Skip to main content
For information on Biola University's coronavirus (COVID-19) response and updates, visit

Randolph Crump Miller

By James Riley Estep, Jr.


Dr. Randolph Crump Miller (1910-2002). Episcopalian priest. Now an acknowledged elder statesman of the religious education community, he was an advocate for theological integration of the Bible into Mainline Protestant religious education. His basic tenet: "Theology in the background, grace and faith in the foreground." Churchman, professor, author, speaker, and editor, his active career enabled him to impact religious education throughout the latter half of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st.

No other religious educator of the middle of the twentieth-century deserves acclaim equal to Randolph Crump Miller (1910- 2002). What he established in the 1950's and 1960's as precedents, in both theology and education, are today foundational assumptions. In short, over the course of his professional career Miller has moved from the trend setter to the elder statesman of Christian religious education.

Burgess (1996, 10) describes Miller as representing a "mid-century mainline model," voicing a moderate alternative between the extreme poles of the "liberal" and "evangelical/kerygmatic" models of religious education. His impact and influence on a generation of Christian educators is self evident; from mainline Protestant educators, e.g. Sara Little (who studied with him at Yale), to evangelical educators, e.g. Larry Richards. In his earlier volume, Burgess (1975, 94-97) labeled Miller as "the most influential theorist" in the category of "Contemporary Theological Theoretical Approach to Religious Education," which has as its antecedents Horace Bushnell and John Dewey. In short, in the history of contemporary Christian education, Miller is one of its founding fathers.


Teaching and Writings

Randolph Crump Miller has been described as "two parts of theology (one being philosophy) and one part of psychology firmly mixed together" (Murphy 1964, 4), and in more recent years as the clue-to-the-clue (Little 1978, S67). His academic life of teaching, writing, lecturing, and providing leadership for Christian educators (for example, his continual role at the Religious Education Association) has spanned over six decades of involvement. Even today, in his retirement, he is still actively involved in providing leadership for the Christian education community through his writing, lectures, and presence at various association gatherings.

Personal History

Miller's personal life does indeed influence his understanding of Christian nurture, a principle theme in Miller's approach to religious education. He was born on October 1, 1910 in Fresno, California, son of an Episcopalian clergyman Ray Oakley and Laura (Crump) Miller. His formal education began at Pomona College, where he received his bachelors in 1931, and completed it at Yale Divinity School, where he was conferred a Ph.D. in 1936. The next year, 1937, Miller was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church. He was married twice. In 1938 he wed Muriel Phyllis Hallett, who died of polio in 1949 at the age of thirty-five, leaving him with four children. He later married Elizabeth Rives Williams Fowlkes in 1950.

Professional History

Miller as Professor: Miller's professional involvement in the field of Christian education spans over three generations. He started his teaching career at Church Divinity School of the Pacific (Berkeley, California) the same year he was ordained and taught there for fifteen years (1936-1952). From 1952-1982, Miller assumed the position of Horace Bushnell Chair of Christian Nurture at Yale Divinity School, from which he retired as a Professor Emeritus. While teaching he began is writing career, publishing the first of his four major works while at Pacific, and the remaining three while teaching at Yale.

Miller also served in a variety of adjunct and visiting professor positions. He did so at the Divinity School of Harvard and Episcopal Theological School, Spring 1954; Syracuse University, summers of 1956-1958; Union Theological Seminary, Spring 1957; Near East School of Theology (Beirut), Winter 1957; Ecumenical Institute (Switzerland), Fall 1959; Trinity College (Singapore), Summer 1970; Andover Newton Theological Seminary, Spring 1963; Garrett Theological Seminary, Summer 1963; Berkeley Divinity School, 1964; Theological College, Serampore, West Bengal, India, Fall 1966; Drew University Divinity School, 1968; Boston College, summer 1973; School of Theology, Claremont, California 1976; and Presbyterian School of Christian Education, Richmond, Virginia, Spring 1982.

Miller as Author and Editor: His popularity as a writer and lecturer in the field of Christian education has been accented by his service with the Religious Education Association. He served as co-editor of Religious Education, REA's main journal, from 1956-1957; and later as editor from 1958-1978. He likewise served as Chairman of the Board from 1956-1959. After his retirement from Yale in 1982 Miller assumed the role of Executive Secretary at REA, holding that position through from 1982-1992. His service provided to the REA was officially recognized when he received the William Rainey Harper award in 1978. He still maintains an office at REA in New Haven, Connecticut (21 Autumn St. New Haven CT, United States 06511). He also had an active participation in the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education (APRRE), National Council P. E. Church; and the Hazen Pacific Coast Theology Group (1945-1952).

Miller as Churchman: Miller's career was not only in the academic community, but within the congregation as well. Miller served as Chairman of the Department of Christian Education for the Diocese of California from 1944-1947 and 1949-1950. He was likewise the Educational Director of Trinity Church, New Hampshire from 1965-1971 and founder of the Highlands Institute.

Addendum: Randolph Crump Miller passed away of cancer on June 13, 2002, in Hamden, Connecticut.

Biographical Sources

  • Burgess, Harold William. 1996. Models of religious education. Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books.
  • ________. 1975. An invitation of religious education. Birmingham, Alabama: Religious Education Press.
  • Cully, K. and I. Cully eds. 1978. Process and relationship: Festschrift for Randolph Crump Miller. Birmingham, AL: Religious Education Press.
  • Estep, James Riley. 1996. Phone Interview with Randolph Crump Miller, April 12.
  • Gale Group, Galenet author index,
  • Little, Sara. 1978. "Randolph Crump Miller: Theologian-Educator." Religious Education (Special Edition). September-October 1978. S67-S77.
  • Miller, Randolph Crump. 1983. "How I became a religious educator - Or Did I?" Modern masters of religious education. Marlene Mayr eds. Birmingham, AL: Religious Education Press.
  • Murphy, Carol. 1964. "Randolph Crump Miller: The Man of the Month." Pastoral Psychology (February), 4, 66.


