Bible--Theology

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.

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.

TOWARDS A STRATEGY OF GOSPEL GROWTH FOR CHURCHES FACING THE CHALLENGES OF MINISTRY & MISSION IN COASTAL CONTEXTS IN SYDNEY

Author
Richard Wenden D.Min.
Abstract
Churches in the 21st century find themselves in a post-Christian context, and the ongoing challenge for ministry teams and their congregations is how to adapt to this changing landscape with the accompanying cultural shifts. Churches in suburban coastal contexts face a myriad of challenges, especially the lifestyle that comes with living in what are deemed to be ‘destination’ suburbs. This Project is an attempt to consider these challenges afresh against the biblical and theological backdrop of the church’s mission, in line with God’s mission in Scripture. It explores these challenges through the lens of the Bible, 1 Peter in particular, where Christians are very much ‘in exile’.

The Project shows how an understanding of cultural movements and demographics, the importance of contextualization as a way of engaging people with the gospel, and how a shift in the church’s thinking towards adopting a ‘Third Place’ posture enables us to show people what real gospel-oriented community looks like. Ultimately it seeks to offer some ways forward along the lines of embracing an urban spirituality, helping people to see how the gospel can ‘reorder their disordered loves’ as they are pointed towards Jesus, and how more intentional training in discipleship and evangelism might equip congregations to be a faithful presence in their spheres of influence.

This Project focused upon congregations along Sydney’s coastal fringe. Through interviews with ministers of Anglican churches at the ‘coalface’ and by utilizing qualitative data, the goal is to assist churches that have historically struggled in coastal contexts to formulate strategies enabling them to be missionally effective, through a renewed approach to ministry planning. It is hoped this planning may bring significant, gospel-based, long-term impact on individual church members and the churches, to bring blessing to their suburbs, gospel growth to churches, and glory to God.

HOW EVANGELICAL CHURCHES IN THE CHICAGO METRO AREA ARE ENGAGING MUSLIM COMMUNITIES

Author
Michael Urton D.Min.
Abstract
This project examined how local evangelical churches in the Chicago Metro area are engaging local Muslim communities. It asked a main research question along with two additional questions to frame the study. The main research question was how are specific local evangelical churches in the Chicago Metro area engaging local Muslim communities? The two additional questions were used to answer the main research question in a more precise manner. The first one was what are some of the challenges that these local churches encountered when engaging Muslims? The second was what lessons can be learned from the experiences of these congregations when mobilizing churches to engage Muslims?

This study began by stating the problem of attitudes towards Muslims in the West with special focus on evangelical Christians in the United States. It then discussed the important role that evangelical churches in the United States have in engaging the Muslim community.

A theological/biblical basis along with a philosophical foundation from a review of precedent literature supported this project. This foundation can assist evangelical Christians in knowing the lengths they can go in their engagement with Muslims, as well as realizing the distinctives that they must maintain.

Data collections were conducted for this study to explore the research questions. These included twenty-one semi-structured qualitative interviews with people at seven different churches, participant observations of events that these churches did with Muslims, and a collection of documentary evidence. The data from this study was organized into findings and suggestions were made for how they can be implemented by churches in their interactions with Muslim communities.

Recovering From and Rejoicing in Fundamentalism: Insights From Former Fundamentalists and the Pastors Who Shepherd Them

Author
Eric Alan Vander Ploeg D.Min.
Abstract
Christian fundamentalism played a key role in protecting the gospel from liberal decay in
American history. Its leaders built a high wall of separation around the fundamentals of the faith
to protect them from the innovations of modernism. The wall kept cultural threats out, but it also
kept a particular era of Christian culture in. While America later experienced the most rapid
cultural upheavals in its history, fundamentalism remained largely unchanged within its walls,
and the cultural chasm grew wider and wider. Some of the children of fundamentalism have now
left these walls and are in search of something new.

This project seeks to help these “travelers” on their journey. Twenty focus groups with
self-identified “recovering fundamentalists” identified several patterns of personal pain along
with lessons learned that could benefit others. Nine interviews with experienced pastors yielded
best practices in shepherding travelers as they enter evangelical churches. These results were
collated to produce four key findings:

1. Living with the disapproval and disappointment of fundamentalist parents after
transitioning.
2. Learning how to trust authority (of leaders and of the Bible) after being told to “just
trust” and not ask questions.
3. Moving from a model of sanctification that is guilt-based to one that is grace-based.
4. Learning how to rejoice in the fundamentalism of one’s youth and to see God’s
kindness and glory amidst the errors of its proponents.

