A Journal of Holiness Theology for Asia-Pacific Contexts
ASIA-PACIFIC NAZARENE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Bridging Cultures for Christ 1 Timothy 2:5
Ortigas Avenue Extension, Kaytikling Taytay, Rizal 1920
Republic of the Philippines
Telephone: (63-2) 658-5872 Fax: (63-2) 658-4510 Website: www.apnts.edu.ph E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Volume XIV, Number 1 July 2019
Mediator 14, no. 1 (2019) ii
to ministry in Asian and Pacific contexts. The views expressed in the Journal reflect those of the authors and not necessarily the views of the seminary, its administration, or the editorial committee.
The Mediator is the official journal of Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary and has been in publication since 1996. Please send all corre- spondence, comments, or questions to the editor at the address below.
Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary Ortigas Ave. Ext., Kaytikling
Taytay, 1920 Rizal PHILIPPINES
Editor: Darin Land, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament, APNTS
© Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary, 2019. The authors retain copy- right to their individual articles.
Permission to quote from the Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Permission to quote from the Contemporary English Version® (CEV). Copyright © 1995, by Ameri- can Bible Society. All rights reserved.
Mediator 13, no. 2 (2018) iii Table of Contents
List of Contributors ... v Preface ... vi The Spirit in the Church ... 1
Amidst the Gemeinschaft-ing and Gesellschaft-ing: The Atomization Societies and the Communal Bonds Built by the Wesleyan-Holiness Women ... 13
Marie Joy Pring
Children’s Spirituality: Biblical Foundations, the Importance of Laying a Solid Spiritual Foundation and the Nurturing Role of the Family and the Faith Community ... 25
“Let the Little Children Come to Me”: Examining the Place of Children from a Theological, Historical, and Developmental Perspective: Impli- cations for Missions with Children ... 37
Roseline Shimuli Olumbe
Transformational Teaching/Learning ... 59 Ning Ngaih Lian
2019 APNTS Thesis and Dissertation Abstracts ... 79 The Use of Mobile Apps by Selected Millennials of Victory Chris- tian Fellowship Ortigas to Facilitate Religious Practices
April Anne Fallaria
Mediator 14, no. 1 (2019) iv
odist Members in the Manila Episcopal Area Cathy Lee F. Gondra
Doctrinal Beliefs and Practices of Selected 15–18-Year-Old Youth in the Philippine Church of the Nazarene: Do They Understand, Believe, and Apply the Articles of Faith in Their Lives?
Rogelio Yalung Macabuhay
The Influence of the Family upon the Development of Children in St. John Baptist Church, Kalaymyo, Myanmar
Naomi Ni Em
Effects of Children’s Political Awareness, Affiliation, and Partici- pation on Inter-Personal Relationships among 10–13-Year-Olds in a Multi-Ethnic Kenya
Roseline Shimuli Olumbe
A Mixed-Methods Filipino Parenting Education Project towards Evidence-Based Practice
An Approach to Enhance the Creative Bible Lessons Curriculum (Hong Kong) with Multimedia
Kathrin S. Woehrle
Call for Papers ... 89 Information ... 91
Mediator 13, no. 2 (2018) v List of Contributors
Rebecca Davis ... Instructor in Music and Worship, APNTS April Anne Fallaria ... M.A.C.C. Graduate, APNTS Cathy Lee F. Gondra ... M.A.R.E. Graduate, APNTS Wobeni Lotha ... Ph.D. Candidate, APNTS Rogelio Yalung Macabuhay ... Ph.D. Graduate, APNTS Naomi Ni Em ... M.A.R.E. Graduate, APNTS Ning Ngaih Lian ... Ph.D. Candidate, APNTS Roseline Shimuli Olumbe ... Ph.D. Graduate, APNTS Marie Joy Pring ... Research Department Director & Ph.D. Student, APNTS Evelyn Ramos-Pajaron ... Ph.D. Graduate, APNTS Kathrin S. Woehrle ... M.A.R.E. Graduate, APNTS
Mediator 14, no. 1 (2019) vi
It is easy to over-simplify Wesleyan theology into a caricature of itself, often in the form of the tired Wesleyan-Calvinist debate wherein the Wesleyan perspective is placed over against the Calvinist view as “you can lose your salvation” versus “once-saved-always-saved.” While this concern has roots in the respective theologies, Wesleyan theology, for its part, is much more robust—and edifying—than this kind of over-wrought trope.
Not least among the more robust aspects of Wesleyan theology is its theological method, the way that the theologian goes about her work.1 At the core of the Wesleyan theological method is the so-called Wesleyan Quadrilateral, a hermeneutic that recognizes Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience as essential sources for doing theology.
The present Mediator issue is an exercise in Wesleyan theology. We begin with a study of pneumatology from a Wesleyan perspective, with spe- cial emphasis on implications for the Church (Davis). This is followed by four articles that explore experiential aspects of theology as demonstrated by Wesleyan-Holiness women (Pring) and as recommended for work with children (Lotha and Olumbe) and adults (Ning Ngaih Lian).
Rounding out this issue, once again, we feature the abstracts from the theses and dissertations of the current graduates from APNTS’s various de- gree programs.
Darin H. Land, Ph.D.
Editor, The Mediator
Professor of New Testament, APNTS
1 The careful reader may note that all the articles in the present issue happen to be
authored by women. It is for that reason that I use the feminine pronoun here. Of course, not all Wesleyan theologians are women.
The Spirit in the Church Rebecca Davis, M.Div.
The marks of the church, as set forth in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, are that she is “one holy catholic and apostolic church.” The Creed is the church’s confession about the Triune God, that doctrine being the central, crucial question for the church to answer at the councils of Nicaea and Constantinople. Thus, the creed can be divided into three sections, each addressing the church’s belief in and understanding of the workings of one member of the Trinity. The statement of belief in the church is in the third section, falling under the domain of the Holy Spirit. Along with confessing that the Holy Spirit is, indeed, an equal member of the Godhead by naming him “Lord” and “giver of life… who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,” we confess that we believe in the church, which exists because of the life-giving Spirit. Leroy T. Howe says, “The Church is the Spirit’s creation, and the Spirit intrudes into the world for the sake of creating that land of community of which the Church is both sign and promise.”1 Jürgen Moltmann agrees with this assessment when he says,
“The statements about the church… belong to the article about faith in the Holy Spirit, and are only justified and comprehensible in the framework of the creative workings of the Spirit.”2 Geoffrey Wainwright adds, “The Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed places the Church under the divine sovereignty of the Holy Spirit, now, and always, and unto ages of ages.”3
If, then, the church is created and operates under the divine sovereignty of God the Holy Spirit, what does that look like? How is the Spirit involved in making the church who she is? According to Moltmann, our confession
1 Leroy T. Howe, “Holy Spirit and Holy Church,” Saint Luke’s Journal of Theology 22, no. 1 (1978): 43.
2 Jürgen Moltmann, The Church in the Power of the Spirit: A Contribution to Messianic Ecclesiology, 1st ed. (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), 337–38.
