Professional Dissertations DMin

Author

Bryan Laue

Date of Award

2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

College

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Gaspar Colon

Second Advisor

Glynis Bradfield

Third Advisor

James Wibberding

Abstract

Problem

In the Knoxville community, young adults who lack biblical knowledge and confidence struggle to accept question and answer Bible study guides without additional intellectual support. This struggle by young adults is attributed to a lack of knowledge and trust in the Bible as the Word of God. In addition, I have observed that when young adults read the Bible, it evokes feelings of alienation and distance from the spiritual conversation when underlying doubt in the Bible is present. One contributing factor is the lack of extra-biblical apologetics within question and answer study guides.

Method

An apologetic-based curriculum was designed and introduced to groups of participants in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the surrounding areas in the Fall of 2020. Ten young adults with doubts and skepticism about the Bible went through four written lessons to help them grow in their confidence in the Bible and its teachings. Data was evaluated using a quantitative pre and post-intervention study and qualitatively with a post-intervention group interview.

Results

The study revealed that an apologetic-based study using sources outside the Bible to address questions and skepticism about the Bible was positively received. In addition, learners developed a greater understanding of their own beliefs and the views of others. The study provided a process for learners to challenge and evaluate their foundational beliefs to accept the Bible. The lessons addressed the questions and skepticism of some, and for others, it re-affirmed their beliefs. Overall, there was an increased trust in the reliability of the Bible and a greater openness to studying it.

Conclusions

Based on the pre and post-intervention surveys and the group interview, the apologetic-based studies did appear to positively influence learners' trust in the Bible and willingness to study it. In addition, the study also catalyzed deeper conversations about views and beliefs with participants' families and friends. Consequently, further exploration of apologetic-based curricula as a tool to aid young adults in faith development is merited and recommended.

Subject Area

Church work with young adults; Young adults--Religious life; Bible--Study and teaching; Bible--Influence

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