Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

Roy C. Naden

Second Advisor

William H. Green

Third Advisor

Frederick A. Kosinski, Jr.


Problem. This descriptive study explored the experience of faith transmission across generations in order to seek to identify the conditions that are intrinsic to successful faith transmission, and conversely, the conditions that my lead to a rejection of faith in Jesus Christ.

Method. Diads were chosen purposively so that the diads were: (1) known to the interviewer, (2) representative of the convergent or divergent paradigm, (3) residents of Australia, and (4) composed of children between 20-40 years of age. Convergent diads were defined as diads in which all in the diad when interviewed were members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Divergent diads were those in which one person of the diad is no longer a practicing Seventh-day Adventist, although that person may have a personal faith in Jesus. Twelve convergent diads and 9 divergent diads were interviewed.

Discussion. Six major themes were derived from the interview analysis: internal family influences; external environmental influences; exclusivism associated with Adventism; issues of differentiation regarding God, faith, and the church; faith nurture; and encouragement in open communication and decision making. These themes appeared to synthesize into two major areas in faith development, a social-relational dimension and an intellectual-personal dimension. This was consistent with Fowler's notion that these two dimensions were foundational to faith development and growth. Faith development was impacted by the person's emotional, social, and faith development maturation. If intellectual dissonance or limited social interaction and acceptance occurred, personality style appeared to be another major influence that affected the retention or rejection of personal and/or institutional faith. For this study, personal faith in God appeared to be well transmitted by both convergent and divergent diads, with 20 of the 21 diads interviewed apparently successful in transmitting personal faith in God. The shape of that faith seemed dependent on the individual's conception of relational and intellectual adequacy along with the impact of his or her personal and faith development maturation and personality that influenced his or her faith view. Thus, institutional faith adherence seemed to be as much a question of personal outlook as parental nurture.

Subject Area

Parent and child--Religious aspects, Faith development, Apostasy--Seventh-day Adventists--Australia.


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