3 Geoffrey Wainwright, “The Holy Spirit,” in Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine 1997, 441.
in the Creed “is acknowledgment of the uniting, sanctifying, comprehensive and commissioning lordship of Christ.”4 This paper will examine the Spirit’s role in these four marks of the lordship of Christ over the church, according to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed: (1) unity, (2) holiness, (3) catholicity, and (4) apostolicity.
Unity in the church is a difficult thing to achieve. Often, it is even difficult to describe. What is meant by “one” church? How can the many expressions of the church today be one?
To begin, we must be aware that unity is not the same as uniformity.
Moltmann says, “The unity of the congregation is a unity in freedom. It must not be confused with unanimity, let alone uniformity in perception, feeling or morals…. Because it is Christ who gathers it and the Spirit of the new creation who gives it life, nothing that serves the kingdom of God and the freedom of [the person] must be suppressed in it. It is a unity in diver- sity and freedom.”5 If the Holy Spirit is the giver of life, he is creative. In giving life to the church, it is logical that the resulting community would be as creative as the individual believers who constitute it. There is no need to insist on uniformity in order to be united. Ephesians 4:4 and 7 says,
“There is one body and one Spirit…. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it” (NIV). All the “oneness” language in this passage is immediately followed by a statement telling us that each of those who make up the “one” is different. It follows that “one church” does not mean there should only be one expression of what “church” means, or even that every Christian must comply with a single comprehensive set of beliefs.
Our core beliefs, as set forth in the Creed, are integral to our identity as the church, but there are many differences of understanding that need not de- stroy our unity.
The Triune God is a God of unity. We often use the word “communion”
to express the idea of connection, or oneness among more than one, includ- ing when we speak of the Trinity. Silouanos Fotineas says, “It is from the
4 Moltmann, The Church in the Power of the Spirit, 338.
5 Ibid., 343.
third person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit, that the event of commun- ion is realised. In the Holy Trinity, it is the Holy Spirit which connects the Father and Son as well as the human person with divine life.”6 This idea of unity is accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit, who connects the church with himself, the individual members with each other, and all with God the Father and God the Son.
At the very beginning of the church in the book of Acts, we can see the work of the Spirit creating unity where no unity was humanly possible. The story of Pentecost and the resulting church is an amazing example of unity in spite of diversity. Another story describing how the Spirit produced unity in the early church occurs in Acts 8. This passage tells the story about Philip the evangelist preaching in Samaria. A central point of the story is that the new believers were baptized but did not receive the Holy Spirit immediately.
Alexandre Vieira gives us a possible explanation for this situation. First, Vieira recounts the history of enmity between the Jews and Samaritans. He then says it is significant that verse one tells us that everyone except the apostles were dispersed because of persecution in Jerusalem, letting us know the apostles were not in Samaria with Philip. When the apostles heard about what had happened in Samaria, they sent Peter and John. Vieira pos- its that the reason the Samaritans did not receive the Holy Spirit concur- rently with their baptism was for the purpose of uniting the Jews and Sa- maritans in the new church. He says,
God wanted to show the Jerusalem church that He was behind the Samaritans’ acceptance of the faith, and therefore the church had no choice but to welcome them as well…. In fact, centuries of en- mity could only be undone by the hand of God Himself. If the Holy Spirit had “ordinarily” come as expected, together with the bap- tism of the Samaritans, the ancient rupture between the two peo- ples would not have been dealt with.7
6 Silouanos Fotineas, “Saint Basil of Caesarea: The Koιvωvίa of the Church and Koιvωvίa in the Holy Spirit,” Phronema 32, no. 2 (2017): 91.
7 Alexandre Vieira, “Holy Spirit, Church, and the Outsiders: A Brief Study of the Relation between Baptism and Holy Spirit in Acts 8:14-17,” Missio apostolica 22, no. 1 (2014): 115.
The unity of the church involves acceptance of those whom God accepts.
When Jesus told his disciples they would be his witnesses in Samaria, he was preparing them to accept the people they hated. Vieira believes Peter and John needed to be first-hand witnesses of the Holy Spirit filling the Samaritans to accomplish unity between the two groups.
The unity that we confess our belief in as the “one church” is not some- thing we can conjure up ourselves. The working of the Holy Spirit produced unity between the Jewish and Samaritan believers. The unity described in Acts 2 was also achieved through the Holy Spirit. Brent A. Strawn says, “In Acts 2, the unity that is present is not a unity that is achieved. It is a unity that is given. It is not only desired by God, but it is provided by the Spirit.
The kind of unity that God wills is granted by God.”8 George Eldon Ladd talks about koinonia, another expression of unity, in the same way. “This is something more than human fellowship or the pleasure people of like mind find in each other's presence. It is more than a fellowship in a common religion. It is an eschatological creation of the Holy Spirit. Probably II Corinthians 13:14 should be rendered ‘the fellowship created by the Holy Spirit.’”9
Even considering Biblical admonitions to believers to act in ways that promote unity (e.g., Eph 4:3, Rom 12:18, Phil 4:2), these choices are not merely an act of the human will but are a result of submission to the Spirit’s leading. The Spirit empowers believers to be an expression of the unity of the Trinity. Human beings may attempt to replicate this type of unity, but it is an unreachable goal without the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, in his prayer for future believers, as reported in John 17, prays
“that all of them may be one.” The very fact that he prayed to the Father for this to happen implies that the future believers would not be able to achieve oneness on their own but would need help. Further, Jesus says, “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity” (John
8 Brent A. Strawn, “Unity, Diversity, and the Holy Spirit,” Journal for Preachers 40, no. 4 (2017): 13.
9 George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974), 543.
17:22-23a NIV). Although Jesus does not specifically name the Holy Spirit in this prayer for unity, reading back into this prayer, we can see how the Spirit promotes unity in the church as a reflection of the unity between himself, the Father, and the Son.
