Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
Russell L. Staples
Bruce L. Bauer
Werner K. Vyhmeister
One of the most important responsibilities given Christians is to "make disciples from all nations." This includes secular people. The communication of the biblical message to secular people is a complex and difficult assignment. The difficulty increases when secular people are intellectuals. Many currents of thought including philosophy and scientific understandings of reality have contributed to the formation of the Western secular mind.
In Part One of the dissertation, philosophical, theological, and scientific theories that have contributed to the development of the process of secularization are considered. The section culminates with a profile of secular people. The methods and strategy used by the Apostle Paul with intellectuals of his time provide an example to the present- day witness to secular people. In Part Two there is an analysis of Paul's methods and an application of these to the contemporary challenge of communicating the biblical message to secular people. The process of communication of the biblical message involves three different cultures--the Hebrew culture of the biblical writers, the culture of Western secular people, and the Christian culture of the communicator. The process of communication is examined in order to avoid syncretism between the different cultures and/or irrelevance in the presentation of the biblical message.
The Christian message may be rejected because of a falsely conceived antinomy between certain biblical teachings and contemporary understandings of the way things are. Some such issues are examined and methods outlined of presenting essential elements of the biblical message. The messengers must be prepared with care. Some practical recommendations are presented. Secular intellectuals remain largely beyond the reach of present methods of evangelism. Christians concerned about the problems and challenges involved in the presentation of the biblical message to secular people can find useful suggestions for their work in this study.
Church and the world; Intellectuals--Religious life; Evangelistic work--Seventh-day Adventists
Buonfiglio, Michele, "An Intellectual Approach to the Communication of the Biblical Message to Secular People" (1995). Dissertation Projects DMin. 659.
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