Contributions to Christian Education

The significance of Miller must be understood within his historical context. Preceding Miller's teaching and writing career, leaders in Christian religious education spanned the spectrum from Calvinistic to neo-orthodox Barthians to classical liberal. Three significant formative individuals in Miller's approach to Christian education were Horace Bushnell, George Albert Coe, and H. Shelton Smith.

Miller's concept of Christian education held the assumptions of Horace Bushnell, but actually started with Coe (The Social Theory of Religious Education, 1917), who taught Elliot (Can Religious Education be Christian?, 1940), which was rebutted by Smith (Faith and Nurture, 1941), but where does Randolph Crump Miller enter the scenario? Miller's first significant work, The Clue to Christian Education (1950), was written in response to Smith's Faith and Nurture (1942). "I have been concerned about the apparent failure of Christian educators to take seriously into account the problem of the relation of the content of the Christian revelation to the best creative methods of teaching … the weakness of Christian educational philosophy, with H. Shelton Smith's Faith and Nurture being the chief stimulus to my thought …" (Miller 1950, vii emphasis added).

Miller was the religious education in response to Smith's challenge. Hence, Little would note that Miller "said the right thing at the right time… he brought to a close a decade of conflict… After The Clue, the question was no longer whether theology has a place in religious education, but rather what theology should be adopted and how it was to function" (1978, S68). Miller himself confirmed this when interviewed. While commenting on his most recent work, Theologies of Religious Education (1995), he stated:

It shows what the connections are depending on their theology. And they are different for different people. Frequently it is an unconscious connection among religious educators. Religious educators that don't think theologically use theology and have developed their educational theory and practice. Most of us know who have had trouble doing this are saying "What is my theology and how does it affect my religious education outlook?" That question wasn't asked in the days of George Albert Coe! (Miller 1996 emphasis added)

Christian Education as Process, not Content

In 1943 Miller wrote in Christianity and the Contemporary Scene, "Someone has to make a Christian out of John Dewey" (Boys 1989, 71). Hence, he embarked on a mission to create a system of Christian education focused more on process, and less on content, more on the community, less on the individual. His approach attempts to wed Whitehead's process theology with Deweyan process education.

Miller criticized that students "master the content [of the Bible] in order to satisfy their teachers, … But normally they have found the Bible unsatisfactory as an answer to their immediate needs" (Miller Biblical Theology 1956, 1). He wrote in response to the "dissatisfaction [of teachers and parents] with the content-centered teaching … And … distrust of the do called life centered teaching" favoring "the organic relation between doctrine and experience, between content and method, between truth and life" (Miller 1950, 1,4 emphasis added). It was in this context of educational dissatisfaction that Miller introduced his new approach to Christian education.

It is the search for truth, the processing of experience, that Miller believed to be critical for Christian nurture. Sara Little (1978, S67) writes, "Truth is the experienced reality of relationship; theology the interpretation of that reality, informed by the biblical witness; education, the nurture of the experience and the activity of interpreting the meaning to be found there." Miller writes, "The educational process is a way of making suggestions from without, providing structures by which we can see the meaning of a seemingly unstructured experience, enabling a person to grasp the dynamic nature of God against the background view that is more static. The raw material of theology [remember: process theology] is experience, either our own or something we can appropriate" (Miller 1975, 278).

It must be remembered that Miller understood education as "a social process" (Miller 1950, 71), maintaining that "education is what happens to a person in community" (Miller 1961, 1). Specifically, Christian community is conducive to Christian education in all aspects of the Church's life, e.g. worship, preaching, missions, pastoral care, group activity, fellowship. For example, Miller writes that because the church must "translate" theological themes in adult faith into terms of childhood, "We have taken only a few great theological concepts and illustrations what they mean in this twentieth century on the level of adult thinking and experience and then have translated these great themes in terms of the experiences and capacities of children" (Miller 1950, 201). This was indeed later accomplished in his Biblical Theology and Christian Education (1956).

Miller's Four Principle Texts

While he has well over a hundred titles to his name, Miller is most recognized by four main works that demonstrate the significance of Miller's then radical thought on the subject of Christian education. They are as follows:

The Clue to Christian Education (1950) was the first full expression of Miller's con-viction concerning the role of the Bible in the process of "doing theology." As will be noted later the "clue," had a distinct implication for Miller's understanding of Christian nurture.

Biblical Theology and Christian Education (1956), presents the "biblical drama" sys-tematically, relating each major episode to learners of various ages. The Bible presents material "not in dogma or in theological propositions, but in terms of a drama" (Miller, Education for Christian Living 1956, 63).

Christian Nurture and the Church (1961), details how the Church is the permanent institution and context for Christian nurture, with attention given to other institutions that have profound influence on Christian nurture, e.g. the family, school, and community.

The Theory of Christian Education (1982) is Miller's last major work. It deals with the practical implications of the former three texts, i.e. a theoretical expression of theological convictions, and is virtually a consolidation of Miller's understanding of Christian education and Christian nurture as reflected in his previous writings.

The first three books have been described as "a trilogy studying the relationship of theology and doctrine to Christian education in the church" (Rushdoony 1962, 244; cf. Melconian 1962, 334); a description which Miller himself seems to acknowledge (1966, 269 fn. 2). For a list of Randolph Crump Miller's works through 1976, see Cully and Cully (1978, 124-133).

Miller's Theoretical Contribution

Sara Little (1978, S69-S73), a Yale disciple of Miller's, capsulized his "recurring themes" in educational theology and theory in her treatment of his life. She identifies four of them:

  • The primacy of relationships, which Miller himself admits that his "work in Christian education has led me to emphasize what has been called a 'theology of relationships'"
  • Experience and its interpretation; noting that "relationships are experienced. God's continuing activity in the processes of history is experienced. For Miller, interpreted experience "is education."
  • The drama of redemption; which was the theme of Biblical Theology and Christian Education.
  • Christian nurture and the fellowship of the Church; as Miller says, "The way to become a Christian is to enter the Church."

