Christian Theology UFDN 3100
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Seattle Paci c University UFDN 3100 Christian Theology Fall 2008 Class Sessions MWF 130pm to 250pm Peterson 303 Professor Jeff Keuss PhD Associate Professor of Christian Ministry Office Alexander Hall 106 2062812442 keussjspuedu Of ce Hours Tuesdays 1100am 1200pm and by appointment I Course Goals and Objectives Seattle Paci c University Mission Statement As a community of learners Seattle Pacific University seeks to educate and prepare students for service and leadership We are committed to evangelical Christian faith and values and to excellence in teaching and scholarship for the intellectual personal and spiritual growth of students SPU School of Theology Goals Within the broad context of these Mission Statements SOT has established fourteen goals for its various programs which are listed below The five of these that pertain specifically to this course are italicized 1 Students will gain an informed and re ectivefaith 2 Students will gain confidence in the Christian faith 3 Students will respond respectfully to people with di ering beliefs and practices 4 Students will be able to interpret Scripture with skill and grace 5 Students will shape their lives around Christian character and values 6 Students will understand how Scripture reason tradition and experience inform theological re ection 7 Students will be prepared to make a difference in a crosscultural setting 8 Students will be prepared for successfully entering the workplace or graduate studies 9 Students will be able to nurture others in Christian faith 10 Students will enhance their service to churches 11 Students will critique di erent worldviews operative in the world 12 Students will cultivate personal Bible study into their lives 13 Students will identify historic and contemporary diversity in the global Christian tradition 14 Students will be more active participants in the worship and ministry of a local congregation Course Objectives In order to attain these goals the Department of Theology has established the following specific objectives for UFDN 3100 UFDN 3100 Christian Theology Dr Jeff Keuss Fall 2008 2 1 To sketch the basic development of Christian thought and institutions from New Testament times to the present Both the rich diversity and the overarching unity within the Christian tradition will be emphasized The distinctive beliefs and practices of five major branches of the Christian tradition the Eastern Orthodox Roman Catholic Lutheran Reformed and Wesleyan branches will be highlighted 2 To delineate the central doctrines of the historic Christian church their interrelationships and their implications for the Christian life Doctrines will be studied not only as truth claims ie ideas that Christians affirm but also as regulative principles ie concepts by means of which Christians analyze shape and amend their lives 3 To demonstrate the rudiments of theological method that is of how fruitful theological re ection involves a dynamic and closely reasoned dialogue between Christian scripture Christian tradition and the full range of human experience 4 To map out some of the major religious and philosophical world views current today and to analyze their congruence or incongruence with the historic Christian faith 5 To encourage and help students to cultivate a more re ective Christian faith that is one integrally woven into their lives and thinking II Course Description General Description 5 Credits Prerequisites UFDN 1000 Christian Formation and UFDN 2000 or 3001 Christian Scriptures This course studies the basic doctrines and practices of historic Christianity such as the being attributes and workings of the Triune God the nature fallenness and redemption of human beings the character and mission of the church the disciplines and duties of personal faith and the hope for last things Attention will be given to major formative events and key persons in the history of the church that have helped to shape what Christians believe and how they live Attributes Foundation and UpperDivision Class not open to freshmen SPU Undergraduate Catalog p 71 III Course Requirements and Policies Required Readings for this course include the required texts four sermons that can be downloaded from the Internet and some additional handouts prepared and distributed by the instructor I will assume that every student 1 has a personal copy of all of these resources 2 will have read the assignments for each class session prior to class and 3 will bring his her copies of the assigned materials to class The SPU Bookstore has stocked enough copies of the printed texts for everyone But shelf stock is often cleared by midquarter and students are strongly advised to purchase all four early in the quarter or at least to reserve copies of those that they intend to purchase later Neither the Bookstore nor the instructor can be held responsible if these texts are no longer in stock after the fourth week of the quarter The printed texts are UFDN 3100 Christian Theology Dr Jeff Keuss Fall 2008 3 1 Christian History 94 1990 Issue 28 The 100 Most Important Events in Church History online PDF file on Blackboard 2 Guthrie Shirley Christian Doctrine Rev Ed Westminster John Knox Press 1994 3 Ware Kallistos The Orthodox Way Crestwood NY St Vladimir s Seminary Press 1995 4 Danner Mark The Truth of El Mozote The New