Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Donna J. Habenicht

Second Advisor

Lenore S. Brantley

Third Advisor

Jimmy Kijai


Problem. This study took an initial look at the development of the concept of salvation in Lutheran parochial school adolescents, comparing them with Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) parochial school adolescents. This was the first study to compare denominations using the Salvation Concept Interview (SCI).

Method. This study was descriptive and comparative. The SCI was used to interview 16 Lutherans and 21 SDAs ages 15 to 18. Subjects also completed a religious activities survey and a drawing. Parents completed a survey of demographic data and personal and family religious activities. Data were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively.

Results. The concept of salvation developed slightly with age. SDAs appeared to develop more in their understanding than Lutherans. SDAs also demonstrated more formal operational thinking than Lutherans. Lutherans were more certain of their salvation, although SDAs' assurance of salvation increased with age. Lutheran and SDA subjects differed most on the group concepts of sin, assurance of salvation, Jesus, the role of works and grace in salvation, and the impact of sin on one's relationship with God. These differences appeared to be related to different theological emphases. Both denominations grew most in understanding at age 16.

SDA subjects who attended church school for a longer time agreed more in their responses than those who attended for a shorter time.

Conclusions. (1) The level of understanding of salvation concepts generally increases with age and may develop more during adolescence for SDAs than for Lutherans. (2) Lutherans appear to be more certain of their salvation than SDAs, although assurance appears to increase with age among SDAs. (3) More SDAs than Lutherans used formal operational thinking on the SCI. (4) A period of growth in understanding occurs during ages 16 to 17 for both denominations. (5) Considerable differences between the responses of the two denominations appear to be related to differences in theological emphases. (6) The longer adolescents are in parochial schools, the less variation appears in their thinking about certain topics. (7) A modified version of the SCI is useful with Lutherans.

Subject Area

High school students--Religious life, Salvation--Christianity, Religious education of teenagers, Lutheran high school students, Seventh-day Adventist secondary school students


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