Christian Studies & Philosophy Courses
This guide provides additional information about most non-Foundations offered by the CSP department in the upcoming semester. The course schedule is subject to change, based on enrollment and staffing. For a complete listing of courses, as well as up-to-date information about what courses remain on the schedule and about times and days, please consult the official online schedule published by the Registrar.
Dr. Thane Ury TR 9:25-10:40
This introductory course delves into the exciting and highly relevant field of Christian apologetics. Ever since the Early Church, objections have been leveled against the major tenets of the Christian faith. Thankfully, whenever new objections or false teachings appeared, apologists arose who countered these with a reasoned defense (called an apologia).
In our contemporary climate, similar criticisms are still aimed at Christian theism, but they have been joined with a whole slew of new objections that the earliest disciples could hardly have imagined. Therefore, the need for Christian apologetics seems as great as ever. The Church always needs fresh minds that both understand the classic defense/s for the Christian faith, and who are equipped to offer a multi-faceted, irenic, and lay-friendly response to the endless criticisms raised in the public square. Some seekers want to know why we believe God exists, others will ask how we can defend His goodness despite this pain-wracked world, and still others will raise valid concerns about the trustworthiness of the biblical documents, the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection, and how faith and science can peacefully co-exist.
While this is an upper-level course, with a high premium placed on robust academics, our focus on marshaling evidence and arguments is secondary. Of primary interest is knowing why we believe, and then nurturing an ability to winsomely assist others to consider the truth claims of Jesus; or more simply, “to always be ready to offer an answer” (I Peter 3:15). Sensitivity to the pros and cons in the history of apologetics will suggest that we need a more responsible and charitable apologetic, versus a posture that is merely looking to win arguments.
Prerequisites: OT 100 and NT 100. Prerequisites may be waived at the professor's discretion.
Drs. Brian Hull and Sam Kim TR 12:45-2:00
Do you feel a call to ministry or mission work? Are you wondering if you might? Or are you wondering how God’s call fits with your other passions? This course will help you develop some foundational concepts about “church” and “ministry” that will be central to your own calling and ministry. We will explore Christian vocation (calling) and students’ participation in God’s mission through the church. We do this by addressing five questions:
1. How are we (the church) doing? Current State of the Church
2. Who are we? The Nature of the Church
3. Where have we been? The History of the Church
4. Where are we going? The Future of the Church
5. Who is leading us? Vocation (Calling) and You
Dr. John Morley MWF 2:00-2:50
In this course we will investigate the idea and process of spiritual formation and how Christians can grow in their personal walks with Jesus. We will use Dr. Robert Mulholland's definition of spiritual formation as a primer for the course. "Spiritual formation is the process of being conformed to the image of God for the sake of others." Students will have the opportunity to examine who they are in Christ (the beloved), how they best relate to God and contemplate the belief that spiritual formation is about who we are being vs. what we doing for Christ. We will discuss the intentional integration of spiritual disciplines in one's life as a means of creating space for God to work through these acts of love. We will utilize various learning mediums from class discussion, reading spiritual formation classics, participating in individual spiritual practice experiments and small group discussions to further the integration of faith, living and learning. Students will create a final Rule of Life project where they commit to partner with the Holy Spirit to incorporate different spiritual practices (means of grace) and sacred rhythms into their lives. This spiritual formation plan will serve as a conduit for the believer to receive the abundance of God's love that we might be bearers of His love to the world. In the end it is hoped students will affirm the belief that we are all on a unique spiritual journey and God meets us wherever we are along our path.
Staff MWF 2:00-2:50
You are going to love this very useful and practical class that will help you study Scripture and lead others in studying Scripture. This unique class has three main parts: 1) Learn the basics of the Inductive Bible Study method so you can better observe, interpret, and apply Scripture yourself; 2) Learn how to lead small groups in a discussion based way so that they can engage Scripture together; and 3) Lead a Bible study that you have prepared throughout the class. This is an extremely useful class for any student who will be leading Bible studies of any age group now or in the future.
