Biblical Field Course Descriptions
BL100 New Testament Greek I
An introduction to New Testament Greek vocabulary, grammatical forms, and sentence structure with a view to New Testament Greek as a resource for ministry.
BL101A New Testament Greek II
Continues BL100, with special emphasis upon syntax and translation. 1.5 cr
BL101B New Testament Interpretation
An introduction to the tools and principles required for the exegesis of the New Testament in its own linguistic, historical, and canonical context, as a foundation for interpreting the New Testament in a contemporary context. 1.5 cr Prereq: BL100, BL101A
BL102 New Testament Foundations
An introduction to the content, history, and theological dynamism of the writings of the New Testament, with a view to appropriating the message of the New Testament for today.
BL103 Old Testament Foundations
An introduction to the content, history, and theological dynamism of the writings of the Old Testament, with a view to appropriating the message of the Old Testament for today.
BL110 Biblical Hebrew I
An introduction to biblical Hebrew in its cultural context for those who seek to interpret the Bible faithfully and fully. Using multi-sensory and interactive approaches, students will learn the basic vocabulary, grammar, syntax and world view of the Old Testament.
BL111 Hebrew Translation and Interpretation
A continuation of BL110 which more fully engages interpretive and devotional approaches to Old Testament texts. Prereq: BL110
BL509 Conflict in the Created Order
This course will explore how the conflict between the ordering word of God and the disordering waters of the deep in the creation story is recapitulated in the narrative, prophetic, and wisdom literature. We will explore why Western Christians have tended to overlook this conflict, and how a deeper understanding of it can revitalize Christian communities.
BL513 Studies in Prophets
The role of prophets in Israelite society, their theology, and their impact on Western culture.
BL514 Seminar in Psalms
An exegetical study of selected psalms in the context of both the Old Testament and the larger canon of Scripture. Attention is also given to the role of the psalms in the liturgical, devotional, and theological life of the church. 1.5 cr
BL515 The Earth is the Lord’s: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible
This course engages Scripture through the eyes of contemporary agrarian writers with a view toward finding more faithful ways to honor God’s creation. The curriculum revolves around “conversations” with authors (Ellen Davis, Norman Wirzba, Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson) and practitioners who can help us think about the practical challenges and possibilities of honoring God’s creation.
BL517 Wisdom Literature of the Bible
Explores the forms, vocabulary, and concepts of wisdom in the Bible, emphasizing Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes. 1.5 cr.
BL518 The Trial of Galileo and Its Implications for Biblical Interpretation Today
Galileo (1564-1642) refined the telescope and turned it toward the heavens. Observing the movements of planets and moons, he saw that the sun was the center of the world and not the earth, as the theologians of his day taught. The Church put him on trial during which there was intense debate about the authority of the Scriptures and the relationship between general and special revelation. In the end, his books were banned, and he was put under house arrest. We will study the trial of Galileo and use it as a lens to look at similar controversies facing the Church today about the structure of the world. 1.5 cr
BL519 Seminar in Performance Criticism
In this course students will engage Old Testament narratives deeply through both translation and performance. Beginning with translation, students will explore the heart of the Hebrew dramas in the Old Testament and render them in faithful English translation with an eye and ear toward performance. Then, the class will engage each narrative through embodied exegesis to develop a performance of the narrative, which will be offered publicly, either in a church service or in morning prayers. 1.5 cr Prereq: BL110
A theological exposition of the book of Esther that looks to literary issues such as theme, character, and irony as guides for interpreting the book in the contexts of both the Old and the New Testaments. Originally intended as a model for life in the Jewish Diaspora, the book is a potentially important guide for Christians seeking to live faithful lives in a secular society. 1.5 cr
BL522 Old Testament Narratives
This course will explore the artistry, drama, and theology of Israelite storytelling. We will consider the cultural, historical, and theological context out of which these dramatic stories arose, and will discover their transforming power through performance. 1.5 cr
A literary and theological exposition of the book of Ruth. Emphasis placed on improving Hebrew reading and on refining exegetical skills. 1.5 cr; Prereq: BL110
A study of the first five books of the Bible. Examines the accounts of creation, the fall, Israel’s ancestors, the exodus, and the giving of the Law. The class will explore theological issues such as the nature of God, human beings and the world, our covenantal relationship with God, and the presence of God in historical events.
BL549 Scripture as Spirituality
This class will engage close readings of original language texts from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The class will attend carefully to the contemplative invitations of these texts and explore implications for faith and life. 1.5 cr Prereq: BL101A; BL110
BL614 Hebrew Reading/Performance
Using memorization and movement as the primary tools of exegesis, students engage with one Old Testament narrative deeply for 14 weeks. This course builds on BL110 and BL111, deepening students’ engagement with the oral nature of the Hebrew Bible. Pass/fail, 1.5 cr
BL616 Christianity and Literature
A study of the biblical and theological motifs in selected literature by both classical and contemporary authors. Emphasis is on the use/study of such works in ministry settings, as well as their relevance for those involved in leadership roles in the church.
BL618 Advanced Biblical Hebrew
Advanced learning in the language and theology of the Old Testament. Students develop a deeper understanding of grammar, syntax, and interpretation through hearing, speaking, and reading Hebrew, as well as memorizing and enacting biblical stories. Prereq: BL110 & BL111
This course studies the book of Revelation within its historical, political, and literary contexts. Particular emphasis will be placed on the apocalyptic nature of the work within the first century C.E. Additionally, it studies the impact this book has had on contemporary views on eschatology. Finally, students will examine the variety of ways that Revelation can be used in the church, including preaching, liturgy, and pastoral care.
BL529 The Gospel According to Matthew
An overview of the theology and narrative shaping of the first gospel, using close readings of selected texts. Particular attention is paid to Matthew’s vision for discipleship, the church, and Christian life and witness. Prereq: BL100, BL101A&B or equiv.
BL530 Letter to the Romans
Introduction and overview of the letter, together with exegetical study of selected portions in Greek.Prereq: BL100, BL101A&B, BL102 or equiv.
BL532 The Gospel According to John
Considers important historical, literary, hermeneutical, and theological issues in the Gospel of John, with exegesis of selected passages in Greek. Prereq: BL100, BL101A&B, BL102 or equiv.
BL534-DL Reading Acts in its Contexts: Communities, Conflicts/Contemporary Church
This course will examine Acts in light of its varied social, political, and canonical contexts, with a particular emphasis on the Spirit’s formation of the people of God. Students will undertake a close reading of the text of Acts and will consider the ways that Acts can help the contemporary church imagine communities of faith and practice that bear witness to the Triune God. Along the way, we will discover that Luke’s account of the first decades of the Jesus movement, the only historical account of the life of the first century church, is a richly textured narrative theology that bears witness to the ascended Lord Jesus Christ who pours out the Spirit for the sake of creation. 1.5 cr
BL535 Interpreting the Parables
A survey of recent approaches to interpreting the parables of Jesus provides the context for considering hermeneutical issues in preaching and teaching the parables. Prereq: BL100, BL101A&B, BL102 or equiv.
