A Biblical, Theological, and Missiological Analysis of the Homogeneous Unit Principle and Its Implications for Evangelism and Church Growth in North America
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homogeneous unit principle
principle of receptivity
This research thesis examines the Homogeneous Unit Principle (HUP) to determine its efficacy in reaching and transforming one's culture for Christ. Chapter 1 introduces the HUP and the surrounding controversy and identifies the purpose, goals, rationale, definitions, limitations, and general direction of the research thesis. Chapter 2 discusses the classical and dictionary definitions of the HUP and finds them to be inadequate in understanding the HUP in relation to the man who theorized it, Donald McGavran, as well as the missionary context in which he theorized it. Thus, a new working definition of the HUP was advanced. Chapter 3 analyzes the working definition of the HUP from a biblical, theological, and missiological perspective. This analysis attempted to assuage the critique and controversy surrounding the HUP by understanding the HUP within a systematic theological framework which emphasized the church, its unity, its mission, its message, and its mandates. The opus of this analysis was to formulate a new concept based upon an understanding of the HUP but without the surrounding controversy: A.G.A.P.E. (asking God and approaching people, evangelistically) with Colossians 4:2-6 as its biblical reference which is developed further in chapter 5. Chapter 4 summarizes the results of a written response survey that was mailed to selected churches of the Baptist General Association of Virginia. The survey asked about community outreach activities, evangelistic methodology, relationship between church and community demographics, number and type of baptisms, and familiarity with topics concerning the HUP. Chapter 5 examines the practical application of the HUP for the established church setting. It highlights that many of the concepts of the HUP are already present in disciple studies, although not in a systematic way which emphasizes the HUP. Prayer and grace are highlighted as important concepts in applying the HUP as an evangelistic tool.