Apologetics and the Gospel – APOL 320

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 01/21/2022

Course Description

This course examines key questions related to the identity and ministry of Jesus, particularly as it relates to the historicity of the New Testament’s portrayal of Jesus. Primary attention is given to examining historical evidence related to Jesus’ existence, his ministry, miracles, deity, death, and resurrection as well as understanding Jesus as a part of the larger biblical story.

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

Rationale

Apologetics covers a wide range of disciplines because there are many areas in which people doubt and are skeptical. One such discipline in which Christians will encounter skeptical claims and/or arguments centers on the birth, life, ministry, death, deity, and resurrection of Jesus. In order to engage faithfully and efficiently with such claims and/or arguments, Christian apologists must be well versed in the historicity of the life of Christ as well as have a sound understanding of how the Gospel writers and the Apostle Paul tell the story of Jesus.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Defend the historicity of the major events of the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
  2. Engage with various counter-arguments to the resurrection hypothesis by providing positive arguments for the resurrection of Jesus.
  3. Discuss instances in which divinity was attributed to Jesus by the Gospel authors and through Paul.
  4. Explain how Jesus fits into the larger biblical narrative.

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 the Course Overview. 

Reading Reflection Assignments (7)

Throughout the term, the student will compose 7 Reading Reflections centered around the assigned Module: Week’s reading assignment. Students will respond to particular skeptical claims challenging various aspects of that Module: Week’s reading. This is a chance to apply that Module: Week’s reading in an apologetic scenario. For some of the reflections, students will have a chance to share what they have learned and how they have been challenged in their thinking. Each reading reflection must be at least 8 sentences and demonstrate course-related knowledge. (MLOs: A, C, D)

Discussions (2)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each Discussion. Each thread must be at least 300 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 1 other classmates thread. Each reply must be at least 200 words. (MLOs: A, C, D)

Naturalistic Theory Project Assignments

The student will write a 1,800–2,000-word research-based paper in current Turabian format that focuses on interacting with and addressing a Naturalistic Alternative Theory/Hypothesis on the resurrection of Jesus. The paper must include at least 7 scholarly references in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible. These must be credible articles or books. No unscholarly websites or blogs will be accepted as sources. The project will be completed in 3 phases:

Topic and Bibliography Assignment: Pick a Topic, Selected Bibliography

Outline Assignment: Develop a Summary, Thesis Statement, Outline, Annotated Bibliography

Final Paper Assignment

Each phase will be graded separately and will be due in intervals throughout the course. (MLOs: A, B, D)