Journal of Christian Ministry | Christian Formation – Book Review

Christian Formation – Book Review

Christian Formation – Book Review


Christian Formation:
Integrating Theology and Human Development
James R. Estep & Jonathan H. Kim, (Eds.)
B&H, Nashville, TN 2010
308 pages, $29.99, hardcover
Reviewed by Kenneth H. Mayton, Ed.D
Director, Doctor of Ministry Program
O.R.U. Graduate School of Theology & Ministry, Tulsa Oklahoma

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As a D.Min. Director whose academic field is Christian Education, this is a most needed and welcomed volume. Having taught Introduction to Christian Education, Human Growth and Development and Adult Development, it is nice to have a textbook quality offering that can be used for Master’s Degrees and Doctoral programs.
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The book is edited by two well-known evangelical scholars – Jonathan H. Kim and James R. Estep. Estep is associate professor of Christian Education at Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, Illinois. Kim is associate professor of Christian Education at Talbot School of Theology at Talbot School of Theology at La Mirada, California. Interestingly, Kim and Estep were classmates in the Ph.D. program at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, Illinois).

Each chapter is authored by one or more other scholars: Timothy Jones and Michael Wilder, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, Kentucky); Greg Carlson, Chair and Professor of Christian Ministries (Deerfield, Illinois); Mark Maddix, Dean of the School of Theology at Northwest Nazarene University (Nampa, Idaho).

The titles of each chapter reveal the coverage given to this vital subject of Christian Formation:

Chapter 1 – Christian Anthropology: Humanity as the Imago Dei

Chapter 2 – Developmental Theories

Chapter 3 – Intellectual Development

Chapter 4 – Personality Development

Chapter 5 – Moral Development

Chapter 6 – Faith Development

Chapter 7 – Adult Development

Chapter 8 – Spiritual Formation

Chapter 9 – Cultural Development

Often, multi-volume works have an unevenness in treatment, but I did not find that to be true in this book. The overall coverage is even and excellent. In fact, it had a feeling of a seamless flow between and within chapters.

A key to the book’s purpose is found in the Introduction, p. 3, “The social sciences are those sciences in which humans are the subject of the study. Most relevant to the Christian educators are those that address human and development – the growth and maturing of humans over the lifespan – and learning theories, which are frequently tied to the development of cognition or intellect in humans.” In my class, Foundation of Teaching Ministries, which is required of M.Div. students, I refer to the psychological foundation as making two contributions to the field of Christian Education – how people develop and mature and how humans learn. The authors further state that the purpose of the book is threefold