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Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies

Course Descriptions

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RELS 350
Biblical Languages
Biblical Studies
3

Introduction to both the Biblical Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) languages in order to facilitate the use of advanced linguistic tools for Biblical study and research. Students gain practical hands-on instruction and experience in conducting Greek and Hebrew word studies using a lexicon and concordance.

RELS 206
Spiritual Formation
Christian Foundation, Christian Ministry Core, Religious Studies Core
3

Study of the dynamics of personal and spiritual growth as understood in the Christian tradition. Practical tools, in combination with historical perspective, provide the backdrop for self-exploration and spiritual development within students.

RELS 320
Ministry Communication Skills
Christian Ministry Core
3

Introduction to basic public speaking, reading, and written communication skills necessary for the ministry environment. The course emphasizes verbal communication (voice, diction, and pronunciation), written communication (specialized publications), and specialized communication strategies for media and pulpit ministry.

RELS 401
Christian Ministry
Christian Ministry Core
3

Introduction to various kinds of ministry found in church and parachurch organizations with an emphasis on the leadership and involvement of the laity. The course also explores team ministry strategies in a ministry context and a model for natural church growth as the basis for ministry health.

RELS 410
Christian Discipleship
Christian Ministry Core
3

Students examine the Biblical and philosophical basis of personal spiritual formation and growth as well as strategies that can be used to facilitate formation and growth in church and parachurch ministry.

RELS 240
Studying and Teaching the Bible
Christian Ministry Core, Biblical and Theological Studies Core, Youth Ministry
3

Exploration of the inductive method of Bible study and its place in preparing group Bible studies and teaching the Bible in a variety of contexts. Students examine a wide range of teaching methods and consider their potential for engaging children, adolescents, and adults. Student projects are to be related to their current or proposed ministry setting.

Prerequisites: RELS 104

RELS 360
Contemporary Issues in the Church
Christian Ministry Elective
3

Introduction to special topics that affect ministry in the twenty-first century. This course examines gender, racial, and post-modern cultural issues that have a major impact on the practice of ministry today.

RELS 370
Contemporary American Cults and Sects
Christian Ministry Elective
3

Survey of the leading pseudo-Christian and non-Christian cults that exist today. Consideration of the belief systems of cults, how they differ from historic Christianity, and strategies for Christian engagement.

RELS 440
Christian Missions
Christian Ministry Elective
3

Study of the worldwide mission of the Church, presented in the context of world perspectives and evangelism, including the theological basis for world missions, a practical survey of mission strategies, and applications to local church and parachurch ministries.

RELS 460
Practical Evangelism
Christian Ministry Elective
3

Introduction to practical strategies for evangelism in local and parachurch ministries. The course presents a Biblical basis for evangelism along with major strategies. Students apply their learning in a field-based evangelistic guided experience within ministry settings.

RELS 470
Coaching and Mentoring
Christian Ministry Elective
3

Study of transformational leadership coaching as the basis for mentoring strategies within local church and parachurch ministries. Students concurrently examine mentoring-based personal growth strategies in ministry contexts.

RELS 301
Apologetics
Christian Ministry Elective, Theological and Historical Studies, Theology
3

Exploration of the branch of theology that deals with articulating the reasonableness of Christian faith as well as developing meaningful responses to common objections. Students examine theoretical and applied apologetics and the nature of the relationship between faith and reason, as well as specific problems and implications arising from our postmodern, pluralistic cultural context.

RELS 321
Youth Evangelism and Discipleship
Christian Ministry Elective, Youth Ministry
3

Analysis of strengths and weaknesses of current methods of evangelism and discipleship among adolescents in youth ministry contexts. Students consider the Biblical and philosophical foundations of approaches to evangelism and discipleship of youth as these are practiced today with the goal of formulating their own approach to these aspects of youth ministry.

RELS 311
Biblical Archeology
Religion Elective
3

Exploration of archaeological research relating to the Old and New Testaments, with attention given to ways that this research aids in understanding and interpreting Biblical texts. Topics include the current state of Biblical archaeology and its historic development, as well as problems in deciphering texts and dating artifacts. Students also examine more recent finds such as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

RELS 390
Independent Study
Religion Elective
3

An approved independent study option, supervised by faculty, in a directed area of scholarship. Study is administered according to a learning contract between a chosen faculty member and the student.

