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The purpose of this dissertation is to provide a theological interpretation of the book of Joshua, with special attention to the ethical problem of violence in the book, and to set forth a homiletical model for preaching the theology of the book to shape the church’s mission. The homiletical model includes suggestions for both how to handle the violence of the book in the pulpit and how to appropriate the theology constructively in the life of the church. This model is applied specifically to the ministry of Brookdale Presbyterian Church in St. Joseph, Missouri.
This study surveys the relevant literature for handling the violence of the conquest, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches, before arguing that the book of Joshua is a highly ritualized and sacralized account of Israel’s early history, initially written during the years of Josiah’s reforms and intended to be a metaphor of the religious life in service to the one true God. Based on this approach, a constructive theological reading of the book is then offered, highlighting the four key theological themes of the narrative. These four themes are reframing the identity of God’s people, encouraging faith in the power of God, combatting idolatry and urging an exclusive devotion to the Lord, and identifying bold and courageous obedience as the path to rest.
Finally, the theological interpretation of Joshua is applied to the specific task of preaching. The four key theological themes are refracted through the New Testament witness to demonstrate how each theme should shape the life and mission of the church. Then, a practical homiletical model for the preaching the book is developed, providing a practical strategy for handling the violence in the book and applying the four theological themes to the mission of Brookdale Presbyterian Church.
Doctor of Ministry
Gregory, Bryan, "As For Us, We Will Serve the Lord: Preaching the Theology of Joshua for the Church’s Mission" (2018). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 322.