Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Chaplain, Protestant, Denominations, Theology, Discipleship, Prison
Caudle, John J., "Protestant Prison Chaplaincy: Teaching Common Theology to Mature Inmates" (2022). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3479.
Recent literature and studies concerning prison ministry focus more on relationships, the overarching work, and the day-to-day mission. Even then, this study acknowledges that the impact of prison chaplaincy still needs further studying. Few studies focus on Protestant chaplains' theological boundaries, maintaining diverse denominations. While attempting to understand the value of chaplaincy in the prison setting, the predominant group involved in prison ministry are Protestant prison chaplains. Protestant prison chaplains come from a diverse background of core theological beliefs and denominationally tied doctrine. This thesis looks at the theological views of 15 Protestant prison chaplains who previously or currently serve within the governmental prison system at various levels to determine commonalities for possible discipleship programs in the prison system. This research uses a qualitative approach; it looks at inmates' different potential methods to develop their theology. The research also examines whether Protestant prison chaplains offer discipleship programs to inform the inmates of theology and some historical aspects of its use in discipleship. The study provides glimpses at the difficulties concerning theology within the framework of Protestant chaplaincy in the prison system to illustrate where commonalities and differences exist. While perceptions exist that Protestantism agrees on various theological doctrines, this thesis potentially shows that Protestantism needs further discussions to develop a solid theology even within doctrines and similar beliefs. Understanding the differences in theology will assist Protestant prison chaplains in developing discipleship for those in their care.