Author

Alex Bryan

Date of Award

3-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

Department

Seminary

Abstract

This dissertation asks and attempts to answer the following question: What role does human emotion play in the problem of contemporary Christian discipleship and how might emotion play a provisional and productive role in its success? The argument of this project, in response to the above question, is that recognition and recreation of human emotions is essential in confronting the challenges of contempormy Christian discipleship. Just as the rational (left brain) component of human beings is complicit both in the spiritual pathology and redemptive potential of mankind, so to is the emotive (right brain) mind a responsible paiiy in both the degeneration and regeneration of the moral self. We cannot fully appreciate or experience the goals of Christian discipleship without attention to our feelings. Chapter 1 examines the contemporary Christian scene, exposing some pmiicular discipleship challenges. The influence of emotion is shown in areas of concern. We also identify a working definition of emotion. Chapter 2 surveys biblical writings. Here we recognize emotions in God and human beings. We also recognize the role of emotions in fallen humanity and the proper (biblical) role of emotions in the pursuit of holiness. Chapter 3 explores contemporary Christian thought in regard to emotion. We observe recognition of affective influences in an array of discipleship concerns: marriage, evangelism, financial stewardship, church unity, and relationship to God. Chapter 4 begins a two-chapter project on the recreation of emotions by analysis of emotional intelligence. This contemporary field of psychological and sociological study provides a potentially useful way of understanding and implementing Christian discipleship goals as articulated in the teachings of Jesus. Chapter 5 continues this recreational mode by discovering a preferred venue for discipleship (and emotional) growth: the dinner table. Jesus' pervasive use of mealtime environments is shown, as well as the potential for similar experiences today. Chapter 6 summarizes both recognition and recreation of emotions and offers some specific recommendations for the introduction of emotion in discipleship programs.

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Christianity Commons

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