Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
Mark McMinn, PhD
Glena Andrews, PhD
William Buhrow, PsyD
Though topics of prayer, forgiveness, and gratitude have received attention in the psychology of religion, there is sparse literature regarding the concept of grace. This study explored how Christians who identify as Friends (Quakers) experience grace from God. Thirty interviews were conducted with Friends in the Pacific Northwest, using a standardized semistructured interview developed for a larger study of how Christians from various denominations experience grace. Four organizing themes were derived from the interview questions and then grounded theory was used to uncover associated sub-themes within each organizing theme. The organizing themes include the nature of God, the nature of grace, struggles and challenges related to grace, and ongoing disciplines of grace. Participants emphasized the loving nature of God and how grace is a transforming relational experience with God that helps people move toward wholeness and completeness. Though participants sometimes linked grace with questions of eternal destiny, it was also associated with being fully accepted and loved by God in the present moment. Many expressed concerns about conservative Christian perspectives of grace that seem to overly focus on being saved from hell, instead preferring views of grace that are inclusive and available to all. Ongoing disciplines of grace included being in nature, community relationships, creative expressions, prayer, quiet, and reading sacred texts. These findings are consistent with historical and contemporary distinctives of Friends. Implications for future research are considered.
Webster, Kyle T., "Experiences of Divine Grace among Christian Friends" (2020). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 334.