An Analysis of the Discipleship Strategy of Robert Emerson Coleman
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ABSTRACT AN ANALYSIS OF THE DISCIPLESHIP STRATEGY OF ROBERT EMERSON COLEMAN John Thomas Green IV, Ph. D. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2012 Chair: Dr. Charles E. Lawless, Jr. This dissertation examines the discipleship strategy of Robert Emerson Coleman. Chapter 1 introduces the ministry and work of Robert Coleman. The chapter also discusses the call to discipleship given by Jesus Christ in the Great Commission and the need for the local church to effectively disciple its members. Chapter 2 presents a biography of Coleman. This chapter highlights his conversion and call to ministry. It also includes details of his ministry as a pastor, professor, and author. Chapter 3 provides an historical analysis of Coleman's discipleship strategy. This chapter notes influences upon Coleman's strategy, including the work of John Wesley. It also describes the historical context in which Coleman's strategy was developed, particularly the states of the evangelical church and the Methodist church. Chapter 4 addresses Coleman's practice of discipleship in his ministry. The chapter includes insight into Coleman's personal discipleship, as well as, his discipleship of his family, churches that he has pastored, and students that he led while teaching. Chapter 5 offers a biblical analysis of Coleman's discipleship strategy, dissecting Scripture used by Coleman to support his principles of discipleship outlined in The Master Plan of Evangelism. The chapter also notes several other works by Coleman to show how he consistently communicated his discipleship strategy. The conclusion offers application of Coleman's strategy in the North American church. Positive contributions of Coleman's work for discipleship in the local church are enumerated. Challenges to implementing his strategy are also shared. This work contends that Coleman has provided a biblical and effective model for discipleship in The Master Plan of Evangelism. His strategy is faithful to the model of Christ with His disciples. Coleman's work provides helpful contributions to discipleship in the local church though it has its challenges in implementation. Although Coleman's discipleship ministry has been conducted largely outside of the local church, his strategy can and should be used in the local church for discipleship.