Yorker Dec 6th 1993 htt wwwmarkdannercom ne orker 1206 The Massacrehtm 5 CS Lewis The Great Divorce Macmillian 1960 We will also read four sermons by John Wesley the founder of Methodism These are available online from the Wesley Center for Applied Theology at Northwest Nazarene University The web address is httpzz wesleynnuedujohn wesleygsermonsgindexhtm The hyperlink to this site may be found on the Blackboard web site for this course The four sermons are Free Grace Sermon 128 The Scripture Way of Salvation Sermon 43 The Means of Grace Sermon 16 The Duty of Constant Communion Sermon 101 In addition to these required readings a copy of the Bible will come in handy You will find it richly rewarding to look up the various passages referred to in our texts TeachingLearning Methods I use a variety of classroom techniques including lectures smallgroup exercises largegroup discussions and various audiovisual aids I have prepared illustrated Power Point outlines of my lectures and will have posted these to the course web site You are welcome to download these files for your own use both to enhance your understanding of the lectures and to facilitate your study for exams But please understand that not all the material contained in these presentations will necessarily be discussed in class and conversely that not all the material discussed in class and or on line will necessarily be covered in the outlines Examinations Reviews of material covered in the readings lectures and class discussions Three exams will be given during the quarter 0 Exam No 1 Oct 22nd Covering class sessions 1 9 0 Exam No 2 Nov 10th Covering class sessions 11 19 0 Final Exam Dec 10th Cumulative with emphasis on class sessions 20 30 Exam Nos 1 and 2 will each be worth 20 of your course grade Exam No 3 will be worth 25 of your course grade The exams usually have two parts The first part consists of objective questions ie multiple choice andor term definition and is closed bookclosed notebook You will need to bring a Scantron form 882E thin green one and a N0 2 pencil for this The second part for Exams 2 and 3 UFDN 3100 Christian Theology Dr Jeff Keuss Fall 2008 4 consist of short essays You will need to bring a small blue book for this The dates of Exams 1 and 2 may be revised if class progress warrants and any students inconvenienced by such changes will be permitted to take the exams in the Library on the originally scheduled date The date and time of the Final Exam is set by the University and cannot be changed to suit individual needs except according to the provisions stated in SPU Time Schedule Quizzes Three times during the quarter I will give pop quizzes The dates will not be announced and makeups will not be permitted Each of the three grades will be worth 5 of your course grade The quizzes will take about 10 minutes to complete All will be closed book closed notebook because the purpose of these exercises is to test how carefully and thoughtfully you have read the daily reading assignments Study Tips for Exams amp Quizzes In the examinations you will be held responsible for all of the following all the reading assignments listed in this syllabus all the material discussed in class and on line and all the material on the Power Point presentations PPs In particular 0 Know the definitions of technical terms including those in Greek Latin or Hebrew that are printed on the PPs 0 Know everything on the numbered or bulleted lists found in the PPs o Memorize the dates of events and historical epochs listed in the PPs and in the 1 2 page articles in Christian History The 100 Most Important Events 0 Know the names of the theologians artists and poets associated with the various doctrines we study eg Rublev with respect to the doctrine of the Trinity or Calvin and Pelagius with respect to the doctrine of predestination 0 Understanding of the Guthrie text can be enriched by writing out or discussing with classmates the answers to the study questions at the end of each chapter 0 Understanding of the Ware text can be enriched by asking yourself why each of the quotations at the beginning and end of each chapter has been selected Course Engagement Grade What you get out of this course both in terms of your grade and in terms of the course s personal value for you will depend on what you put into it When I assess the degree to which you have invested yourself in this course I will look at the following factors Class attendance Active participation in classroom discussions Active participation in online discussions of course material Private conversations with me about course material Selfevaluation and Banner Course Evaluation see below MMMMU The course engagement grade will be worth 15 of your final grade In calculating it I will weigh your attendance against the other four factors taken together If you do not miss a single class session but give no other evidence of engagement with you material you will get an 80 C Every unexcused absence from class will lower this grade by two points On the other hand if you participate regularly and thoughtfully in discussions UFDN 3100 Christian Theology Dr Jeff Keuss Fall 2008 5 and or demonstrate your interest in and command of the material in the other above mentioned ways you will be rewarded accordingly Valid excuses for missing class include illnesses personal or family emergencies SPU athletic competitions theatrical