In what may seem to be a divided Christendom, Ron L. Staples assures us that “the Church remains one. The communion of saints is not some- thing that can be built by ecclesiastical structures.”10 Our creed says we be- lieve in one church, not that we make it one. Our faith rests not in ourselves or our own ability to achieve unity, but in the work of the Holy Spirit, who makes us one in Christ.
Holiness, like unity, is only achievable through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the same way that we believe in one church, we believe that the church is holy; we don’t make it holy. The holiness of the church is not a result of our personal, individual holiness—the church as the Body of Christ is holy because Christ, the Head, is holy. Holiness in the Body is affected by the power of the Holy Spirit. As Wainwright says, “The divine agent of holiness in the Christian and in the Church is precisely the Holy Spirit.”11 Our posi- tional holiness as the Body of Christ does not mean that everyone who is a part of that Body has achieved perfection. Wainwright also says, “The sanc- tification or divinization of the believer and the Church is to be conceived as a dynamic process in which the absurdity of sin is being overcome, and a salutary eschatological transformation is taking place. Saints are being made.”12 We are in a place of “already and not yet” in regard to personal holiness. Yet, we believe in the holiness of the church. As noted above, we acknowledge in the Creed the “sanctifying… lordship of Christ.”13
As Wesleyan believers, we emphasize perfect love as the highest aim of holiness. Howe speaks to this idea when he says, “The power which [Jesus]
10 Rob L. Staples, Outward Sign and Inward Grace: The Place of Sacraments in Wesleyan Spirituality (Kansas City: Beacon Hill, 1991), 157.
11 Wainwright, “The Holy Spirit,” 448.
13 Moltmann, The Church in the Power of the Spirit, 338.
bequeathed his followers included the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, to be sure, but what those followers may be most remembered for in all gen- erations to come will be their capacities for patience and longsuffering, for associating with the unacceptable, even unto disgrace and martyrdom.”14 The church’s concern for the other is the true holiness given by the Holy Spirit. Howe goes on to say, “Its holiness emerges as it builds up the com- munity of believers into a redemptively open community, within which, traditionally expressed, the fallen condition of human beings may realize that perfection which God has intended from the beginning.”15
The holy church is not just a conglomeration of individuals who are growing in holiness. Edmund P. Clowney says, “Growth in true holiness is always growth together; it takes place through the nurture, the work and worship of the church.”16 Ephesians 2:21–22 says, “In him the whole build- ing is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (NIV). The church is only a holy temple together. One stone in the building may be holy, but it is not, on its own, a holy temple.
God’s church is “being built together.” Although we may each experience the presence of God dwelling in us individually, we are only his church corporately. The Holy Spirit takes all the individual stones and builds them into a unified structure in which God dwells.
Holiness can also be thought of as transformation, or being made new.
According to the prophetic promise, holiness is part of the inmost nature of the coming divine glory that is going to fill the earth.
“The Holy One of Israel” will redeem his people. When the church is called “holy” in the New Testament, this means that it has be- come the new creation in Christ and therefore partakes of the ho- liness of the new creation, which the holy God brings about
14 Howe, “Holy Spirit and Holy Church,” 46.
15 Ibid., 50.
16 Edmund P. Clowney, The Church. Contours of Christian Theology. (Leicester: Inter- Varsity, 1995), 89.
through his Spirit.17
The church is the present-day embodiment of Christ, who is holy. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the church is holy. Our individual lives are a part of that, but we cannot enhance or reduce the holiness of the church; it be- longs to Christ, who is holy.
Howe says that what makes a holy people a catholic people is “An all-en- compassing responsibility accepted by the people of God for service in the world, which knows no qualification and no condition.”18 The mark of cath- olicity is the pervasive presence of the church throughout the world. Howe goes on to say that, in the language of the Second Vatican Council, the catholic church is “a pilgrim people, about God’s mission in the world.”19
Veli-Matti Karkkainen’s view of the catholicity of the church involves the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. He says,
Not only is the local church a church by virtue of the celebration of the Eucharist, it is also a catholic church insofar as it involves the coming together of the whole church at a specific place. If the whole Christ is present at the Eucharist—and according to Ziziou- las he is—then it becomes understandable that catholicity of the church is guaranteed by Christ's presence. This is also the key to the relationship between the local and universal church.20
Thus, to be a catholic church, the church must have a worldwide pres- ence, and each part, or local expression, of this catholic church must include the presence of Christ, who is the head of the body. As Karkkainen points out, the real presence of Christ can be experienced in the Eucharist. How- ever, that is not the only way in which Christ is present. Jesus himself is recorded as saying that he would be present wherever his people are gath- ered in his name (Matthew 18:20). It may be a point of contention whether
17 Moltmann, The Church in the Power of the Spirit, 339.
18 Howe, “Holy Spirit and Holy Church,” 52.
20 Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Introduction to Ecclesiology: Ecumenical, Historical & Global Perspectives (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2002), 101.
Christ’s presence in the church requires the Eucharist. The question could be asked: is Christ truly present in every believer? If the answer is yes, then is the physical presence of the Eucharist necessary, or is the spiritual pres- ence of Christ embodied in his followers sufficient? In either case, to appre- hend the presence of Christ requires an awareness of a spiritual reality. This spiritual reality is communicated to believers by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Can those without spiritual understanding see Christ in the Eucharist or feel his presence when believers gather? A catholic church, understood in this sense, is not possible without the Holy Spirit.
There is yet more involved in the catholicity of the church. Believers are connected by the commonality of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. The Spirit-produced connection between all believers under the headship of Christ results in a catholic church. For Ladd, the catholic church “cuts across our normal human sociological structures. Race does not matter; so- cial status does not matter; by Spirit baptism all kinds of people are equally members of the body of Christ because we have all experienced the escha- tological outpouring of the Spirit.”21 Again, it is the Holy Spirit in us who connects the individual believer to the local church and the local church to the universal church. Millions of people all over the world connected only by a shared religious belief is tenuous at best. But we believe in the Holy Spirit, the giver and sustainer of life, who is the connection between us all.
Wainwright highlights the qualitative aspect of the word “catholic” in contrast to the quantitative connotation of using the word “universal.” He says, “The deepest meaning of catholicity, its inner heart, is the fullness, πλήρωµα, of God's saving act as it is achieved in Church and world.”22 The catholicity of the church is not determined by the mere fact that the church is geographically universal, but that God saves the world through the church. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the church is the light of the world.
