Faith

FAITH AND FACEBOOK: EVANGELIZING A RURAL PARISH COMMUNITY IN SOUTHEAST MISSOURI

Author
DOMINIC OKON IBOK D.Min.
Abstract
In Southeast Missouri, where Catholics are a minority, the challenge of diminishing participation and reduced membership requires an intentional engagement of the inactive members and the unaffiliated within the community. Unfortunately, many members of the laity do not have the awareness or skills to evangelize. In a rural community, the challenges seem more significant due to limited personnel and resources. This thesis project aims to equip the laity with the skills and tools to evangelize inactive Catholics and the unaffiliated. It will involve growing in prayer, study, generosity, evangelization, and the discernment of their charisms. With the benefit of social media engagement like Facebook live stream, an opportunity to engage and evangelize is available for our rural parish community. The resources from experienced lay evangelists in evangelization and social media engagement will provide a template that can enhance the development of a program on evangelization for my rural parish community. To test the effectiveness of these resources, seventeen participants engaged in a nine-week program to learn how prayer, study, generosity, evangelization, the discernment of their charisms, and teamwork can prepare them for evangelization. This thesis engaged the inactive Catholics and the unaffiliated in rural Southeast Missouri by using Facebook live stream as an evangelization tool. The focus of this project is thus reminding active Catholics of their responsibility to evangelize and how utilizing a familiar social media portal like Facebook can enhance the process even in a rural community.

Case Study on How Spiritual Maturity Benefits Soldiers While on Overseas Assignments

Author
Joshua A. Cannon D.Ed.Min.
Abstract
As the United States of America pushes further and further into secularization, the U.S. Army has followed suit. While many see this movement as a step in the right direction, many others do not. It is without doubt the Army has always had its issues with discipline; however, it is the overall epidemic of suicide and other high-risk behaviors that has the attention of the entire nation, forcing many to ask why. While many have accepted the belief or ideology that belief in God is antiquated and irrelevant in today’s modern age, many others are beginning to recognize a rise in high-risk behaviors, especially within those serving overseas. A preliminary look shows that those who devote themselves to their faith appear to benefit in ways that cannot be denied.

This dissertation examines the overall benefits of those soldiers that are spiritually mature and are considered to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The author will attempt to take aim to understand and counter the ideology that religion and belief in God is antiquated and irrelevant in today’s society leading to the belief that service members ought to follow suit. While the Army takes great initiative towards the mental and spiritual health of the soldier, it is without a doubt that one area of influence is being forced out. It is the focused approach towards faith in God as a benefit to many areas of a soldier’s life that is forcibly quieted, seen as a personal journey not to be discussed, and irrelevant to the overall force. The purpose of this study will be to examine spiritually mature soldiers and begin to understand the benefits of a deep relationship with God while serving on overseas assignments.

A scientific and philosophic response to David Hume’s essay “Of miracles” of 1748 / 1777

Author
Thomas Varallo M.A.
Abstract
David Hume’s argument “Of Miracles” is considered the most famous and effective argument against miracles ever devised. Hume did not argue that miracles were impossible, but that the evidence in favor of a report of a miracle has never, and will never, outweigh the firm, unalterable experience of natural law. He argues that based on natural law (ontology) it is not reasonable to believe (epistemology) a report of a miracle. Thus Hume’s argument is epistemological, but based on ontological experience. This thesis argues that empirical scientific advances on human hemoglobin protein structure, and advances in philosophy of language and simplicity in the laws of nature, have exposed ontological weaknesses in Hume’s essay “Of Miracles” which serve to counter his epistemological conclusions, even when accepting naturalist presuppositions.

THE NECESSITY OF GOSPEL-CENTERED PREACHING IN KOREAN CHURCHES: THE PROBLEM OF CONFUCIANISM AMONG KOREAN CHRISTIANS

Author
Samuel No Cheol Park D.Min.
Abstract
The Korean Church is experiencing a very sudden and serious collapse. There can be many sound reasons for its collapse, however, the most critical problem is Confucianism that is deeply rooted in the Korean Church from the beginning to today. All the power that the church needs comes from the true gospel, but Confucianism in the Korean Church hindered the true Gospel to be the Gospel. Therefore, this major project defines the biblical meaning of the true gospel and danger of changing gospel to other gospel just like what happened in the Galatian Church in Paul’s day. To identify the validity of the assertion of the project, the author chose three influential preachers in the Korean Church and received their answers for the five questions that the author carefully made up; and also received one sermon from each preacher to present criteria about the gospel-centered sermon along with author’s three sermons. As a result, it is true that Confucianism has been infiltrated into the Korean Church from the beginning of its history and created a legalistic atmosphere and brought the absence of the power of the true gospel. All three preachers agreed with the author that Confucianism must be eradicated from the Korean Church, and Korean preachers must start to preach the true gospel to bring the life of Christ abundant in the Korean Church.