performances and academic field trips or retreats for which I receive a note signed by the faculty member in charge Absences and tardiness due to oncampus practices and rehearsals are not excused Please understand that it is not my policy to excuse students from class for churchrelated activities eg mission trips or conferences workrelated activities eg overtime hours or emergency fillins for other employees or non emergency activities with family or friends eg weddings or vacations However by regularly participating in class discussion most students can effectively restore the two points they will lose from their CEG for each class session missed In short faithful attendance and careful preparation for class are expected Theological Response Paper A Response to Ru na Amaya regarding the massacre of El Mazote DUE November 17th in class You will submit a 4 page response paper to the issues raised in the New Yorker article The Truth of El Mazote by Mark Danner This article is available online at his website htt wwwmarkdannercom ne orker 1206 The Massacrehtm This essay will be written in two parts 1 2 pages outlining your understanding of the key theological issues in response to the question How do we acknowledge God in the midst of tragic events ie the doctrine of creation theodicy nature of God what is evil etc 2 a 2 page response in the form of a letter to Rufina Amaya the sole survivor of the massacre of an Evangelical community in El Salvador The questions to be addressed in the paper include what do you see as the key theological questions raised through the events in this story Please use categories germane to this course How do you respond to the place of God amidst this tragedy where was God for Rufina Amaya What should be the role of the church in response to this tragedy and what tangible ways do you see yourself involved in this issue CS Lewis The Great Divorce Reaction Paper DUE December 15t in class You will submit a 2 3 paper in response to CS Lewis The Great Divorce and re ect on how CS Lewis understanding of Heaven and Hell match what you perceive them to be Do you agree Disagree Be sure to include reference to your reading and lecture material as to why you have these responses SelfEvaluation DUE December 10th at Final You will submit a 12 page typed singlespaced evaluation of your own work for the class This is not an evaluation of what you got out of the class but ofwhat you put into it Please state on your honor 1 how many of the required and recommended readings you completed and how UFDN 3100 Christian Theology Dr Jeff Keuss Fall 2008 6 thoroughly you studied them 2 approximately how much time and effort you invested in the re ection papers and the exams and 3 how you feel you have grown intellectually and spiritually from the course as a whole Evidence of sincere effort on your part in these various aspects of the course over and above class attendance class participation and postings to the class discussion board will be rewarded when the time comes for me to calculate your Course Engagement Grade Staple to the back your copy from Banner con rming that you completed the online course evaluation Classroom Etiquette Our class time should be relaxed and informal Still a degree of dignity and decorum is necessary for the academic enterprise I would therefore ask you to observe the following classroom courtesies Please arrive on time if possible However do not skip a class entirely simply because you are going to be late I open some class sessions with a reading from scripture and prayer Even if you are not one who prays please respect the reverence of those who do by keeping silent Please bring your copies of the assigned readings for the day and if possible your Bible to class Careful examination of the readings will be a common feature of lectures fullclass discussions smallgroup exercises and class presentations Please do not bring food to class unless you have enough to share with everyone Beverages are okay During class discussions please give your full attention to whoever has the oor and refrain from side conversations and activities irrelevant to the course Please refrain from asking me questions about class issues grades assignments personal matters just before class when I am trying to collect my thoughts and organize my materials I will usually be available to answer such questions immediately after class and during my regularly scheduled office hours Or you may email me at keussjspuedu Please refrain from verbal abuse of those whose views you disagree with whether members of the class or authors whom we are studying In theological inquiry vigorous critique of ideas must stop short of personal attacks or eschatological condemnations Please switch off your cell phones and beepers during class unless you have a valid reason for keeping them on eg a sick child at home If you must make or take a call during class please step outside the classroom Cell phones that ring during exams will result in a 20 grade reduction for the student who owns the phone No sleeping in class Occasional bouts of drowsiness will be overlooked but persons who habitually violate this rule will be dismissed from class or given a failing grade Please do not leave class early unless you let me know at the beginning of class that you must do so If you must leave early please sit near the door to min1mize disruption UFDN 3100 