Bible--New Testament--Theology

Pedagogical paradigm for leadership in a postmodern mega church context

Author
Joan Prentice D.Min.
Abstract
This paper presents a theological premise for understanding of the Church as it exists in Christ and its participation within the perichoretic relationship of the Triune God. The model is drawn from the interrelatedness and interpenetration of the three divine persons of the Godhead and the Church’s reality within that relationship. It sets forth a theology that is relational, and allows for a Christology, pneumatology and ecclesiology that is expressed in praxis. It is relational and missional in its outcome and situates a primordial understanding of the Church as an ontological and organic reality.

The Church’s behavior, that is, its work, worship, and mission is influenced by its own perception of self. In other words, the way we perceive ourselves as the church will be reflected in the way we do church and the way we are the church in the world, not just as institution, but as being; having its life, essential nature and personality inherent in the triune God of grace.

Gender Dysphoria And The Question Of Membership In The Local Church

Author
Shane A. Patrick D.Min.
Abstract
The past decade in American culture has increasingly become an exercise in deconstructionism in almost every way imaginable. The cultural touchstones of recent years include racially motivated protesting and rioting, claims of systematic racism and white supremacy, climate crisis, record-level inflation, a rise in cultural interest in neo-Marxist and socialist ideas, supply-chain gridlock, claims of election fraud, and record-high crime rates throughout the country. Another of these cultural touchstones, and the contextual focus of this project, is the active attempt of America’s increasingly secular culture to deconstruct and redefine sex, gender, and other sexual norms. The zeitgeist of this cultural moment includes a decoupling of sex and gender, and an attempt to encourage and normalize transgender identities and/or gender fluidity. This cultural deconstructionism also runs contra to the Christian worldview and Judeo-Christian values which introduces unique theological and ecclesiological challenges within the local church context. Among these challenges is the question of how to faithfully approach local church membership decisions with candidates who personally experience the burdens of gender ideology—which is the focus of this project.

A Critique of Multi-Site Churches and Southern Baptist Ecclesiology

Author
Mack Dale Roller Jr. D.Min.
Abstract
There are very few subjects in the church growth arena attracting more controversy than the subject of Multi-Site Churches (MSC). On one hand, MSCs have been touted as being successful in “reaching” more people with fewer resources, making it a very efficient and effective strategy for church growth. On the other hand, the structure of MSCs have been called into question. Some claim this movement runs wide of Baptist ecclesiology, resulting in a deluded and distorted representation of the NT teaching concerning the doctrine of the church. Southern Baptist opponents claim MSCs are a breach of Article VI of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. The question at hand: Is it possible for one church to maintain Southern Baptist ecclesiology, particularly adhering to the BFM2000 Article VI, and adopt the MSC strategy? The research will address Southern Baptist ecclesiology from a biblical and historical perspective. An evaluation of the definition and history of the MSC movement as well as an evaluation of the various structures of MSC strategies will provide essential for a solid conclusion. A review of the critics, as well as a response to their prominent objections, is necessary to achieve thorough evaluation. It is the claim of this research project that it is possible for an MSC to adhere to Article VI of the BFM2000. It is the prayer of this researcher that this work will serve Southern Baptist churches as they seek to obey the Great Commission.

Praxis of Acompañamiento to the Pueblo Creyente Towards an Inclusive, Liberative, and Decolonized Pastoral Model as a Gift to the Universal Church

Author
Elia S Cardenas D.Min.
Abstract
There is an inculturated, integrative, liberative, and decolonized model of church in the highlands of Chiapas. This Diocese in an autochthonous church developed by the prophetic vision of Bishop Samuel Ruiz, who knew how to read the signs of the times, was inspired by the vision of the Vatican Second Council, the Medellin Conference in Latin America, and the Church’s preferential option for the poor. He succeeded in restoring the dignity to the indigenous people with his subversive praxis and helped them become subjects of their own destiny. Today, they still walk accompanied by the courageous pastoral team of San Cristobal de las Casas.

Asian Immigrant Women Building Spiritual Resilience Amidst Cultural Loss

Author
Eugenia Wei-Kuen Lai D.Min.
Abstract
In Asian cultural contexts, women's voices are often neglected, unnoticed, or actively suppressed in church and society. This thesis-project aims to examine the relationship between the spiritual well-being and the praxes of resilience engaged in by Asian immigrant women to the United States in the context of cultural loss. The interview outcome revealed the praxes of spiritual resilience of Asian immigrant women through their integration of faith and culture. Spiritual resilience is an ongoing living praxis that calls men and women to their prophetic calling in building up the kingdom of God, in whom Jesus is the Triumphant Living Praxis.

