Bible--New Testament--Relation to Old Testament

HERMENEUTICAL MEDITATION AT FOUNTAIN OF LIFE: FOSTERING A HABITUAL INTERACTION WITH SCRIPTURE AMONG MILLENNIALS

Author
Matthew Bassett Ford D.Min.
Abstract
Thesis:
A certain kind of habitual interaction the author calls “hermeneutical mediation” is both biblically warranted and effective for cultivating growth in life transformation for the Christian. The author asserts that properly interpreting the Scriptures as well as properly interpreting oneself in light of the Scriptures is paramount for life change. The study especially focused on cultivating this habit among Millennials.

Method:
After submitting a questionnaire to the congregation at large and facilitating pre-seminar interviews with a volunteer group of Millennials from the congregation, the author implemented a six-session seminar designed to cultivate “hermeneutical meditation” among the Millennials who volunteered. Post-seminar interviews were then facilitated in order to discern the results of the effort.

Conclusion:
The seminar could be improved, but after the implementation and interviews, it is clear that fostering hermeneutical meditation through a seminar format was effective for helping Christians (especially in this case, Millennials) grow in life transformation through their habitual interaction with Scripture.

Encouragement for the small church: Equipping rectors for fruitfulness in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney

Author
Stephen Anderson D.Min.
Abstract
Of itself, church smallness is neither an anomaly, a mistake, nor a virtue. In God’s providence and design, small is normal, and may in fact bring significant strengths. However, no prior research has investigated the distinctive dynamics and challenges faced by rectors of smaller parishes in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, and despite extensive training pathways there is very little leadership development that focuses specifically upon the small church. This mixed-methods research project integrates theological and sociological insights and discoveries in order to equip and encourage these servants of Christ to persevere in fruitful ministry over the long term.

This dissertation presents a complete biblical theology of fruitfulness. Coupling this to the “Robinson-Knox” ecclesiology imbibed by nearly all Sydney Anglican rectors, a “purpose-of-churching” scale is derived to help stimulate theologically consistent models of ministry. At the heart of this project, the Nominal Group Technique is used to generate a list of the Top 7 challenges encountered by a pool of experienced small-church rectors. In light of this robust list along with critical insights from the secondary literature, four follow-up interviews are conducted on location.

This pilot research project includes major findings in three key areas. The full, biblical definition of ministry fruitfulness protects and encourages the small-church pastor, especially when tied to the proper purposes of churching. A perceptive analysis of typical small-church culture arising from the secondary literature equips the rector to lead in ways indigenous to actual church size. At the heart, the Top 7 list of small-church challenges renders a “thick” diagnosis widely applicable by such rectors to their ministry settings. As this project concludes, a fresh, rigorous, semi-linear coaching framework for emerging and established rectors serving in small Anglican parishes is proposed for initial implementation.

The Role of Transformational Leadership in Preparing Youth as Future Church Leaders

Author
Michael Kiju Paul D.Min.
Abstract
The membership of St. Peter's Episcopal Church has been on the decline. The most affected members of the church congregants are the youth. In return, this threatens the future of the ministry. The issue is mainly attributed to the failure of former and current church leaders to prepare youth as future ministry leaders. The biblical and theological foundation of the study was based on various passages, such as Gen. 17:4-5, Exod. 3:11, Luke 10:1-16, John 20: 11-18, and 1 Corinthians 11:1, among others. The researcher depended on the above listed biblical passages since they offered insights into Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Apostle Paul’s transformational leadership. The researcher also reviewed literature about transformational leadership traits exhibited by Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Apostle Paul. The researcher also reviewed examples of the actual practice of transformational leadership in the church setting. The review revealed that transformational leaders promote individual development of their followers, empowers followers, encourage creativity by being open to new perspectives, and offer individual mentoring and coaching. A case study approach was employed for the thesis project. The researcher collected primary data from seven pastors and seven youth aged between 18 and 25 years using a self developed interview protocol. The collected data were analyzed using thematic analysis, where main themes were identified. The results revealed that transformational leadership practices, including empowerment, delegation, appreciation, encouraging creativity, and articulation of clear goals, have the potential to help youth to take up church-related roles and promote their church attendance. The thesis project plays a significant role in shaping and challenging the youth ministry at St. Peter's Episcopal Church. God challenged me to work on church growth in terms of attendance and youth participation in leadership roles. He also called me to address the issue of declining youth congregants as posing a threat to the continuity of the ministry.

