Guidelines for Dissertation Preparation
Doctoral Dissertation (8-12 credits – $75 per credit)
This is required for Doctor of Divinity (D.Div.), Doctor of Christian
Philosophy (D.C.Phil.) and Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) degrees, and optional
other doctoral degrees. Length: 100-200 pages typed and single-spaced
Make your dissertation true to life, relevant,
practical, meaningful and anointed by the Holy Spirit. Follow the leading
of God in your heart.
In what area does God want to grant you revelatory insight? How does He want
it organized? This dissertation is about your personal growth and maturity in
God in a specific area in which He is calling you to develop.
First Timothy 1:5 declares that the goal of our instruction is love from a pure
heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith. These are the same heart attitudes
which give us access to the throne of God (Heb. 10:22). Clearly, God's goal for
learning (and therefore, CLU's) is that we be molded into those people who have
free access into God's presence, where we then receive all things from our Almighty
Father. All other goals seem as straw when compared with this. We echo the
founders of Harvard, who stated: Let every scholar be plainly instructed
and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies
is to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3, ‘therefore,
[we] lay Christ at the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and
As you develop your dissertation, utilize all six pillars
of the Leader's Paradigm for Discovering Truth (as found in Section
I of the CLU catalog) as building blocks for the discovery process.
Describe in detail how you have used all six pillars, and how each has contributed
your ultimate findings and revelations from Almighty God. (The Leader's Paradigm
is further discussed in Dr. Mark Virkler's book, Wading Deeper Into the
River of God. This book may be downloaded free of charge
Present the dissertation in a form that ministers
maximum spiritual life to the reader. God did this with His Word, and
His approach cannot
be improved upon. The Bible follows the Hebrew method of teaching and
learning, which is mainly with narrative. The Greek (and western) approach
commonly systematic, although innovative educators are changing that.
Life itself is
narrative, not systematic. The best-selling books with the most powerful
impact are usually
narrative rather than systematic. Discoveries generally come from the
events of life, as chance ideas and accidental experiences, rather than
result of a systematic approach. Even the scientific method, the grandfather
all systems, is
not the way new discoveries are usually made.
So the narrative approach is the approach of life, of the
discovery process, and of the most powerful communication. It is recommended
use it in the final version of your dissertation. Tell the story of how
your life, led you through the discovery process and brought you to new
revelation truths. Tell it in a way that captures the heart of the reader.
revelation, as unfolded in your dissertation, can be powerfully passed
on and have a significant
impact upon the world.
A book that introduces the concept of narrative theology is Theology and
Narrative: A Critical Introduction by Michael Goldberg (Abingdon). An
example of presenting a revelation in narrative form is the above-mentioned book, Wading
Deeper Into the River of God.
Specific Steps for Dissertation Development
- Seek God diligently about what area He wants to instruct you in.
State it clearly as your Dissertation Objective.
- Delineate details of the discovery steps and resources you will utilize
for arriving at this objective. The discovery process must include
the Leader's Paradigm. Tell what you will do to fulfill
the requirements of each of the six pillars.
- Submit the above (1 & 2) to your dissertation coordinator for his
input, suggestions and confirmation before you continue.
- Complete the discovery process as agreed upon with your dissertation
coordinator. If you get stuck or need input, communicate with your
- Once your discovery process is complete, submit in outline form a
brief overview of the results with your dissertation coordinator for
his evaluation and input.
- Incorporate his suggestions.
- Write your dissertation and submit it to your dissertation coordinator.