Public Theology – THEO 650

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 02/11/2022

Course Description

A study of the role and practice of Christian testimony and ministry in responding to ethical challenges presented by cultural developments in the contemporary world.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.

Rationale

Christian today face ethical challenges and questions that could not have been imagined even a few years ago. Congregations look to their leadership for informed guidance on a host of ethical issues. It is important for ministers in every area of church life to be able to use the Bible accurately and clearly in teaching and preaching on ethical issues. In addition, Christian leaders face personal ethical challenges. A course of this kind helps students develop a more intentional lifestyle of obedience.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Distinguish between different kinds of ethical decision making systems.
  2. Evaluate ethical systems in light of the Bible.
  3. Apply biblical ethical teachings to modern ethicial issues.
  4. Discuss ethical issues in ways that facilitate understanding of them.
  5. Identify practical steps for developing a Christian lifestyle based on a biblical understanding of ethics.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

Discussions (3)

Students will participate in four Discussions. Topics will be drawn from the reading assignments. Students will post an original thread of 400 words or more. In their original thread, students are expected to use course material, scriptural references, and extra-course material to substantiate the thesis of their post. They must reply to at least two peers’ threads in 200 words or more.  (MLOs: C, D, E)

Reflection Essay Assignments (2)

Students will write two brief reflection essays (three pages each) the first due in Module 4: Week 4 and the second due in Module 8: Week 8. The purpose of these essays is to measure your account of the reading and your ability to offer personal insights reflecting apprehension of the issues at hand. (MLOs: C D, E).

Reflection Essay: Christianity and the State: You will then write a 3 page essay outlining the main issues from the reading and where you stand personally, outlining the duty and dangers that face Christians when considering the relationship between the sacred and the secular, the gospel and politics.

Reflection Essay: Billy Graham's America: You will write a three page essay outlining the various public and Christian arenas in which Billy Graham ministered. Note the lines he transcended, politically, personally, racially, and religiously. 

Research Paper Assignments (3)

Students will write a research paper on a selected topic (choose from the topic list provided in Course Content, and narrow the topic down as necessary). The paper must be 3500-5000 words  long,  and use the Bible appropriately,  along with at least 10 additional high quality sources.  Church websites are not appropriate for this assignment and Journal Articles must be used only sparingly (no more than two).  Websites of official organizations related to the topic, or government agencies and educational institutions, (such as abortion opponent groups,  and advocates) may be used for factual information and statistics. Sensational type advocacy sites, sites that polemicize on the matter, must be avoided). Course texts should not be used in this assignment. The paper must follow Turabian and School of Divinity guidelines as to formatting, style, grammar, and graduate quality of work.

The paper will be produced in three stages:

  • Topic, Thesis, and Preliminary Bibliography Assignment
  • Abstract, Outline, and Bibliography Assignment
  • Final Assignment (MLOs: C, D, E).

Quiz

The quiz will consist of 30 true/false and multiple choice type questions and one essay type question. (The objective questions will be worth 1.5 points each and the essay question will be worth 5 points). Students will have two hours to finish each open-book/open-notes quiz. On many questions students will have to choose the best answer from a series of possible answers. Exams will cover the reading assignments and presentations from the previous two weeks. (MLOs: A, B, C, D, E)