Works Cited

  • Boys, Mary. (1989). Educating in faith: Maps and visions. New York: Harper and Row.
  • Cully, Iris and Kendig Cully eds. (1978). Process and relationship: Issues in theology, philosophy, and religious education. Birmingham, Alabama: Religious Education Press.
  • Little, Sara. (1978). "Randolph Crump Miller: Theologian-Educator." Religious Education (Special Edition) September-October. S67-S77.
  • Melconian, Vartan D. (1962). "The Community as a Way of Nurture." Interpetation. (June): 334-337.
  • Rushdoony, Rousas John. (1962). "Review: Christian Nurture and the Church," Westminster Theological Journal (May): 244-248.



  • (1993). Empirical theology, A handbook. Birmingham, Alabama: USA Religious Education Press, Incorporated, January.
  • (1982) The theory of Christian Education practice: How Theology Affects Christian Education. Birmingham, Alabama: Religious Education Press.
  • (1980) Your child’s religion. New York: USA Dutton/Plume.
  • (1977) Church & organized movements. Manchester: USA Ayer Company Publishers.
  • (1976) This we can believe. New York: New York: Hawthorn Books, 1976.
  • (1974) The American spirit in theology. Philadelphia: United Church Press.
  • (1973) Living with anxiety. Philadelphia: United Church Press.
  • (1973) Live until you die. Philadelphia: USA Pilgrim Press/The United Church Press.
  • (1970) The language gap and God. Philadelphia: United Church Press.
  • (1965) Youth considers parents as people. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
  • (1962) Your child’s religion. New York: Doubleday & Company (rev. ed., New York: Hawthorn Books, 1975).
  • (1961) Christian nurture and the church. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. (A Religious Book Club selection, also translated into Korean and Japanese translations).
  • (1958) I remember Jesus. New York: The Seabury Press.
  • (1957) Be not anxious. New York: The Seabury Press.
  • (1956) Education for Christian living. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall; rev. ed., 1963. (Korean and Japanese translations).
  • ( 1956) Biblical theology and Christian education. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
  • (1995) Theologies of Religious Education. Birmingham, Alabama: Religious Education Press.
  • (1954) A Symphony of the Christian year. New York: Seabury Press. (A Religious Book Club selection).
  • (1950) Religion makes sense. New York: Seabury Press.
  • (1950) The clue to Christian education. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. (Korean and Japanese translations).
  • (1947) A guide for church school teachers. Cloister Press, rev. ed. 1947.
  • (1946) Editor: The church and organized movements. New York: Harper & Row.
  • (1943) Co-editor, with Henry H. Shires: Christianity and the contemporary scene. Morehouse-Gorham.
  • (1941) What we can believe. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. Chapters in Books
  • (1997) Bible, theology, and multicultural religious education. [multicultural biblical theology and theological resources for Christian education], Multicultural Religious Education (pp. 129-157). Birmingham, Alabama: Religious Education Press.
  • (1995) Ecological theology and religious education, Theologies of Religious Education. (pp. 336-358) Birmingham, Alabama: Religious Education Press.
  • (1995) Empirical theology and religious education. Theologies of Religious Education. (pp. 148-171). Birmingham, Alabama: Religious Education Press.
  • (1993) How I go that way. An intellectual autobiography. New Essays in Religious Pluralism. (pp. 173-185). Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press; Highlands Institute Series, v. 2.
  • (1992) Empirical theology in the local congregation. Empirical Theology. Birmingham, Alabama: Religious Education Press, 1992, p. 264-287.
  • (1989) Rethinking empiricism in theology. God, values, and Empiricism. Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1989, (pp. 136-146), Highlands Institute Series, Vol. 1.
  • (1985) Process spirituality and the religious educator. The spirituality of the Religious Educator. (pp. 66-87). Birmingham, Alabama: Religious Education Press.
  • (1983) How I became a religious educator - - Or did I?. In Marlene Mayr (Ed). Modern masters of Religious Education. Birmingham, Alabama: Religious Education Press.
  • (1982) Theology in the background. Norma H. Thomson (Ed.) Religious Education and Theology. In Birmingham, Alabama: Religious Education Press.
  • (1979) Process though, Worship and Religious Education, Aesthetic dimensions of Religious Education. (pp. 107-120). New York: Paulist Press.
  • (1977) Foreword to Value perspectives Today, by John H. Emling. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.
  • (1977) Continuity and contrast in the future of Religious Education, Religious Education we need. (pp. 28-54). Mishawaka, Indiana: Religious Education Press.
  • (1976) Foreword to China and Maoism today, by Theodore T. Y. Yeh. Transcultural Press of the East and West.
  • (1976) Continuity and contrast in the future of religious Education. In James Michael Lee (Ed.), The Religious Education we need. Birmingham, Alabama: Religious Education Press.
  • (1976) Process thought and black theology. In Calvin E. Bruce and William R. Jones (Eds.), Black theology II. Lewisburg, PN: Bucknell University Press.
  • (1972) Predicaments and pointers in Religious Education, A colloquy on Christian Education, In John H. Westerhoff, III (Ed.). Philadelphia: United Church Press, 1972, 188-196.
  • (1970) The discipline of Theology-Seminary and University. In Kendig Brubaker Cully (Ed.), Does the church know how to teach? (pp. 289-313). New York: Macmillan Co.
  • (1966) The objective of Christian Education. In Marvin Taylor (Ed.), Introduction to Christian Education (pp. 94-104). Nashville: Abingdon Press.
  • (1966) The challenge of the Ecumenical movement to Church Education. In Kendig Brubaker Cully (Ed.), The Episcopal Church and Education, (pp. 227-240). New York: Morehouse-Barlow.
  • (1965) Preface to Youth considers sex, by William E. Hulme. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1965, 7-8.
  • (1964) Preface to The Bible today, by Clifford M. Jones. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1964, 7-10.
  • (1963) Wieman’s Theological Empiricism. In Robert W. Brentall (Ed.), The empirical theology of Henry Nelson Wieman. New York: Macmillan Company.
  • (1963) Relationship Theology. In Kendig Brubaker Cully (Ed.) The Westminster dictionary of Christian Education (pp. 563-565). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.
  • (1962) Theology and the understanding of children. Simon Doniger (Ed.). The nature of man in theological and psychological perspective. (pp. 142-150) New York: Harper & Row, 1962, 142-150.
  • (1960) Prayer is an attitude. In Lawrence M Brings (Ed.), We believe in prayer (pp. 180-182). Denison and Company.
  • (1960) “Christian Education Today.” In Lawrence M. Brings (Ed.), We Believe in Prayer (p. 208). Denison and Company
  • (1959) Images of man and the American scene. In Randolph Crump Miller (Ed.) What is the image of man? (pp. 1-13). Philadelphia: United Church Press. Also Preface, vii-ix.
  • (1954) Pastoral psychology and Christian Education. In Simon Doniger (Ed.) Religion and human behavior. (pp. 217-233) New York: Association Press.
  • (1946) The discovery of resistance and resource. In Randolph Crump Miller (Ed.) The church and organized movements. (pp. 3-25). New York: Harper & Row. Also Introduction, xii-xvi.
  • (1946) Authority and freedom in doctrine. In Theodore P. Ferris (Ed.) Episcopalians United. (pp. 12-36). New York: Morehouse-Gorham.
  • (1943) Some trends in American theology. In Randolph Crump Miller & Henry H. Shires Christianity and the Contemporary Scene (pp. 1-16). New York: Morehouse-Gorham.


