Project Documents

Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Benjamin C. Maxson

Second Advisor

Trevor O'Reggio

Third Advisor

Steven Willsey

Abstract

Problem. Personal feedback from AFM personnel indicated deep uncertainty as to the legitimate basis for, and practice of, meditation within the Bible in general and the counsels of White in particular. The ongoing debates within the SDA Church concerning meditation and the lack of formal denominational guidance on how to meditate exacerbated the uncertainty. As a consequence, primary devotional habits for many employees primarily revolved around to prayer, Bible study and corporate worship. Yet there remained a reported hunger on the part of many employees for a more meaningful sense of God’s presence in their lives. The problem therefore was whether and how spiritual growth could be nurtured among AFM employees through enabling them to both understand and apply the counsels of the Bible and of Ellen G. White on meditation.

Method. A study was conducted on the topic of meditation as found in current literature, the Bible, and the writings of White, followed by the development of a meditation model suitable for use within an Adventist environment. Ten AFM employees participated on a voluntary basis in an initial seminar, which included a summary of the above study and an orientation to the meditation model. Each employee participated in an initial in-depth interview, after which each employee worked through the meditation model provided for eight weeks, followed by a final in-depth interview.

Results. The results indicated that the practice of biblical meditation brought significant personal spiritual benefits to the research participants, with 80% of the research participants indicating their intent to continue the practice of biblical meditation. The results also indicated that biblical meditation may not be a suitable devotional habit for all people, suggesting that different people will find different devotional habits to be meaningful.

Conclusions Biblical meditation is an important and powerful devotional habit with deep roots within the Bible and the writings of White. Biblical meditation within an Adventist theological context may be experienced as intensely personal, deeply transformational, and providing the framework for a dynamic encounter between the Holy Spirit and the practitioner. To avoid extremes of subjectivity, biblical meditation may be most suitable for an individual if practiced within an active and loving Christian community. Adventist practitioners are recommended to gain a broad understanding of the principles of meditation as revealed in the Bible and writings of White before engaging in meditation. New practitioners are recommended to engage in meditations as per the enclosed meditation model until confident in the use of the principles contained therein. Practitioners are recommended to approach biblical meditation with an expectation of God’s transforming presence and a submissive attitude to the deep work of God. Finally, practitioners are recommended to find a mechanism for journaling that ensures confidentiality and encourages open personal reflection.

Subject Area

Meditation--Christianity, Spiritual life--Christianity, Meditation--Seventh-day Adventists

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