Grady's dissertation:

EM Bounds on Providence and Prayer


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"E.M. Bounds on Providence and Prayer"

If you browse Christians bookstores or web site stores, you will easily find hundreds of books on prayer. You also will find some about a theological understanding of God's providence. However, you are unlikely to find one that bridges those two topics. In fact, there is little research and only a few resources available today on the issue of how one's understanding of God's providence impacts one's prayer life. To serve as a catalyst for research in this neglected area of Christian theology, Grady examined the writings of Edward McKendree Bounds, one of the most influential individuals in shaping an American (and even global) evangelical understanding of prayer, in order to discern his understanding of God’s providence, how that understanding shaped his radical prayer life, and how what is learned speaks to the contemporary debate on how one’s view of providence impacts one’s prayer life, particularly intercessory prayer.

Grady completed this dissertation in 2013 and graduated with his Ph.D. that year from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

chapter overview

Chapter 1 - Introduction

This chapter takes a broad look at the scope of Bounds’ influence in the evangelical understanding of prayer today.

Chapter 2 - A Biography of Edward McKendree Bounds

This chapter provides a biography of E. M. Bounds. His life is discussed in stages, and his years in ministry are divided into three periods based around the nature of what he primarily did at each time. A discussion of the legacy of his books is included.

Chapter 3 - An Examination of Bounds' Writings

This chapter examines all of Bounds’ available writings. Each of his eleven books is analyzed individually in terms of what is taught in regard to issues of providence and prayer. A similar analysis is made of his newspaper editorials from his time at the Christian Advocate, the official newspaper of the Methodist Episcopal South denomination.

Chapter 4 - The Church Dominion Model and Bounds' Place Within It

This chapter describes the church dominion model for understanding the relationship between providence and petitionary prayer, including the perspectives of its major advocates: Brother Andrew, Paul Billheimer, Watchman Nee, and Dutch Sheets. A discussion of the legitimacy of this model is also presented. In addition, a summary of Bounds’ beliefs is used to demonstrate that his view most closely resembles that of this particular model.

Chapter 5 - Assessment of Bounds' Beliefs on Providence and Prayer

This chapter provides an assessment of Bounds’ beliefs on providence and prayer. The primary texts that Bounds uses as support for his views (Genesis 18, 2 Kings 20, Psalm 2:7-8, Isaiah 45:11, Matthew 7:7-8, and John 14:13-14), and his explanation of each, are discussed. A detailed critique of his use of each passage is provided.

Chapter 6 - Conclusion

This chapter is the conclusion of this dissertation. In addition to summarizing the research and findings of the previous chapters, a discussion is provided in regard to the results of embracing Bounds’ view on God’s providence. Several concerns and cautions are provided, along with a theological corrective.

Appendix - Bounds' Books: Changes, Editions, and Revisions Through The Years

One appendix follows the main chapters. It provides the reader with a summary of Bounds’ original eleven books and a listing of the many editions and revisions of each book, including name changes, through the years.

Grady completed his Master of Divinity (M.Div.) in 2005 and his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in 2013, both from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.