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Theology

The Theology Department is divided into four areas—systematic theology, Christian ethics, philosophy, and history of doctrine.

Students enrolled in the MDiv program are required to take 12 credits in theology, including a foundational course covering the major Christian doctrines, emphasizing their biblical basis, evangelical focus, and Trinitarian scope.

They are also required to take two courses in theology, including one that focuses on a major theologian or church doctrine, and a minimum of 3 credits in philosophy or Christian ethics.

Current Course Highlights

War and the Christian Conscience
Theological reflection on the use of violent, coercive force. Special attention will be given to the historical development of Christian doctrine, the emergence of the just war tradition, the warrants for pacifism, and the differences that divide secular and theological accounts. The course will conclude by considering contemporary concerns: terrorism, torture, and irregular warfare.

Theologies of Order and Chaos
Is chaos a menace to life or the condition of its abundance and diversity? Is logical order a mysterious proof of divine harmony or the repression of otherness? Is Creation an outburst of creative chaos or an imposition of order on chaos? Is the good news of the gospel a liberation from religious and political order or does it inaugurate a new order in the kingdom of God? Can the order of the law contribute to a flourishing of human life or to its oppression? Or is it all more complicated than a simple “or” could express? This course will explore various ways of framing the complex relation between order and chaos in different theological doctrines. Regular hands-on work at the Farminary will allow us to experience and reflect on the dialectic of order and chaos on a different level.

Socrates and Jesus
Christianity is a complex intermingling of two major streams: the biblical narratives and the intellectual traditions of the Greco-Roman world. This course returns to the roots of both streams by exploring the lives, the teachings, the deaths, and the ongoing influence of Jesus and Socrates as presented in the gospels and selected Platonic dialogues. Topics covered include their diverse but sometimes overlapping views of love and death, justice and the kingdom of God, their use of paradox and parable, and the nature of the authentic human life. While comparing the two figures has a long history in the West, it is made more interesting by recent research into literary versus philosophical approaches to Socrates and current controversies over the “historical Jesus” versus the “Christ of faith.” The course is integrative in nature, helping students to apply literary, philosophical, and theological insights into the constructive task of ministry.

The Idea of Pentecost
This course explores the idea and practice of Pentecost. The Christian idea of Pentecost has been diverse, taking on different meanings within a range of Christian traditions. This course not only turns to biblical and theological understandings of Pentecost but also explores historical movements within the United States and around the world that have understood themselves as “Pentecostal.” This course is especially interested in examining how Pentecost among poor and disenfranchised populations have understood practices of Pentecost as de-colonial, resisting industrial and post-industrial capitalist cultures and economies. This course addresses themes of Christology, pneumatology, and eschatology. It is also transdisciplinary, employing history, cultural studies, economic studies, theology, ethics, and hermeneutics. Students will be invited to think of Pentecost as a de-colonial Christian category with eschatological dimensions.

Complete Course Offerings

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