BL537-DL Synoptic Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke
This course studies Matthew, Mark and Luke and their cultural, historical and literary contexts. Students will also explore ways of using gospels in worship, preaching and teaching.
BL540 The Corinthian Correspondence
An exploration of Paul’s First and Second letters to the Corinthians, with particular attention to the interaction between pastoral engagement and theological reflection. Prereq: BL100, BL101A&B, BL102 or equiv.
BL541 Letters to the Philippians and Galatians
An exegetical study of two Pauline letters in light of modern interpretation, with attention to their use in modern theology and the preaching and teaching of the church. Selected Greek passages will be studied in depth. Prereq: BL100, BL101A&B, BL102 or equiv.
BL542 General Epistles
An overview of all the General/Catholic Epistles, with closer exegetical treatment of three of them. The epistles selected for closer treatment will vary, and key passages in them will be exegetically treated in Greek. Attention will be paid to the use of these epistles in the teaching and preaching of the church today. Prereq: BL100, BL101A&B, BL102 or equiv.
BL545 Acts of the Apostles
This course explores the book of Acts within its historical, cultural, literary, and theological contexts. Students will read through the entire book, engaging sections of the text in Greek. Questions include: how did early Christians live and thrive in tension with the world around them, and how is their story significant to our own ministry in our contexts? Prereq: BL100, BL101A&B, BL102 or equiv.
BL546 The New Testament and Christian Ministry
This course seeks to synthesize vision for proclaiming and teaching the Gospel today through the study of selected texts and themes from the New Testament. These texts, studied in Greek, focus on the themes of unity and diversity of the Gospel message, the general ministry of the church in the New Testament, and special ministries in the New Testament. Prereq: BL100, BL101A&B or equiv.
BL547 The Bible, Gender, and Sexuality
A survey of major biblical texts on sex and sexuality in general, with a view toward developing an overall framework for understanding biblical teaching on these themes. Within this overall framework, particular attention also will be given to exploring the questions of gender roles and homosexuality. Prereq: BL100, BL101A&B, BL102 or equiv.
BL613 Greek Reading
Maintains and enhances Greek language skills through weekly translation practice, and a study of intermediate Greek grammar. Pass/fail, 1.5 cr. Prereq: BL100, BL101A&B, BL102 or equiv.
BL617 Ordination of Women: Exploring Biblical Authority and Church Order
In-depth biblical exegesis and focused theological and hermeneutical reflection around the ordination of women – in an attempt both to assist students to clarify their understanding of this particular issue and to provide handles and tools for wrestling with the use of Scripture in the ordering of the church’s life more generally. A full range of views on the topic will be explored. 1.5 cr
Theological Field Course Descriptions
TH100 Church History I
This course explores the life and witness of the church from the New Testament era to the Protestant Reformation.
TH101 Church History II
This course explores the life and witness of the church from the Protestant Reformation to the present.
TH112 Gospel, Culture, and Church
An introduction to the church’s self-understanding as a missional and eschatological community formed by the good news of Jesus Christ and made to be its living witness. The course seeks to cultivate a biblical-theological rationale for the existence of the church and for its mission, an appreciation for the historical, cultural, and contextual rootedness of the church, an understanding of the dynamic interaction between the gospel and human cultures, and a vision for what missional faithfulness requires of any church in its own time and place.
TH113 Systematic Theology I
This first course of the two course Systematic Theology sequence explores four major Christian doctrines: the doctrines of God, creation, humanity, and Christ. These expansive headings include many other matters of theological importance, including Trinity doctrine, divine attributes, creation, humanity, the image of God, sin, providence, covenant, Israel and the significance of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Readings will range from early church to contemporary sources.
TH114 Systematic Theology II
This course explores the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, salvation, church and sacraments. Exploring these expansive topics will include an examination of the work of the Spirit in the believing community, scripture and divine revelation, justification, sanctification, and the final judgment, as well as the theology of Word and Sacraments in the church. Readings will range from early church to contemporary sources.
TH121 Christian Ethics
This course explores how the theological vision of the Christian community expresses itself in specific intentions, practices, virtues, and actions and how Christian communities can grow in moral discernment.
In this senior seminar, students will write a theologically comprehensive statement of their Christian belief in conversation with their respective theological traditions. 1.5 cr. Prereq: CM121, TH112, TH113, TH114.
TH126 Summative Examination
[waiting for description for this Master of Arts course]
TH450 RCA Standards
A survey of the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, and the Belhar Confession designed to highlight distinctive elements of the Reformed tradition and to prepare RCA candidates for their ordination examinations. (MFCA) Prereq: TH113, TH114
TH528 From Scripture to Theology: Topical Readings in the Theological Interpretation of Scripture
This course seeks to bridge biblical studies and theology by focusing upon a key biblical and theological topic for examination. While the specific topic rotates, the course explores ways in which biblical and theological studies can be received in a complementary way, receiving the Bible as God’s word for the church today.
TH551 Christology: Ancient and Contemporary Views of Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is the center of Christianity, and yet there is a vast spectrum of views about him. This course claims that the ancient Nicene-Chalcedonian understanding of the incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ and their saving impact still should be at the center of our Christology as we move into the future. Readings will start with key pre- and post-Nicene theologians and move to contemporary authors in this tradition who also emphasize the Jewishness of Jesus, the cosmic and liberative implications of Christ’s work, his relationship to the Spirit, and expansive understandings of his atoning work.
TH552 Karl Barth: Life and Theology
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of Barth’s theology for contemporary Christian thought. Our course will include an overview of Barth’s life and the forces that shaped it and his theology, and close readings of selections from his theological works. The student will gain a good overview of Barth’s theological vision, his major contributions to theology and typical critiques of his thought.
TH576 LesslieNewbigin’s Theology for the Church in a Pluralist Society
Explores the resources in the thought of missionary theologian LesslieNewbigin for the life and witness of the church in our contemporary, pluralist society. The course will develop a theology of cultural plurality necessary for the engagement of the gospel with human communities, a grasp of its relevance to the church’s life today in North America, and practical strategies for cultivating the habits of witness to which the church is called in such a place.
TH577 Global Christianity and the Mission of the Church
Explores how Christianity has become a global faith. Special attention is given to the developments in Asia and Africa where the Church has recently experienced explosive growth as well as tensions with Islamic cultures.
TH580 Theology of the Lord’s Supper
Explores the biblical and theological dimensions of the Lord’s Supper, with an eye for the renewal of the contemporary church. Readings draw from various Christian traditions and explore the Lord’s Supper in relation to topics such as biblical foundations for eucharistic theology, the history of eucharistic theology, and the implications of the Supper for discipleship and the church’s witness. 1.5 cr.
TH451 RCA History and Mission
Examines the development of the Reformed Church in the context of North America. Special attention devoted to the leaders, approaches, and philosophies of RCA missions. (MFCA)
TH502-DL Where are the Churches Going?
