Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Joining the conversation : toward a synthetic approach to media formation among Christian homeschool students

Author
Brian Jacob Barry
Abstract
My local ministry context is a theologically conservative Anglican congregation, in which a substantial proportion of youth and children are or have been enrolled in home-based education. I designed and ran a pilot workshop for high-school students in home-based education, with a goal of offering training in boundaries, skills, and habits that allow for positive interaction with popular electronic media. A study of the biblical motif of sojourners and exiles provides a theological framework against which different models of Church and Culture are compared. It is found that Christians, as sojourners and exiles, embrace an alternative identity as the People of God, yet function as bona fide participants in their broader cultures, through which the missio dei is advanced. A robust eschatology prepares the Christian to navigate the inherent tensions and difficulties. A study of many efforts at formation around media identify three strategic categories into which these efforts fit, namely cultural abstinence, cultural conversation, and faith-formative practices performed within the Christian community. An eight-week media workshop was designed as a synthesis of these different practices, with focus on a Media Rule of Life, five skills of cultural conversation, and five corresponding spiritual practices. From the results of this pilot course, recommendations are made for development of future media formation approaches.

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.

Creating Discipling Cultures through the Development of Shared Metaphor

Author
Patrick S Grabendike
Abstract
This project is intended to aid students and ministry leaders in creating disciplining cultures through the development of shared metaphor. It includes the theological foundations for discipleship as well as the creative process of conveying said discipleship through creative language and visual tools. The project addresses the linguistic challenge Christian Churches can experience as a result of generational and theological differences. This project is a culmination of Westbrook Church's experience as it sought to create congregational minstry allignment by means of new metaphor that would expression the mission of the church found in Matthew 28:18-20. The conclusion is that a church community can elevate the expectation for spiritual growth and alignment through collaboration and the creation of a shared metaphor for discipleship.

Recovering the Holiness of God in the Twenty-First Century

Author
Donna R Ryan
Abstract
Holiness is vital to the twenty first century Church. Using theology, the history of holiness, and the life of Jonathan Edwards, this work examines how Modernity, Post Modernity, and Technology have brought about change. It compares Northampton with the current age and explores Edwards' documentation of holiness in the Revival of 173435 and the Great Awakening as a move of God. It compares technological, sociological, and psychological developments of the secular culture to discern areas where the church has sacrificed crucial Christian doctrine and practice. It concludes with suggestions for recovering the wholeness and beauty of God's holiness to revive the church.

The Calling of a Part-Time Pastor Developing a GuideBook for Small Church Pastors in the Reformed Church in America

Author
Warren R Seibert
Abstract
This thesis project is focused on providing assistance to smaller churches in the reformed Church in America in the process of calling a part time pastor. The goal is to produce a guidebook for leaders of these small churches addressing the unique challenges of ministry in a small church with a part time pastor. To this end, the role of part time ministers is explored, both historical and contemporary. This work include personal interviews along with a review of related literature. Theological issues regarding the call to ministry of part time pastors, the mission of the church, and small church leadership are explored.

The Training of Spiritual Directors in the Anglican Diocese in New England

Author
Susan J Skillen
Abstract
The presenting problem was to provide skilled and mature spiritual directors, grounded in Anglican sacramental theology and the Catholic contemplative tradition, for the Anglican Diocese in New England. To address the problem a two year training program, drawing upon the spirituality of the Christian contemplative tradition, was developed. The course included training in listening skills, prayer, meditation and other spiritual disciplines, group spiritual direction, and reading and writing assignments. The outcome of the course was to produce thirteen spiritual directors for the diocese, who meet with a combined total of 40 directees.

John Winebrenner, On Roots and Wings

Author
Kimberly B Shifler
Abstract
John Winebrenner believed that each of us needs a new birth in Christ Jesus; thus he left the denomination wherein he was raised and ordained and began a new church and denomination, "The Church of God." Winebrenner took a stand on such things as education, temperance, and slavery. After Winebrenner's death, the Church of God withdrew from speaking to social concerns. In recent times the Church has returned to its reforming roods, and Winebrenner gives us an example to follow, not only in being the Church, but in how to deal with the controversy this may generate.

The Pastoral Theology of Jonathan Edwards Reflections from Nine Ordination Sermons

Author
Daniel R.L Stegeman
Abstract
This work explores the pastoral theology of Jonathan Edwards. The primary question being asked is; what does it mean to be a pastor according to Jonathan Edwards? the major sources for this work are nine ordination sermons that Edwards preached during his ministry. Out of the massive corpus of Edwards' writings contained in the Works of Jonathan Edwards, these sermons contain the clearest portrait of his pastoral theology. With this limited scope, it is obvious that what follows is not a comprehensive account of Edwards' pastoral theology, but an overview that will introduce the reader to his thinking on the subject.

"Doing All The Good We Can" Evangelistically Renewing the Congregation in 21st Century Texas Through Revival and Reform

Author
Dewey D. Wheat
Abstract
The thesis explores the ways to renew ourselves evangelically to be ready for the next God inspired revival or awakening. The basis of this thesis is the writer's concern with the apparent decline of Christianity and the Church in the 21st Century. Using the early evangelical Presbyterian missionaries and clergy of early nineteenth century Texas this paper discusses the ministry of Reverend Summer Bacon, the Texas Presbytery, and the First Presbyterian Church of Gatesville, Texas. The fervor and dedication to faith in God is examined through early evangelical leaders and especially the Reverend Sumner Bacon, an evangelical Presbyterian leader in early eighteenth century Texas and used to discuss ways of countering threats to our church and family culture. Bacon's life and ministry has been described as "He did all the good he could," and it is this theme that is I expanded to include the presbytery he formed in Texas ("Doing all the good they could") and to our present efforts prepare themselves for the next God inspired revival "Doing all the good we can."

God's Image-Bearers: Adolescent Girls and Young Women Building Self-Esteem through Healthy Relationships

Author
Sandra G Whitley
Abstract
Adolescent girls and young women should be taught, nurtured, and empowered to grow up knowing and living out their identity, worth and values as God's image- bearers. The lack of self esteem, self identity, and ethnic identity is evident today in the social and behavioral outcomes of girls. Biblical and theological framework is the imperative foundational value in human beings discovering who they are, who they belong to, who loves them, and how to live a reconciled life with God in this sinful world. In essence, positive self esteem comes first and foremost from healthy relationships with the creator and other humans.
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