This understanding of catholicity expands the idea of the church’s identity from “We are Christ’s worldwide church” to “We are Christ’s church for the world.” Our mission becomes part of our identity.
21 Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, 543.
22 Wainwright, “The Holy Spirit,” 448.
There is a difference between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox under- standing of apostolicity, and the Protestant understanding. The Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches think of apostolicity as the authority con- ferred on the episcopacy by virtue of the laying on of hands in the ordina- tion of bishops in a direct line back to the original twelve apostles. The problem Protestants see with this view is that it does not guarantee the transfer of truly apostolic teaching. As Clowney says,
The longer the succession list of bishops, the more tenuous the claim to untainted apostolic tradition…. Apostleship in the sense of the original and fundamental ministry of the first witnesses and messengers died out with the death of the last apostle.23
The Protestant church, then, believes that apostolicity depends on the faith- ful transmission of the original apostles’ teaching. According to Thomas C.
The church is apostolic insofar as it retains, guards, and faithfully transmits its apostolic mission. Those sent by the Son are the apos- tolate. As Christ was sent by the Father, the apostles were sent, empowered by the Spirit, and the continuing apostolate is still be- ing sent.24
He goes so far as to say,
It is primarily the whole church, and not merely discrete individu- als, that succeeds the apostles and embodies apostolicity. It is the whole church catholic and not merely a fragment of it that is the temple of the Spirit, built on the foundation of the apostles (Eph.
Regardless of the divide over how apostolic truth is transmitted, the concern for the authenticity of the apostles’ teaching has always been up- permost. Howe says,
When many diverse communities became involved in the mission,
23 Clowney, The Church, 77.
24 Thomas C. Oden, Life in the Spirit, 1st ed., v. 3 of Systematic Theology / Thomas C.
Oden (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994), 349.
25 Ibid., 355.
it became essential for the churches to find ways of maintaining the integrity of the inclusive missioning fellowship throughout the Empire; hence, the criterion of apostolicity reminded the pilgrim people that their mission, expressed in diverse ways, nevertheless had to be the mission of Jesus Christ the Lord, and of none other than he.26
But how can the integrity of the apostolic mission be maintained through so many years? As with the other marks of the church, this, too, is the domain of the Holy Spirit. Oden says,
The basic affirmation of the apostolicity of the church does not specifically require or supply a particular theory of how that apos- tolicity is transmitted intergenerationally. Regardless of how the succession is viewed, whether symbolic or actual, the line of suc- cession between the apostles and present apostolic witness is con- ceived as a continuous line of testimony sustained by the Spirit.27 And again, “Accurate recollection of apostolic testimony was understood to be undergirded and ensured by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”28
This idea is, of course, supported in Scripture. John 16:13 states clearly that the Holy Spirit “will guide you into all the truth.” In this passage, Jesus calls him the “Spirit of truth.” If the Holy Spirit were not present in the church, apostolicity would not be possible. How could we be sure the tra- ditions handed down over two millennia were correct? We could not unless we believe in the Holy Spirit, who empowers the church and guides her into all truth.
Why do we believe in the apostolic church? We believe because we have faith in the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit. Clowney says,
The church is not the source of the divine revelation given through the apostles (Gal 1:6–9). Rather, New Testament revelation is part of Christ’s work through his Spirit; it is the apostolic foundation on which Christ builds his church.29
26 Howe, “Holy Spirit and Holy Church,” 53.
27 Oden, Life in the Spirit, 354.
28 Ibid., 352.
29 Clowney, The Church, 75.
The apostolicity of the church is not only guaranteed by the Spirit, truth was revealed by the Spirit in the first place. The revelation that resulted in the existence of Christ’s church that continues until today is the work of the Holy Spirit, who is our sustainer, teacher, and guide.
The one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church is nothing less than the working of the Holy Spirit in the world. John H. Wright says it well when he says,
All that belongs to the visibility of the Church has only one pur- pose: to manifest, sustain, strengthen, and intensify the inner life communicated to us by the Holy Spirit, in virtue of which we are a community of faith, a community of worship, and a community of love.30
The church without the Spirit could not possibly be conceived of as unified.
The church without the Spirit has no possibility of being and becoming holy. The church without the Spirit has no presence in or witness to the world. And the church without the Spirit would not be able to maintain the mission given to her by Christ himself two millennia ago. We believe in the church because we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life.
Clowney, Edmund P. The Church. Contours of Christian Theology. Leices- ter: InterVarsity, 1995.
Fotineas, Silouanos. “Saint Basil of Caesarea: The Koιvωvίa of the Church and Koιvωvίa in the Holy Spirit.” Phronema 32, no. 2 (2017): 77–96.
Howe, Leroy T. “Holy Spirit and Holy Church.” Saint Luke’s Journal of Theology 22, no. 1 (1978): 43–57.
Kärkkäinen, Veli-Matti. Introduction to Ecclesiology: Ecumenical, Histori- cal & Global Perspectives. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2002.
Ladd, George Eldon. A Theology of the New Testament. Grand Rapids:
Moltmann, Jürgen. The Church in the Power of the Spirit: A Contribution
30 John H. Wright, “The Church: Community of the Holy Spirit,” Theological Studies 48, no. 1 (1987): 40.
to Messianic Ecclesiology. 1st ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1977.
Oden, Thomas C. Life in the Spirit. 1st ed. v. 3 of Systematic Theology / Thomas C. Oden. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994.
Staples, Ron L. Outward Sign and Inward Grace: The Place of Sacraments in Wesleyan Spirituality. Kansas City: Beacon Hill, 1991.
Strawn, Brent A. “Unity, Diversity, and the Holy Spirit.” Journal for Preach- ers 40, no. 4 (2017): 10–14.
Vieira, Alexandre. “Holy Spirit, Church, and the Outsiders: A Brief Study of the Relation between Baptism and Holy Spirit in Acts 8:14–17.” Mis- sio apostolica 22, no. 1 (2014): 109–17.
Wainwright, Geoffrey. “The Holy Spirit.” In Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine 1997, 441–53.
Wright, John H. “The Church: Community of the Holy Spirit.” Theological Studies 48, no. 1 (1987): 25–44.