  • (1992) “William James and the American scene. [introd to issue on The relevance of William James for philosophy and Theology in the 1990s].” American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 15 (January), 3-14.
  • (1992) “Peace without Hiroshima. [Review].” Religious Education 87 (1), 157.
  • (1991) “Children and ethics.” (1991) Religious Education 86 (1), 134-144.
  • (1991) “The educational philosophy of William James.” Religious Education 86 (4), 619-634.
  • (1990) “Faith on earth [Review].” Religious Education 85 (1), 157-159. (Rev. of Faith on earth: An inquiry into the structure of human faith, by Niebuhr, H.Richard.)
  • (1989) “Rethinking empiricism in theology.” American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 10 (September), 159-170.
  • (1989) “The problem of evil and religious education.” Religious Education 84 (1), 5-15.
  • (1989) “APRRE theme: Liturgy and religious education [Assoc of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education].” Religious Education 84 (3), 322-383.
  • (1989) “Out of the wilderness. [Review]” Religious Education 84 (3), 455-457.
  • (1987) “The size of God. [Review].” Process Studies 16.4, (Winter), 299-305.
  • (1986) “The Jesus tradition. [Review]” Religious Education 81 (4), 658-659.
  • (1985) “Dewey, Whitehead, and Christian education.” Lexington Theological Quarterly 20 (4), 111-122.
  • (1985) “Russian refuseniks. [Review]” Religious Education 80 (1), 165.
  • (1985) “Inclusive language. A response [to S B Thistlethwaite, pp 551-570].” Religious Education 80 (4), 571-581.
  • (1984) “Meland: Worship and his recent thought [reply, B. E. Meland].” American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 5 (2-3), 96-106.
  • (1984) “Process, evil and God.” American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 1 (2), 60-70.
  • (1980) “The religious education scene.” New Review of Books and Religion 4, 4.
  • (1936) “Liberal religious thought today: Professor Wieman’s position.” The Churchman (April 15), 14-15.
  • (1979) “Bushnell, the family and children.” Religious Education 74 (3), 254-262.
  • (1979) “Horace Bushnell: Prophet to America’s children; God’s gift to the imagination; a state renewed in righteousness.” Perkins Journal 32 (Spring), 1-25. [(1936) “Liberalism: Method or Creed?” The Churchman (June 15,), 16-31.]
  • (1978) “Future of Catholic education.” Religious Education 73 (1), 5-89.
  • (1976) “Empiricism and process theology: God is what God does.” The Christian Century (March 24), 284-287.
  • (1976) “The heart of process thinking: A critical overview.” The New Review of Books and Religion 1 (2), 6.
  • (1976) “Some clarifying thoughts in religious education.” The Living Light (Winter), 487-498.
  • (1977) “Theology and the future of religious education.” Religious Education 72 (1), 46-60.
  • (1976) “Understanding religious convictions. [Review],” Review of Books and Religion 5 (April), 12.
  • (1975) “Process thinking and religious education.” Anglican Theological Review (July), 271-288.
  • (1975) “Iris V. Cully.” The Living Light (Summer), 282-286.
  • (1975) “Religion and secular education [Review].” Religious Education 70 (6), 690-692.
  • (1974) “Catechetics in context. [Review].” Religious Education 69 (3), 388.
  • (1974) “American religious thought. [Review].” Religious Education 69 (4), 519-520.
  • (1974) “Genetic fix. [Review].” Religious Education 69 (6), 748-749.
  • (1974) “The justification of religious belief. [Review].” Religious Education 69 (6), 730+.
  • (1973) “Process theology and religious education.” The St. Luke’s Journal of Theology (March), 3-10.
  • (1973) “Process thought and religious education,” Religious Education 68 (3), 307-338.
  • (1973) “A memory of Ernest Ligon.” Character Potential (April), 132-133.
  • (1973) “Whitehead and religious education.” Character Potential (May-June), 315-322
  • (1973) “How open a society?” Religious Education 67 (5), 564-568.
  • (1970) “How to use the Bible.” The South-East Asia Journal of Theology 1 (1), 77-82.
  • (1972) “Predicaments and pointers in religious education.” Colloquy (November), 2-5.
  • (1972) “Response to ‘Confirmation Today’: Confirmation and the ministry of the laity [reply to pp 106-119 April],” Anglican Theological Review 54 (October), 359.
  • (1971) “Some Asian contributions to Christian education.” Religious Education 66 (2), 119-129.
  • (1971) “New challenges in religious education.” National Catholic Reporter (October).
  • (1971) “Some clarifying thoughts about education.” South East Asia Journal of Theology 12 (Spring), 48-53.
  • (1970) “Linguistic philosophy and religious education.” Religious Education 65 (4), 309-317.
  • (1970) “The language gap and God,” “Religion in state schools, ” “Is there a right age for confirmation?” Christian Education News (Australia) (July), 3-6, 9-12, 13-15.
  • (1970) “Some Asian contributions to Christian education.” The South-East Asia Journal of Theology 12 (Autumn), 3-13.
  • (1970) “Suggested books for a Christian education library.” The South-East Asia Journal of Theology 12 (Autumn), 48-51.
  • (1970) “Editor’s report I.” Religious Education 65 (5), 386, 447-449.
  • (1970) “Editor’s report II.” Religious Education 65 (6), 466, 517-520.
  • (1969) “How to use the Bible.” Resource (Anglican Church of Canada) (November), 9-11; (December), 5-8.
  • (1968) “Sprachmodelle und Religionunterricht.” Theologica Practica (April), 117-130 (Cf. Religious Education (July-August), 269-278.
  • (1968) “From where I sit.” Learning for Living 7 (5&6), 7-9, & (September), 22-25.
  • (1967) “The Easter event and linguistic analysis: A critique of Van Buren.” The Near East School of Theology Quarterly (April and July), 6-21.
  • (1967) “Do we need an ordained ministry?” The Pulpit 58 (May), 8-10.
  • (1967) “New curriculum in orthodox churches.” Overseas Mission Review XII No.3 (Whitsunday), 32-34.
  • (1967) “Editor’s report, I.” Religious Education 62 (3), 262-264.
  • (1967) “Editor’s report II.” Religious Education 62 (6), 466, 536-538.