PERCEPTIONS OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH AMONG HOLY LAND TOUR PARTICIPANTS

Author
Scott Fouts D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to discover in what ways did spiritual growth occur in a congregational based Holy Land tour. The research also sought to determine to what extent spiritual growth occurred. The tour visited the Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the Jordan Valley.

The intent was to capture the participants feelings, perceptions, and actions about the tour experiences. They were surveyed, observed and interviewed to assess their perceptions of the encounters they were experiencing.

There were twelve themes which emerged. The participants expressed being touched by observing the spiritual growth of others and wanting more experiences in the Holy Land at a noteworthy level of intensity. They experienced the Holy Land encounter with a substantial level of spiritual growth throughout, seeing what they perceived Jesus saw, walking where they perceived Jesus walked, experiencing the ancient world coming alive, the impact of previous tours and worship through singing. The participants encountered geographic relationship, praying, the sacrament of baptism, the sacrament of communion, the self-perception of spiritual change and the hope of sharing their own experiences with others major spiritual ways. These themes caused the participants to grow in their faith at different levels.

DETERMINING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF DIFFERING DEGREES OF SPECIFICITY IN SERMON APPLICATION

Author
Roger Chen D.Min.
Abstract
"So what?" This is the question every believer should ask at the end of any sermon because the Word of God should be applied to the Christian's life. If the sermon's goal is to effect change in the lives of the congregation, then the preacher has the obligation to not only explain the text but explain what the text means in a practical outworking of daily living. The balance that must be struck is the role of the preacher combined with the role of the Holy Spirit to guide the listener in how to apply the sermon.
This project shows the importance of application in preaching God's Word and seeks to determine the extent to which a pastor should provide this application in preaching. With many different examples from Scripture combined with varying views of application from extra-biblical sources available to the preacher, navigating the nuances of homiletics can be overwhelming and confusing. This project endeavors to provide some clarity to the matter as it pertains to application.
This project involves the preaching of nine sermons after which volunteers complete two surveys for each sermon which ask the volunteers what they believed to be the application in the sermon as well as how they plan to apply that application; the second survey asks if and how the sermon was applied. The surveys, including the interaction with the volunteers, are handled anonymously through the aid of an administrator.
This project shows the importance of the partnership between the human preacher's provision of application in the sermon with the Holy Spirit working in the believer to apply the Word. Additionally, the support for varying methods of application across the preacher's body of work is explained.

REMEMBERING FAITH EXPERIENCES IN THE OSTFRISIAN COMMUNITY AND IMPLICATION IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

Author
Jay Allen Johnson D.Min.
Abstract
All spiritual growth is contingent upon remembering the past. Insight has value only
when shared with others. A series of mnemonic devices found in Scripture are keys to maintaining a successful spiritual walk. These methods, proven throughout church history, require diligent retention and dispersal of information in the context of relational support. Ethnographic research in rural Ostfrisian communities indicates that when routinely practiced, these methods form broad spiritual patterns that reflect a deepening commitment to faith issues. This project reveals indicators that assist eidetic recall of spiritual events. Within individual groups, spiritual maturity across the generations can be traced to the consistent practice of these mnemonic devices.

The Crucible of Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy: Examining the Intersections of Social Justice, Moral Development and Theology

Author
Eydie Ann Dyke-Shypulski
Abstract
An apparent disconnect exists regarding how people of faith apply personal morals and theological perspectives when positioning themselves with regard to public policy and social justice issues. Through an exploratory quantitative design, the researcher sought to extract information that would have implications for professional social practice, social work ethical and practice pedagogy, and for faith-based institutions of higher learning. A theological reflection included a brief examination of Aristotle, St. Thomas, Newburg and non-violent atonement theology. The literature review included Kohlberg, Freud and Skinner's views on moral development. The researcher employed and exploratory quantitative study design with two survey instruments.

The mind of the maker: creativity and narrative as means for spiritual and theological exploration

Author
Jeffrey A Jamos
Abstract
Human beings employ narrative for meaning making, and to connect personal histories to the story of faith. This project examines three ways a congregation used narrative to explore personal faith. The author created story salons as a means to connect personal narratives with biblical and other narratives. Second the author describes a class he created to use creative writing as a spiritual discipline. Finally the author wrote a novel, Galleotto, which explores doubt as a means toward reintegrated faith. Its themes form a theological chapter focusing on eros as an aspect of faith, and Paul Ricoeur's concept of "second naïveté."

The role of emotion at the point of persuasion in preaching

Author
Mark C Roath
Abstract
Emotion's role at the point of persuasion is to provide presence, understanding, dissonance and movement. The point of persuasion is designated as those events that occur between considerations and belief. When a new premise is contradictory to previously held beliefs, there is a dissonance created. This dissonance creates the need for a decision. The activity of making a decision that is counter to currently held beliefs requires faith. This faith decision is the point of persuasion. The incredible dynamic which is added during the preaching event is the work of the Holy Spirit.
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