Special focus issues also contain articles of general interest to the field of Christian education.
Biblical illiteracy is a major spiritual problem in America today. Churches and society pay a high price when so many cannot discern between good (what is biblical) and evil. This research examines Bible knowledge among Southern Baptist adult Sunday school participants and investigates the relationships that exist between Bible knowledge and length of Sunday school attendance, size of the overall Sunday school, and frequency of Sunday school attendance. In addition to presenting quantitative evidence concerning the participants’ level of Bible knowledge, this research study
draws specific conclusions and gives four explicit recommendations for pastors, church leaders, and Christian educators.
Key Words: adults, adult learning, adult education, Bible literacy, Southern Baptist, Bible knowledge
After the Fourth Lateran Council (A.D. 1215), the church, with the exception of the Eastern Orthodox Church, restricted the participation of children in eucharistic celebrations based on the exegesis of 1 Corinthians 11:29 regarding “recognizing the body of the Lord” and Roman Catholicism’s emphasis on the doctrine of transubstantiation. It has long been common for adults to believe that children lack the degree of cognitive ability necessary to give a confession of faith in order to receive the Lord’s Supper. After the publication of Christian L. Keidel’s article “Is the Lord’s Supper for Children?” in 1975, however, many Reformed churches in North America began to reconsider age appropriate participation of children in the Lord’s Supper. Because there is no mention of the Lord’s Supper for children in the Bible or in any historical documents from the first to the third century, scholars have been unable to establish clear guidelines for acceptance or refusal. Therefore, researching children’s religious thinking in relation to cognitive development is essential in deciding the matter of their participation in the Lord’s Supper.
Keywords: cognitive development, children, communion, experience, faith formation.
The role of pastors in vibrant churches is established in the literature, but the nature of their influence as shepherd-teachers has not been probed. This case study looks at how a senior-pastor shaped congregational culture, impacting educational vision and adult faith formation at a Congregational church in New England. Through careful listening to stories of pastors and church members and participation in various faith events, the researcher sought insider perspectives to the research question. The study revealed an effective pastor as a servant shepherd-leader who has earned the trust of his congregation over many years and who possesses a pastoral imagination to respond appropriately to unique faith contexts. The study also suggests that an effective pastor is an adaptive shepherd-teacher who views faith formation as integrated within the total life of the congregation ad creatively shapes core ministries into faith-forming experiences. This ethnographic study, applied in congregational contexts, emphasizes the importance of Christian education in the theological curriculum for the formation of shepherd-teachers. It also teaches seminary students that effective pastoral ministry always begins with attending to the rich and textured stories of the people they serve.
Key Words: pastors, ethnography, theological education, educational leadership, congregational culture
Early Lutheran educational reforms carried out the educational vision of Martin Luther and were consistent with his thought. Humanistic concerns deeply influenced Melanchthon’s educational reforms in lands allied with Wittenberg. Melanchthon’s humanism was faithful to Luther’s thought. Luther, like Melanchthon, reconciled Northern Renaissance Humanism and his evangelical theology. Luther’s and Melanchthon’s humanism was consistent with their theology insofar as they worked from a framework that distinguished between two kinds of righteousness. Melanchthon and Luther could uphold humanistic commitments as long as they did not encroach upon the doctrine of justification.
Keywords: Humanism, Luther, Lutheran, Melanchthon, education
The digital revolution in communications continues to have a profound effect on education and the way it is delivered in both the church and the
academy. Online mediated education, which was in its infancy less than two decades ago, now continues to expand to the point where it is becoming a predominate form of education. This expansion has created the need for specialists who understand the dynamics of effective education in a virtual environment. This special edition of the Christian Education Journal examines different facets of effective Christian education in our digital world.
While many theories exist to explain the phenomenon of learning, one of the oldest and most supported models is Vygotsky’s social constructivism. Although once a forgotten voice, many of the newer Western studies support this model. The present paper discusses social constructivism as an andragogical model for Christian educators teaching in online learning environments and offers possible frameworks and strategies for doing so.