Amidst the Gemeinschaft-ing and Gesellschaft-ing:
The Atomization of Societies and the Communal Bonds Built by the Wesleyan-Holiness Women
March 19, 2019* Marie Joy Pring, M.S.T.
I. A Development Trade-off: From Gemeinschaft To Gesellschaft
Humanity has never experienced development as rapidly as in the past hun- dred years—industrialization, modernization, and globalization trans- formed not only people’s way of life but also people’s worldview. Science and technology made the world seem smaller, as though it could be held in one’s hand, and solutions seem conveniently available at the end of one’s fingertips. Nevertheless, this is only one side of the development narrative.
Development comes at a cost, and at times it comes with high stakes. Schol- ars then and now articulate that trade-offs inevitably occur as the economic and political systems of society transform.
One of the most notable theories of transformation in society is how it moves from being Gemeinschaft (pre-modern community) to Gesellschaft (market society). While Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft have been used by other German-language philosophers, it was Ferdinand Tönnies (1855–
1936) who introduced these words as dichotomous analytical categories (Bond 2011, 1189; Waters 2016, 1; Tönnies 1957, 37–102). Tönnies under- stood that development is social evolution, a process wherein the Gemein- schaft community that used to be built upon personal relationships, loyalty, and shared values transforms into a Gesellschaft society that is character- ized by impersonal relationships, fixed-term contracts, and individual ad- vantages (Tönnies 1957; Waters 2016, 1–2). On the one hand, Tönnies thought of the Gemeinschaft bonds as emerging from what he called the
“natural will”—solidarity is naturally established among those who have the same ethnicity or religious persuasions or social location. On the other hand, he thought of the Gesellschaft bonds as emerging from “rational
* This paper was presented by Marie Joy Pring in honor of Women of Faith by the APNTS Gender and Development Committee.
will”—attachments are rationally constructed depending on one’s approxima- tion of a relationship’s value (Tönnies 1957). Typically, Gesellschaft bonds are gauged through monetary measures (Bond 2011, 1187–1188). Tönnies thought of Gesellschaft as the more progressive society since it represents the advantages of modernity and it annuls the inefficiencies that come with the sentimental biases evident in Gemeinschaft (Tönnies 1957; Cahnmann 1995; Bond 2011, 1197–1199).
Another scholar who used the Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft as analyt- ical categories is his fellow German thinker, Max Weber (1864–1920). Fol- lowing Tönnies, Weber placed Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft at the heart of his sociology (Weber 1968, 4–41; Radkau 2009, 413–415). Nonetheless, Weber slightly differed from Tönnies. While Weber affirmed the economic and political advancement of the latter, he did not essentially see it as su- perior over the former. Weber supposed that the price Gemeinschaft pays to transform to Gesellschaft is the community’s very heart and soul (Weber 1968; Waters 2016, 3). For Weber, modernity transforms people from being a community of warm affection to a society of cold, calculated rationalism (Weber 1968). Relationships and people are objectified in Gesellschaft, and the overarching paradigm that governs transactions in a consumeristic so- ciety is, “What is in it for me?” Furthermore, if Tönnies perceived this so- cietal transformation as a necessary, inescapable, and unidirectional histor- ical transition, Weber did not. Specifically, he did not see Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft as mutually exclusive from each other, but rather, he thought of the two as an ongoing, interactive tension that will never be quite re- solved (Weber 1968). Weber expanded Tönnies’s idea by introducing the gerunds Vergemeinschaftung and Vergesellschaftung, which crudely trans- late to Gemeinschaft-ing and Gesellschaft-ing. The fluidity in Weber’s idea of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft can be likened to when one attempts to mix water and oil—resisting each other albeit coexisting (Cahnmann 1995, 109–110; Waters 2016, 4).
Despite the differences in Tönnies’s and Weber’s understanding and use of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, both agree that development atomizes society. It is apparent that as the socio-economic and political landscape changes, relationships break down, and the focus turns to individual inter- ests. Gesellschaft includes the atomization of relationships even among the
most intimate social units such as close-knit neighborhoods and families (Tönnies 1957). For instance, the Gemeinschaft community of the feudal- ism era was overcome by the Gesellschaft society of the industrialization age. Traditional family ties and loyalty that used to be upheld as the utmost values in Gemeinschaft were supplanted by rationalistic and mechanistic value assessment in Gesellschaft. Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft reveal that development is two-faced indeed—the good side wherein it helps, and the other side wherein it hurts.
II. A Wesleyan Trajectory for Transformational Development
The truth that development hurts because it atomizes relationships now poses a considerable challenge to the evangelical paradigm of development.
The Christian philosophy of development, otherwise known as Transfor- mational Development, understands the inevitability of modernization. In this age of rapid progress, this approach upholds that meeting the spiritual needs of people must also include meeting their physical needs (Myers 2011, 7). Moreover, Transformational Development advocates for the mar- ginalized to have the freedom to access the economic and political advances that come with modernization. Concepts of modernization theorists such as Loomis, Rostow, and Newbigin largely informed Transformational De- velopment in its inception (Balaam and Dillman 2011; Myers 2011, 28–29;
Offutt 2012, 38).
While Transformational Development is largely associated with efforts to improve the material aspect of people’s lives, its hallmark remains its emphasis on relationships. Poverty is understood to be caused by human- ity’s fractured relationship with God, with one another, and with the rest of creation (Jayakumar 2011; Myers 2011, 65). The absence of peace in rela- tionships is perceived as equivalent to abject poverty. Hence, Transforma- tional Development views the healing of these relationships as the correc- tive intervention to undo poverty (Myers 2011, 17). Moreover, the end goal of Transformational Development is cosmological shalom wherein all peo- ple stand to have a wholly restored relationship with God, with one another, and with all of creation.
Transformational Development is evidently faced with a theoretical di- lemma as it attempts to make two polarities meet. On the one end is its
emphasis on relationships—the signet of this development paradigm. On the other end is its affirmation of modernization—the process that breaks down relationships. Also adding to the burden of this conflict is the reality that Transformational Development cannot evade the Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft premise for two important reasons: (1) most academicians like Durkheim, Jameson, Tönnies, Veblen, and Weber support it and (2) this is a premise phenomenologically reinforced by history itself (Dingley 2008, Tönnies 1957; Weber 1968).