Sarah Flannery TR 9:25-10:40
Family ministry in the church includes people of all ages and all walks of life, yet most churches partition their ministry by age level, and few leaders are trained to minister to the whole family. In this course, students will learn to see the church as a system rather than a collection of age level ministries. Topics include disability ministry, marriage and divorce ministry, spiritual rites of passage coinciding with human developmental milestones, volunteer recruitment and support, and navigation of church staff systems. This course is appropriate for students who plan to serve in the church in any capacity, as volunteers, staff, or pastors.
Admission by departmental permission only. Not more than 4 hours of seminar credit may count towards a CSP department major or minor.
Dr. Brian Hull MWF 9:00-9:50
Why do we do ministry the ways that we do? How are people transformed by God? What is the extent of God’s love for us and work in our lives? This course will take a deep look into the theology and philosophy of making disciples of Jesus and helping others know God. Students will develop their own philosophy of educational ministry which will help them explain the reasons for ministry and to better evaluate their ministry.
This course has a unique combination of theology and personal application that invites students to learn and collaborate with others.
Catalog description: An examination of the periods of adulthood from the perspective of needs, developmental tasks and spiritual formation. Includes program development and a study of principles which promote the integration of all adults into the community of faith.
Dr. Sam Kim MWF 1:00-1:50
This course examines the world’s major religions and considers thoughtful Christian responses to them. You will learn basic research methodologies that help you to study and learn about world religions, including their origins, claims, messages, structures, practices and communities. You will also acquire missiological tools to engage people in other religious communities. At the end of the class, you will be better prepared to live, work, and minister in our contemporary, pluralistic society.
Michael Bennett MWF 3:00-3:50
Christianity became a globalized religion by crossing boundaries of space, time, and the contexts in which we live. This course studies how the faith of a small of group people spread globally and took shape in unique, meaningful ways around the world by those who received the gospel and made it their own faith. Douglas Jacobsen’s The World’s Christians: Who They Are, Where They Are, and How They Got There will provide us an interdisciplinary guide in understanding the global phenomenon of the Christian faith as well as its various distinctive expressions. We will also consider how we are better able to connect with and understand these various expressions of World Christianity, especially in how we relate to each other and gain a more robust and deeper appreciation for what these expressions reveal to us about God’s work in this world, the gospel, and the Kingdom of God.
Dr. Sam Kim TR 9:25-10:40
This course focuses upon the development of skills needed for effective, cross-cultural communication of the Gospel. It is designed to help you analyze of communication variables and understand how to communicate with people who are different from you. It leads you to examine of your own cultural identities and your interactions with others. In this global diversity, we will examine the interacts of values, assumptions, beliefs, traditions and communication rules.
Dr. Sam Kim MWF 9:00-9:50
This course will help you to examine the impact of culture upon Christianity in all cultures and interpret cultural diversity. It is intended to promote theological reflection and investigate the relationship between basic Christian values and the realities of contemporary culture.
The first part of the course you will study fundamental concepts of culture in the biblical, theological and historical basis, while the second part of the course is a more practical exploration of specific areas of culture.
Prerequisites: TH 250.
Dr. Sam Kim MWF 11:00-11:50
This course exists to provide an overview of the history, beliefs, and practices of Islam and the proper response of Christian apologetics in the effort to witness to Muslims. We will discuss the manner in which Christians are mandated to be sensitive in cross-cultural and contextual evangelism and discipleship. In the course work, you will study the theology and important concepts as you read the Qur’an and Islamic scriptures in comparison with the Bible and other reading materials.
Dr. Claire Peterson MWF 1:00-1:50
The world of work can be intimidating, the thought of a job search panic-attack-inducing, and the question of "good work" an academic discussion for people who already have it all. In this class, we're going to cut through that anxiety without putting off the inevitable, and we'll do so by integrating the theological with the practical. The class is highly experiential: while you will learn about best practices for job resumes, you will also actually practice incorporating these practices as you write your own resume (and give feedback on others). When we discuss how to "define success", you’ll interview someone you respect about their own understanding of success and report back to your classmates. Instead of simply talking about good work and its purpose, you’ll be challenged (and equipped) to create something that benefits another person. You'll come away with a better sense of what you bring to the table, how to articulate that to others, and what you've already done that prepares you to work well.
