EXEGETICAL CONCEPTS OF BIBLICAL STEWARDSHIP AS COMPARED TO POSTMODERN THINKING AND CURRENT TRENDS
Why was this study done? There is little serious or in depth research preformed on this subject.We sought to find out if there is a connection or correlation of faith from "discipleship precepts of Christian formation" to giving in a local church. Then compare that to how stewardship is actually perceived and practiced in American local churches.
As a missionary I have to raise my support by seeking people who are wise stewards to personally contribute to the work God has given me to do. However, this task is becoming increasingly more difficult. Christians do not give as they have in the past. They seem to have a chokehold on money and a resentment of giving, while those who are doing His work are suffering from others misguided theological understandings and fears of conviction.
From our research into this subject there seems that most Christians only give superficial interest in stewardship and do not understand the concept and call from what is revealed clearly in the Bible. It is my intent to do a careful research project to stimulate interest and show the love of God and the call to care for His creation and His Church, in our time, treasures and talent.I discovered little to no inductive research in the subject of stewardship; rather most works center upon reading in personal and preconceived agendas and no real interest in most researchers to discover the biblical facts of the matter. In addition, we found that there are a multitude of misguided theological positions in the church and even in the same denominational frameworks. There is a seeming impression of a refusal to look closely at this subject. And the average Christian in the pew has a varied palate of misconceptions on this subject as well. It is the duty of a church and pastor to bring clarity, communicate this subject matter as clearly as thoroughly and as loving as possible while being an example. It is my intent to provide a modest platform for this endeavor.
The Study Abstract
"EXEGETICAL CONCEPTS OF BIBLICAL STEWARDSHIP AS COMPARED TO POSTMODERN THINKING AND CURRENT TRENDS"
The predicament that motivated this study is a systemic continual progressive lack of stewardship in the form of giving of time, talents and treasures in American Churches and ministries while a decreasing sense of spiritual maturity as demonstrated by a lack of character, involvement and interest of deeper spiritual things.
Hypotheses: The lack of spiritual formation and growth of faith produces a decreasing desire to be faithful stewards of what God gives!
The Hypothesis Conjecture is that the formation and growth of faith produces a firm desire to be faithful stewards of what God gives. My modus operandi is an inductive exegetical approach along side of deductive research as well as statistical research and personal interviews. This work will be and overview of over 100 passages and an in-depth exegetical examination of 5 passages. These are "text-oriented," word study expository, using inductive and deductive research methodology. In conjunction to exegetical and statistical research, interviews with sixty-two American Christians on how much they give as compared to how much time was spent in prayer and the spiritual discipline. This was compared to ten Indian Christians in poverty in India, five Pastors in China, two Pastors in North Korea. An additional two sets of 50 were also interviewed for comparison purposes. The findings clearly show the more time in spiritual formation the increased joyful giving of the individual. Also what was asked is why is stewardship important and how and why it is not important. The results of these questions were taken into account to the necessity of education of stewardship precepts.
My focus primarily a critical and scholarly evaluation on the text and its context from the view of how it was understood in the time and culture from rigorous and sustained exegetical analysis I will also be consider the diachronic approach (i.e. the text's phenomena interpretive history with its change through time). The Inductive method that is employed is logical induction arising from inductance reactance of word meaning and context, and sentence structure proceeding from particular facts to a general conclusion. I will attempt to take the principle inductive questions and seek what does the text plainly say, what does it mean and how does it apply today and weave it into a conversational presentation annotations. Then, this induction is compared to logical deduction; "deductive reasoning" inferences from general principles from historicity, compared to others research evidence. Questioned interviews involving 78 people have been cross-examined in an analytical and synchronic approach. This is compared to large scale research performed from research organizations seeking rising trends and mindsets. I will also explore both the salient as well as the convergent and divergent views. The definition of stewardship simply means to manage someone else's property. For the Christian it is to manage God's property as everything in the universe belongs to Him. The Exegetical research was compared to statistical research of twelve primary sources. The results that were obtained: (1) The Church has Great Potential Resources of Wealth. (2) The Church as a whole is Squandering the Resources Given to Them. (3) There is a true significant direct correlation between Faith and Generosity. The result is Faith and Giving Are Connected!
The Essential Inductive Questions
1. What does this passage say?
2. What does this passage mean?
3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?
4. Is there a sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
5. How can I be changed so I can learn and grow?
6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me?
7. What is in the way of my listening to God?
8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
9. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with someone?
The Deductive Reasoning is as Follows
1. What does the word mean?
2. What is the textual and historical context?
3. Does it change anything?
4. Does it indicate anything?
5. How does it add to your (and our) understanding?
The Validity Scale
A Validity Scale was established sense the 79 sample is a limited number for a section of this study. To compensate, I asked 4 of the questions informally to a church I was preaching at with 560 in the congregation and received a 94% statistical numerical agreement. In addition I compared the personal interviews to over one hundred answers from two christen forums, and received a 78% agreement with results. However the divergence here is more of the respondents in the forums had little Biblical understanding or practice of stewardship precepts. Thus, having a higher sampling may not obtain different results, or will show a greater disparity between faith and practice proofing the hypotheses even further!
The Hypothesis from this research has moved from conjecture to stated fact beyond statistical significance. The proof is, growth in faith determines growth in stewardship. That is, the formation and growth of faith produces a firm desire to be faithful stewards of what God gives.
© Research from 2001- 2004, revised 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/