With this theoretical dilemma, Transformational Development could perhaps prime a discussion for resolution by looking at Weber’s concept of Vergemeinschaftungund Vergesellschaftung. Weber’s fluid concept, unlike Tönnies’ absolute distinction, conveys the possibility that a community can be Gemeinschaft-ing while Gesellschaft-ing at the same time. This means that Gemeinschaft bonds can exist amidst Gesellschaft contracts—just as a film production team in a broadcast network can turn into a small family, or a department in a corporation can become a group of friends, or a small company of dressmakers can become a sisterhood. In other words, Weber’s concept opens a possible space where a community can strive for develop- ment without losing its communal bonds or letting its relationships cor- rode.
It is also precisely in this tension-filled gap between Gemeinschaft-ing and Gesellschaft-ing that Transformational Development can begin to ex- plore a new trajectory forward, one where a community minimizes the risk of relationship breakdown as it simultaneously pursues progress. More spe- cifically, this trajectory can be informed by voices from the Holiness herit- age. Offutt noted that it is mostly those from the Reformed tradition who have been steering Transformational Development discussions (Offutt 2011, 45). Tim Tennent, the president of Asbury Theological Seminary, conjectures that Christianity could now be on the verge of a “Wesleyan mo- ment” (Offutt 2011, 45). In line with this, one cannot help but think of engaging the challenges that come in the wake of development, such as broken relational ties in a dialogue informed by the distinctly Wesleyan doctrine of social holiness.
The words, “No holiness but social holiness,” are more than just a doc- trinal axiom or a dogmatic syntax to those who belong to the Wesleyan
tradition. While salvation is understood to be a posture of the heart that results in personal piety, the people of the Wesleyan heritage also empha- size that salvation has a social dimension which should result in social jus- tice, and eventually, shalom (Velasco-Sosa 2015, 350; Lebese 2015, 353;
Manswell 2015, 357). Wesley and his group were unlike most Christians of their days—they dedicated more time in discharging their social duties than in spiritual introspection and musing of rapture (Rattenburg 1928, 234).
They concretely demonstrated holiness in the seemingly mundane horizons of everyday life—they worked to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry, and to set the oppressed free. To the early Methodists, holiness is a social phe- nomenon—it “happens” when God’s people huddle and the presence of the divine manifests within the daily social realities and constraints of human existence (Lodahl 2013, 46–47).
It is not difficult to envisage how social holiness could engage commu- nities experiencing the encumbrances of societal atomization in the tension- filled process of Vergemeinschaftung undVergesellschaftung. In other words, if the corrosion of communal bonds is one of the persistent developmental challenges, social holiness could possibly mitigate this negative effect of development. This is not to claim that social holiness is the panacea that will end the problem once and for all—just as Weber posited, the conflicts brought by Gemeinschaft-ing and Gesellschaft-ing will never be fully re- solved. Even more, social holiness is a doctrine that is still being recon- structed to meet the challenges of the 21st-century context. Scholars like Assmann, Rieger, and Crawford agree that social holiness today needs to confront the postmodern structures of capitalism, exclusion, and oppres- sion (Assmann 1988, 26–37; Rieger 2001, 10–11; Crawford 2014, 144).
To put this plainly, the task that needs to be started is to identify con- cepts in the Wesleyan doctrine of social holiness that can help communities keep relationships intact while they inevitably go through the changes de- manded by progress. The discussion that follows will bring to the table voices that need to be heard today. The following is a survey of ways in which women of the Wesleyan tradition lived out social holiness and how their efforts helped forge relationships.
III. Communal Bonds Built by Wesleyan-Holiness Women
Wesley and the early Methodists did not primarily think of informing devel- opmental conversation when they served the people, more so the women who worked in the Foundry. Their concentration was on feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and giving shelter to the homeless. Nonetheless, even without the intent to participate in such discussions, the Wesleyan ethos of social holiness seemed to flow seamlessly, naturally, and inescapably into a Christian paradigm of development. Howard Snyder, one of today’s fore- most Wesleyan thinkers, identified distinct Wesleyan themes (Snyder 2011, 18). Three of these themes embody social holiness and engage the theoret- ical conflict of Transformational Development at hand: (1) love for the poor, (2) a renewed missional church, and (3) salvation as the restoration of God’s image (Snyder 2011, 19–27; Offutt 45–46). This part of the paper explores the ways in which women of the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition wove these three themes into their ministry to developing societies.
Love for the Poor
Wesley and the Methodists were considered a radical group in the 18th cen- tury because of their caritas in action and priority towards the poor. The Foundry, a building in Moorfields that Wesley bought as a meeting place for the Methodists, doubled as a shelter for the vagrants of London. The city at that period was at the dawn of the British industrial revolution. The women and men of Wesley’s group provided the basic needs of the widows and poor children and afforded funds for those unemployed who wanted to begin small enterprises (Southey 1847, 390).
Evangelism and ministry to the people of the lower echelon of society are inseparable for the Methodists. In his sermon, “The General Spread of the Gospel,” Wesley commented, “‘They shall know me,’ said the Lord, not from the greatest to the least but ‘from the least to the greatest.’” He con- tinued, “In this order the saving knowledge of God ever did and ever will proceed.” Furthermore, Wesley commented that “the greatest miracle of all”
is a church that reaches out and associates with the poor—people will not be able to do such ministry unless empowered by the Spirit and captivated by the character of Christ (Wesley 1958, 227; Snyder 2011, 22). Loving the poor is an expression of a life that is only possible if one has truly been
sanctified by the Spirit of God.
In this respect, Catherine Booth can be considered as a woman whose life embodied the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. Together with her hus- band, William, Catherine worked and served the poorest of the poor in then developing England from the 1860s until 1890, which was the year of her death (Leclerc 2010, 111; Green 2015, 32). Catherine and William not only served the economically disenfranchised in the community but also took under their wings the rejects of the society—the prostitutes, alcoholics, and gamblers—and led them to a life of repentance (Leclerc 2010, 110). They began to serve people living in extreme poverty in a work named the Chris- tian Mission (Green 2015, 21). The Christian Mission, later called the Sal- vation Army, aimed to expand evangelism efforts from merely sharing the faith to meeting the physical and social needs of the poor. Hence the three S’s of the organization were framed: soap, soul, and salvation.