Keywords: social constructivism, Christian education, online learning, adult learning, Vygotsky
The biblical educator is interested in a pedagogy that provides a paradigm supported by biblical theology for those engaged in the online education enterprise. Constructivism provides student-centered knowledge, truth-oriented perception, individually transformed information, and an actively constructed worldview. The following essay analyzes the constructivist paradigm as it is employed in biblical education online both from a biblical perspective and as it relates to the art and science of providing biblical education online. The conclusion is that Constructivism provides a helpful paradigm for biblical online education.
Key Words: Biblical education, constructivism, online education, online learning
This article proposes that Paul’s letter to the church in Rome can identify processes involved in offering a spiritually formative education from a distance. When Paul wrote the letter to Rome, he wrote to a church he had never visited. We argue that his relationship with the recipients is analogically similar to the relationship between professor and student in an online, educational paradigm. Paul modeled how to offer this spiritually formative relationship by emphasizing the gospel message, grounding his scriptural authority, personalizing his message, anticipating questions, enlisting the community, encouraging the recipients, praying for needs, and explaining the marks of true Christianity.
Keywords: spiritual formation, distance learning, online education, education, Paul, Romans
This article examines the complex relationship between Christian living, online technology, and the “Christian Net Generation.”1 It is the culmination of a yearlong ethnographic research project in the lives of Christian undergraduate students and staff who are part of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada. These Christian students use the Internet as extensions of their lives. They experiment with their faith online, which enhances their embodied spiritual experiences: attending church, sharing meals, communal Bible studies, and living together in communal housing. They demonstrate that it is possible to follow Jesus through the technologizing of their faith.
Key Words: technology, college and university, online learning, online education, online spirituality
The Christian higher education landscape is changing with the development of online courses and programs. Faculty and administrators are struggling with developing effective learning in an online format. One of the ways effective learning and social interaction can be developed is through online learning communities. The article provides a definition and rationale for online learning communities and best practices gained from the precedent literature and experience in teaching and developing online programs.
Keywords: Learning communities, social interaction, online education, learning, higher education
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are one of the latest innovations in higher education. They represent a classic example of a phenomenon called disruptive innovation. This article traces the origins of MOOCs and the reasons for their rapid development in digital education. MOOCs may or may not survive in their present form, but by considering the issues they seem designed to confront, those who work in higher education can gain valuable insight into what forces are shaping the future of the field and how we can proactively engage in that shaping process.
Keywords: MOOC, disruptive innovation, higher education, digital education, higher education business models, higher education curriculum models, on-line education
Cristakis, N., & Fowler, J. (2009). Connected: The surprising power of our social networks and how they shape our lives. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company
Garrison, D. R. (2011). E-learning in the 21st century: A framework for research and practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Hess, M. E. (2005). Engaging technology in theological education: All that we can’t leave behind. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Katz, R. N. (Ed.). (2008). The tower and the cloud: Higher education in the age of cloud computing. EDUCAUSE (http://www.educause.edu/books/)
Lehman, R. M., & Conceiçaˆo, C. O. (2010). Creating a sense of presence in online teaching: How to “be there” for distance learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Maddix, M. A., Estep, J., & Lowe, M. (2012). Best practices of online education: A guide for Christian higher education. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2003). The virtual student: A profile and guide to working with online learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online learning communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Thormann, J., & Zimmerman, I. (2012). The complete step-by-step guide to designing and teaching online courses. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Wagner, R. (2012). Godwired: Religion, ritual and virtual reality. New York, NY: Routledge.
We selected the following ten books from current publishing within the discipline of education with significant contribution to the integration dialogue. All books are current and have publication dates since 2005. Scott and Trott serve as librarians in two Christian universities whose professors are deeply committed to integrative work. To support the work at their institutions, Scott and Trott have created a much larger bibliographic resource (including all disciplines taught at their institutions) of current materials (post-2000) supporting the integration of faith and learning. They have concentrated on materials that integrate each discipline’s body of knowledge with the doctrine of faith. (http://www.georgefox.edu/offices/murdock/Services/ServicesFor/FacultyFaithLearningBib/index.html)
In this section 15 books are reviewed, presented in the following general order: children/family ministry, youth ministry, adult ministry, foundations, teaching-learning process, spirituality/spiritual formation, and leadership/administration—although reviews may not appear for each area. A list of each area and responsible editors appears after the last review in this section. We invite readers to consider reviewing a book for CEJ. Guidelines are available in downloadable documents at www.biola.edu/cej under Publications Policy on the drop down menu.