This course will begin in study of Calvin’s ecclesiology, and then go on to examine current movements among a number of Reformed denominations in the United States, critically analyzing current developments in light of Reformed convictions about the church. 1.5 cr
TH513 Theology and Social Movements
This course examines the relationship between social transformation and faith by studying some of the most significant social movements of the past 100 years. Through scholarly writings, literature and film we will explore the theological and ethical concerns involved in the efforts of groups to achieve a more just society. Particular attention will be given to how urban communities of faith conceive of and engage in social transformation. Notions of God’s divine reign of justice; how the oppressed marshal spiritual resources; and the dichotomies between majority and minority perspectives will be central to the course.
TH515 Discipleship in a Secular Age
Taking up W.H. Auden's claim that there is a great difference between "believing something still" and "believing something again" this course examines doubt and belief in the midst of a post-Christian West. A common attitude to Christianity is effectively captured in Emerson's remark: "I have no hostility to this institution" it's just that "I am not interested in it". Looking at sociology, literature, cultural analysis, discipleship, and the biblical foundations for the missional church, this course seeks to: understand why belief in a secular age is fragile and to offer a theologically compelling account of discipleship as missional engagement with the secular age. 1.5 cr
TH529 Early High Christology
The task of this class is to find a thread that connects the Jewish charismatic from Nazareth to the divine Lord confessed by early Christians. If it was so compelling, why was this early, Jewish Christology gradually lost in later generations of Christian theology? Students are invited to join the professor in exploring these questions. 1.5 cr. Prereq: TH113
TH530 Ante-Nicene Theologians
Analysis and seminar-style discussion of the Apostolic Fathers and other primary sources from the second and third centuries. The class will develop a methodology for reconstructing the context of the authors’ theologies from the texts themselves. 1.5 cr
TH531 Early Christian Theologians
Analysis and seminar discussion of the writings of Saint Athanasius and other theologians of the fourth century. Topics include the Trinity, creation, Christology, and the Atonement. 1.5 cr
TH544 20th Century Theology: Major Figures and Theological Currents
Close readings of some of the “classic” works of 20th century theology by theologians such as Barth, Bonhoeffer, Cone, Gutiérrez, Lindbeck, Jones, deLubac, vonBalthasar, Zizioulas and Hauerwas. We will highlight the place of these works in larger theological and cultural currents that shaped Christian thought in this tumultuous century.
TH567 Jesus in America
This course examines how Jesus is portrayed in American culture, and how this portrayal of Jesus impacts the mission of the church.
TH568 Calvin’s Theology and Its Reception
Calvin’s theology is not only central to the Reformed tradition, but continues to be the subject of vigorous theological discussion for theologians and pastors of many Christian traditions. After setting the context of Calvin’s life and times, this course will examine select key theological ideas in Calvin’s writings. The course will examine significant retrievals and prominent criticisms of Calvin’s theology in order to assess its value for the church’s life and ministry today.
TH578 Theologies of Martin Luther King and Bonhoeffer
This elective course is an examination of the theologies as well as the social and historical contexts of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The readings and discussions will be focused on four particular themes: justice, peace, liberation, and service. 1.5 cr
TH588 The Life and Witness of Formation Judaism (70-700 CE)
Analysis and seminar style discussion of early Jewish literature, particularly as it relates to the New Testament and the developing rule of faith. We shall read some of the principal texts and discuss the development of ideas like the Shekhinah, the celestial temple, ascent to heaven, the pre-existence and survival of souls, the Aqedah. Students will also study the Jewish Prayer Book and create their own files of New Testament texts along with the Jewish texts that throw some light on them. 1.5 cr
TH618 Theological German
Inductive study of basic German grammar and syntax and of selected texts in contemporary German theology. (Offered on request.)
TH527-DL Reformed and Ethical
The course will include readings from major figures in ethics from the Reformed tradition, including, but not limited to Abraham Kuyper, H. Richard Niebuhr and Nicholas Wolterstorff. The goal is for you to set your ethical compass in light of what others in the Reformed tradition have done. 1.5 cr
TH545 Ecological Theology and Ethics
An in-depth study of the nature and causes of current ecological degradation, the witness of Christian Scripture and the Christian theological tradition concerning matters ecological, the duties and responsibilities we humans have as earthkeepers, and the practical implications of living in a more earth-friendly way at home, at church, at work, at play.
TH546 War, Peace and Peacemaking
We will consider Christian views on war, peace and peacemaking. We will survey some of the key theological and biblical perspectives on war that have shaped the history of the church, look more carefully at various Christian responses to select wars and U.S. policies, and explore the thought and practices of Christian movements of peace and reconciliation.
TH547 The Moral Human Person
Perennial questions about “who are we” as human beings are complicated by Christian affirmations that we are sinful, we are called to do the good, and we are called to be holy. In this course we will explore Christian views of the person and our vocation as humans, including topics such as personhood and identity, the nature of sin, the image of God, and virtue theory.
TH554 Faith, Science and Technology
In this course we will explore what it means to faithfully confess the world as creation in the context of modern science and technology. Biblically-rooted, the Christian doctrine of creation proclaims the world as intended, purposeful, orderly, and ultimately grounded in the love of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Modern scientific descriptions of the world and rapidly changing modern technological developments offer both challenges and opportunities for Christian witness in both word and deed that all exists as God's good creation. 1.5 cr
TH555 Food and Faith: An Ethics of Eating
Food – what to eat, who can eat it, and when, how, and where to eat – plays a central role in the world’s religious traditions. It also poses critical social and ecological challenges in today’s globalized world. For people of faith, feasts and fasts, water and atmospheric quality, holy and forbidden foods, land health and biodiversity, community suppers and soup kitchens, human and animal wellbeing present complex and significant religious and ethical considerations. This course examines these issues from the Christian tradition in particular. Jewish, Muslim, and food activist views will also be considered. 1.5 cr
TH566 God and Mammon
In this course, we will wrestle with biblical and theological foundations for thinking about economics and money, engage with different traditions of economic and political thinking within Christianity, and also engage with concrete examples of individuals, communities and organizations that are self-consciously engaged in these economic matters. The main goal is to equip students to lead the church in thinking through matters of economic justice and concrete church practices.
TH589 Theology of the Book of Numbers
This course seeks to bridge biblical studies and theology, focusing on the narratives and laws of the book of Numbers. Theological themes and issues treated include Israelite worship practices, the moral vision indicated by its laws, the idea of wilderness, stories of temptations and sin, war, the place of women, and its view of God. We will study the book with an eye to the impact this important Old Testament book has had on Judaism and the New Testament and might have on Christian theology and practice.
