Public Theology – THEO 650

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

Course Description

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

Prerequisites

THEO 525 or THEO 530

Rationale

Christian leaders 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 provide accurate, biblically sound, and informative answers on a variety of ethical matters, in their teaching and preaching, and in one-on-one situations.

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

Discussion Board forums (4)

Students will participate in four discussion board forums. 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. Threads should be submitted by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Thursday and replies by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Sunday of the assigned modules/weeks. (L/O C, D, E)

Book Critique

Students will review and critique Reviving Evangelical Ethics. The student should discuss the author’s goal and intended audience for the book, then briefly summarize the contents of each chapter, and the strengths and weaknesses of each. The review should include some reflection on how these three ethical systems fall short of a fully biblical ethic and on if and how the author helps professional ministers develop a more fully biblical approach to ethics. The review needs to be at least 1800 words but not more than 2200 words long. It must be in Turabian format, using the highest quality formal academic English and show evidence of careful revision, proofreading, and attention to detail. This assignment will be due at 11:59 PM (ET) on Sunday of Module/Week 5. (L/O A, B)

Paper

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, the topic and thesis, then the full bibliography, the abstrack and the outline, and then the final paper (at least 10 sources used). Due the third, sixth, and seventh modules of the course. (L/O C, D, E).

Exams (4)

Each exam 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 exam. 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. Each exam is due by 11:59 PM (ET) on Sunday of the assigned module/week. (L/O A, B, C, D, E)