History of Spiritual Formation – DSMN 860

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course is an examination of the historical practices of spiritual formation throughout the life of the church. Focused on primary materials, this course will explore salient themes related to spiritual formation through the lens of discipline, theology, and practice. 


Admission to the DMIN program and DMIN 810


A doctoral education in ministry and spiritual formation must necessarily introduce students to the historical practices and seminal works within the field. This course will orient students to the spiritual formation practices, writings, and theology of stalwarts such as Augustine, Owen, and Edwards, among others.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Analyze the theological frameworks of those who have contributed to the field of the history of spiritual formation.
  2. Evaluate the spiritual disciplines of practitioners in the history of spiritual formation.
  3. Examine movements and eras within the history of the church as they relate to Christian spirituality and practice.
  4. Translate historical practices of spiritual formation to present realities.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forum

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. The single discussion board for this class will start in Week 1 and finish in Week 7. The grade for the course-long interaction will be posted after Week 7 concludes. The prompt is provided in blackboard.

Journals (7)

In module/weeks 1–7 of the course, the student will be required to write a journal entry on a provided prompt. This prompt encourages the student to (1) reflect on what he/she has learned throughout each module/week of the course and (2) consider how the course content will influence his/her life and ministry formation (MLO: B, C, D).

Spiritual Assessment

The student will complete a three-part Spiritual Assessment of 1,000–1,250 words. Each part will direct the student toward an assessment of his/her spiritual life in its current form. The student will use the results of this assignment as a basis to plan, pro-actively, areas of life where they need to consider in order to focus their spiritual growth (MLO: D).

History Projects (4)

The student will complete four history projects requiring them to conduct independent research on theologians and a theology related to spiritual formation. For this assignment, the student will choose one theological topic related to sanctification/spiritual formation. The student will then situate the theological positions of four different theologians on this topic (four theologians for each of the four projects). This is not a full-blown research paper, but an information literacy project requiring the student to identify sources (primary and secondary) that clarify the theologians’ nuances on this particular theological topic. The same topic will be explored in the theology of all sixteen theologians (MLO: A).