History of Spiritual Formation – DSMN 860

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 09/05/2023

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.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


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.

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 the Course Overview.


Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will reflect on era-specific theologians, philosophies, and practices. In the first discussion, the student will post a thread of at least 400 words including references from at least two scholarly sources. For both discussions, the student will post two replies of at least 200 words including at least one scholarly source. (CLO: A, B, C)

Video Discussion

In the second discussion, the student will post a video that is 3-4 minutes in length. For both discussions, the student will post two replies of at least 200 words including at least one scholarly source. (CLO: A, B, C)

Memo Assignments (7)

Throughout the course, the student must complete seven reflective Memo assignments which are based on the assigned readings and prompts. (CLO: B, C, D).

The Five Solas Assignment

The student will examine the theological and historical implications of the five solas (Sola Christus, Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, and Sola Deo Gloria). The student will also explain how the five solas apply to the process of spiritual formation and are evidenced in spiritual formation practices today. The assignment will be 5-6 pages, excluding the title page and bibliography, and include one scholarly reference and one biblical passage for each sola. (CLO: A, B, C, D)

History Project Assignments (4)

The student will complete four history projects throughout the term, each focusing on the same selected topic of spiritual formation. Special attention will be given to the philosophies, written works, and practices of era-specific theologians. Each assignment will be 4-6 pages in length and include a minimum of two supporting sources per theologian covered. At the end of the course, the student should have a historical understanding of how specific perspectives and practices related to their selected topic have evolved throughout the life of the Church. (CLO: A, B, C)