This course is a study of the origin, nature, purpose, mission, polity, and ministry of the church; a major emphasis will be on Baptist ecclesiology.
For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.
This course provides the student with the opportunity to explore the biblical and theological issues involved in the doctrine of the church in a deeper and more extensive manner than possible in the introductory systematic theology course. One benefit of this course is the practical preparation of the student for effective ministry in local churches based on a biblical understanding of the local church.
In addition, the course challenges the student to think of the church in biblical terms, measuring its contemporary expressions against biblical concepts. The student will also be challenged to think broadly about how his/her own church reflects a biblical model and how, as a church leader, he/she can encourage the congregation in this direction.
Measurable Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Identify major issues in ecclesiology.
- Defend Baptist ecclesiology.
- Describe the nature, purpose, organization, and ministry of the church from a biblical perspective.
- Relate biblical teaching regarding the church to the various expressions of the church throughout history.
- Understand how various denominations resolve ecclesiological concerns in their current expression of church life, while being able to defend Baptist ecclesiological commitments.
Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes
Course Requirements Checklist
After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.
Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will participate in four Discussions. The student will submit a thread of at least 300 words in response to the provided prompt for each Discussion. Each thread must be supported by the assigned readings, Scripture, and an example from either the student’s own experience or from an outside source. In addition to the thread, the student will reply to at least two peers’ threads of 100 words. (MLOs: A, B, D)
Research Paper Assignment
You will submit a research paper 3,000–4,500 words in length on a specific topic within the general area of ecclesiology. You should avoid topics that are extremely broad in their range (The narrower your topic the better). You must have at least ten good scholarly sources that are relevant to your topic, and you must use them well. You must write in the best formal academic style. All formatting must conform to the most recent edition of the Turabian manual; apply what you learned in RTCH 500 to the formatting for this course.
The Research Paper Assignment is submitted in three segments:
Research Paper: Topic and Thesis Assignment
Research Paper: Proposal and Bibliography Assignment
Research Paper: Final Submission Assignment"
One template for each assignment is to be used. (MLOs: A, C, E)
Book Review and Analysis Assignment
Write a review and analysis of not less than 1,500 words nor more than 2,000 words of John Hammet’s Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches: A Contemporary Ecclesiology. (MLOs: A, B, C, D, E)
Covenant Essay Assignment
Engaging the material from Allison’s book, chapter 4 in Module 2: Week 2’s reading assignment (but going beyond just repeating what he said by enlarging on some matters), you will write an essay of 600–900 words describing the role of a written covenant as a basis for church unity and polity. The essay should answer the following questions: What are the advantages of a written covenant between church members? What biblical elements should be in a church covenant, and why? (Consider here, how specific the covenant's stipulations should be–should it be a rather broad document dealing with general matters or should specific moral and spiritual requirements be listed in the covenant?) The paper must consider ways a church might use a written covenant in its worship, teaching, discipline and organization. (MLOs: B, E)
There are 2 quizzes in this course: Quiz: The Essence of the Church , in Module 4: Week 4, and Quiz: The Life of the Church in Module 8: Week 8. Both quizzes are open-book/open-notes and have a 1 hour and 30 minute time limit. (MLOs: A, B, C, D, E)