Theology, Doctrinal

Liderazgo transformacional y cambio institucional : las reformas de la década de los noventa y su impacto en la Iglesia de Dios de la Profecía en América del Sur del 2010-2020

Author
Gabriel Elías Vidal
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to explore the reforms of the Church of God of Prophecy during the 1990s and the impact of those reforms on the Church in South America between 2010 and 2020. The investigation required a thorough historical analysis of the changes to the denomination, beginning with its establishment in 1886 in the mountains of North Carolina, U.S.A., until the year 2000. Additionally, the opinions and strategies of several writers concerning changes have also been included in an attempt to determine if the methods these leaders employed during the decades studied coincide with ordinary aspects and methods of change in general.

These results indicate that the 1990s reforms were widely accepted by those surveyed. It was determined that, as a component of these reforms, changes in ecclesiology played a significant role as they led to a cognitive shift within the Church of God of Prophecy. As a result of the survey, we were able to determine the significance of Bishop Billy D. Murray and his leadership to the whole transformative process. Finally, we collectively determined that these reforms had been transcendent in creating a better future for the Church of God of Prophecy.

Standing in grace : a relational overview of Christian life

Author
Benjamin Zandstra
Abstract
This project is designed to provide average readers with a relational overview of Christian life. it reflects a Reformation perspective or the centrality of grace and is presented with the hope of increasing the reader's clarity in understanding and living a complete Christian life. The Context is described by means of a summary of selected aspects of the research done by the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries and the Search institute. The contents were used in the adult education program of the Surprise Valley Parish, United Church of Christ, in rural, northeastern California.

The introduction is intended as an invitation, to pull the reader into considering a comprehensive view of their faith. The Conclusion provides the reader with a summary along with a sense of commission that suggests directions for further exploration and implementation.

The four Chapters describe standing in grace with ourselves, others, the world, and God. The approach begins with the reflexive relatlonship and moves continuously outward until it culminates with one's ultimate relationship. Throughout, God's grace in Jesus of Nazareth is the point of reference for understanding the nature of these relationships. This is done with a view toward describing how a maturing Christian faith might manifest itself in these relationships in the ever-changing temporal context. Also, basic resources for growth are suggested along with questions for reflection and discussion.

A contextual commentary on the Apostles' creed : envisioning the formation of a Christian missionary community in Japan

Author
Manabu Ishida
Abstract
The purpose of this project is to demonstrate that the Christian faith community is essentially a missionary community. I produced a contextual commentary on the Apostles' Creed for that purpose, interpreting the symbols of the Creed from the Japanese socio-historical perspective.

Chapter One briefly reviews some negative legacy of Christendom commonly known to Japanese people. This kind of knowledge is crucial to make effective communication of Christian faith to the non-Christian people.

Chapter Two is a brief introduction to the commentary and the text of the Creed.

Chapter Three deals with the first part of the Creed. I point out that it is necessary to convey to Japanese people the meaning and importance of the terms "believe" and "God" in a Christian sense.

Chapter Four is a commentary on the section of the Creed on Christ. I present the possibility of interpreting the credal symbols within a Japanese socio-historical context. I conclude that our way of life, in accordance with the coming of Kingdom of God in this world, is what identifies us as the people of God.

Chapter Five is an experimental description of how a Japanese Christian community can be a missionary community. I suggest the following three points: l.The church should be freed from a church growth oriented concept of mission. 2.The participants of the community are the narrators of God's saving activities in the world, and at the same time those who act out God's divine will. 3.The faith community should live a minority way of life in its society.

The fourth human endowment : a spiritual autobiography

Author
Sherwin Brantsen
Abstract
Chapter One explains that this D.Min. program started out with a desire to study church growth methods, find one that works in a suburban RCA congregation and implement it.

Chapter Two describes the author's personal conflict with the decretal theism of his youth. It starts with childhood perceptions of God while growing up in a Reformed context. The chapter travels through a personal history with Dort and concludes with the discovery of the writings of Stephen Covey and John Sanders.

Chapter Three discusses the history of the Canons of Dort, questioning the doctrine of reprobation. It goes into a pastoral evaluation of decretal theism and concludes with a study of the contemporary influence of the teachings of Dort in the RCA.

