Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
Problem. Modernism and postmodernism are considered the first global worldviews. While modernism is marked by the quest for absolute truth through scientific explanations of reality, postmodernism is a reaction that denies the objectivity of all human explanations that claim to be valid as meta narratives. During the last 60 years the Seventh-day Adventist Church, following the cultural trends of Christianity in general, has developed a “modern” model of discipleship based mainly on orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Although this model has helped church members to know what is the “right” belief and to define what is a “Seventh-day Adventist lifestyle,” it appears to have failed to bring worldview transformation among members. Hence, it has demonstrated to be inefficient to reach the postmodern mind. How can postmodern minds be discipled by a discipleship model that is based on modern assumptions? This is a ministerial oxymoron. Jesus addressed this kind of ministry challenge in his days when he said: “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined” (Luke 5:37).
Method. A discipleship model based on principles was developed to be applied in a local multicultural Seventh-day Adventist Church in order to confront modern and postmodern assumptions. A strategy was set in order to convey the contents of principle based discipleship through mentoring relationships, creating communal spaces in this particular context, to experience God, and to grow healthy relationships among members.
Results. The application of a principle based model of discipleship helped people to experience a departure from worldly worldviews to the worldview of the kingdom of God. The success of this project cannot only be measured by some quantitative figures but by signs of a spiritual life that are experienced among members. These signs are growing relationships, unity, active mission, and community impact.
Conclusions. Jesus introduced the message of the kingdom saying: “Repent” (Matt 3:2). The idea of worldview transformation is embedded in the term “repentance.” That was the aim of Jesus’ way of doing discipleship. Jesus did not present in his discipleship model abstract theological concepts. He strictly taught relationship principles that were grounded in the character of God. That must be the content of every Christian discipleship endeavor and will be the cause of the expansion of God’s kingdom on this earth, challenging every human worldview. Principle-based discipleship is a practical example of critical contextualization. It presents a real living alternative for every human being, confronting modern and postmodern assumptions by an articulated biblical model. Beyond that, the application of this model will shape the community of believers to experience organic order to form the church as a living and united organism.
Discipling (Christianity), Postmodernism--Religious aspects, Church work--Seventh-day Adventists
Barrios, Joel C., "A Principle-Based Model of Discipleship to Shape the Church as an Organic Community of Believers" (2012). Project Documents. 13.