The definition proposed by Nevin Harner in 1939 for Christian education as "a reverent attempt to discover the divinely ordained process by which individuals grow toward Christ likeness and to work with that process" (Harner 1939, p. 20) applies equally well to that of spiritual formation. The general concerns of spiritual formation have always been a part of Christian education-and Christian education has always included and been a means of spiritual formation. It is not only that spiritual formation and Christian education share similar purposes but many Christian educators have been giving leadership to the spiritual formation movement, exemplified by the Christian educators who have written articles in this special theme issue.
In the field of Christian education, deferred conceptual maintenance has resulted in fragmentation and enervation. This article considers some of the limitations in the Christian education movement, the recent popularity of spiritual formation as a way forward, and suggestions for a comprehensive approach under the banner of Christian formation which might invigorate and give a basis for integrating educational ministries. Earlier version of this were published in Covenant Quarterly 59, no. 4 (2001): 27-38 and given in a NAPCE workshop.
The church in emerging culture: Five perspectives. By Leonard Sweet (Gen. Ed.), Andy Crouch, Michael Horton, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Brian D. McLaren, and Erwin Raphael McManus. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2003.
Overview by Paul Bramer, Associate Professor of Christian Formation, M.A.C.E. Director North Park Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL
Review by Gary L.McIntosh, Professor, Christian Ministry & Leadership, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, La Mirada, CA
Review by William R. “Rick” Yount, Professor and Assistant Dean of Foundations of Education School of Educational Ministries, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX
Garrett J. DeWeese, Associate Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Ethics Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, La Mirada, CA