Children of God in Prison Exile

Author
Tami F Hooker D.Min.
Abstract
Incarcerated men often feel abandoned by God. Those feelings of abandonment result in their avoiding the church even if they have been raised in it, in religion shopping or choosing their own understanding of and way of relating to the divine over any religion, and in overt religiosity, Implications of this are that the men no longer identify themselves as children of God as defined by the Christian faith. For some, it means they have no relationship with God or with the Church as a whole or the congregation within prison walls. This work takes a look at prison as exile and exile as trauma using the exile and the trauma that resulted from it as described in the Hebrew Scriptures for comparison. The intervention is a Bible study based on narrative theology that inmates from a state prison created and that I facilitated and evaluated in a county jail. The study is titled "Where was God?" It was created so men could hear stories similar to their own and recognize that those telling them are aware that God had been present in their stories and also explore where similar stories had occurred in Scripture. The authors chose ten topics to explore. They were: where was God when I was hurt, felt alone, felt ashamed, was afraid, was pretending, felt invisible, felt un-forgiven and was unforgiving, felt desperate and in despair. It concludes by asking where was God when I felt hope and when I felt love. The hope was that this would help the participants to see their own stories as part of a divine narrative, which would lead them to build a more authentic relationship to God and healthier relationships with others.

From Ecclesial Ruin to the Blessed Hope: The Connection between John Nelson Darby's Ecclesiology and His Dispensational Theology in His Sermons

Author
Stephen Mark Fulmer D.Min.
Abstract
The author examined how the preaching of John Nelson Darby demonstrate a correlation between his ecclesiology and the formation of his dispensational theology. A total of 15 of Darby’s sermons were reviewed within the context of five eschatological themes: (1) the ruin and apostasy of the church, (2) a call to separation and holiness, (3) the blessed hope – Christ’s soon return, (4) the coming eschatological judgment, (5) the church as the bride of Christ. The author concludes that Darby’s sermons are an important resource that reveals that his ecclesiology and his eschatology are developed in a profoundly interconnected manner and reinforce one another.

The Growth of Faith Lutheran Church of Castle Rock through Intentional Evangelistic Efforts

Author
Ebassa Berhanu D.Min.
Abstract
The author research what difference if any, a six-week teaching on the Great Commission and an instructional program on discipleship making, will have on the thinking and behavior of the people of Faith Lutheran Church on the importance of evangelism. The author used narrative qualitative method to measure his results. The research was fruitful from the point that the correct biblical understanding, by large, changes the thinking and behavior of people. Before the teaching a majority of the participants had a limited understanding of the word "go" in the Great Commission. They understood it as a suggestion rather than implied command to support the only command in Matthew 28:19 to "make disciple." Having the correct understanding shifted their thinking: going from point A - B had a greater purpose, which is to look for opportunities to "make disciples." Another misconception the participants was on evangelistic efforts. They had a very negative perception of what evangelism meant. The image they had was people holding "repent or you will go to hell," which left a bad taste in their mouth. This caused them to distance themselves from the work of the evangelist. The correct understanding of the word evangelism being a bearer of Good news, changed their thinking and behavior. The instructional program had positive results as it equipped people on how to share the gospel with others, creating confidence in the lives of the participants.

Indigenous African Demonic Deliverance and its Transference into Pentecostalism with Subsequent Refining: Ghana and its Diaspora as a Case Study

Author
Duane Sterling Sims M.A.
Abstract

This paper examines how the traditional Ghanaian worldview has been contextualized by grass-roots Christians in Ghana, and further by Ghanaian Pentecostals, and how this has been exported, adapted, and refined from Ghana across national and continental lines to its diaspora. I hope to address some key questions regarding Ghanaian deliverance practices (at home and abroad) and integrate my findings into ministry, whether to Africans or anyone. Some of these questions include: “What drives Ghanaians to seek deliverance? How have they, historically, sought to deal with the spirit realm? How do they currently seek to deal with it? What are some of the differences between a traditional Ghanaian understanding and that of a Ghanaian Pentecostal view?”

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.
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