Courses Taught at Hope College
RECONCILIATION AND INTEGRAL MISSION: EMMAUS SENIOR SEMINAR — REL 295
Offered as part of the Emmaus Scholars Program
The Psalmist calls us to “worship the Lord your God in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2). Well aware that emerging adults evidence difficulty in being able to distinguish between objectively real moral truths and individual perceptions or understandings of those truths, this course seeks to provide Hope students with knowledge of the story, sources, and shape of the moral life with the aim of fostering a deep commitment to integral mission. Integrating liturgy, justice, reconciliation, and love for the world, we seek to understand the movement from learning, worship, shalom and community, to the ministry and witness of ministry of reconciliation. This course provides Emmaus Scholars with a compelling and coherent account of the moral order (setting, identity and vision) in which we have been called to faithful obedience and loving witness.
NAVIGATING THE CHRISTIAN PAST — REL 100
Knowing who we are requires that we understand our past. Similarly, being able to answer the question “what is Christianity?” compels us to know the theological, cultural and historical background of the Christian faith. This course helps you to chart the journey from the beginning of Christianity in Jerusalem to the present shape of world Christianity. By looking at thirteen key turning points—concrete events that signaled new stages in the outworking of Christian history—we achieve a concise and meaningful introduction to Christian history and recover bearings for the journey of Christian faith in the twenty-first century.
INTEGRAL MISSION AND INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY — MIN 395
Offered as part of the Emmaus Scholars Program
This course offers extended and focused integration of service-learning, theological reflection, intentional community, spiritual formation, and joint scholarship on integral mission. Through guided experiential-learning opportunities, reflection and conversation on the nature of identity, community, self-giving, discipleship, integral mission, and culture care, we aim to foster deep and critical reflection upon moral, social, theological and cultural witness. The fruits of individual and shared reflection, journaling, and joint research, are brought together in a final summative presentation. Students are given opportunities to reflect back upon and process these experiences in order to foster deep connections between faith, justice, reconciliation, and social responsibility.
FAITH SEEKING UNDERSTANDING — REL 261
This course introduces you to the study of Christian Theology. It roughly follows the order of the Apostles’ Creed. Alert to contemporary issues of culture and belief, this course roots faithful Christian reflection in a constructive and informed dialogue with the history of Christianity. With careful reading and discussion of classical figures and texts, it offers a study of Christian beliefs about God, creation, humanity, evil, Jesus Christ, Spirit, Salvation, and the witness, mission, and ministry of the Church.
REFORMED THEOLOGY — REL 367
This course represents a significant introduction to Reformed Theology. It seeks to acquaint students with the dominant characteristics of the Reformed tradition by examining “misconceptions” of what it means to be “reformed” on the one hand, and providing a historically informed and theologically substantive treatment of this tradition from John Calvin’s 1559 on to the modern period. It takes students from little knowledge of the Reformed Tradition to the point where they are able to construct a piece of original research on a topic of their choosing related to Reformed theology.
RADICAL HOPE AND MORAL WITNESS — REL 100
This course seeks to help students to think clearly about the work of justice as genuine moral witness. Recognizing that Christian theology and ethics belong together, we draw the connection between the God of Gospel and human flourishing. It aims to recover a deep sense of how Christian theology offers us vital moral direction in the face of profound injustice.
WORLD CHRISTIANITY — REL 366
This course will introduce students to contemporary world Christianity. With over 60% of all Christians now living in the southern and eastern hemispheres, often among the poorest peoples of the world, Christianity has returned to being a predominantly non-Western faith. The total number of Christians in Africa, Asia and Latin America increases by approximately 70,000 people per day (more than 25 million per year). The goal of this course is to help you gain a theological and historical understanding of the current shape of world Christianity.
CONTEMPORARY REFORMED THEOLOGY — REL369
This is a course in Contemporary Reformed Theology. Proceeding from the recognition that the Christian church can only be ecclesia semper reformanda (the Church always being reformed) under the Lordship of its living Head, Christ, this course represents a careful assessment of the dogmatic work of a number of the most significant and influential Reformed theologians of our day.
REFORMED THEOLOGY: CALVIN AND BARTH — REL 369
This course represents a significant introduction to Reformed Theology. It seeks to introduce The course seeks to acquaint students with the major aspects of the theology of John Calvin and Karl Barth. It focuses upon the final edition of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559) and Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics.
POLITICAL THEOLOGY & THE RULE OF CHRIST — REL 460
Arguing that modernity has mistakenly sought to establish human freedom and flourishing on the fragile pretense of humanity autonomy and the myth of progress, this course undertakes a critical examination of the theological origins of modernity in order to clear the ground for a more compelling retrieval of the rule of Christ. Its central claim is that political life is a secular parable of the bond of unity properly found in the love of God (Col 3.14). In anticipation of the city of God, Christians are to call those in the earthly city to faithfulness in enacting a temporal order and justice.