Chapter Four compares the decretal theism of the Westminster Confession and the Canons of Dort with the teachings of modern business consultant and best-selling author, Stephen Covey. This chapter asserts that, especially in today's context, emphasis needs to placed more on human responsibility than on God's eternal decrees.

Chapter Five compares decretal theism to relational theism. It discusses the risk-free nature of Dort and compares it to the relational "risk" theism of John Sanders.

Chapter Six discusses various implications decretal theism may have for the RCA. The suggestion is made that we further examine our theology as perhaps one of the contributing causes of our decline.
Chapter Seven concludes the paper with statistics of decline in the RCA. The suggestion is again made that perhaps our lack of growth is due, at least in part, to our lack of motivation to evangelize. It may be that our lack of motivation is due to our theology that does not put enough emphasis on human responsibility.

Prayer as an eschatological activity : restoring the Imago Dei through the practice of prayer

Author
Kevin J VanderVeen
Abstract
As a lover of theology and theological reflection, I am deeply convicted that theology not only articulates the foundation of our world and live view but is both spiritually formative and life-giving. Herman Bavinck shares this deep conviction as he writes, “Good theology puts this knowledge of God on public display. It resists allowing theology to degenerate into rhetoric, a theology merely of words; it seeks the heart of the matter, knowing God in order to worship him, love him, and serve him.” He continues by writing, “Such theology is never a dry and academic exercise; it is eminently practical and superlatively fruitful for life.” As he eloquently suggests, good theology is always both practical and fruitful. That means that good theology is always given expression in practices that foster a deep love for God and a meaningful experience of his love and grace. One practice that is both deeply theological and spiritually formative is prayer. The practice of prayer is one of the primary expressions of the spiritual life, and prayer is also an integral component of our spiritual formation and our transformation. When reflecting on prayer, David Benner writes, “Prayer would not be worthy of being called a spiritual practice if it did not play a central role in this deep inner work of transformation.” As he makes clear, prayer is an integral component of our spiritual transformation. This leads me to the conclusion that a vibrant spirit life includes the practice of prayer in its many forms.

Prayer as an eschatological activity : restoring the Imago Dei through the practice of prayer

Author
Kevin J VanderVeen
Abstract
As a lover of theology and theological reflection, I am deeply convicted that theology not only articulates the foundation of our world and live view but is both spiritually formative and life-giving. Herman Bavinck shares this deep conviction as he writes, “Good theology puts this knowledge of God on public display. It resists allowing theology to degenerate into rhetoric, a theology merely of words; it seeks the heart of the matter, knowing God in order to worship him, love him, and serve him.” He continues by writing, “Such theology is never a dry and academic exercise; it is eminently practical and superlatively fruitful for life.” As he eloquently suggests, good theology is always both practical and fruitful. That means that good theology is always given expression in practices that foster a deep love for God and a meaningful experience of his love and grace. One practice that is both deeply theological and spiritually formative is prayer. The practice of prayer is one of the primary expressions of the spiritual life, and prayer is also an integral component of our spiritual formation and our transformation. When reflecting on prayer, David Benner writes, “Prayer would not be worthy of being called a spiritual practice if it did not play a central role in this deep inner work of transformation.” As he makes clear, prayer is an integral component of our spiritual transformation. This leads me to the conclusion that a vibrant spirit life includes the practice of prayer in its many forms.

Preaching Missionary Discipleship: A Homiletic Response to Declining Participation at Risen Christ Catholic Parish in Denver and the Catholic Church of the United States of America

Author
Eric David Zegeer D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis proposes an acronym consisting of seven essential characteristics for the exercise of preaching in the Sunday Eucharistic liturgy that considers the statistical data of the decline of Catholic Sunday participation in the United States while being informed by the theology of missionary discipleship in Catholic teaching.
Chapter 1 provides an introduction that contrasts the actual decline of American Catholics in the participation of the Sunday liturgy with the Church’s teaching on missionary discipleship.
Chapter 2 provides a comprehensive explanation of the Catholic Church’s teachings on the vocation to a life of missionary discipleship of every baptized Catholic in the context of stages or steps of spiritual growth that lead to a fully lived baptismal calling.
Chapter 3 looks at the statistical data of Catholic participation available since the scandals of child sex abuse came to light around 2002. It considers the impact it has had on the Catholic Church in the United States as a whole as well as some specific generations.
Chapter 4 offers an in-depth explanation of the acronym “BREATHE” and how each characteristic of that acronym should inform our preaching. It also loosely corresponds each letter to the seven different stages of growth toward missionary discipleship.
Chapter 5 and its subsequent appendices provide the statistical data of one Catholic parish where the acronym was implemented in a five-week preaching exercise to reach the most Catholics possible in that one setting. It then considers the response and how that aligns with the statistical data found in chapter three.
Chapter 6 offers conclusions to the thesis overall and a recommendation of how to move forward while acknowledging the limitations of this one exercise and the importance of an overall plan to form and send the average parishioner into the world to bring more souls to Christ.