RELS 396
Portfolio - Guided Learning
Religion Elective
3

Approved directed study based on prior life assessment and experience in a directed area of professional ministry. Directed study involves selected reading, synthesis with prior life or ministry experience, and a final paper that synthesizes learning. Study is administered according to a directed learning contract between a chosen faculty member and the student.

RELS 490
Advanced Independent Study
Religion Elective
3

An approved independent study option, supervised by faculty, in a directed area of scholarship. Study is administered according to a learning contract between a chosen faculty member and the student.

RELS 496
Portfolio - Guided Learning
Religion Elective
3

Approved directed study based on prior life assessment and experience in a directed area of professional ministry. Directed study involves selected reading, synthesis with prior life or ministry experience, and a written synthesis paper. Study is administered according to a directed learning contract between a chosen faculty member and the student.

RELS 342
Seminar in World Religions
Religious Studies Core
3

In-depth examination of one of the major religions of the world (e.g., Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism) with specific reference to its history, classic beliefs, and modern expressions and practices. The specific focus will vary from semester to semester.

Prerequisites: RELS 340

RELS 450
Philosophy of Religion
Religious Studies Core
3

Students examine philosophical questions arising from religious belief, especially as these inform hermeneutics, language-based exegesis, ethics, Christian doctrine, and theology.

RELS 330
Theological Writing and Research
Religious Studies Core, Biblical and Theological Studies Core
3

Study and application of skills in research and writing as related to the field of theology, in order to prepare students for professional/educational ministry. Formal writing in typical style formats (Turabian, MLA, APA) are applied to the writing of research papers and thesis work. Students also learn basic writing skills for publishing their professional work in journals and other scholarly publications.

RELS 201
Principles of Theology
Religious Studies Core, Christian Ministry Core, Biblical and Theological Studies Core
3

Study of the foundations of Christian belief. Students explore basic themes in Christian thought such as the knowledge of God, the origin of sin, the nature of humanity, the person and work of Jesus Christ, and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

RELS 420
Systematic Theology
Religious Studies Core, Christian Ministry Core, Biblical and Theological Studies Core
3

Examination of systematic/constructive doctrines drawn from the scriptures. Students consider questions concerning God, Christ, humankind, salvation, the church, and the Holy Spirit in the context of renewal theology. Students also learn to assess such questions from the standpoint of relevant scriptures as well as from postmodern and other theological viewpoints such as feminist and liberation theologies.

Prerequisites: RELS 201

RELS 485
Senior Seminar
Religious Studies Core, Christian Ministry Core, Biblical and Theological Studies Core
3

Integrative study of religious and theological issues in which students examine one or more contemporary topics in religion. Students employ the methodologies and approaches used within their particular major in dialogue with other majors in the department.

Prerequisites: Senior standing

RELS 210
Biblical Background and Interpretation
Religious Studies Core, Christian Ministry Elective, Biblical and Theological Studies Core
3

Students explore the history, geography, and cultures that form contexts to the Old and New Testament scriptures. Students learn an inductive approach to the interpretation of the scriptures that draws on the insights gained from the study of significant background issues.

Prerequisites: RELS 104

RELS 340
World Religions and Cultures
Religious Studies Core, Christian Ministry Elective, International Studies Elective
3

Major world religions and their belief systems and the impact on the cultures associated with them. Consideration of the issue of Christian engagement with the beliefs, values, and practices of other religions.

RELS 430
Christian Ethics
Religious Studies Core, Christian Ministry Elective, Theological and Historical Studies
3

Exploration of contemporary moral issues in the light of Biblical teachings. Students consider ethics, worldview issues, and ethical decision-making as they intersect with ministry-related topics and situations.