TH511-DL Theology and Film
This course will explore a theology of culture through a concentrated focus on theology and film. Students will view, discuss, and analyze a wide selection of films, cultivate a biblically informed and theologically robust posture for engaging culture and consider its role in Christian discipleship and ministry. 1.5 cr
TH514 Theology of the Word: God’s Word as Divine Action
This course explores the surprising reality that God’s speech is an action – that the Triune God is at work in and through the Word in the church and the world. Students will explore this issue in the doctrine of God and revelation with an eye toward renewing the church’s ministry of word and sacrament. Readings will include works in biblical studies, historical theology, and contemporary systematic theology. TH113 recommended but not required. 1.5 cr
TH526 Seminar in Contemporary Theology
In this seminar we will read, discuss, present on and write about an important work or works in contemporary theology. It is an opportunity to go deeper into important theological issues and tests in a small seminar setting. 1.5 cr. Prereq: TH114
TH541-DL Musical Metaphors and Ministry
Effective, faithful ministry is fed and nourished by careful theological reflection. This course will engage in theological reflection on ministry by examining key Christian doctrines and key ministry practices. The strategy used will be an extended exploration of musical metaphors. Musical motifs and structures and performances will be the entry point to a reflection on theology and ministry. 1.5 cr
TH548 Theologizing Violence
Violence is a problem of profound significance in the world today and it presents a unique challenge to the Christian Church in its mission to proclaim and live the gospel. This theology seminar examines at various types of violence (i.e. criminal, military, ethnic/religious, domestic, etc.) to gain insight into how violence shapes and threatens individuals, communities and the world around us. One primary goal of the course is to better understand the kinds of theological claims that Christians can and should make in response to a world that continues to be plagued by violence.
TH553 Interreligious Witness and Dialogue
In North America as well as the broader world, the church’s life and witness plays out in multifaith social contexts. This course examines theological orientations for understanding religions and religious traditions and explores proposals for the church’s approach to confident witness in a spirit of mutual hospitality and humility. 1.5 cr.
TH560 Kingdom of God: Theologies of Church & World
This theology seminar course explores themes associated with the relationship between church and world as they appear in the theological writings of select figures throughout the history of the Christian church. We will examine biblical and historical notions of the “Kingdom of God” as well as recent trends in global Christianity. A primary focus is on understanding how Christian theologians address questions about Christian responsibility for and/or in the world.
TH583 Public Theologizing: The Way of the Church with the World
This course fosters the pastoral vision and competence necessary for leading the church to be faithful followers of the Way in the midst of the world. It explores the arenas of social life where the church’s public theologizing takes form, the posture with which the church stands and the voice with which it speaks in public action and discourse, and the church’s calling to be both a contrast community and a humble companion in public life. 1.5 cr
TH586 Issues in Contemporary Islam
An introduction to current debates in the study of Islam. Cultural practices, tradition, and belief will be explored. Gender and state politics, which involve the spiritual, intellectual and social life of Muslims in both public and private realms of their existence, are particularly important. This course is taught by a Christian anthropologist who is a former Muslim. The class will analyze historical and empirical forms that Islamic discourses and practice take, and will invite students to test and explore the truth-claims and worldviews presented in such discourses and practices. 1.5 cr
TH621 Apologetics in Post-Christian Culture
Helps students to interpret and commend the Christian faith in a non-Christian culture. If we are to be effective apologists today, we must have a clear understanding of and a firm conviction about the core beliefs of the Christian church, as well as a keen awareness of the cultures in which they are received and interpreted.
TH632 Introduction to the World’s Religions
An introduction to the beliefs and practices of the major religions of the world, with a study of their scriptural traditions. New religious movements such as Baha’i, The Unification Church, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (“Mormons”) are also treated, paying special attention to their relationship to Christianity. The Christian theological response to other religions is also considered.
Formation for Ministry Course Descriptions
FR101 Retreat for Christian Formation (J-Term)
A spiritual retreat using autobiography, peer engagement, and the spiritual disciplines to assist students in clarifying and embracing God’s call upon their lives. 1.5 cr
FR102 Spiritual Formation Retreat
Students spend the first day of the May intensive in a Spiritual Formation retreat at Camp Geneva where they are guided by an experienced spiritual director to learn and practice disciplines such as meditation and contemplative prayer. Four yearly retreat experiences are required to gain the 1.5 credits needed. 1.5 cr
FR111 Intercultural Immersion Experience (J-Term)
Provides cognitive and experiential knowledge of the global character of the church’s witness and mission in North America and around the world, with concern for the problems and opportunities posed by cultural differences, secularism, social fragmentation, religious pluralism, and ecumenism. 1.5 cr
FR116-DL Entering and Exploring Christian Ministry
This unit explores the elements of fruitful theological field education, the context for ministry is understood and the management of tasks and people for ministry is reviewed. 1.5 cr
FR117-DL, FR118-DL, FR119-DL Engaging Christian Ministry I, II, III
Students write a learning covenant with a ministry focus that will further explore and deepen their sense of calling. 1.5 cr
FR121 Entering Christian Ministry
Students are assigned to a teaching church setting and are introduced to the dimensions of theological field education 1.5cr
FR122 Exploring Christian Ministry
Continuing the journey in formation for ministry, students explore basic ministerial tasks centered in congregational life. (However, many of these are transferable to any ministry or social service agency.) Exploring aspects of ministry with the help of pastor(s) and lay leaders facilitates clarity around the student’s call to ministry. Students learn and grow to appreciate these service elements of ministry that are often unseen but essential for effective Christian ministry. There are three components: the Teaching Church (a supervised ministry setting), a peer group commitment, and course assignments. 1.5 cr
FR123 Engaging Christian Ministry
Students are given the opportunity to engage deeply in a ministry competency they are passionate about or have been longing to explore. After being sagely directed into the practice of Christian ministry in FR121 and 122; students embrace their learning in this self-directed opportunity in a ministry setting. Each student designs a learning covenant with a mentor focusing on a ministry area such as: Preaching and Worship, Leadership and Administration, Evangelism, Social Justice/Advocacy, Education and Faith Formation, Pastoral Care or Cross-cultural Competency. Both FR123 and 124 are completed in one semester in an internship commitment of 100 hours. 1 cr
FR124 Leading Christian Ministry
Students write a learning covenant with a ministry focus that will further explore and deepen their sense of calling and understanding of pastoral leadership. 1.5 cr
FR125 Advanced Practice of Christian Ministry
This 400-hour full-time supervised ministry experience requires the student to exercise a wide range of ministerial skills at the highest personal, professional, and pastoral levels. This requirement may be satisfied in a number of settings including participation in Clinical Pastoral Education, parachurch ministries, cross-cultural ministries, and congregational ministry. Due to the significant level of ministerial and educational investment, it is highly recommended that the student invest time in a discernment process with the Formation for Ministry office before selecting a placement. This learning experience will be evaluated by the student, a supervising mentor, and a lay support committee.
FR130 Embedded Internship I
FR131 Embedded Internship II
This ministry internship places the WTS-Newbigin student in an urban ministry setting that gives the student the opportunity to exercise a wide range of ministerial skills. The student will work three-quarters time (approximately 400 hrs in a 14 week semester) in ministry practice and one-quarter time (approximately 15-20 hrs in a semester) in ongoing academic coursework. Integration of the ministry experiences, the coursework, and mentoring from both a seasoned urban pastor and a gifted church planter will be a strong feature of the embedded internship. The two years of the internship will track specific learning outcomes in ministry readiness.