Creating a Strategy to Develop Effective Leaders in a Growing Post-Christian Society

Author
Sally Ann Carter D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to develop a strategy to develop effective leaders at Calvary Hill Community Church ending its leadership deficit. The project participants were challenged to examine their personal lives as disciples of Christ, improve their knowledge of the Word and biblical doctrines, and enhance their ability to fulfill the Great Commission and The Great Commandment. The desired long-term results of this project are to provide a robust leadership development manual or toolkit that will provide a path that will lead people from being new converts to being mature disciples and ultimately becoming effective leaders who reproduce leaders. As the church prepares to be relevant in an increasingly Post- Christian society, leaders cannot continue to be inadequate and complacent about the work of the kingdom.

A Doutrina da Trindade Orientando o Desenvolvimento Espiritual de Jovens em uma Sociedade Secularizada

Author
Arthur Vinicius Gottlieb Lupion D.Min.
Abstract
Esta dissertação propõe-se a criar e avaliar um programa curto de ensino da doutrina da Trindade, na busca de uma orientação ao desenvolvimento espiritual de um jovem cristão em uma sociedade secularizada. Com o intuito de compreender os aspectos contextuais, será avaliada a cultura do jovem atual e os impactos da alta conexão, de mudanças constantes e da fragmentação da verdade, que conduzem cada vez mais a uma vida de independência dos outros. Na busca para que a mais bela e perfeita comunidade não fique de lado, mas seja uma balizadora para reorientar o jovem pós-moderno.

Pretende-se apresentar os principais pontos a serem trabalhados no ensino da teologia da Trindade para estes jovens e como as relações intratrinitarianas podem orientar a sua vida em comunidade, já que a Trindade é uma comunidade que de eternidade a eternidade vive em perfeita unidade. Também foram trabalhados argumentos para capacitar o jovem a distinguir as falsas concepções da pós-modernidade que estão incutidas no nosso tempo, mas que são opostas à pessoa de Deus.

Em seguida, uma análise sobre metodologias contemporâneas para a educação teológica e aspectos da secularização atual. Posteriormente, foram avaliadas questões-chaves na orientação do desenvolvimento espiritual pela doutrina da Trindade, como a vida em comunidade e o desenvolvimento sexual.

A pesquisa foi aplicada no Uruguai, país mais secularizado do ocidente, por meio da missão TeachBeyond em parceria com igrejas locais do país, e a verificação da validade das variantes foi realizada por meio da metodologia de grupos focais.

Increasing Knowledge of the Doctrine of Salvation among Sunday School Participants at First Baptist Church Minden Louisiana

Author
Stephen Duwayne Bradley D.Min.
Abstract
This project seeks to help Baptists better understand soteriology by using the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as a model to demonstrate how both Reformed and Arminian soteriological views can fit within the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, and to be clear where there is disagreement. It is not appropriate to label Southern Baptists as Calvinists, or Arminians, as historically they fall somewhere between the two persuasions. While there is significant agreement on numerous facets, Baptists vary on elements of soteriology, and thus training lay people to understand these differences will cause less confusion and mitigate unnecessary division.

Chapter 1 introduces the basis for the research project; the thesis of the project, the goals, and the methodology.

Chapter 2 introduces biblical and theological foundations for the doctrine of salvation. This chapter presents exegetical interpretations of relevant biblical passages and theological material.

Chapter 3 provides historical information regarding Reformed/Arminian debate within the Southern Baptist Convention.

Chapter 4 presents a recounting of the project including a 12-week study of the doctrine of salvation as presented by the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

Chapter 5 provides a short conclusion for the project and offers additional observations, and testimonials from the participants of the 12-week course. Suggestions for further study are also included.
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