Fowlers Stages of Faith Development Made Simple



Stage 1 Intuitive-Projective This is the stage of preschool children in which fantasy and reality   often get mixed together. However, during this stage, our most basic ideas   about God are usually picked up from our parents and/or society.
Stage 2 Mythic-Literal When   children become school-age, they start understanding the world in more   logical ways. They generally accept the stories told to them by their faith   community but tend to understand them in very literal ways. [A few people   remain in this stage through adulthood.]
Stage 3 Synthetic-Conventional Most   people move on to this stage as teenagers. At this point, their life has   grown to include several different social circles and there is a need to pull   it all together. When this happens, a person usually adopts some sort of   all-encompassing belief system. However, at this stage, people tend to have a   hard time seeing outside their box and don’t recognize that they are   “inside” a belief system. At this stage, authority is usually   placed in individuals or groups that represent one’s beliefs. [This is the   stage in which many people remain.]
Stage 4 Individuative-Reflective  This is the tough stage, often begun in young adulthood, when people start seeing outside the box and realizing that there are other “boxes”. They begin to critically examine their beliefs on their own and often become disillusioned with their former faith. Ironically, the Stage 3 people usually think that Stage 4 people have become “backsliders” when in reality they have actually moved forward.
Stage 5 Conjunctive Faith It is   rare for people to reach this stage before mid-life. This is the point when   people begin to realize the limits of logic and start to accept the paradoxes   in life. They begin to see life as a mystery and often return to sacred   stories and symbols but this time without being stuck in a theological box.
Stage 6 Universalizing Faith  Few people reach this stage. Those who do live their lives to the full in service of others without any real worries or doubts.

Where would you place certain well known people of faith (Christian or otherwise) or no faith in this chart?

Personally I would be putting Nelson Mandella, Martin Luther King, the current Bishop of Rome, Francis I, in stage 6. Most televangelists I’d be putting in Stage 1!

14 thoughts on “Fowlers Stages of Faith Development Made Simple

  1. Dumbest post for a long time. I was surprised anyone bothered to comment.

    The Methodists have came a long way since Wesley. He’d turn in his grave if he wasn’t already with the Lord!


    How the dickens can you have ‘stages of faith’? You either believe or you don’t. That’s it! I make that either one stage or two, depending on whether you include the negative!

    Jesus said a little faith was enough to move a mountain. That’s because faith is based on the Word of God, not on psychology.

    The Engel Scale makes far more sense.

  2. +5 Stewardship
    +4 Communion with God
    +3 Conceptual and behavioural growth
    +2 Incorporation into Body
    +1 Post-decision evaluation
    New birth
    -1 Repentance and faith in Christ
    -2 Decision to act
    -3 Personal problem recognition
    -4 Positive attitude towards Gospel
    -5 Grasp implications of Gospel
    -6 Awareness of fundamentals of Gospel
    -7 Initial awareness of Gospel
    -8 Awareness of supreme being, no knowledge of Gospel

  3. Stage 1 – Faith in Christ! God’s grace freely given. Entry into eternal life!

    What else is there?

  4. Paul would disagree with you that there aren’t stages to our faith – he articulate only two – milk of the word and meat – babies and adults – therefore I would have to say that you are conflating saving faith with the beliefs and behaviours associated with different stages of our faith life

  5. Wazza funny pun Wazza.

    The current Bishop of Rome, Francis I, in stage 6???
    Maybe stage 666.

    Why do some people ask the Q,”Where are you at in Christ”,without giving you so much as a short description of the different stages of Christianity?
    I have been asked where i was at in Christ before and my answer was ‘Australia’.
    People just love to specialize in business minding.

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