Christian Ministry Field Course Descriptions
MN100 Worship Foundations
This course is an exploration of the biblical and theological foundations of Christian worship. 1.5 cr
MN101 Preaching Foundations
First-year students explore and grasp a biblical and Reformed vision of preaching. Includes a sermon preparation workshop and a “lab” in which written and preached sermons are carefully analyzed by faculty and peers. Significant homiletical concerns are presented, discussed, clarified, and applied to the task of preaching.
MN102 Practice of Discipleship
Jesus commanded his followers to make disciples. In this course, learners will explore how Christian practices have shaped them into disciples and learn how to use these practices in the making of 21st century disciples. The course will include opportunity to practice these skills in a teaching church or the studio setting of a learning lab.
MN105 Pastor as Person
This course explores the ways in which a minister’s life history, spiritual growth, and vocation intersect and shape his/her personal and professional identity. Students will reflect on their own psychological and spiritual development and their opportunities for personal growth. They will develop their own particular plans for self-care. 1.5 cr
MN107 The Urban Christian
In this course, students will explore the challenges and opportunities that Christians face in an increasingly globalized and urbanized world. The United Nations projects that 70% of the world’s population will be urban by 2050, so this is a time of urgency for the church. Implications of the urban context for many issues, including work, family life, education, sexual ethics, evangelism, and more will be explored. 1.5 cr
MN108 The Urban Church
This course will explore the components of a missional ecclesiology for the city, with implications for preaching, worship, spiritual formation, and discipleship. The urban church’s involvement in social justice, faith and work, church planting, and other important opportunities for engagement will be explored. The urban environments of North America will be the cultural context for this course.
MN115 Practice of Counsel and Care
In this introductory course, students explore giving counsel and offering care as ministers of Word and sacrament. They develop an understanding of the fundamental principles of pastoral care and acquire basic skills required for giving counsel and offering care. Numerous pastoral themes are addressed in lectures, learning labs, and small group interaction. Students will be encouraged to develop their own pastoral presence in offering counsel and care.
MN117 Urban Church Planting
In this course, students will explore the unique dynamics of new church development in urban and secular contexts. These contexts require re-thinking communicating the Gospel, forming and leading a worship service, leadership development, faith and vocation, and much more. While exploring the unique features, students will also experience a mini church planting assessment, which exposes them to the rigorous assessment process which would be required later, the personality and leadership features necessary, and the complex realities of reaching a more skeptical missional context.
An introduction to the theory and practice of Christian leadership from a missional and theological perspective. For seniors.
MN122 Church Revitalization in the Urban Context
Students will explore church revitalization in a general context and in the specific context of the city. Key issues of revitalization including leadership, cultivating change, worship for revitalization, navigating conflict, challenges of context, evangelism, and more will be explored through readings, discussion, and case studies.
MN124 Practice of Worship and Preaching
This course invites students to deepen their theological understanding of both preaching and worship while they practice the crafts employed in these two of the Church’s most central tasks. Preaching multiple times for their peers, and receiving collegial feedback, students will be invited to explore various homiletical styles and to strengthen their skills in sermon design and delivery and assessment. Students will also be encouraged to develop their capacity to prepare creative and faithful worship services that have cultural, pastoral and theological integrity. We will particularly consider practical issues surrounding sacramental celebrations and the use of music, media, and the arts in worship.
MN126 Assessment for Urban Ministry
Using a variety of assessment tools, students will explore their style of relating, connecting, leading, and goal-setting in an urban, secular setting. Students will take what they learn about themselves from these tools and sharpen their call to ministry. The particular skills and challenges of ministry in an urban setting will be explored in readings, discussions, and case studies. 1.5 cr.
Dual Track Master of Divinity-Master of Social Work
MN331 Dual Track Cohort Group
Meets bi-weekly during the first year of the Dual Track degree program. 1.5 cr
MN332 Dual Track Cohort Group
Meets weekly during the second year of the Dual Track degree program. 1.5 cr
MN333 Dual Track Cohort Group
Meets online during the third year of the Dual Track degree program. 1.5 cr
MN334 Dual Track Cohort Group
Meets online during the fourth year of the Dual Track degree program. 1.5 cr
Pastoral Care and Counseling:
MN502 Spiritual Formation in an Urban, Secular Context
This course will introduce the student to the unique challenges of soul care and formation in an increasingly secular culture. Using the urban context of San Francisco as a backdrop, we will look at shaping issues such as affluence and greed, technology, sexuality, addiction, and more. Exploring the similar context of the early church, we’ll see that ancient catechesis provides a strikingly relevant invitation to formation and discipleship in today’s increasingly urbanized and secularized world.
MN513 Basic Clinical Pastoral Education
A pastoral ministry practicum that integrates the theory and practice of ministry in a clinical setting with special attention given to the person in ministry. A basic practicum accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. 6 cr
MN513N Basic Clinical Pastoral Education – non-accredited
A pastoral ministry practicum that integrates the theory and practice of ministry in a clinical setting with special attention given to the person in ministry. Ministry is not completed in an accredited CPE setting. 6 cr
MN527 Ministry at the End of Life
Provides a broad introduction to the privilege of ministry at the end of life. Considers practical issues such as the dying experience, pastoral care of the dying, partners in ministry, the funeral sermon and worship service, and bereavement ministry. Students will examine the theology and ethics surrounding the end-of-life and look at the social history of death in America. Equips Christian caregivers with knowledge and skills for effective ministry to the dying and their loved ones. 1.5 cr
This course will provide a framework for engaging the dynamics of addictions. These addictive dynamics will be examined through a theological lens which honors the relational narratives that we all possess. Diagnosis, conceptualization, treatment and recovery will be engaged through this lens.
MN556 Psychology and Christian Spirituality
There is a strong tradition of psychological wisdom with the contemplative Christian tradition. In fact, the contemplative tradition provides a kind of framework for self-reflection, for healthy intimacy, and for genuine spirituality. Looking at resources from Augustine and Calvin, Evagrius and Theresa, we'll see that contemporary ministry, pastoral care, and mission can all be aided by a rich and deep understanding of Christian spirituality.
MN599 Jesus: Truly Human
This psychology of religion course explores the ways the human nature of Jesus has been understood. Psychology of religion consists of the application of psychological methods and interpretive frameworks to religious traditions, as well as to both religious and irreligious individuals. The discipline attempts to accurately describe the details, origins, and uses of religious beliefs and behaviors.
MN515-DL Covenantal Perspectives and Cultural Influences on Youth Ministry
This course will seek to explore cultural changes and influences within the past three decades that are shaping our understanding of adolescents today, all within the framework of historical perspectives on covenant theology. We’ll further examine how an inter-generational approach to youth ministry and a “shared stories” strategy could create the necessary context for deepened relationships that foster sticky faith in youth.
MN530 Christian Formation in Gospel Communities
This course is designed for those contemplating pastoral ministry or educational ministry in a congregational context or Gospel community. Themes include designing and implementing education programs, evaluating and selecting curriculum resources, exploring emerging models of faith formation, and the pastor as teacher.