  • (1967) “Christian education as a theological discipline and method.” Near East School of Theology Quarterly (October), 7-16 (cf. Religious Education, 6).
  • (1967) “Nairobi 1967 report.” World Christian Education (Fourth Quarter, recorder and editor).
  • (1967) “[Sabbatical in Asia and Middle East, 2 pts].” Religious Education 62 (3),: 226, 262-264; and 62 (November-December), 466, 536-538.
  • (1966) “The teaching ministry.” Navy Supervisory Chaplains Conference 17-21 (January), 181-188, 189-192.
  • (1966) “Christian education in a secular society.” Lutheran Education (September), 2-8.
  • (1966) “Linguistic models and religious education.” Religious Education 61 (4), 269-278.
  • (1966) “The challenge of the ecumenical movement to church education.” Religious Education 61 (5), 369-376.
  • (1965) “New thinking in Christian education.” Concordia Theological Monthly, (36), 80-88.
  • (1965) “Resetting our sights in Christian education.” Concordia Thelogical Monthly, (36), 144-151.
  • (1965) “From where I sit.” Religious Education 60 (2), 99-105.
  • (1965) “Moral behavior for Christians.” Anglican Theological Review (April).
  • (1964) “Anxiety and learning.” Pastoral Psychology (February), 11-15.
  • (1964) “For the world of tomorrow.” One Christian Century (April 29), 544-546.
  • (1964) “Christian education as I see it today.” Baptist Leader (September), 4-5.
  • (1964) “Children’s questions about faith.” Adult Student (November), 2-5.
  • (1963) “The Holy Spirit and Christian education.” Findings (March), 12-14.
  • (1962) “What should be the main service: Morning prayer.” The Witness (February 15).
  • (1962) “Contemporary images of man.” Adult Student (November), 24-44, 64.
  • (1962) “The Holy Spirit and Christian education.” Religious Education 57 (3), 178-184.
  • (1962) “The Holy Spirit and Christian education.” Biblical Theology (Belfast) (October), 49-63.
  • (1961) “Organization is necessary.” Findings (December), 7-8.
  • (1961) “Christian insights in marriage.” The Adult Student (April), 14-38.
  • (1961) “Protestant nurture in a changing world,” Religious Education 56 (3), 199-206.
  • (1961) “The church in the Bible,” World Christian Education (First Quarter), 12-14.
  • (1961) “Christian education in the church.” World Christian Education (Second Quarter), 46-49.
  • (1961) “The parish-wide program of Christian education,” World Christian Education (Third Quarter), 78-81.
  • (1961) “Family and church and youth in the church.” World Christian Education (Fourth Quarter), 104-107.
  • (1960) “The Bible answers our needs,” Pulpit Digest (February), 37-40.
  • (1960) “Religious education in Europe.” Religious Education 55 (2), 141-143.
  • (1960) “Editor’s report, II.” Religious Education 55 (6), 424, 451-452.
  • (1959) “The church’s nurture in Christian education.” The Christian Education (January –March), 7-9.
  • (1959) “The big family can be redemptive.” International Journal of Religious Education (April), 6-7.
  • (1959) “The God of the Bible.” Children’s Religion (June), 6-8.
  • (1959) “Redemption in the family.” International Journal of Religious Education (December), 13, 48.
  • (1959) “Theology and religious education.” Religion in Education (Spring), 73-75.
  • (1958) “Sunday morning worship family style.” Presbyterian Action (August), 14-15.
  • (1958) “The abundant life.” The Churchman (December).
  • (1958) “Probleme der Christlichen Unterweisung in den Vereinigten Staaten.” Lutherische Rundschau (August), 138-51.
  • (1958) “Christian education in the United States.” Lutheran World (September).
  • (1958) “Christian faith and life series.” Union Seminary Quarterly Review (November), 37-46.
  • (1957) “Revelation, relevance, and relationships.” Religion in Life (Winter), 132-433.
  • (1957) “Ambassadors for Christ.” The Pulpit Digest (February), 27-30.
  • (1957) “How shall a Christian deal with conscience and compromise?” Earnest Worker (November), 20-21.
  • (1957) “Anxiety in Christian education.” The Pulpit (April): 5-6, 16.
  • (1956) “Family worship in the church.” Church School Worker (January), 55-58.
  • (1956) “Education for redemption.” International Journal of Religious Education (March), 12-13.
  • (1956) “Should I make my child go to church school?” The International Journal of Religious Education (September), 4-5.
  • (1956) “The education of Christians.” The Pulpit (May), 6-7.
  • (1956) “The demand is answered.” Episcopal Church News (October 14), 24-41.
  • (1955) “The Seabury series launched.” The Witness (May 15), 3-4.
  • (1955) “Something new in religious education.” The Churchman (May).
  • (1955) “The family worships together.” Presbyterian Survey (August), 16-17.
  • (1955) “The family service.” The Living Church (August 7), 22-23.
  • (1955) “Family worship in the church.” The Witness (November 20), 9-11.
  • (1954) “Children and death.” Church School Worker (February), 49-51.
  • (1954) “Human relations and Christian education.” World Christian Education (First Quarter), 3-5.
  • (1954) “Teaching to create faith.” The Baptist Reader (October), 5, 16.
  • (1954) “Americanism, communism and fascism.” The Witness (September), 11-13.
  • (1954) “The new lessons.” The Witness (November 25), 12-13.
  • (1953) “Three ministerial attitudes.” The Witness (January), 9-11.
  • (1953) “Ministry a partnership.” The Messenger (June 16), 12-15.
  • (1953) “Congressional investigation of the prophets.” The Churchman (May 15): 8-9.
  • (1953) “Books children own.” The Churchman (April 1), 10-11.
  • (1953) “Christian education as a theological discipline and method.” Religious Education 48 (6).
  • (1952) “Authority, scripture and tradition.” Religion in Life (Autumn), 551-52.
  • (1952) “Theology and the understanding of children.” Pastoral Psychology (June), 1-2.
  • (1952) “Women in the church.” The Witness (July 10), 9-11.
  • (1952) “Christian education as a theological discipline and method.” Yale Divinity News (November), 1-2.
  • (1951) “Gremlins and Christianity.” The Churchman (February 1), 13-14.
  • (1951) “Brother of the faith.” The Witness (March 1), 14-16.
