Project Documents

Date of Award

1977

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Rudolf E. Klimes

Second Advisor

Charles C. Crider

Third Advisor

Robert C. Kistler

Abstract

Problem

There are indications that failure on the part of Christian workers in Japan to develop a family-centered strategy of evangelism based on a balanced appreciation of the cultural integrity of that country has contributed to the slow growth of Christianity. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, while stressing the importance of the family, has largely failed to understand the Japanese family and to realize its potential for evangelism.

Method

The project was organized in two parts. As the Seventh-day Adventist family in Japan was seen to be first of all Japanese, a review of the literature concerning the characteristics and development of the traditional Japanese family was undertaken. Secondly, survey instruments were designed and sent to all 1870 Adventist spouses of united families, to a sample of .81 Seventh- day Adventist spouses of divided families, to all 108 Seventh- day Adventist ministers, and to a sample of 192 unmarried Seventh- day Adventist youth, seeking information that would help to gain a clearer understanding of the Adventist family and how it might be strengthened and made more effective in evangelism.

Results

A survey of the literature indicated that the traditional Japanese family possessed both great strengths and weaknesses. Social and political changes in recent years were noted that have weakened the traditional family system. However, the emergence of a nuclear-conjugal family was not seen as implying the demise of those characteristics that had developed over the centuries. Remnants of the old patterns of thinking and behavior are still in evidence in Japanese society today, in spite of impressive changes.

Data in 127 tables and six graphs described the characteristics of the Seventh-day Adventist family. Yearly family income was seen as similar to the average reported family income in Japan, whereas the education level of Adventist spouses was considerably higher than the average. Nearly one out of three of the major wage earners in Adventist families earned his living from the church, and the ratio of female to male members was seen to be more than three to one. Nearly six out of ten Adventist families sent all Data in 127 tables and six graphs described the characteristics of the Seventh-day Adventist family. Yearly family income was seen as similar to the average reported family income in Japan, whereas the education level of Adventist spouses was considerably higher than the average. Nearly one out of three of the major wage earners in Adventist families earned his living from the church, and the ratio of female to male members was seen to be more than three to one. Nearly six out of ten Adventist families sent all their children to Adventist schools and one out of four Adventist spouses hoped that their first born son would become a doctor or a specially trained worker in some medically related profession. As evaluated by their pastors, 65 percent of the membership of the church were seen as faithful to the church when both husband and wife were church members, in contrast to 45 percent when they were single, married to non-members, divorced, or widowed.

Among the results of this study were numerous insights and convictions in connection with the family, some of which arose directly as a result of this project and others which have been deepened by it. Recommendations were developed that would hopefully lead to stronger families in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and to a family-centered approach to evangelism.

Subject Area

Families--Japan--Religious life; Seventh-day Adventists--Japan

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/557

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