Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Dr. Jon Robertson
Dr. Steve Delamarter
Contemporary American Evangelicalism is in a state of flux. Serious thinkers are even suggesting that with the confluence of postmodernity and the rise of the Millennials, what Evangelicalism is currently encountering is not simply change, but crisis. In light of a widespread exodus of many Millennials from traditional Evangelical churches, crisis seems an apt description. I discuss the current condition of Evangelicalism and reach back to the patristic fathers for a remedy, which I suggest, is a fitting spiritual medicine for the contemporary movement. But this "reach back" is not simply an historical exercise, but is complemented by the thinking and writing of contemporary theologians, both East and West, whose thought parallels that of the Fathers. I first describe the context in which Evangelicalism had its origins, followed in Chapter Two, by a review of the philosophical context of these origins, and identify modernity as the confluence of the Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment, and the ultimate birthing room of Evangelicalism. In Chapter Three, I present the thesis that Evangelicalism and the Enlightenment are intellectual and philosophical siblings, both dependent upon and encouraging of each other. In the next chapter, I examine the health and state of Evangelicals and their world. This review is aided by the work of researchers such as Hunter and Barna. In Chapter Five, I explore the spiritual zeitgeist of late twentieth century America, arguably the formative cradle of contemporary Evangelicals. I show how this spiritual context has had great impact on the philosophical and spiritual formation of both Boomers and Millennials. In Chapter Six I examine how Evangelicals are wrestling both with postmodernity and the responses many Millennials are exhibiting to both postmodernity and the cultural challenges it presents. In the final chapter I seek to show how and why the ancient soteriological understanding of Christian salvation as theosis or union with God through grace is the spiritual medicine fit for an Evangelicalism in crisis.
Gama, Michael Paul, "Theosis: The Core of Our Ancient/Future Faith and Its Relevance to Evangelicalism at the Close of the Modern Era" (2014). Doctor of Ministry. 74.