MN531 Christian Formation of Children and Youth
This elective course focuses on the education and faith formation of youth and children. Attention will be given to the family and intergenerational settings as contexts for faith formation, as well as the faith development of children and youth.
MN532 Education and Christian Formation with Adults
Teaching and learning with adults in a variety of contexts and settings requires a working knowledge of appropriate teaching methods and an understanding of the characteristics of emerging adults, young adults, adults in middle adulthood, and older adults.
MN533/MN533-DL Justice, Discipleship, and the Church
This course explores how the church can form disciples with a vision of justice. It engages the biblical and theological roots of Christian commitments to justice and places contemporary interest in social justice within a larger biblical, theological, and historical context. Students will have the opportunity to articulate a biblical theology of justice and explore how the church can shape disciples with a life-long commitment to justice. 1.5 cr
MN541 Equipping for Social Justice
This course focuses on equipping congregations and Gospel communities for witness in a world deeply marked by injustice and violence. Identifying pressing social issues, understanding the dynamics of transformative learning, and equipping congregations and Gospel communities to develop and implement relevant responses to human need. Learners will be given an opportunity to focus on a specific issue. 1.5 cr
MN571 Youth Ministry and Practical Theology: Are We Practicing What We Preach?
This course will cover a range of topics including the history of youth ministry, cultural trends, and the role of practical theology in youth ministry in North America. This course will take a big-picture approach with a hands-on application.
Worship and Preaching
MN451 Worship (RCA)
Drawing from Scripture and Reformed confessions and liturgies, and in sympathetic discussion with a wide range of other worshiping traditions, this course will present, discuss, clarify, and apply a Reformed vision of worship to congregational settings in the RCA in the United States and Canada. 3 cr (MFCA)
MN506 Models of the Sacraments
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are richly layered with meaning as they rehearse for us the whole of salvation history, creation to re-creation. The Christian tradition speaks of these biblical-theological meanings in a variety of ways. This course explores the richness of this variety, including Baptism as a covenant seal, a sign of forgiveness, and as a dying and a rising, and the Lord’s Supper as a memorial, a sacrifice, and an eschatological meal. There will be practical liturgical emphasis as we explore how these layers of meaning interact with the themes of the Christian Year. In this way, we will set our hearts and minds on renewing congregational celebration of the sacraments, as participants and presiders.
MN507 Models of the Lord’s Supper
The Lord's Supper is layered with biblical-theological meaning, as its celebration rehearses for us the scope of salvation history, creation to re-creation. While spoken with different accents, these biblical-theological themes are common to every Christian tradition. By engaging several of these themes expressed pastorally by a voice from the Roman Catholic tradition, we will explore together the richness of these themes in the Reformed tradition. Ultimately, we will set our hearts and minds on renewing congregational perception and celebration of the sacrament. 1.5 cr
MN512 Living Water
Baptism is steeped with biblical-theological meaning. It has profound significance for the life and ministries of a church community (though we don’t dwell on this significance, much less dwell on it imaginatively), as well as the life, ministry, and even death of each of its members. In this course, we will immerse ourselves in Baptism generally considered, and then explore its liturgical-pastoral expression among God’s people at seminal moments in communal ministry and personal discipleship. 1.5 cr
MN547 Preaching in the Urban Context
Participants will explore authentic strategies for preaching and effectively communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ to urban, contemporary hearers. In dialogue with peers and the professor, the participants will reflect on the person of the preacher, examine the urban context, explore the homiletical demands in diverse, city congregations, and incorporate experiential context and theological content in sermons. Participants will explore new strategies for preaching, reflective of their commitment to the biblical text, the urban community, and their personal voice.
MN548 Preaching and the Missional Imagination
In recent years there has been an avalanche of literature about what it means to be a missional church. Curiously, so much of this literature is silent on the task of preaching. In many cases, preaching is even seen as a barrier to "going missional." This course will explore the central but often neglected role of Word and Sacrament in leading a church that is seeking to be both missional and Reformed. 1.5 cr
MN549 Preaching in the Dark (Preaching Practices for Gospel/Culture Engagement)
In this course we will consider a range of ways to think about the relationship between the gospel and our culture(s) and practice ways of faithful and fruitful preaching on the cultural issues confronting the church in the early part of the 21st century. 1.5 cr
MN551 The Holy Spirit and Christian Worship
Nothing good transpires apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. Affirming this Triune truth, we will explore together the work of the person of the Holy Spirit, biblically and theologically understood, as it intersects with the movements of Christian worship. A variety of theologians, confessions, and worship resources will be engaged, including those of the Reformed tradition past and present.
MN552 The Worship of Yesterday for Today
We will listen and look closely to the worship of our brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone before us, perhaps long before us. This will be a socio-archeological pursuit for the refreshment of our understanding of Christian worship and the renewing of our practice of Christian worship today. Elements include Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the Word, prayer, postures, texts, visuals, spatial design: the whole scope of the experience of worship.
MN553 The Church’s Common Chord: The History, Theology and Practice of Music in Christian Worship
Students will chart key historical developments in the use of music in worship. They will encounter various theologies of artistic expression, as well as profound theological themes and motifs expressed in hymnody, spirituals and popular songs. Students will learn applied skills such as basic music terminology, using hymnals, evaluating music and shaping repertoire, use of choirs, praise bands and instrumental music, copyright law, amplification concerns, and more. For musicians and non-musicians.
MN554 Preaching the Christian Year
The Christian calendar provides a counter-cultural means for the Church to mark time – i.e., to remember, celebrate, and anticipate. This course will explore how to root preaching not first in our own perceived needs, but in the life and person of Jesus whom we follow. Drawing upon historical and contemporary sources, we will learn about the church year itself – its primary themes, narratives, and moods. Students will then prepare and preach at least three sermons and will prepare a draft preaching calendar with scripture texts and topics for Advent through Ordinary Time.
MN585 Issues in Contemporary and Emerging Worship
Exploration of key issues in present-day liturgical enculturation – i.e., what it means for the church to worship authentically and faithfully in an increasingly postmodern world. We will attend to recent historically significant cultural impulses (e.g. the church growth movement, charismatic movement, liturgical renewal movement, and increasing cultural diversity). Then we will think seriously about the changing use of the arts (music and presentation technology) to express and shape the church's devotion. Thirdly we will explore shifting postmodern paradigms of knowing, praying, and being-in-community in order to see how they affect the central worship practices of the church. As an advanced seminar, students will be expected to bring to the class their own 'issues' – persistent questions, theological themes, favorite authors, etc. – which will significantly influence the direction of study.
MN592 Worship Words: DisciplingLanguage for Faithful Ministry
Carefully examines the role and use of language in worship, looking at Contemporary Worship Music, hymns, prayers, responsive readings, sermons, etc. Students renew appreciation for and understand the beauty and power of words in worship. They become better equipped, by inspiration and weekly exercises, to employ language more intentionally in worship preparation for the greater glory of God and the greater blessing of God’s people. Topics include linguistic dimensions of worship, chatter/patter, repetition, puzzle of authenticity, metaphor & figurative language, naming God, song assessment, and the embedded Word. 1.5 cr
MN594 Ancient Future Preaching
A course designed to provide each person with the time and space to explore and evaluate instincts and patterns of preaching in the earliest years of the Christian movement, with a view toward implementing them in the eerily similar social and cultural context(s) in which we find ourselves today.