  • (1951) “Food for the spirit.” The Churchman (April 15), 10.
  • (1951) “Catholics and education.” The Churchman (May 15), 11-12.
  • (1951) “God and the nations.” The Churchman (July), 7-9.
  • (1951) “Peter, Patmos and peace.” The Witness (September 20), 11-13.
  • (1951) “The mind of Christ.” Southern Churchman (September 23), 6-7.
  • (1951) “Where are America’s moral standards?” The Living Church (September 23), 16-17.
  • (1951) “Pastoral psychology and Christian education.” Pastoral Psychology (October).
  • (1951) “You can be a teacher.” The Churchman (November 1), 11-12.
  • (1951) “The Protestant Episcopal Church is catholic.” The Witness (November 29), 7-9.
  • (1951) “The Holy Catholic Church is protestant.” The Witness (December 6), 10-12.
  • (1950) “Gadgets and the kingdom of God.” The Living Church (June 4), 12-13.
  • (1950) “Through light and dark the road leads on.” The Southern Churchman (October 7), 6-8.
  • (1950) “Subversiveness of the Bill of Rights.” The Witness (December 7), 10-12.
  • (1949) “Things are happening at the pacific.” Witness (January 20), 5-6.
  • (1949) “New church school curriculum to offer fine material.” The Witness (March 31), 3-18.
  • (1949) “When life seems hard.” The Southern Churchman (March 5), 3-4.
  • (1949) “New curriculum under way.” The Churchman (May 15).
  • (1949) “Dialogue sermons for radio.” Southern Churchman (July), 5-6, 8.
  • (1949) “Shakespeare of the prayerbook.” The Southern Churchman (August 13), 3-4.
  • (1949) “The old man and liturgicum.” The Witness (September), 15-17.
  • (1949) “Christian education report.” Southern Churchman (July), 5-6, 8.
  • (1949) “A barber’s dream.” The Southern Churchman (October 29).
  • (1949) “California’s bishops.” The Living Church (October 2), 20-24.
  • (1948) “Our common Biblical heritage.” The Witness (November 25), 12-14.
  • (1948) “A barber’s dream.” Forth (March).
  • (1948) “Education for living.” The Southern Churchman (October 16), 3-4.
  • (1948) “Toward a new curriculum.” The Living Church (November 7), 13-14.
  • (1947) “God in the atomic age.” The Chronicle (Poughkeepsie, New York) (February), 89-91.
  • (1947) “Where our creeds came from.” Pacific Churchman (March), 5-7.
  • (1946) “Freedom and jazz.” The Witness (January 24), 11-12.
  • (1946) “Medicine and religion.” Pacific Churchman (January), 24-48.
  • (1946) “Education in the Episcopal Church.” The Churchman (May 15), 9.
  • (1946) “Vocational giver.” The Living Church (June).
  • (1946) “Liberal evangelical theology.” The Witness (June 17), 11-12.
  • (1946) “Bobby sox religion.” Religious Education 41 (2), 107-13.
  • (1946) “Weaknesses and resources of the Christian Church.” Journal of religious Thought (Autumn-Winter), 16-33.
  • (1946) “God as idea and as living.” Christendom (Winter), 57-64.
  • (1945) “Empirical method and its critics.” Anglican Theological Review (January), 27-34.
  • (1945) “Is it true what they say about Henry?” The Chronicle (January), 79-80.
  • (1945) “Overcoming our troubles.” The Pulpit (April), 88-90.
  • (1945) “The relevance of Christian ethics.” Religion in Life (Spring), 205-15.
  • (1945) “Prayer book Christianity,” The Chronicle (April), 152-53.
  • (1945) “The church school of tomorrow.” The Southern Churchman (September 1), 3-4.
  • (1945) “Why man works.” The Witness (October 11), 11-12.
  • (1945) “The prayer book and the red network.” The Churchman (November 15), 12.
  • (1945) “The king’s highway,” Chronicle (December) 57-59.
  • (1944) “Old themes in new dress.” The Living Church (February 13), 11-12.
  • (1944) “The quiz kids invade school of California parish.” The Witness (October 19). 5-6.
  • (1944) “Interdenominational education.” The Living Church (October 22), 16-17.
  • (1943) “Lessons that children like.” The Churchman (January 1), 9-10.
  • (1943) “Liberalism is not dead.” The Witness (January 28), 11-12.
  • (1943) “Secondary schools in Christian education.” The Churchman (August 1), 6-7.
  • (1942) “Beware of spiritual sabotage.” The Churchman (March 15), 12-13.
  • (1942) “Streamlining the church.” The Churchman (February 1), 10.
  • (1942) “Easter and prayer,” Pacific Churchman (April).
  • (1942) “From Drake’s Bay on…” The Living Church (October 4), 12-15.
  • (1942) “Prayer in wartime.” The Christian Century (November 25), 1456-1457.
  • (1941) “Is temple a realist?” The Chronicle, (Poughkeepsie, New York) (February), 101-104.
  • (1941) “Why I don’t go to church.” The Churchman (March 1), 13-14.
  • (1941) “What the seminaries are trying to do.” Los Angeles Churchman (March).
  • (1941) “Decently and in order.” The Pacific Churchman (June), 15-17.
  • (1941) “Religion in the home.” The Witness (November 13), 4-6.
  • (1940) “The new naturalism and Christianity.” Anglican Theological Review (January), 25-35.
  • (1940) “God in a world at war.” The Churchman (February 15), 15-16.
  • (1940) “Theology in transition,” Journal of Religion (April), 160-168.
  • (1940) “Empiricism and analogical theology.” Christendom (Summer), 12-13.
  • (1940) “Professor Macintosh and empirical theology.” The Personalist (Winter).
  • (1939) “Is Temple a realist?” Journal of Religion (January), 44-54.
  • (1939) “The western church grows up,” Los Angeles Churchman (May), 3,6,8.
  • (1939) “The importance of our divinity schools.” The Chronicle (July), 232-34.
  • (1939) “Adventure of faith.” The Southern Churchman (September 16), 56,8.
  • (1939) “What is Christianity?” The Churchman (December 15), 14-15.
  • (1938) “What the young cleric studies.” The Los Angeles Churchman (January), 4-5.
  • (1937) “O, principle of concretion!” The Chronicle (January), 89-90.
  • (1937) “Seminaries and the curriculum.” The Southern Churchman (July 3), 5-6.
  • (1937) “Theology and clinics.” The Churchman (March 15), 17.
  • (1937) “Religious realism in America.” The Modern Churchman (December), 495-506.
  • (1936) “Has liberalism a theology?” The Churchman (September 15), 15-16.
  • (1935) “The Church’s social dilemmas.” The Churchman 149 (23), 14.