Catherine, dubbed the Mother of the Salvation Army, lived out social holiness in a day and age where London was transitioning from Gemein- schaft to Gesellschaft. The population exploded, people were flocking to the large cities for industrial work, and both the government and the church were unable to cope with the flood of chaos caused by industrialization (Green 2015, 20). London became an industrial jungle where only the fittest could survive. The Salvation Army, under the leadership of the Booths, stepped in and did the vital work of caring for those who were weak in the society; they created a unified community in a segmented society—a band of brothers and sisters who shared the common goal of evangelism and so- cial welfare. The legacy of Catherine, along with her husband William, lives on today in over 120 countries where the Salvation Army continues to bring the gospel and humanitarian aid.
Renewed Missional Church
Wesley desired to see the Church of England vivified through missions. He perceived Methodism as an instrument to transform Christians’ apathy to empathy (Snyder 2011, 29). Wesley envisioned in Sermon 74 a transform- ing church that builds up one another, encourages one another, and equips one another despite differences. Furthermore, the church must also call others to return to Christ and live a life filled with the power of the Spirit.
The church that lives out social holiness actively transforms society, not only through its pious worship but even more through its pious commit- ment to embody mercy and justice (Lee 2015, 343).
Amanda Berry Smith was one of the first African-American women to become an evangelist, missionary, and social reformer from the Wesleyan- Holiness movement (Leclerc 2010, 120). Despite being born a slave, she was able to gain respect from both the black church and white church be- cause of her spiritual fervor and works to eliminate prejudice. She also be- came the first black woman international evangelist when she preached throughout the United Kingdom in the year 1878. The following year, Amanda began her missionary work in India, and two years later, she moved to Africa. She worked for the education of children and the improve- ment of the status of women for eight years in Liberia and Sierra Leone (Alexander 2009, 9). Upon Amanda’s return to the United States until her death, she served poor children through her orphanage in Harvey, Illinois (Leclerc 2010, 121). Amanda worked in societies that were not only seg- mented by development but also by racial and gender biases. She proved that even from her disadvantaged point, she could work for the inclusion of those who are also in the margins. Through her life’s work, Amanda created a familial bond among the people she worked with, a bond that makes them a family that transcends skin colors and socio-economic backgrounds.
Salvation as Restoration of God’s Image
Wesley’s understanding of soteriology stands out because of its two “not only, but also” aspects: (1) salvation is not only for the propitiation of sin but also for the restoration of the image of God and (2) salvation is not only personal but also communal. Justification is not the end-all and be-all of salvation in Wesley’s theology. In Sermon 85, Wesley explained that at the very heart of salvation is sanctification—the restoration of the image of God in humanity through transformation into the likeness of Christ. In other words, salvation is a being inducted into a new way of living; it is a being in a loving relationship with the triune God, with other human beings, and with all creation. Hence, growing in Christ pertains not merely to individual Christlikeness but also to the thriving of a community’s life into the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:12–16). Wesley called this “social Christianity” or “social
holiness,” a community sanctified by loving God and loving one another.
The life of Emma Whittemore is one that best displays salvation as res- toration of God’s image. Emma and her family lived opulently in 19th- century New York, a time when the city was beginning to be a vital place of economic and political development in America (Whittemore 1931, 41). In- toxicated by their wealth and social status, Emma and her husband lived desensitized to the abject poverty on the other side of the metropolis. This was until Emma and her husband listened to a sermon by Jerry McAuley, an ex-convict who ministered in Water Street, a place in Manhattan that gained notoriety for its several rum shops and brothels. In such a place, Emma and her husband were confronted by what she would later refer to as their “useless lives,” and they were deeply convicted of their arrogance and neglect of the things of God (Whittemore 1931, 41–48). The Whittemores knelt alongside the alcoholics and the prostitutes, and at the altar, both were filled by the love of God and love for neighbor.
Emma would later work among prostitutes, providing them shelters and training for alternative sources of income like gardening, dressmaking, and poultry-raising to pull the women out of the sex trade (Stanley 2002, 3). In 1890, she opened the first Door of Hope as a rescue center for pros- titutes. Ninety-seven Doors of Hope were operating by the time of her death, and later 250 more were opened to rescue thousands of fallen women (Stanley 2002, 4). Emma and the women who worked alongside her were bearing the image of Christ and through the Doors of Hope were imprinting Christ’s image to women who used to be defined by guilt and shame. The love of God manifested in them not only through personal piety but also through social holiness. Amidst the negative effect of Gesellschaft-ing in New York that threatened to abandon these women as victims on the mar- gins, a Gemeinschaft of sisters emerged—one marked by the restorative power of the love of God and love for one’s neighbor.
IV. Courage to Engage the Current Context
Humanity cannot escape development and its consequences that change social structures. Modernization affects not only the economic and political landscape of a society but also people’s communal bonds. Women of the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition like Catherine Booth, Amanda Berry Smith,
and Emma Whittemore, along with the thousands who were unnamed in the chronicles, proved that Gemeinschafts could exist among Gesellschafts.
They have shown that the power of social holiness can unite communities via mutual care and self-giving. These 19th-century women continue to give courage to Christians still grappling with the Gemeinschaft-ing and Gesell- schaft-ing of their 21st-century context—the courage to replicate their min- istry to the casualties of developmental trade-offs and courage to imagine how the Wesleyan doctrine of social holiness can make new directions for a more holistic understanding of Transformational Development.
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Children’s Spirituality: Biblical Foundations, the Importance of Laying a Solid Spiritual Foundation
and the Nurturing Role of the Family and the Faith Community Wobeni Lotha, Th.M.
“I believed that to be a Christian meant to God to Church, pray, read your Bible and be good. My picture about God was that God was a dictator, I was hopeless, felt worthless and lead a meaningful life,”
said She as she recollected about her childhood (Rhakho 2017, 103).
As I came across these lines, I could not help but be intrigued by the fact that spirituality is not only about the external religious practices that can be taught to children even though they grow up in a home, in a Christian home. Spirituality, as we see it today, is a term that has several connotations and can convey different meanings according to the different contexts.
Scottie May, a pioneer for children’s spirituality in Christian perspective and Associate Professor of Christian Formation and Ministry at Wheaton College, states that the term spirituality is “misused in a contemporary so- ciety” and expresses the difficulty to lay out a simple definition of spiritual- ity (May 2006, 48). True to May’s statement, spirituality today is under- stood in many terms. It can also be defined in a solely secular way. It could be an expression or a lifestyle or, obviously, arising from religious alle- giance. The influx of the usage of the term spirituality has made it difficult to create an autonomous, universal, or “a concrete functional perspective,”
says Holly Catterton Allen, Associate Professor of Christian Ministries whose area of scholarly interest is in children’s spirituality (Allen 2008, 6).