A Qualitative Analysis of Church Leadership Conflicts in Evangelical Churches in Northern Nigeria With a View to Building a Better Transformational Leadership Model

Author
Timothy Danladi Nwan D.Min.
Abstract
The project addresses leadership conflicts among church leaders in evangelical churches in Nigeria with the view toward building a better transformational leadership model. To address these conflicts the project centered upon transformational leadership phenomena, showing that a leadership development training program model for the future leaders must be seen as a priority in all the evangelical churches in Northern Nigeria. Such a model would be based on the researcher’s qualitative research study, which used thirty-six participants from evangelical church denominations as a case study. The study included both interviews and fieldwork-based research, in which the case studies of church leaders were analyzed to understand their perspectives on their leaders, as well as their impact on the community of faith and the culture from a biblical perspective. The project intends to motivate church leaders to learn to respond effectively to conflict resolution in their ministries. The researcher will use this model approach to better equip and organize seminars and workshops for church leaders and other emerging leaders through the researcher’s non-profit organization, the Leadership Training Center (LTC), in Northern Nigeria

EVALUATION OF A TEACHER TRAINING WORKSHOP FOR BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW EDUCATION AND TRANSFORMATION

Author
Rhonda Kaye Kamakawiwoole D.Ed.Min.
Abstract
Given the world’s plurality of worldviews, transformation to the biblical worldview—God’s understanding of reality—remains the paramount task of Christian parents and the church in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Christian parents are to impress God's commands on their children so the next generation might come to know, love, and serve Him (Deut 6:6-7). Jesus charges the church to make disciples, baptize, and teach others to obey his commands (Matt 28:19-20), yet, spiritual formation is not the target it should be for most Christian families and the American church. The literature reveals a general lack in understanding of the biblical worldview in Christians across generations, and thus, believers lack confidence and motivation to share God’s worldview with others.
This study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of a workshop designed to address transformation in the comprehension, commitment, and intended conduct of participants to train others to the biblical worldview. Statistical analysis revealed participants changed in understanding, confidence, and motivation toward engaging in further growth to the biblical worldview and training others to it. Anecdotal information gathered from comments on the post-training survey provided additional evidence of the above, as well as qualitative evidence demonstrating participants changed in their commitment to share God’s truth with others and planned for future change in this “commissioned” area for Christ.
The workshop effectively addressed the lack of intentionality about growing in and sharing the biblical worldview with others. The study showed adult Christians of all ages are more likely to engage in sharing the biblical worldview with others once they better understand the distinctives of the biblical worldview, gain confidence in their knowledge and abilities and are motivated to share it, and are equipped with models for training others to the biblical worldview.

A Korean Woman’s Voice to Preach as a Transformed Shaman through Perichoresis-Kut

Author
Jungmi Kang D.Min.
Abstract
The author researched the thesis, “A Korean Woman’s Voice to Preach as a Transformed Shaman through Perichoresis-Kut.” Built on the homiletical perspectives of Lisa L. Thompson, Frank Anthony Thomas, and Lynn Japinga, the transforming power of women preachers was envisioned through emotive, resilient, and celebratory interaction with the congregation. Such a transforming interaction was indigenously connected with Korean shamans and their ritual kut, which empowered Korean women’s voices and their ability to speak out for the marginalized. It was theologically connected with Trinitarian perichoresis, which empowered women’s voices and leadership. This thesis was grounded in the methodologies of anthropological and social research into Korean shamans and their ritual kut, homiletical inquiry about women’s voices and leadership, and Asian women’s Trinitarian perichoresis regarding radical subjectivity and open mutuality. While reflecting on these diverse perspectives, the author defined the homiletical significance of the preaching project as follows. First, when Korean women preachers could interact with the Triune God in the pulpit, the congregation might hear in their voices a conviction of perichoresis-kut to speak up for the marginalized against sexism, racism, and cultural colonialism. Second, within the heart of the homiletical significance for churches of Koreans and Korean-Americans, there was the need to change a male-gendered pulpit, by embracing Korean women preachers’ voices and leadership. On the other hand, it was crucial to provide Koreans and Korean-Americans with a transitional and transforming liminal space where every voice and every position could matter, regardless of being at the center or on the margin. Lastly, homiletic significance for the academic field was not only to build up a Korean preaching style rooted in the transformation of perichoresis-kut but also to call hearers to discover their identities in pursuit of advocating human rights and environmental justice.

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.

Work Perspectives, The Sacred/Secular Divide, and Workplace-Related Preaching, Equipping, and Church Support

Author
Joy P. Dahl D.Min.
Abstract
This study explored perspectives of work and workers, as well as potential connections between these perspectives and a lack of workplace-related preaching, equipping, and support provided by the church to congregants. This research, founded on a biblical theology of work, identifies implications for understanding church dynamics, and for dismantling beliefs and practices upholding the unbiblical sacred/secular divide.

The research engaged two groups within one church: pastors/paid church staff and congregants. The survey focused on: (1) value of work inside versus outside the church; (2) value of workers inside versus outside the church; (3) importance of work-related topics for preaching, equipping, and support within the church; and (4) adequacy of pastor/staff understanding of non-church workplaces and their ability to help congregants address workplace issues. This Doctor of Ministry project represents a unique study which evaluates perspectives of church workers and non-church workers within one church body regarding a primary area of everyday life often unaddressed or under-addressed by the church.

Two descriptive surveys, one for each group, garnered a 69.01% response rate from 71 pastors/staff, and a 9.62% response rate from 5,113 congregants. The surveys gathered quantitative responses, except for two qualitative responses regarding workplace demographics (for congregants only) which assisted the church in understanding the makeup of its non-church workers. The results of the surveys revealed that both pastors/staff and congregants within this church placed similar, high value on church and non-church work and workers. However, these perspectives did not translate into pastors/staff attributing high importance to work-related topics within church practices when compared to other topics. Additionally, both groups affirmed an inadequate understanding by pastors/staff of non-church workplaces and the daily issues congregants face.

The final chapter includes conclusions of the study and implications for future research. It also provides recommendations of potential next steps for the church.
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