Dr. Joy Vaughan MWF 9:00-9:50
Have you ever wondered what happens in the End Times? What does the biblical text actually say about these matters? What views have been purported popularly, historically, and exegetically, and how do they compare and contrast? What are the various views of the millennium? What is the book of Revelation about?
This course will take a historical and exegetical approach to answering these questions. We will interpret relevant texts that speak to these matters all throughout the New Testament listening to how both Jesus and Paul contributed to the discussion. Additionally, we will give special attention to the book of Revelation realizing that the book was not written to inspire fear, but produce great hope for its audience.
Prerequisites: OT 100 and NT 100.
Dr. Suzanne Nicholson TR 12:45-2:00
The fiery apostle Paul shows his passion for the Gospel in his letter to the Galatians, who are abandoning Paul's teachings. Paul has harsh words both for the Galatians and his opponents, but it stems from his deep desire for the Galatians to understand their acceptance by God and the power of the Holy Spirit to transform their lives. Paul's letter to the Romans, on the other hand, offers a fuller theological explanation of the nuances of Paul's Gospel message. Justification by faith, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the transformed life all take center stage in this brilliant letter. NT 400 will explore the theology of these letters as well as the heart and passion of Paul and his message-a message that is still vibrant and powerful in today's complicated world.
Prerequisites: NT 100.
Dr. Julianne Burnett MWF 2:00-2:50
Catalog description: A study of ancient Israel from the conquest of Canaan to the post-exilic community. The Old Testament historical sources are examined against the background of ancient Near Eastern literature, geography, and archaeology. The course focuses on Israel's historical development within its political, social, and religious context.
Prerequisite: OT 100.
Dr. Brian Shelton TR 2:00-3:15
Twentieth century theology is an unnavigable nightmare for the majority of Christians. This era of theology is a complex biblical and cultural response to forces that have been bearing against the church, many of which continue into the present. Twentieth century theology is like a river with tributaries of thought flowing in and eddies of controversy swirling in it, and the theologian learner is caught in a whirlpool over his or her head. This course explores these currents by first recognizing the mainstream thinkers. Barth, Brunner, and Bonhoeffer introduce Neo-Orthodoxy in response to higher biblical criticism. Fosdick and Bultmann introduce a Neo-Liberalism in response to the rise of science. Fundamentalism gives rise to Evangelicalism in response to an anti-cultural tone in the church. Pentecostalism is birthed to bring new energy to the life of the church. Contemporary theologies follow, such as a theology of hope, process theology, secular theology, theologies of success, feminist theology, black theology, and creation spirituality. Their causes and effects converge to bring an easy confusion that deserves to be mapped for understanding the challenges of the contemporary church.
Prerequisite: TH 250.
Dr. Dan Pinkston MWF 2:00-2:50
This class is an extension of basic music theory and applies theoretical analysis to music in popular culture including rock, jazz, country, pop and hip-hop. In addition, contemporary worship music is explored in depth. Students will analyze the form, chordal structure and melodic features of a wide range of popular music.
Prerequisites: MTH 111 and MTH 121.
Dr. Dan Pinkston MWF 3:00-3:50
An introduction to the craft of songwriting in popular styles. Attention will be given to issues of melody, harmony, form, instrumentation, and poetry. Each student will be guided in approaches to writing songs in various genres of song.
Dr. Brian Hull MW 3:00-3:50
One of the best and most challenging parts of ministry is walking alongside young people and their families, even through crisis and difficulties. It is challenging because of the difficulty and uniqueness of each of those moments. It is rewarding because it is often in those moments that God’s presence is most felt and transformation most real.
This course is an introductory study of various problems that affect adolescents and processes for spiritually-centered assistance and intervention. Basic pastoral care principles and strategies for a ministry context will be explored including listening and responding, confidentiality, limitations, referrals, and ethics.
Prerequisite: YM 350 or permission from the instructor.