  • (1962) The educational mission of the church. World Council of Christian Education and Sunday School Association, 1962, 55pp.
  • (1962) The Holy Spirit and Christian Education. Religious Education Committee, Friends General Conference, 1962, 20pp.
  • (1961) Christian insights for marriage (with Leaders’ Guide by Edward D. Staples). Abingdon Press, 1961, 62pp.
  • (1945) Let’s Explore the Philippines. National Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church. 1945, 32pp.

Church School Curriculum

  • (1957) Revised edition of Climbers of the steep ascent by Mary Jenness. Cloiser Series, grade 9. Morehouse-Barlow, 1957.
  • (1945) The challenge of the church. Cloister Series, grade 10. Morehouse-Barlow, 1945, rev. ed. 1956.

Reviews of Miller’s Work

  • (1996). Leland-Mayer, Polly. “Book Review: Theologies of Religious Education.” Liberal Religious Education, 16, 73-74.
  • (1996). Salier, Willis H. “Book Review: Theologies of Religious Education.” Reformed Theological Review, 55, 160.
  • (1982). Foster, Charles R. “Book Review: Three Big Books in Christian Education.” Quarterly Review, 2, 98-107.
  • (1980). Ratti, John. “Book Review: Special Religious Education Issue.” New Review of Books and Religion, 4, 1-26.
  • (1974). Dobihal, Edward F. “Book Review: Live Until You Die.” Religious Education, 69, 93.
  • (1973). McClarchey, Harry. “Book Review: The Language Gap and God.” Modern Churchman, 16, 163-164.
  • (1971). Deschner, John. “Book Review: The Language Gap and God.” Perkins Journal, 24, 48.
  • (1971). Batson, C. Daniel. “Book Review: The Language Gap and God.” Princeton Seminary Bulletin, 68, 108-110.
  • (1971). Edge, Findley B. “Book Review: The Language Gap and God.” Review and Expositor, 68, 557.
  • (1971). McCarter, Neely D. “Book Review: The Language Gap and God.” Theology Today, 28, 242-245.
  • (1959). Burns, E.B. “Book Review: Biblical Theology and Christian Education.” Journal of Pastoral Care, 13, 58.
  • (1958). Goodykoontz, H. G. “Book Review: Biblical Theology and Christian Education.” Interpretation, 12, 122-123.
  • (1957). Cully, K. B. “Book Review: Education for Christian Living.” Anglican Theological Review, 39, 186-188.
  • (1957). Cully, K. B. “Book Review: Biblical Theology and Christian Education.” Encounter, 18, 383-384.
  • (1957). Taylor, M. J. “Book Review: Biblical Theology and Christian Education.” Journal of Bible and Religion, 25, 158-160.
  • (1957). Stickford, W. W. “Book Review: Education for Christian Living.” Journal of Bible and Religion, 25, 158.
  • (1957). Bransford, W. L. “Book Review: Biblical Theology and Christian Education.” Journal of religious Thought, 14, 182-183.
  • (1957). Nelson, G. “Book Review: Biblical Theology and Christian Education.” Union Seminary Quarterly, 12, 95.
  • (1956). Wyckoff, D. C. “Book Review: Education for Christian Living.” Princeton Seminary Bulletin, 49, 65-66.
  • (1956). Lynn, R. W. “Book Review: Education for Christian Living.” Union Seminary Quarterly, 12, 71-73.
  • (1951-1952). Homrighausen, E. G. “Book Review: The Clue to Christian Education.” Princeton Seminary Bulletin, 45.3, 52.

Excerpts from Publications

Miller, The clue to Christian education (1950).

The clue to Christian education is the discovery of a relevant theology which will bridge the gap between content and method, providing the background and perspective of Christian truth by which the best methods and content will be used as tools to bring the learners into the right relationship with the living God who is revealed to us in Jesus Christ, using the guidance of parents and the fellowship of life in the Church as the environment in which Christian nurture will take place (Miller 1950, 15).

Miller, Christian nurture and the church (1961).

I have used the term nurture as a broader term to describe the involvement of the pupil in the atmosphere and relationships of a community including knowledge about it as a means toward loyalty to it. Christian education is the nurture of the total person in all the relationships of life seen from the perspective of membership in the Christian community. This is a program 'from womb to tomb.' The Christian family performs this function on an impermanent basis while children are in the home, but only the Church can do it for children or adults on a permanent basis. A close relationship between parents and the parish is essential if the family and Church are to cooperate in the major project of incorporating members into the body (Miller 1961, vii-viii).