RELS 250
Mission and Message of Jesus
Religious Studies Elective, Christian Ministry Elective, Biblical and Theological Studies Core
3

Study of the ministry and teachings of Jesus as presented in the synoptic gospels, taking into consideration the Hebrew, Greek, and Roman cultural contexts. The course familiarizes students with foundational developments in historical Jesus research, examines important themes in the synoptic gospels, and develops students' skills in critical reading (exegesis), interpretation, and writing.

Prerequisites: RELS 104

RELS 313
Study of the Prophets
Religious Studies Elective, Christian Ministry Elective, Biblical Studies
3

Study of the writings of the Old Testament prophets, focusing on one of the major prophets or a selection of the minor prophets. The course examines the historical moment and place of the text as well as the role of the prophet in ancient Israel. Students examine texts exegetically, considering theology as suggested by the text(s) as well as the relationship to the New Testament, along with personal applications of the prophets' teachings.

Prerequisites: RELS 103

RELS 314
Pauline Literature
Religious Studies Elective, Christian Ministry Elective, Biblical Studies
3

Study of the writings of the Apostle Paul. Students consider the cultural and philosophical background of each text as well as its contents and its place in the canon. The course examines the literature theologically and exegetically while inviting students to develop and consider personal applications of the texts.

Prerequisites: RELS 104

RELS 315
Wisdom Literature
Religious Studies Elective, Christian Ministry Elective, Biblical Studies . Theological and Historical Studies
3

Examination of Biblical Wisdom literature within its ancient Near Eastern context, with special attention to the unique literary aspects of Wisdom literature and its function in ancient Israel.

Prerequisites: RELS 103

RELS 316
Acts of the Apostles
Religious Studies Elective, Christian Ministry Elective, Biblical Studies . Theological and Historical Studies
3

Study of the New Testament book of Acts and the history and context of first-century Christianity. Students consider the historical, literary, and cultural background of Acts as well as its theological message and major themes.

Prerequisites: RELS 104

RELS 317
Psalms
Religious Studies Elective, Christian Ministry Elective, Biblical Studies . Theological and Historical Studies
3

Exploration of the Psalms, with study of the ancient poetry, rich imagery, historical context, and religious and theological implications of the hymnbook of ancient Israel.

Prerequisites: RELS 103

RELS 318
General Epistles
Religious Studies Elective, Christian Ministry Elective, Biblical Studies . Theological and Historical Studies
3

Exegetical study of the general epistles (James through Jude). Students examine theological, literary, and cultural aspects of these letters as they consider the application of these texts.

Prerequisites: RELS 104

RELS 260
Church History I
Religious Studies Elective, Christian Ministry Elective, Biblical Studies, Theological and Historical Studies
3

Survey of the movements and ideas which have influenced the church from the second century until the Reformation. Students trace the leaders and movements within the church and the development of major ideas and creeds. Particular attention is given to the distinctive theological and ethical movements within the western church.

RELS 261
Church History II
Religious Studies Elective, Christian Ministry Elective, Biblical Studies, Theological and Historical Studies
3

Survey of the movements, leaders, and ideas which have influenced the church in the West from the time of the Reformation to the beginning of the 21st century. Topics include moral and doctrinal reformation, the formation and distinctions of major church movements, and the interplay and tension between Christianity and the state.

RELS 467
American Church History
Religious Studies Elective, Christian Ministry Elective, Biblical Studies, Theological and Historical Studies
3

Consideration of the history of the church in America from the 17th through the 20th century, noting the development, impact, and societal influence of the American church. Topics include the tension between church and state, the formation of denominations, and the Holiness and Pentecostal-Charismatic movements.

RELS 422
Topics in Theology
Theological and Historical Studies
3

Investigation of selected topics in theology. Topics may include issues in contemporary theologies, emergent or post-colonial theologies, Charismatic/Pentecostal/Renewal theology, and/or current issues relating to the global church.

Prerequisites: RELS 420

RELS 120
Principles of Youth Ministry
Youth Ministry
3

Examination of the profession of youth ministry including the spiritual life and concerns of youth leaders, dynamics of youth culture, generational characteristics, philosophies of youth ministry, and practical aspects of ministering among youth.

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