Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Religion

School

Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, MA

First Advisor

Richard M. Davidson

Second Advisor

Martin F. Hanna

Abstract

Problem

Biblical spirituality was challenged from the very start of the Christian church by competing spiritual ideologies of philosophical origins. Because the interpretation of spirituality has focused on exegetical and doctrinal approaches (micro and mesohermeneutical levels), the grounding biblical macro-hermeneutical level of its basic presuppositions has been ignored. Yet this is the level that gives ultimate meaning to the meso and micro levels. This oversight constitutes a giant roadblock to understanding and experiencing true biblical spirituality, the consequences of which are devastating both for the individual believer (Matt 7:23), as well as for the mission, unity, and growth of the church at large.

Method

This thesis will first deconstruct the macro-hermeneutical foundations of three primary models of Christian spirituality-classical, Protestant and modern-through their selected representatives: Augustine, Martin Luther, and Teilhard de Chardin, respectively. Then the biblical model of spirituality will be outlined through a phenomenological study of the OT Exodus sanctuary-covenant structure, focusing on seven mountain meetings between God and Israel. Finally, a summary and comparison of the four models-classical, Protestant, modern, and biblical-will be presented.

Results. The final comparison of the four models of Christian spirituality reveals that the three dominant models—classical, Protestant, and modern—are nearly identical in all their macro presuppositions. The biblical model, on the other hand, stands in unique contrast to them all in upholding 1) an analogically temporal, relational and missional theology and ontology; 2) a wholistic anthropology; 3) a cognitive epistemology based on faith in God’s historical words/acts; 4) a unified historical cosmology; and 5) a Christological metaphysical center where Christ operates historically through the sanctuary covenant, granting freedom to all rational beings with the present aim of spiritual restoration/union and the final aim of a physical restoration/reunion.

Conclusion

This study concludes that the Exodus sanctuary-covenant structure offers a spiritually compelling and biblically grounded alternative to other models of Christian spirituality. For those seeking to be faithful to the sola and tota Scriptura principles at the most meaningful meta-hermeneutical level, it is an option that must be seriously considered.

Subject Area

Spirituality--History of doctrines; Spiritual life--History of doctrines; Tabernacle; Bible. Exodus--Criticism, interpretation, etc

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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