DOUBT & FAITH: BELIEVING AGAIN IN A SECULAR AGE — SENIOR SEMINAR, IDS 495
This course takes up Auden’s claim that there is a great difference between believing something still and believing something again. The Christian faith is, in the midst of a secular age where, poorly understood and seldom lived out with integrity, understanding and genuine love. By contrast, key figures in the history of Christianity share the once-but-no-longer-common Christian belief that the incarnation is the ground of possibility for all other dramas in world history. Together, we aim to uncover an account of the Gospel relevant to humanists and radicals in order that we might discern the patterns of our lives that give rise to the hope that we are being conformed to the image of the of the incarnate, crucified, risen and ascended Lord, Jesus Christ. Ours is a disenchanted world in which the bonds of knowledge, love, memory, and identity, have been severed resulting in a condition characterized as a Secular Age. Without a meaningful grasp of the story of Christ, we fall back upon (a) a public persona in which “all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women, merely players”, while falsely believing that (b) we have no alternative than to construct out of our interior consciousness, a persona/individual account of human good and flourishing? Taking seriously the importance of story (narrative), this course investigates the pitfalls of memory and imagination by asking how might we avoid the constant temptation to assign false meaning to the stories of our lives? More positively, it seeks to recover ways in which human identity, being, and purpose in life are recovered in the covenantal promise and activity of the triune God.
Courses Taught at Western Theological Seminary
DISCIPLESHIP IN A SECULAR AGE — TH515
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.
SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY II — TF 114
In this course, we will examine three central topics of the Christian life and faith: (1) the identity and work of the Holy Spirit; (2) the nature of salvation; and (3) the sacraments. Since ancient times, the church has instructed Christians in these topics as a way to explicate the meaning of their baptism. This course will focus upon key features of the third article of the baptismal creed, with a special emphasis upon the sacraments. In doing so, we will follow up and build upon the exploration of the first two articles of the baptismal (Apostles’) creed in Systematic Theology I.
THE ROYAL HUMANITY OF CHRIST: CHRISTOLOGY AND RECONCILIATION — TF505
This course investigates the rich tradition of Chalcedonian Christology by examining the relationship between the rule of Christ as King in terms of the humiliation of the Son of God and exaltation, reconciliation and ascension of the Son of Man. With attention to both classical and modern sources of theological reflection, we shall consider what is entailed in the confession of the bodily resurrection and ascension of Christ while, at the same time, looking to the moral and political, and therefore counter-cultural reality of the kingdom and rule of Christ.
Courses Taught at Wheaton College
THEOLOGY OF CULTURE — BITH 111
An introduction to Christian faith and the evangelical Protestant heritage. The course gives special attention to the church’s engagement with culture and society, and to the exploration of the integration of faith and learning in a liberal arts context.
CHRISTIAN THOUGHT — BITH 315
This course is the final component of the general education course offerings provided by the Biblical and Theological Studies Department. This department seeks to foster a deep love of God’s Word and a corresponding life of theological judgment and faithfulness. This emphasis is reflected in the mission of the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies, expressed in terms of our goal of assisting students in becoming “biblically rooted and theologically formed.” As a result, we seek not only to become familiar with Scripture, but to cultivate well-reasoned theological commitments that will help us to think and live Christianly. This course is an introduction to the basic beliefs of the Christian faith. It seeks to provide you with a clear sense of Christian doctrine as faithful reflection upon the living and active God of the gospel. It focuses upon the following major dogmatic themes: the nature and task of theology, the Trinity, the nature of revelation, the character of Scripture, the doctrines of creation, sin and evil, theological Christian Thought
WHEATON IN THE HOLY LANDS — BITH 317, 318
The Wheaton in the Holy Lands Program is conducted by the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies. Course work and field trips in Israel, Greece, Turkey and Italy combine to make the study meaningful in areas of biblical and archaeological studies. Credit earned at the Jerusalem University College in Jerusalem is granted by Wheaton College for work applicable to the Wheaton program. This course and trip to the Holy Land constitutes the basis upon which you will gain a first-hand appreciation for the world of the biblical authors and the early church. Critically reflect on the ways in which geography and culture contribute to an understanding of the Bible and of the early theological development of Christianity. Come to understand what was at stake in the early development of the Church’s confession of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
FEMINIST THOUGHT — BITH 321
This course offers a theological examination of the representation of women and gender in Christianity. Explicit attention is given to women in the New Testament; this discussion is set within the historical and cultural contexts of the first century. Theological, historical, literary, exegetical, socio-cultural, and feminist methods are variously employed in the pursuit of a theology of gender. This is undertaken with a view towards engaging the following themes within feminist theology: the roles and identity of women, redemption, atonement, Christology, anthropology, ethics and the Church. The course is structured as a seminar: all students will be responsible for completing major reading assignments each week. No prior knowledge of feminist theology is required, although previous work in dogmatic theology (Christian Thought or Systematic Theology) is required.
