Date of Award

1996

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

Roy C. Naden

Second Advisor

Alfonso Valenzuela

Third Advisor

George Akers

Abstract

The purpose. The purpose of this research was to analyze the church as a nurturing entity, and the spiritual gifts that enable the church to develop a ministry of spiritual nurture.

Method. This study followed the documentary methodology. The Scripture data, in both Old and New Testaments, regarding the purpose of the church and the gifts of prophecy and shepherding were analyzed indepth. Secondary sources, including books, journal articles, and research reports, were used where applicable.

Conclusion. The church was called to accomplish a specific ministry. This ministry is much more than the Gospel proclamation that leads to conversion and church membership; it includes the life-long process of spiritual nurture that fosters the growth of Christian character.

The biblical model of "churching" indicates that baptism is not the end but the beginning of the process of the spiritual maturation of the believer. Believers are guided and nurtured through the lifespan of their spiritual journey by a well-established ministry of spiritual nurture facilitated by the gifts of the Spirit.

The understanding and utilization of spiritual gifts were the keys to the New Testament church's success. According to the biblical record, the early church accomplished its mission through the Spirit's gifts; spiritual nurture was achieved in an important way through the gifts of prophecy and shepherding.

The present spiritual situation within Adventism suggests the need of a work of nurturing that must begin by understanding the nature of the church and the purpose and ministry of the gifts of prophecy and shepherding.The acceptance and utilization of these gifts will foster spiritual growth, transforming believers into Christ-likeness in preparation for His return.

Subject Area

Gifts, Spiritual, Prophecy--Christianity--Biblical teaching

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