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This final project facilitates a doctrinal intervention to help emerging adults at Harding University understand and appropriate the biblical teaching of Christ’s humanity in order to bring about holistic spiritual formation. The intervention takes place during five or six class periods in two college courses at a private, liberal arts college in Searcy, Arkansas affiliated with the Churches of Christ. The students in these classes are in a liminal stage of life marked by a quest for identity. Their tattoos tangibly bear witness to this quest and to their postmodern leanings. The majority of these students share a background in the Churches of Christ of the American Restoration Movement. This project seeks to ground these students’ identities in Christ while addressing a potential deficiency in their inherited views of Christ, namely, a superficial understanding of his human nature. The doctrine of the utter humanity of Christ not only provides the content for this intervention, it provides the methodology. Thus, each main component of this project begins “from below” with concrete observations. Most significantly, the intervention anchors its Christological conclusions to the tangible rite of baptism, which has a prominent place in Restoration theology. First, the intervention shows how Jesus’ own baptism densely expresses a robust Christology. Second, the approach presents Christian baptism as an identity-shaping capsule of the believer’s participatory faith in Christ. Quantitative and qualitative analysis suggests that the doctrinal intervention contributed to positive changes in the ways students thought about Jesus and the ways they related to Jesus. Moreover, some students reported specific behavioral changes brought about by their new understanding of Jesus. Thus, the project did contribute to the holistic spiritual formation of Harding students.

Content Reader: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Fredrickson, Kurt

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Jesus Christ; Harding University (Searcy, Ark.); Spiritual formation; Disciples of Christ; College students


Missions and World Christianity


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