HISTORICAL THEOLOGY — BITH 372
This course is an historical survey of the principal figures and movements that have shaped the identity and faith of the Christian church from the post-biblical period on to the present. Students will acquire a synoptic and genetic understanding of the range and scope of contemporary theology by examining the seminal theological work and movements from from the beginning of the church to the present. In addition to gaining critical tools for scholarly research, you will be taught how and why to reflect critically upon the historical development and significance of Christian doctrine as an vital element of faithful witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY — BITH 374
This course is an introduction to the basic beliefs of the Christian faith. It seeks to provide you with a clear sense of Christian doctrine as faithful reflection upon the living and active God of the gospel. It focuses upon the following major dogmatic themes: the nature and task of theology, the God of the gospel, Trinity, the nature of revelation, the character of Scripture, the doctrines of creation, sin and evil, theological anthropology, the person and work of Jesus Christ, doctrines of the Spirit, reconciliation (justification, sanctification) and the Church (Word, Sacrament, worship), ethics and eschatology.
THEOLOGICAL ETHICS — BITH 375
An investigation into the major Christian ethical traditions, their biblical and theological foundations, the development of Christian character and values, and the task of bringing Christian moral judgments to bear upon personal and ecclesial issues. It enables students to acquire a basic purchase on the nature, range and procedures of moral theology, develop oral and written competencies in the critical analysis and expression of Christian ethics, and regards Christian ethics as a theological task, and thus the fitting activity and response of the church.
THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH — BITH 382
A theological examination of the nature, life and ministry of the Church. Attention is given to various biblical, historical and dogmatic representations of the Church in order to grasp the Church as the communio sanctorum created by the Word, gathered, upheld and sent by the Spirit into the world as a faithful witness.
KARL BARTH — BITH 489/669
This course offers a serious engagement with the most important Protestant theologians since Schleiermacher. It seeks to offer a critical examination of the major themes in Barth’s theology based upon a close reading of Church Dogmatics IV.3.1 and The Christian Life, and is informed by recent Barth scholarship. Careful attention will be given to Barth’s life, his influence upon 20th century theology, and the question of the enduring significance of his work.
CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY — BITH 565
This course is an introduction to the basic beliefs of the Christian faith. It seeks to provide you with a sense of Christian doctrine as faithful reflection upon the living and active God of the gospel. It attends to the following doctrines: the nature and task of theology, the God of the gospel, Trinity, the nature of revelation, the character of Scripture, the doctrines of creation, sin and evil, theological anthropology, the person and work of Jesus Christ, doctrines of the Spirit, reconciliation (justification, sanctification) and the Church (Word, Sacrament, worship), ethics and eschatology.
THE NATURE AND MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH — BITH 567
This course is a theological examination of the nature, life and ministry of the Church. Attention is given to various biblical, historical and dogmatic representations of the Church in order to grasp the Church as the communio sanctorum created by the Word, gathered, upheld and sent by the Spirit into the world as a faithful witness. It examines leading biblical notions of the Church, seeks to recover the significance of in the theology of Martin Luther and John Calvin, and considers the contemporary witness and ministry of the Chuch in light of the Barmen Declaration, recognizing that the Church as called to be a visible sign of God’s action, rule, and mission, in and for the world.
HISTORICAL THEOLOGY: REFORMATION — BITH 655
This course examines the theology of the European Reformation. As a movement that extends from around 1400 to 1650, we examine the late medieval background to the Reformation, Luther, Zwingli and the Radical Reformation, Calvin, the Reformation in England, Scotland and the Catholic Reformation. The context within which the theology of the European Reformation occurs is one that focused upon deeply existential, practical and concrete concerns. These questions will help to orient our investigation of the major figures and ideas of this period.
HISTORICAL THEOLOGY: CONTEMPORARY — BITH 656
This course introduces students to the development and content of Christian theology in the contemporary period (from the Enlightenment to the present). In the effort of determining what is at stake in the current problematique of doing theology, we shall examine the question of modernity, the nature of theology, theological method, the problem of language, political theology, hermeneutics and theological anthropology.