At this point, we see there are diverging thoughts that can be explored, but this paper will focus on one perspective, children’s spirituality from the Christian perspective.
Rebecca Nye, a renowned scholar in children’s spirituality who did ex- tensive qualitative research on children’s spirituality in her dissertation, Psychological Perspectives on Children’s Spirituality, describes the spiritu- ality of the child “as an unusual level of consciousness or perceptiveness relative to other passages of that child and this was often in the context of
how the child related to things, especially people, including themselves and God” (Nye 1998, 237). In her findings, “Relational consciousness appeared as a common underlying thread in much of the data” (Nye 1998, 244). She further elaborated the concept of relational consciousness as (1) child-God consciousness, where the child was able to imagine and experience the re- lationship to God, (2) child-people consciousness, the relationship of the child with the others, (3) child-“world” consciousness, the responses of the child around the beauty and sensation in nature, and (4) child-self con- sciousness, the context of the child’s relationship with their own identity and their own mental life (Nye 1998, 249–250).
Another important scholar on children’s spirituality within a Christian context is Catherine Stonehouse. In her book, Joining Children on the Spir- ituality Journey: Nurturing a Life of Faith (1998), Stonehouse also elabo- rates about children’s openness to God, the ability to think about God, and the ability to comprehend the reality of transcendence.
Children’s spirituality in Christian perspective is also defined in the form of experiencing and knowing God (Anthony 2006, 33); encountering God through a sense of awe and wonder and a process of reflection (May 2006, 46); knowing Jesus and growing in that relationship (Carlson and Crupper 2006, 104); or an innate or inborn part of the humanness of each child at the time of their birth (Copsey 2005, 24–26). At this point, giving a single definition to children’s spirituality from a Christian perspective may not do justice to all the opinions of the scholars stated above. The vastness of understanding also reminds me of what Brendan Hyde says in his book, Children and Spirituality: Searching for Meaning and Connectedness (2008):
spirituality is a “contested concept” (1) which “belongs to every person’s being” (29), and no individual is created in the same way. As Hyde stated, spirituality “may not be able to be succinctly defined” (23), pointing to the idea that comprehension about spirituality would definitely have variants.
I would agree with Hyde’s concept about the inability to give a precise definition of spirituality experienced differently as all individuals are created differently. Some experience spirituality in relationships; others in knowing or encountering. But one thing is sure: “Trying to develop an understanding of spirituality without including God in the equation is futile” (Anthony 2006, 10). Children’s spirituality in the Christian perspective is not only about
the knowledge that the child possesses about God but also includes a per- sonal encounter and moments of wonder that will connect the life of the child with God.
Biblical Foundations for Children’s Spirituality
The Bible clearly states, “So Jesus grew both in height and in wisdom, and he was loved by God and by all who knew Him” (Luke 2:52 NLT). Biblical holistic child development that is anchored in God’s Word sees every com- ponent of growth as equally important, including spiritual development.
These experiences influences, shaped, and contributed to Jesus’ teaching and preaching ministry as an adult (Lee 2018). Spiritual encounters among children in the Bible are also evident. Young Samuel grew up in the pres- ence of the Lord (1 Sam 2:21); David acknowledged God from birth and declared that he trusted God even as an infant (Ps 22:9); the prophet Jere- miah realized that he was appointed by God prior to his birth (Jer 1:4). John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15) and leaped when Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, greeted Elizabeth, John’s mother (Luke 1:41). The Apostle Paul was set apart from birth and called by God’s grace (Gal 1:15).
The Bible’s distinct records of children’s spiritual encounters clearly show that “the human capacity to be in a relationship with God is not solely limited to adults (Graves 2006, 165). Children experiencing God is not su- perficial; rather, Scripture sets the standard for what the child should be experiencing (Carlson and Crupper 2006, 106). Children, too, are spiritual beings (Csinos and Beckwith 2013, 57) who are created in the image of God.
Spirituality is a part of our human nature because we are all created by God in His image (May 2006, 49).
Significance of Children’s Spirituality
According to Kathryn Copsey, when God said, “Now we will make humans, and they will be like us” (Gen 1:26 CEV), he laid the foundation for all people as spiritual beings because he was not referring only to a physical resemblance in terms of flesh and blood. It follows that God has made us spiritual beings like himself (Copsey 2005, 24). Copsey, in this aspect, also states that spirituality in children is within the child from the moment of
conception (2005, 24). Trisha Graves, the children’s pastor at Carmel Pres- byterian Church, acknowledges that children are extremely open to the spir- itual dimension in their lives (Graves 2006, 188). She also further states that children are capable of transforming spiritually because the Holy Spirit is alive and living in them if they are followers of Christ (Graves 2006, 193).
June Lee states, “God instilled in children a spiritual potential and inner capacity for faith to experience a relationship with Him” (Lee 2018). Machteld Reynaert considers the child as a full human being and an active maker of spiritual meaning wherein each child has the capacity to search for meaning in their lives (Reynaert 2014, 179).
Although Copsey, Graves, Lee, and Reynaert agree on the same view of the potentiality of all children to experience God, Graves uses the word “If.”
By using this word, Graves implies that, although all children have spiritual potentiality, yet this potentiality can be awakened only if they are followers of Christ. I agree with Grave’s statement when she uses the word “trans- formed.” Following Christ is not only knowing about him but is all about being transformed like him. Graves also implies that if children follow Christ, they will be transformed. But such transformation calls for laying a very solid spiritual foundation.
Importance of Laying a Solid Spiritual Foundation for Children’s Spirituality
At a children’s spirituality conference I attended in Nashville, Tennessee, Dr. June Lee, a scholar from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, talked about issues that we have today (2018). She stated, “There is a lack of knowledge about faith traditions, inability to relate to faith tradi- tions, illiterate about the Bible, inarticulate about faith and belief in God and understanding of salvation. And so, many young people are leaving the church as they grow up and [are] adrift without a Biblical faith in the strong culture stream of the world” (2018). Lee here is speaking from a Western American perspective, but this is a global issue; it is the issue of this gener- ation. Youngsters are leaving the church because they have found some other interesting things rather than the church.
Similarly, in an article published in The Tennessean on June 30, 2018,