go against the grain.’ I want to believe things will change, but frankly I have little hope that I’ll be able to persuade our church to adopt them. I write to you mainly because I wanted to chime in with my support and encouragement.”
- "I think this is not so much a paradigm shift as a pendulum swing. Also, I am not comfortable with how the book of Acts has been handled."
- "Awesome job -- I especially appreciated Doug’s point about not taking ourselves too seriously -- we invented almost all of the study series -- with a good heart, but we still invented this. You were both gracious and unifying. I do think we need to be able have 'big boy' discussions and be able to offend some folks and then come to some resolution over it. I appreciate your courage and pray that God will continue to guide the process."
- “I've felt many of the same things, but didn't know what to do about it and thought it was a problem in my faith. It’s a huge shift in thinking, but I think it is the right mindset.”
- “Thank you so much for producing this series. It’s been long needed in our fellowship of churches and I’m so elated we finally have the resource. It's brought to me the fact that some are still very much connected to Christ and a reassurance that some are in this not for ‘power and position’ but to do God's will. I have seen all the sessions and directed many to watch it, and even made copies for our leadership, hoping they will watch and perhaps discuss it.”
- “What a great way to start a conversation! The series has re-awakened an energy and passion for many disciples to want to help their friends become Christians again.”