We have said that one becomes a Christian within a Christian community. Education takes place in community. This means that we need to take the idea of koinonia very seriously if we are to educate people to be the Church, for the people to be educated must be brought into that 'atmosphere in which grace flourishes.' The problem becomes clearer. Unless the local congregation becomes aware of what it means to be the Church, we cannot expect genuine Christian nurture to take place (Miller 1961, 17).

Miller, The language gap and God (1970).

Even before a child can use words, the Gospel 'beams out' form the Christian parent … This development of the child, growing up as a Christian, is no automatic process… There is an organic relationship between parents and children, which, when properly structured and supported by love, becomes the means of grace whereby God works within the group.

Miller, The theory of Christian education practice (1982).

… theology and educational theory must be in conversation, with both elements having equal status. This was best expressed in 1943 in terms of a theology that could make use of John Dewey's education theory. In my Education for Christian Living, I tried to bring subject matter and method together by quoting Dewey … The subject matter may or may not be derived from theology… The purpose of method is to make the student stink, and the act of thinking is facing real problems with the resources of the person and the community… A particular theology stands in the background for every educator…One possibility is that process theology, arising from A. N. Whitehead's philosophy of organism, may provide a background for Christian education theory and practice (Miller Theology 1982, 31, 32).

1996 Interview with James Estep, commenting on Coe's influence on his educational ideas, Miller commented when interviewed that though he never actually knew Coe, he had read his works.

"I still have them [Coe's books] in my bookcase. And I've found him influential, but he was quite left of me actually… What Coe did in the 30's and 40's was outstand-ing stuff and I had obtained the same kind of influence in the 50's and 60's, but no-body understood that they were similar opposition, but I think later on I was more sympathetic to Coe than the time I wrote The Clue. Compared to Clue my theory of Christian education practice seemed a little different." "I think that children have an idea of what worship is when they experience it. [It] becomes really the empirical anchor [of Christian nurture]. Most churches have preschool kids in their worship … turning any congregational service into a public squirmers mass."


(1982) The Theory of Christian Education Practice: How Theology Affects Christian Education. Birmingham, Alabama: Religious Education Press.

While Miller published many works after 1982, The Theory represents the culmination of his earlier works. It presents a comprehensive educational theory that is informed by his process theology.

(1961) Christian Nurture and the Church. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Christian Nurture details how the Church is the permanent institution and context for Christian nurture, with attention given to other institutions that have profound influence on Christian nurture, e.g. the family, school, and community.

(1956) Biblical Theology and Christian Education. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Biblical Theology presents the “biblical drama” systematically, relating each major episode to learners of various ages. The Bible presents material “not in dogma or in theological propositions, but in terms of a drama” (Miller, Education for Christian Living 1956, 63). It is a narrative of process theology in education.

(1950) The Clue to Christian Education. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

The Clue was the Miller’s first significant work which advocates the use of theology as the background of Christian education. It is a response to the old classical liberal model of religious education, responding to it by suggesting that theology can provide the direction for education theory… it is the “clue” that classical liberalism (Coe and Elliot) missed.

Author Information

James Riley Estep, Jr.

James Riley Estep, Jr. is the Professor of Christian Education at Lincoln Christian Seminary, as well as an Associate Dean at Lincoln Christian College. He also serves as Director of Academic Assessment and Faculty Development for the campus. He was a student of Warren Benson's from 1994-1999 at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL).