PhD Dissertation





Alex Tang



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PhD Dissertation


This study examines the current spiritual formation approaches in the English-speaking Presbyterian churches in Malaysia. In this study, a conceptual inquiry by inductive logic is used to assess the appropriateness of these approaches. These spiritual formation approaches are found to be inappropriate for holistic spiritual formation in these churches. A more holistic approach to Christian spiritual formation (CSF)—which is comprised of the formative strands of person-in-formation, persons-in-community formation, and persons-in-mission formation in a CSF paradigm—is proposed. CSF is the intentional and ongoing process of inner transformation to become like Jesus Christ, become a people of God, and be God’s agents for his redemptive purposes. This dissertation recognises that the ontological, epistemological, and pedagogical foundations of CSF are restoration of the imago Dei and the making of shalom. These foundations are Trinitarian, missio Dei oriented, and grounded in the revealed Word of God. CSF as a process may be sensitive to the context of the Christian faith communities in which it occurs. It takes effect in the individual via a spiritually nurturing community and, corporately, as the community interacts with the dominant culture. The ways in which CSF occurs differ because each faith community faces a unique set of sociopolitical and psychocultural influences that may either enhance or negatively affect the process itself. Appropriate CSF in faith communities may be able to counteract the negative influences, embrace the positive, and work for transformation through the Holy Spirit.



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