A Biblical Examination of an Ontological reading of Theology, in Trinity, in the [Christian] Believer and in Church

Author
Erwin Samuel Henderson Dr Ph.D.
Abstract
Ontological theology considered in some theological works, was given little significance as a primary theme. The thesis attempts to restore prominence and cohesion of an ontological construct, whereby function and structure, are the subordinate product defined by the ontological theological perspective. The effects are far reaching for theological definitions of the essential nature of the Trinity, the believer and the church; representing a paradigmatic shift in theological understanding, affecting profoundly the nature existential Christocentric Christianity.
The ontological theology of Trinity contrasts with the relational subordination, authority-submission proponents and opponents, in substance, in relationship and in function. The recovery of apostolicity as an ontological attribute of Godhead provides significant insight and cohesion to the ontological Trinitarian proposal.
The effects upon the believer ontologically are contrasted with the religious disposition and the positional judicial approach to salvation. The prototypical shift occurs in the Person of Jesus-Christ to an existential reality originated in Trinity and replicated ontologically in the believer. The nature of humankind is thereby reinterpreted giving definition to the “spiritual man” as the sole form of legitimate existence that is biblically normalized and warranted.
The ontological primacy provides an alternate construct to the historical structural understanding of church that has not changed since the early patristic period. The proposal emerging from this exegesis is a model of church: ontological and apostolic, originated, [re]sourced, and incarnate from the nature of Trinity, demonstrating undeniably that it is impossible for the Church of divine intent to exist outside of the three persons of the Godhead. Christo-centricity restores Church to the origin, source and 'telos'. Present day observations may exemplify distanciation of contemporary expressions of church from ontological definitions. A return to source represents a theological and ecclesiastic field of renewal to perpetuate in the coming years.

The Development of 1st Generation Pastors for Leadership in Independent Churches in Andhra Pradesh, India

Author
Manikanta Sai Ankem D.Min.
Abstract
This major project was designed to address the challenges that the first-generation emerging pastors/leaders go through to emerge as pastors and leaders within the independent churches of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is also designed to address the issue of favoritism and nepotism on developing the emerging leaders, and succession in those churches.

Among the independent churches, it seems, only the senior pastors’ progenies are the successors. It seems, there is no place for the first-generation emerging pastors/leaders to be developed for the senior pastorate of the independent churches. Not developing first-generation emerging pastors/leaders is a threat to the growth of Christianity in India. It is also not the New Testament model of training and developing first-generation pastors/leaders.

In the first section, the researcher dealt with the sociological issues and the cultural hierarchies that are contributing towards not developing the first-generation emerging pastors. In dealing with these issues, the researcher used the literature available and provided a biblical response. Also, the researcher showed biblical insight regarding the way of training and developing the first-generation pastors/leaders.

In the second section, the researcher used a qualitative method, doing in-depth interviews. The interviewees consisted of two groups of people – senior pastors of the independent churches who are close to handing on the baton of leadership; the second, first-generation emerging pastors who are in the process of emerging as pastors.

The findings of this research affirmed that the first-generation emerging pastors went through (and are going through) many challenges such as lack of proper guidance, support, training, mentor relationship, and trust from their senior pastors. There are also favoritism and nepotism issues along with insecurities of the senior pastors and lack of biblical knowledge on how to train and develop the first-generation emerging pastors/leaders without showing hierarchy and favoritism.

CONGREGATIONAL DIVERSITY AS A SPIRITUAL STRENGTH: RECOGNIZING OUR COMMON IDENTITY IN CHRIST IN THE BIBLICAL METANARRATIVE

Author
David Kosobucki D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this research is to gauge the appreciation for diversity in the congregation of Horizon Christian Fellowship Central as a spiritual strength, based upon a common identity in Christ as expressed through the biblical metanarrative. The church in question is based near downtown Indianapolis. It is diverse from the standpoint of ethnicity or race as well as socioeconomically, meaning a full spectrum of class, income and educational levels are represented. It is also multigenerational, displaying an age range from high school students that come from the neighborhood without their parents to the elderly. Nonetheless, there are under 100 adults that attend on a typical Sunday, meaning this variety of people interacts on a constant basis.

The author delivered a fourteen-part series of teachings that went through the Bible from beginning to end. Seven messages came from the Old Testament and seven more from the New. These messages explored the themes of unity, diversity and our identity in Christ. The author concurrently led three rounds of focus groups consisting of three groups each, which met in homes to discuss the above themes as they appear throughout the Bible. Groups met before, during and after the teaching series.

In the focus groups, the church displayed an appreciation for the theme of diversity as it appears in the Bible. They seemed reluctant to speak in terms of the biblical metanarrative, though they saw the metanarrative as the foundation for their identity in Christ. They accepted this as their primary personal identity and something they shared with one another. Further, this congregation valued its own diversity, believing that it equipped them to relate and reach out to a greater variety of people. These views were reinforced rather than initiated by the teaching series, meaning people already held the views.

