Doctor of Ministry

Year Approved


First Advisor

Senapatiratne, Tim


This research project explored the viability and benefits of anthropological monism for pastoral care practice in a local church. Monism, as it relates to human nature, refers to humanity consisting solely of materiality or physicality from which emerge all capacities and functions of the human individual⎯feeling, thinking, relating, acting, or experiencing God, self, others, or the world in general. Biblically and theologically, anthropological monism can point to integration for holism to overcome life disruption and fragmentation due to sin. It can also highlight embodiment and refocus the church towards human physicality and the prominence of resurrection for end-of-life outcomes rather than an ethereal disembodied heavenly expectation. Anthropological monism can utilize the concept of community for forging outwardly focused relationships for a healthy and healing orientation of spiritual development and maturation for whole and holy personhood. A multidisciplinary literature review was undertaken to glean insightful pastoral care strategies, especially noting the plasticity or openness to wire or rewire the brain for forming healthy new relational templates or fundamental ways of perceiving and relating to others, utilizing recent discoveries from the academic disciples of neuroscience and neuropsychology as one practices, tending to intra- and interpersonal relationships with God, others, self, and one’s cultural environment. Personal eschatology⎯namely, what happens to humans when they die⎯was explored through a monistic framework. A recreation resurrection view holds promising potential for integrating science and theology under this subdiscipline. Contemporary funerary practices were also briefly explored to survey contemporary tends in the making and how anthropological monism might speak correctively towards them. Finally, qualitative fieldwork using questionnaires and interviews with a number of clergy and parachurch leaders revealed findings that entail both potential cautious misgivings associated with anthropological monism and also promising constructive benefits of anthropological monism for pastoral care practice.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Document Type

Doctoral thesis