Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)




Modem Christians in the United States are products of both their environment and their past. In a time when "cultural relevancy" is the buzz word, there appears to be a desperate attempt to "get it right" with God. Modems have jumped from fads to fashions to forms, all in an attempt to find a connection with God. Yet there appears to be restlessness within the body of Christ. There is also division within the body of Christ. With the rise of postmodern Christians and the emerging church, modem Christians are left scratching their heads, searching for answers to questions that never existed a generation ago. At least, questions that were not as prevalent and time-sensitive as what they appear to be today. The problems for modem Christians are basic. They are not new problems; nevertheless, they loom large in churches today. Where did all the people go? What did we do wrong? Why don't the young people want to go to church with us anymore? We need a both-and approach rather than an either-or approach as modem Christians. We panic as though we are in the ~11-or-nothing round of church history. Modem Christians need to make a paradigm shift, not find a new God! Our emphasis on a 200-year-old penal relationship with God is not wrong, but it is incomplete. To address this problem, I propose to direct modem Christians to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit, guided by scripture, which will move them from a penal relationship with God to a covenant relationship with God. The former still holds true, while the latter becomes the foundation for modem Christians. In chapter two, we address the biblical model for discerning the voice of the Holy Spirit. The thrust is discernment, and its cognates such as hearing and listening. In chapter three, we will uncover Quaker history as a model for discernment in the church today, focusing upon a 20th century ''transitional prophet," D. Elton Trueblood. In chapter four, we will show the transition from the Penal Substitution Model to the Covenant Renewal Model using the Relational Model as a bridge between the two. Our destination is the Covenant Renewal Model, though the Relational Model brings great satisfaction. In chapter five, we will explore the writings of Randy Alcorn as a model for the proper use of scripture as our guide as we discern the voice of the Holy Spirit. Finally, we summarize our solution in chapter six, demonstrating spiritual formation as exemplifying a covenant relationship with God.

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