MATURING CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP THROUGH TIMES OF SUFFERING: A STUDY IN AN AMERICAN MIDWEST CONGREGATION - NEW HOPE CHURCH; ADEL, IOWA

Author
Thomas Hein D.Min.
Abstract
The project identifies some of the ways Christians grow in maturity during times of suffering. During these times some Christians grow in maturity, while others experience a setback in their spiritual growth. This is a pastoral study, meaning that it is primarily concerned with observation and analysis of the discipleship process in the lives of Christian believers. The project evaluates true and false beliefs about God and spiritual life that occur during the process of suffering in the lives of New Hope Evangelical Free Church (Adel, Iowa) adult believers. Fifty-seven church members answered questions in a quantitative survey inquiring about their spiritual life before and after their time of suffering. Interviews were conducted with fifteen of the survey participants for more in depth evaluation of their spiritual disciplines, attitudes, and beliefs.

The study evaluated some false beliefs about God and spiritual life that Christians may develop during times of suffering. In addition, the study evaluated what true beliefs about God and spiritual life sustained believers during times of trial. Finally, the study evaluated what spiritual disciplines helped people move toward greater spiritual maturity during a season of suffering.

The practical application outcome of the study is a small group workbook entitled, A Journey through Suffering: Processing the Painful Experiences of Life. This resource is designed to be an exegetical devotional guide to help people reflect on their suffering in the context of a biblical metanarrative. Prayerful reflection will potentially lead toward maturing discipleship that glorifies God.

LET THE ANCIENT STORIES LIVE: USING NARRATIVE ANALYSIS AND A CHRIST-CENTERED HERMENEUTIC FOR PREACHING OLD TESTAMENT NARRATIVES

Author
Mark Pluimer D.Min.
Abstract
This project sought to increase the competence of preachers and Bible teachers to preach or teach from Old Testament narratives in a way that is both Christ-centered and faithful to the original intent of the narrative. To achieve this goal, the project explored mainly two key topics: narrative analysis and a Christ-centered hermeneutic. Guided by the principles and tools of narrative analysis, preachers and Bible teachers are able to discern the main message of narratives as originally intended by the biblical author. Guided by the principles and tools of a Christ-centered hermeneutic, preachers and Bible teachers are able to connect the message of narratives to Christ authentically, without distorting or violating the original intent of the narrative. These considerations of narrative analysis and a Christ-centered hermeneutic culminated in a working three-step method for handling Old Testament narratives faithfully in preaching or teaching.

The project implemented the proposed principles by developing a manual, the content of which was taught in a twelve-hour course to a group of preachers and Bible teachers. Pre-course competence was assessed and compared to post-course competence by means of a focus group, surveys, a course evaluation, and written work on assigned Old Testament narrative texts.

The results showed a demonstrable increase in competence among participants. The principles and tools presented in the manual/course were shown to be valuable for helping preachers and Bible teachers to preach or teach from Old Testament narratives in a way that is both Christ-centered and faithful to the original intent of the narrative.

Pray for reign : the eschatological Elijah in James 5:17-18

Author
James Marion Darlack
Abstract
James uses the prophet Elijah as an example of righteous prayer. This thesis explores the possibility that James may have intended his readers to recognize both historical and eschatological imagery associated with the biblical prophet. First, it shows that in early Jewish literature the eschatological and historical Elijah traditions were not held in isolation of each other. Imagery from descriptions of Elijah’s eschatological return is used to describe the pre-ascension ministry of the prophet, while the eschatological mission of the prophet is described using elements of the historical narrative. Second, the thesis demonstrates that James’ prescript “to the twelve tribes of the Dispersion,” sets a tone of inaugurated and yet-to-be-consumated eschatology, and that the mention of Elijah helps form an eschatological inclusio that frames the letter. Third, the New Testament use use of Elijah’s drought outside of James is explored showing again that elements from the Elijah’s drought in 1 Kings were used in eschatological contexts, and that Elijah’s three and a half year drought, as mentioned by James, is used to illustrate a period of judgment for the sake of effecting repentance in these contexts. Fourth and finally, the images of rain and drought are viewed through an eschatological lens, revealing their role as covenant blessing and curse, and eschatological judgment and restoration. It is concluded that James’ readers could have recognized the eschatological implications of using Elijah as an example of faithful, righteous prayer, and that James assigns his readers a role similar to that of the eschatological prophet. They are called to endure in the midst of eschatological trials and to effect repentance before the arrival of the soon-coming King.

Gospel-centered expository preaching

Author
Paulus S Budiman
Abstract
This thesis is about the importance of gospel-centered expository preaching and a lesson plan that can be used as a material for teaching and preparing a gospel-centered sermon. This project is based on a theological conviction that the gospel is the center of the story of the Bible. It argues, therefore, that preaching the gospel and expository preaching must not be separated. This thesis examines the obvious pattern of God's redemptive history that unites both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The lesson plan is stimulated by recent literature in hermeneutics and homiletics. They have revealed the growing conviction that gospel-centered exposition of the Bible is crucial to fully understand and preach the central message of the Bible.
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