Document Type



Claremont Graduate University

Publication Date



Christianity | Missions and World Christianity | Practical Theology | Religious Education | Social Psychology


One of the goals of missio-logoi (missionary speech) used by missionaries is the development of faith in the lives of those whom the missionaries serve. From a biblical perspective, faith has both a relational (e.g., John 3:16) and a cognitive dimension (e.g., Hebrews 11:1). This cognitive dimension is similar to what social psychologists call attitude certainty, the degree to which an individual is certain that a particular attitude or belief is true. This study reviews the empirical research conducted to discover the factors that influence attitude certainty. These factors include support for the beliefs by peers, repeated verbal expression of the beliefs, direct experience with the object of belief, and knowledge of how to defend the belief when confronted with strong counter-arguments to the belief. Beliefs and attitudes which are more certain are likely to have more of an impact on an individual’s behavior, are more resistant to persuasion, and persist longer in an individual’s life. Missionaries can thus focus their missio-logoi so as to maximize attitude certainty among the people to whom they minister.

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