Foundational Doctrines for Pastoral Counselors – PACO 501

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course is a study of the systematic theology that will give attention to the doctrines of the Bible, God, humanity, sin, Christ, Holy Spirit, salvation, the church, and last things. The course will provide the student the theological foundations to serve and counsel more effectively in the local church and community contexts.




Christian theology supplies a biblical perspective on reality. Theological reflection is essential for the pastoral counselor who hopes to help others cope with reality; he or she must be able to provide biblical, reasoned, and sensitive responses to the hard questions of faith and life. Therefore, this course helps to prepare pastoral counseling students for counseling ministry by introducing them to the major doctrines in systematic theology.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Recognize theological terms and crucial issues in the context of pastoral counseling related to Christian theology.
  2. Evaluate discipline-specific, peer-reviewed articles relating to the doctrines of systematic theology.
  3. Apply a theological method toward constructive reflection on select doctrines in systematic theology.
  4. Apply the basic tools of the theological disciplines in order to resolve problems and research topics relevant to the issues of the authority of Scripture, the nature of God, and the human condition.
  5. Assess the importance and difficulties of developing an expression of theology in a contemporary culture.
  6. Discuss critical and controversial issues in Christian theology and pastoral counseling.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be 400–500 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be between 200–250 words.

Journal Article Critiques (2)

For each critique, the student will read the assigned peer-reviewed, scholarly journal article and write a critique. The critique must be 2 full pages (but must not exceed 3 pages) and be double-spaced. Each critique must include a title page and follow current APA format.

Research Paper

The Research Paper will be completed in 3 steps.


First, the student must select a doctrinal topic for his/her paper from a provided list.


After the student’s topic has been approved by the instructor, he/she must complete a research paper proposal that is 1 full page (but must not exceed 2 pages). The proposal must contain the following components: a title page, a working thesis statement, the purpose of the study, the procedure of the study, and a working reference list of at least 6 scholarly references.


The student must write his/her Research Paper using the approved topic and proposal. The body of the paper must be a minimum length of 8 full pages, not to exceed 10 pages (count does not include title, abstract, and reference pages) and must include the major sections listed in the instructions document; it must also contain at least 6 scholarly references and follow current APA format.

Exams (4)

The exams will cover the Reading & Study material for the modules/weeks covered. The exams will be open-book/open-notes, contain 25 multiple-choice, matching, and true/false questions, and have a 90-minute time limit.