George Müller: The Knight of Faith

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2022

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Freeman, Curtis W
Pasquariello, Geno

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Abstract

I have observed that contemporary Christian believers and churches often have distorted views of the meaning of faith as they seek to live out their Christian life. Such distorted views can translate into a variety of forms. For example, the phrase “the faith” may collectively denote a set of doctrines or theological beliefs. It is also adopted by the prosperity gospel movement to attain health and wealth. So, how does one learn the true meaning of faith as expressed in the New Testament and avoid the distortions in today’s Christendom?This thesis looks at the lived-out definition of faith as expressed in the book Fear and Trembling, written by Søren Kierkegaard under the pseudonym Johannes de silentio. In this book, the author uses the narrative of Abraham and Isaac in the Akedah to define the concept of faith, and he states that he has never met a person with the kind of faith that Abraham possessed. However, across the North Sea, in Bristol (England), there was a contemporary of Kierkegaard whose name was George Müller. His autobiography and the annual reports published to document the donations in support of his orphanages, schools, and missionary efforts that he had received through the power of his prayers describe well his life of faith. Last year, I published a novel featuring a fictionalized George Müller set in the twenty-first century. This contemporary setting makes this exceptional character accessible to today’s culture and society while preserving the original meaning of his mission and his faith in God. My novel was positively received and “inspired” a film that is currently being developed for release in 2023. The methodology that I employ to communicate the meaning of faith to Christians consists of a teaching model for small groups known as generational mentoring. Gregory Scott Massey developed this model in his 2019 dissertation Generational Mentoring: Using Past Saints as Present Examples. As the title suggests, the author uses small groups as a setting where Christians can learn specific character qualities from the model of Christians from the past who exemplified such qualities. I have included five chapters of an original workbook designed for small groups which help leaders teach the meaning of faith: (i) as defined by Søren Kierkegaard in Fear and Trembling through the life of Abraham, and (ii) as was lived out by George Müller, both the real nineteenth-century man and the contemporary fictional character from my novel.  

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Citation

Fay, Tom (2022). George Müller: The Knight of Faith. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27547.

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