FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIAN BELIEF
A study of the basic concepts of Christian theology via the perspective of Biblical tradition, historical development, and contemporary relevance.
This course is designed so that students will be able to:
1. Articulate the foundations of Christian belief, its practices and traditional doctrines.
2. Identify and better understand a relationship between historic Christian faith and contemporary issues related to human life and culture.
3. Think, write and discuss, with a growing sense of clarity and understanding, significant life issues from an informed theological perspective.
4. Articulate several distinctive aspects of a Wesleyan understanding of the Christian faith and how that faith is expressed in life and in the context of the Church of the Nazarene.
5. Appreciate the connection between sound Christian thinking and ethical Christian living---i.e. the relationship between belief and behavior—and evaluate moral and ethical choices in light of sound Christian interpretations
All students taking Foundations of Christian Belief should have already completed the earlier General Education courses Christian, Faith and Life and Old Testament Literature and Life or New Testament Literature and Life.
Grenz, Stanley J. Created for Community: Connecting Christian Belief with Christian Living. Second Edition. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998.
Harper, Steve. The Way to Heaven: The Gospel According to John Wesley. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003.
Young, William. The Shack. Newbury Park, CA: Windblown Media, 2007. (Note: I do not order this for the bookstore, as it is readily available in many locations)
Overview of Course Content
This course will attempt to cover the basic content of the Christian faith. We will examine classical and historical understandings of God, Creation and Humanity, Sin and Redemption, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Church and Last Things. Along the way we will address questions like: 1) How do we know what to believe? 2) What makes faith or belief possible? 3) What do we mean by “God”? 4) Is God in charge? 5) What’s wrong with us? With the world? 6) Who is Jesus and how does he make a difference? 7) What is the church and why is it necessary? 8) How do we practice the Christian life? 9) How are my beliefs reflected in my behavior? 10) Where are we headed? Where is the world headed?
Our approach to the classic faith of the church will be in response to the kinds of issues and questions raised as well as a systematic review of key theological issues. Together we will explore what it means to think, live and discern the meaning and purpose of life as part of the Christian story. Your engagement and participation will an important key to the success of the course!
Overview of Course Requirements
1. Listen to all online comments from the instructor and read all assigned readings from textbooks and other articles as posted in the weekly schedule.
2. Complete and submit online all assigned responses to readings and interview reports (40% of the course grade). These assignments will appear in the Moodle section for each week during the course (see Schedule for due dates). They will involve responses to objective and subjective questions based on the course readings and class material.
3. Weekly tests over assigned readings. (20% of course grade). Directions for taking tests will be provided.
4. Memorize and write from memory “The Apostles’ Creed” (top of syllabus). You will take this quiz in the middle and at the end of the course. Your average score between the two will be your score for this assignment. Obviously, the intent is to encourage genuine, lasting memory. (4% of course grade)
5. Write an essay offering your critique of the novel, The Shack. This novel should be read carefully after completing the reading and writing assignments over the two textbooks. (8% of course grade).
6. Write a 1200-1500 word Final Essay (8% of course grade)
7. Informed participation in the course activities including interaction with the work of other students, forum discussions, responses to questions, etc. These discussions must be timely and completed during the week assigned. Responses posted late are not accepted for credit. (20% of course grade)
All written work for the course is expected to meet minimal university writing standards. Papers should be typed (12pt font), double-spaced, and with proper citations for all material not your own. Papers will be graded based on MLA style. Typed papers are preferred for all assignments. Because our language is such a strong force in shaping our ideas, and because all publishing is now done in gender inclusive format, inclusive language is strongly encouraged on all written assignments.
If you need assistance with a learning, physical or psychological disability that may affect your academic progress, you are encouraged to contact the Disability Services Director at (405)491-6694 (M-F 8:00-5:00). All students are encouraged to seek assistance.
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