MN598 Preacher as Liturgical Artist
What is an adequate homiletic identity for the preacher in late modernity? The class will seek to reframe a homiletic conversation by focusing on the who, not on the how, of Christian proclamation. We will pay particular attention to understanding ourselves within the assumptions of the cultural moment, as well as looking back over a history of Christian preaching through the lens of homiletic identity— with particular attention to the work of Augustine and Karl Barth. The class will explore how the identity of the Preacher as a Liturgical Artist within a trinitarian framework is a helpful self-identity for today’s preacher and will suggest practical ways it can be nurtured and practiced for the life of the preacher.
MN121 Church Governance and Denominational Standards (required for RCA candidates)
Within the context of an overall theology of church governance, explores the candidate’s specific ecclesiastical tradition (including polity and standards) as a framework for mission.
MN450 RCA Polity
A survey of the Book of Church Order and the organizational theory, structure, and function of the Reformed Church in America. 3 cr (MFCA)
MN501 Multicultural Ministry: Theory and Practice
This course examines the paradigms, practices, and challenges of multicultural ministry with a particular focus on urban contexts. We begin the course by looking at biblical and theological paradigms related to multiculturalism followed by an examination of the role of race, ethnicity and cultural specificity in adhesion and tension within communities of faith. In the second half of the course we work toward understanding the intersections between multicultural realities and practical aspects of Christian ministry within the church.
MN505 Leadership Development for Missional Congregational Ministry
Explores the integration of biblical hermeneutics, congregational leadership, and ministry practices. Focuses initially on the redemptive story arc of scripture as it informs community missional developments, followed by specific attention to congregational ministry initiatives, assessments, and outcomes.
MN508 Writing (and Reading) for the Pastoral Life
Ecclesiastes 12 says that there is no end to the making of many books, and in the pastoral life there is no end to the writing and saying of many words. Words have enormous power—after all, it was with words that God spoke his creation into being. This course will help students choose and use words with care and thoughtfulness. We will work toward becoming better writers (and readers), and in the process become better preachers, teachers and pastors. 1.5 cr
MN509 Writing Outside the Sermon: Devotionals, Blogs, and Articles
Conversations of faith have moved. They are less likely to happen after church and over coffee than they are to happen at all hours of the day and over the Internet. In this course we will examine writing that pastors can (and should) be engaged in other than sermons. Culminating in the production of a week's worth of devotionals, we will also look at how blogs can both enhance a ministry and be a ministry. However you assess your skills as a writer, this course is for you. Just be prepared to do a lot of writing and editing. Some topics covered: Christianity and the Creative life, People, listen to me! vs. People listen to me?, Getting your blog read by more than family, trends in devotional publishing. 1.5 cr
MN510 Foundations for Church Planting
Initiatives for planting new churches arise from particular notions about why it should be done, how it should be done, and what the outcome should look like. Such visions are diverse, and often unconsciously or uncritically assumed. This course examines what is at stake theologically and sociologically with particular choices regarding rationale, method, and aim. It culminates for each student in a position paper articulating a philosophy of church planting to which his or her sense of call corresponds. 1.5 cr.
MN519 Imaginative Reading for Creative Preaching
Observers assume that preachers who read stories, biographies, and other general literature are on the prowl for sermon illustrations. These observers are right. Preachers are vacuum cleaners when it comes to usable illustrations. But preachers also read for nobler reasons. They want to tune their ear for language, which is their first tool. They hope to be moved, knowing that if they can't be moved they won't move anybody else. They want, above all, to become wiser about the deep things in human life, including all the traffic at the intersection of sin and grace. Preachers need to be wise: how else will they, week by week, speak engagingly to a significantly mixed congregation on topics of final magnificence? By a sequence of manageable readings this seminar explores and exhibits the advantages to a preacher of a program of reading for preaching.
MN521-DL Practicing Trust in the Church
In this course on ministry ethics, we will learn how communities of faith and their leaders can better practice trust. Our premises will be that healthy and prudent trust is indispensable to communities of faith, and that many of the moral problems that plague them relate to trust: lack of trustworthiness, failures in trust, or trust imprudently bestowed. This course will not only focus on the ethical behavior or character of leaders but also the ethics of faith communities. All people of faith, leaders and followers alike, play some role in creating a culture of trust or, conversely, a culture of distrust. This course therefore assumes that trust is a practice of faith to be shared by all. Topics will include: secrecy, confidentiality, gossip, truth-telling, and clergy misconduct. 1.5 cr
MN525 Power and Authority
Power and Authority are theological claims and sociological phenomena constantly at work in the life of the church, generally, and the pastoral vocation, specifically. Inherent to the church as “life together” are the ongoing negotiations of conferring authority (legitimacy) and exerting power (influence). This seminar course will examine power and authority biblically, theologically, and sociologically in expectation of deepening one’s understanding and practice of pastoral leadership.
MN546 Ministry in the Urban Context
Leadership training for ministry in the urban context is the goal of this class. Areas of exploration will include administration, spirituality, self-care, youth ministry, evangelism, and the integration of theology and practice of ministry for the urban context.
MN570-DL Worldview, Power and Desire: The Matrix of Leadership
We will read two significant recent reflections on culture and Christianity, discuss the implications of what they put forward, identify the implications for Christian formation, and express the outcomes for pastoral leadership. 1.5 cr
MN573 The Practice of Youth Ministry
Students will be introduced to various models of youth ministry and will become familiar with the theological and social scientific resources that will aid them in evaluating and reforming the practice of congregational and para-church ministry. Students will consider theories of development, articulate a theological foundation for youth ministry, and develop an appreciation for the potential impact of peer-to-peer ministry. They will also explore some of the challenges faced by youth ministers and consider how technology factors into discipling networked youth.