Intergenerational Christian formation: Bringing the whole church together in ministry, community and worship. By Holly Catterton Allen and Christine Lawton Ross. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic. 2012. 330 pp.
Review by Steve Clark, Adjunct Professor, Moody Bible Institute, Spokane, WA Campus.
Trained in the fear of God: Family ministry in theological, historical, and practical perspective. Edited by Randy Stinson and Timothy Paul Jones. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel. 2011. 290 pp.
Review by Jason Caillier, Doctoral Student in Leadership Studies, Dallas Baptist University, Dallas, TX.
The adolescent journey: An interdisciplinary approach to practical youth ministry. By Amy E. Jacober. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. 2011. 179 pp.
Review by Donald Shepson III, Associate Professor of Christian Education, Youth Ministry and Spiritual Formation, Toccoa Falls College, Toccoa, GA.
Christian education leadership: Making disciples in the 21st century. Edited by Bernard M. Spooner. Coppell, TX: Christian Leadership. 2012. 381pp.
Review by David C. Strawn, Minister of Education, First Baptist Church, College Station, TX; Resident Fellow, B.H. Carroll Theological Institute, Arlington, TX.
Mapping out curriculum in your church: Cartography for Christian pilgrims. By James Estep, Roger White, and Karen Estep. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group. 2012. 325 pp.
Review by Wm. A. Budd Smith, Senior Fellow of Ministry and Formation, B. H. Carroll Theological Institute, Arlington, TX.
Practical theology: An introduction. By Richard R. Osmer. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. 2008. 256 pp.
Review by Benjamin D. Espinoza, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, KY.
Heart-deep teaching: Engaging students for transformed lives. By Gary Newton. Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman. 2012. 212 pp.
Review by Christy M. Hill, Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation and
Women’s Ministries, Grace College and Seminary, Winona Lake, IN.
Liberal arts for the Christian life. Edited by Jeffry C. Davis & Philip G. Ryken. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. 2012. 318 pp.
Review by Mark Eckel, V.P. of Academic Affairs, Director, Interdisciplinary Studies, Crossroads Bible College, Indianapolis, IN.
Ready, set, teach: Training and supporting volunteers in Christian education. By Delia Halverson. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press. 2010. 115 pp.
Review by Megan G. Brown, Adjunct Professor, Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, CA.
Spirituality in higher education: Autoethnographies. Edited by Heewon Chang & Drick Boyd. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. 2011. 266pp.
Review by Allen M. Bañez, Research Assistant, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, La Mirada, CA; Pastor of Ministry Operations, Ambassador Church, Brea, CA.
Teaching and Christian practices. Edited by David Smith and James Smith. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans. 2011. 225pp.
Review by Emilio K. Rugano, Adjunct Professor St Paul’s University Limuru, Kenya.
Pilgrim practices: Discipleship for a missional church. By Kristopher Norris. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books. 2012. 160 pp.
Review by Timothy E. Buckheit, Assistant Pastor of Discipleship Ministries, First Alliance Church, Great Falls, MT.
Renovation of the church: What happens when a seeker church discovers spiritual formation. By Kent Carlson and Mike Lueken. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. 2011. 184 pp.
Review by Scott D. Edgar, Lead Faculty, Azusa Pacific Online University, Glendora, CA.
Leaders in the labyrinth: College presidents and the battleground of creeds and convictions. By Stephen J. Nelson. Westport, CT: Praeger. 2007. 229 pp.
Review by Paul Wright, Rector, Instituto Bíblico Evangélico Mendoza, República Argentina.
Pastoral leadership is . . .: How to shepherd God’s people with passion and confidence. By Dave Earley. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic. 2012. 320pp.
Review by Agametochukwu Iheanyi-Igwe, Doctoral Student, Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, CA.