Spiritual formation is both an opportunity and a challenge for educators in Christian colleges and seminaries. How can students be nurtured and guided in developing spiritually within the curriculum? Drawing on a number of educators, studies, and arguments, this article develops a rationale for engaging in spiritual formation and for the use of practical assignments or "soul projects." A selection of such projects is grouped into genres, followed by a brief exploration of best practices and an evaluation of such assignments.
The past decade has provided the professor a wealth of evangelical textbooks in the area of spirituality and spiritual formation. The ten books selected below are ideal for general courses at the college and seminary level. Foster and Mulholland have written two of the most widely used books in spiritual formation. Both are well-written, balanced, and have a decidedly applied focus. Demarest and Issler are good choices for textbooks because of the well-told journey of the authors into the deeper life with God. The remaining books are deserving of a place in more specialized courses.
Foster, Richard J. Celebration of discipline: The path to spiritual growth (20th anniversary ed.). San Francisco: HarperSan Francisco, 1998.
Mulholland, M. Robert. Invitation to a journey: A road map for spiritual formation. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993.
Demarest, Bruce. Satisfy your soul: Restoring the heart of Christian spirituality. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1999.
Issler, Klaus. Wasting time with God: A Christian spirituality of friendship with God. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2001.
Allen, Diogenes. Spiritual theology: The theology of yesterday for spiritual help today. Cambridge, MA: Cowley, 1997.
Boa, Kenneth. Conformed to his image: Biblical and practical approaches to spiritual formation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001.
Bakke, Jeannette. Holy invitations: Exploring spiritual direction, 2000. 288pp.
Chan, Simon. Spiritual theology. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1998.
Lovelace, Richard F. Dynamics of spiritual life: An evangelical theology of renewal. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1979.
Willard, Dallas. The spirit of the disciplines: Understanding how God changes lives. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1999.
Howard, Evan. The Brazos introduction to Christian spirituality. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, (May) 2008.
James C. Wilhoit. Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christ through Community. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, (February) 2008.
Anointed teaching is based on a theologically grounded educational construct in which the anointing is not just an optional enrichment, but its defining mark. A literature review and scriptural framework are provided to encourage reflection in this neglected area of Christian Education. Anointed teaching is dependent upon the Holy Spirit's personal work in, upon, and among the participants and the entire educational process. The teacher's spiritual maturity is critical as theyinvite openness to the Holy Spirit and seek to cultivate the presence and power of His annointing. Practices, dispositions, outcomes that accompany anointed teaching are suggested.
Preliminary results of a recent interview project with veteran professors of Christian education regarding key transitions in the field over the last several decades. Four main areas of change are addressed, including issues of professional identity, the role of social sciences, the role of Scripture and theology, and cultural changes impacting educational ministry.
In anticipation of this special 25th anniversary issue of the Christian Education Journal, I invited about two dozen veteran professors to share their reflections of trends and changes in the field of Christian education over the last 25 years. About half were able to do so. These are collected here and shared with you to encourage your own reflection on the past and discernment for the future.
Willard, Dallas. (2002). Renovation of the heart: Putting on the character of tion, Renovation of the Heart. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress. 268 pp.
Review by Klaus Issler, Professor of Christian Education and Theology, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, La Mirada, CA
Review by Richard V. Peace Robert Boyd Munger Professor of Evangelism and Spiritual Formation Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA.
Review by S. Steve Kang, Associate Professor of Christian Formation and Ministry Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL
Review by Jeff Sickles Pastor, Snohomish Evangelical Free Church, Snohomish, WA
The authors respond to Jackie Smallbones' examination of their article.
In this article, the authors discuss the neglect of solid Bible teaching in the contemporary church. The authors points out that with better teacher training teachers can learn to master a biblical text in terms of the kind of writing it is, to interpret its meaning, to speak to a class's imagination, and to show the relevance of the Bible to everyday living.
Protestant religious education curriculum has undergone numerous changes since the early 1800s. This article reviews the work of the American Sunday School Union during the 1800s and the development of its Union Questions. The author then compares today's curriculum with that instituted by the American Sunday School Union.
In his writings, Ronald Goldman aligns himself with Piagetian psychology. The author indicates that the agreement is often at a superficial level and illustrates this by contrasting Goldman's static conception of memory with Piaget's reconstructive model. These two divergent models are discussed along with their respective implications for Christian education.