MN581/MN581-DL Ministry and Margins
Explores the boundary-crossing ministry of Jesus, in particular how he redefined the margin and the center with a Kingdom perspective. The class will consider ways in which ministry to and with those who are often marginalized in our society can amplify the witness of our congregations. People groups that are underserved include, but are not limited to, the elderly or homebound, people suffering from dementia, people in group homes, people struggling with literacy, people with disabilities, people living in poverty, immigrant communities, and people without homes. 1.5 cr
MN589 Reformed Church in America Studies
An intensive study of the history and life of the Reformed Church in America (RCA). Different instructors teach a four module sequence including RCA Polity, RCA Standards, RCA History & Mission, and RCA Worship. Completing the modules prepares candidates for ministry in the RCA, for successful completion of classis examinations, and for full participation in the life of the denomination. 9 cr
Master of Theology Course Descriptions
MT210 Orientation Seminar
This seminar orients incoming students to the Th.M. program, to life at Western Theological Seminary, and to the larger academic world of the theological disciplines. 1 cr
MT220 Research Design
Assists the Th.M. students in the preparation of a thesis proposal by introducing the basics of academic research and writing. By the end of the course the student 1) will be able to construct a well-designed research proposal; 2) will be familiar with basic strategies and tools for research and academic writing; and 3) will plan a research strategy for writing a Th.M. research paper or thesis. Meets monthly during the first semester. 1.5 cr
MT235 Seminar in Theological Method
What makes one statement, opinion, or argument better or wiser than another in the fields of theology, biblical studies, ethics or practical theology? How does one best understand how scripture, tradition, reason, experience, context, and culture function as authorities or factor into our understandings? In this seminar, we take up these difficult methodological questions and come to provisional answers, drawing from both trusted traditional understandings and contemporary discussions. 3 cr
MT250 Seminar in Intercultural Hermeneutics
Explores and applies methodologies for the interpretation of Scripture in intercultural contexts and addresses the interaction of gospel and culture in intercultural dialogue. Meets during the January-term. 1.5 cr. Prerequisites: MT230, MT240.
MT252 Preliminary Exam
A faculty advisor and a faculty colleague, in consultation with the candidate, assign discipline and thesis-related bibliographies. The lists reflect the major contributors to a particular discipline, the methodological issues involved in that discipline, and the current questions or debates among scholars in that discipline most relevant to the thesis topic. The exam is given at the end of May and has two components: a two-hour written examination conducted by the Th.M. Director and a 45-minute oral examination conducted by an examination committee.
MT255 Independent Research
In the event that courses critical to a Th.M. candidate’s program are unavailable within current curriculum offerings, the candidate may request one independent study in a particular field of inquiry within the chosen focus area. It may be done only with the consent of a professor who provides guidance and evaluation and only with the approval of the Academic Dean. It may combine course materials from a required M.Div. course with additional independent work, at the professor’s discretion.
A major research paper, which builds upon and extends in a focused area the knowledge and critical ability gained in the basic divinity degree, and includes the Th.M. coursework. The topic and plan are subject to the approval of the Th.M. Committee. The candidate’s Faculty Advisor, in conjunction with a Second Reader, provides guidance for the research. 6 cr
MT260A Research Paper
A major research paper, which builds upon and extends in a focused area the knowledge and critical ability gained in the basic divinity degree, and includes the Th.M. coursework. The topic and plan are subject to the approval of the Th.M. Committee. The candidate’s Faculty Advisor, in conjunction with a Second Reader, provides guidance for the research.
Young Life Courses
Courses offered in conjunction with Young Life
BL104-YL Introduction to Old Testament
An introduction to the content, history, and theological dynamism of the writings of the Old Testament, with a view to appropriating the message of the Old Testament for today.
Bl632-YL Proclaiming Christ
Young Life course on communicating Christ to the Adolescent Culture
BL633-YL Gospel and Acts
Introduction and survey of the New Testament Gospels and Acts. Course will examine methodologies for the study of the Gospels, historical and cultural settings, the unique portrait of Jesus, and narrative theology of the Gospels and Acts.
FR110A-YL Leadership I
Course designed to equip individuals to lead an effective incarnational ministry with young people. Trainers in the field lead students through a curriculum in which action and reflection are emphasized.
FR110B-YL Leadership II
Building volunteer teams for ministry is an important element of the course. Focus is given to spiritual development of the student, the ministry of discipleship, and administration.
MN104-YL Minister as Person
This course provides an integrated overview of the process of human development in various social contexts with particular emphasis on implications for people in full time ministry.
MN514-YL Introduction to Youth Ministry
Course gives an overview of contemporary culture, especially as it affects youth ministry, and provides historical and theological youth ministry concepts and grounding.
MN535-YL Supervision and Organizational Leadership
Focus on the theory, reflection, and practice of effective supervision in ministry. Students will explore the philosophical foundations for effective organizational leadership, as well as practical guidance on issues such as personal leadership style, the emotional intelligence of the leader, team building, conflict resolution, interviewing, placement, delegation, supervision, and evaluation.
MN536-YL Equipping Leaders who Volunteer
Course designed to develop Young Life staff into effective volunteers.
TH115-YL Systematic Theology I
Course designed to introduce Young Life staff to the discipline of theology. Its goal is to help students cultivate their capacity to think about Christianity, particularly as this relates to topics of method, God and Revelation, creation, and humankind and sin.
TH503-YL Christology, Soteriology and Pneumatology
Course designed to assist Young Life staff to think, pray, speak, and mentor as Trinitarian Christians conformed to the image of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.
Advanced Latino/a Theological Education Courses
Courses offered in conjunction with ALTE
BIBL401 Proclaiming the Good News of the Old Testament
This course considers both the historical context of the biblical texts and the manner in which they might be used in preaching and teaching in Latino churches. We will study examples of 1. The law (or Torah); 2.The Prophets (or Nebe’im), both those from historical books as well as the “classical” prophets; 3.The Writings (or Kituvim), in particular the wisdom books (Proverbs and Job).
CHMN401 Christian Education in the Latino Community
This course examines content and use of Christian Education as a discipleship tool for mobilizing congregations for spiritual and social ministry. Examines cultural education and history as key components in the sharing and development of programs that meet the personal and leadership development needs of Latino churches/communities.
HIST401 History of the Latino Church in the U.S.
This course provides an overview of the Latino church in the United States from the perspective of a Latino theological framework. The course traverses through the various epochs, conflicts and schisms throughout the history of the Latino church. The course explores the ecclesiology of various denominations, local churches and religious practices. Students present a project examining a historical period or situation that has changed or impacted the Latino church.
MIN401 Urban Ministry in the Hispanic Context
The complexity of the urban context requires the attention of the Latino church and special skills of every ministry leader. This course provides theological reflection and practical experiences of urban ministry in the Hispanic context. Explore how the urban environment and its global connections impact how we do ministry in today’s urban communities with Latino residents. Discuss the intersection between the biblical mandate and the perspective of the city. Explore what this means for developing an urban theology for the Latino context.
PAST401 Pastoral Care in the Latino Community
The Latino church can be an ecology of care, healing and wholeness. It is essential to address key theoretical and practical issues for pastoral care among Latino people. This course explores: 1. The church as a caring community, caring ministry, pastoral care and counseling, and pastoral theology; 2. Specific challenges, struggles, and crises as contexts of pastoral care; 3. Pastoral care of family and marriage; 4. Foundations and principles of pastoral counseling.
THEO401 Immigration Theology and Changing Demographics
This course explores a theology that deals with the reality of migrations particularly of Latinos. Students will examine the reasons why people migrate and the historical, political, legal, cultural, and social dynamics of international migration in the U.S.
THEO402 Introduction to U.S. Latino Theology
This course examines the emerging voices and directions of Hispanic American/Latino theology. The need for its perspective and contribution to theology and to the Church in the United States will be highlighted. The course examines Hispanic American diversity, sources and norms of its theology, paradigms and theological foci as well as the perspective and contribution of mujerista and feminist Latina theologians.