Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Based upon an exegesis of relevant Christian scripture, a theory of Christian development was produced. This theory posits eight stages of development moving broadly from faith, through self-discipline, to Christian love. Descriptive characterizations are provided for each of the stages, along with a psychodynamic structure to explain the process of movement from one stage to the next. This theory was compared and contrasted with the theories of Erikson, Kohl- berg, Gleason, and Fowler. Strong parallels were noted between the proposed theory of Christian development and Erikson' s theory of psycho-social development. Relevant empirical studies were briefly surveyed and support for the proposed theory noted. Measures of Christian development were then constructed to assess the eight stages of the proposed theory. Upon replication six of the eight scales had KR20 alphas of .80 or greater, meeting criteria for internal consistency. Inter-scale correlations were found to be less than or equal to .50 for seven of the eight scales. This was held to be consistent with a developmental sequence, while not high enough to suggest a single underlying factor. Although a preliminary validity study obtained significant results indicating that the proposed theory may be viable, this study also indicated that the measures developed appeared in need of further work.