I. A Treasure in a Field
- Jesus has provided a reliable pathway for persons to become transformed by God’s agape-love such that they increasingly live out of that love for the sake of the world.
II. Coming to Serve One Master
- Progress on this pathway does not come easily due, in part, to entrenched human resistance to receive God’s transformational agape–
III. Christian Spiritual Formation is an Intelligible Reality that is Meant to be Understood
- Knowledge of this pathway of Christian spiritual and moral formation is available and coming to possess adequate knowledge is vitally important in order for Christ-followers to make progress in becoming more like Jesus.
IV. The Recently Forgotten Knowledge of Christian Spiritual Formation
- Due to certain cultural, historical, theological, ecclesial, and psychological conditions, it is challenging for Christ-followers to possess adequate knowledge of Christian formation to the detriment of their growth.
V. Barriers to Knowledge of Christian Spiritual Formation
- Four barriers to possessing adequate knowledge of Christian formation are: (i) “faith” is conceived of as opposed to knowledge; (ii) the exclusion of religion from the academy and informed public discourse; (iii) the seeming unreality of spiritual life; and (iv) entrenched, personal resistance to losing control.
VI. Reclaiming Christian Spiritual Formation as a Domain of Publicly Available Knowledge
- Establishing knowledge of Christian formation to enable people to come to an adequate understanding spiritual growth requires (1) collecting and integrating multidisciplinary research on the nature of conformity to Christ and (2) effectively communicating and applying the knowledge gained in a variety of contexts, including: Christian higher education, local churches, spiritual formation ministries, missional organizations, and culture more broadly.
- This project of helping to establish, communicate, and apply knowledge of Christian spiritual and moral formation is the central goal of the Martin Institute for Christianity & Culture.
Steve L. Porter is Senior Research Fellow and Executive Director at the Martin Institute for Christianity and Culture.