Modern and Contemporary Christian Thought – THEO 603

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/27/2021

Course Description

A study of thought from Enlightenment trends to contemporary theological and philosophical developments. The latter subject includes Nineteenth Century liberalism, Twentieth Century new-orthodoxy, existentialism, and post-existential trends such as secular, liberation, and hope theologies. Attention is also given to recent philosophical movements such as logical positivism, linguistic analysis, and process thought. The course stresses the history of major ideas, the system of formative scholars, and the conservative alternative. (Formerly THEO 503)

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


Traditional Christianity has faced numerous challenges throughout its history, many of which are ideological. This course is designed to explain and critically clarify the philosophical and theological emphases of prominent Western theologians and theological movements that have affected—and continue to affect—how the Gospel is understood and presented by Christians in the modern era.

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. 

Discussions (4)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt. Each thread must be at least 400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to at least 2 classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words. (CLOs: D, E)

Research Paper: Proposal Assignment

The student will submit a paper proposal containing the following elements: (a) a properly-formatted title page according to current Turabian format, (b) the name of the theologian of focus and the theological problem they attempted to solve, (c) a 1-sentence working thesis statement, (d) 1 or 2 paragraphs (100–200 words in total) explaining the need for studying the proposed thesis statement, (e) a 1-level working outline, and (f) a working bibliography with at least 8 peer-reviewed sources, in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible. This proposal will form the foundation for the research paper the student will write later in the course. (CLOs: C, E)

Book Analysis Assignments (2)

The student will write 2 Book Analyses that are 1,000–1,250 words each. The first will analyze Karl Barth’s Evangelical Theology: An Introduction, and the second will analyze Gustavo Gutiérrez’s A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation. Each analysis must include a summary of the book’s content and an appraisal/evaluation of its theological ideas and must cite at least 2 other book reviews. (CLO: C)

Research Paper: Final Submission Assignment

The student will write a 4,000–5,000-word thesis-driven research paper in current Turabian format that focuses on at least 1 theologian’s attempt to solve a specific theological problem in the modern era. The paper must identify and appraise the theological problem encountered by the theologian, describe the theologian’s attempt to solve the problem, and formulate a biblical response to the theologian’s handling of the problem. The paper must include at least 8 peer-reviewed sources, in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible. (CLOs: D, E)

Quizzes (2)

There are 2 quizzes in this course. Quiz: From the Enlightenment to Mediating Theology will cover the video presentations and assigned textbook readings for Modules 1-3: Weeks 1-3, and Quiz: From Neo-Orthodoxy to Postmodernism will cover the video presentations and assigned textbook readings for Modules 4-8: Weeks 4-8. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes and will contain 25 multiple-choice questions. Each quiz has a time limit of 1 hour and 15 minutes. (CLOs: A, B)