Christian Theology Dr Jeff Keuss Fall 2008 7 If you must miss a class session please inform me to that effect beforehand if possible preferably by voicemail or email Guests are welcome in class but should be introduced personally to me before class begins and t0 the entire group at the beginning of class For additional information about classroom behavior and other protocols of academic life see The SPUStudentHandbook Grading Scale Number Grade Letter Grade Grade Point 10095 A 40 371 9492 A39 37 39 331 9190 B 33 301 8985 B 30 271 8482 B 27 231 8180 C 23 201 7975 C 20 171 7472 C 17 131 7170 D 13 101 6965 D 10 071 640 E 07 000 Summary of Graded Assignments Exam N0 1 20 Exam N0 2 20 Quizzes 15 3 grades of quizzes 5 each Course Engagement Grade 5 El Mozote Paper 10 Great Divorce Paper 5 Final Examination 25 o Total 100 IV Other Information Inclusive Language Policy It is the policy of the School of Theology that gender inclusive language be used in classroom discourse and writing assignments By this we mean that in referring to human beings we will make every effort either to use gender neutral terms andor to alternate our use of masculine and feminine personal pronouns For example we should use genderneutral plural terms such as persons people or human beings rather than men or genderneutral singular terms such as a person or one rather than man When using possessive pronouns to refer to a gender UFDN 3100 Christian Theology Dr Jeff Keuss Fall 2008 8 neutral noun we should alternate between he and she or his and hers It is also permissible to use locutions such as his or her heshe or she It is becoming increasingly common to use the plural pronoun their as a genderinclusive singular pronoun as in the sentence A person should always look their best I dislike this barbarism but will permit it Genderinclusive language with respect to God is harder to manage and no agreement among theologians has yet been reached as to what is proper or improper The best rule of thumb seems to be to use proper names or biblical titles God the Holy One the Almighty and impersonal pronouns divine whenever possible and to use masculine pronouns he his himself only when necessary Some theologians have taken to using the term Godself and for that reason I will allow it although it seems artificial to me Academic Integrity Policy Students are expected to follow the standards of scholarship explained in the SPU Undergraduate Catalog found on the SPU website pp 48f The penalty for any proven or admitted infraction of these standards will be a number grade of 0 on the assignment in question plus a deduction of between 15 and 30 points on the Course Engagement Grade depending on the circumstances and severity of the infraction The guidelines for handling any cases of suspected academic dishonesty are spelled out in ibid pp 48f See also httpwwwspueduacadacad policiesandprocedures html Students with Disabilities If you have a disability that quali es you for academic accommodations please contact Disabled Student Services in the Center for Learning to make your accommodations request Once your eligibility has been determined Disabled Student Services will send a letter to me and to your other professors indicating what accommodations have been approved School Closure Policy SPU will begin classes late or close the campus if weather mandates such a decision A late start notification indicates that the campus offices and classes will open at 1000 am Classes beginning at 800 am will be canceled and 900 am classes will be held at 1000 am If a chapel is scheduled it will be held as planned for those who dont have 900 classes Closure means all classes and offices are closed The library Campus Dining Services and the SUB will be operational on a limited schedule For information regarding closure call the SPU closure hotline at 2062812800 or listen to KIRO 710 AM or KCMS 1053 FM or TV stations KIRO KOMO 0r KING UFDN 3100 Christian Theology Dr Jeff Keuss Fall 2008 9 Instructor s General Approach Two quotes frame much of why I do theology both as a theologian and as a pastor Firstly I could do no better than repeat the words of Lady Study the wife of Intelligence when she directs the Dreamer to her cousin Learning in William Langland s story ofPiers the Ploughman Theology has always caused me a lot of trouble The more I ponder and delve into it the darker and mistier it seems to me to be It is certainly no science for subtle invention and without love it would be no good at all But I love it because it values love above all else and grace is never lacking where love comes first Secondly as a practical theologian I continue to re ect upon the following quote from J iirgen Habermas the famous social theorist and philosopher 39Philosophy even in its postmetaphysical form will be able neither to replace nor to repress religion so long as religious language bears semantic content that is inspiring and even indispensable because this content eludes for the time being the explanatory force of philosophical language and continues to resist translation into reasoning discourses39 Jiirgen Habermas Postmetaphysical Thinking In short I do theology partly because I think Jiirgen Habermas is partly right Habermas is wellknown for being the rejecter of the metaphysical the insistent atheist the sceptic about tradition Yet this same Habermas acknowledges as openly as can be that philosophy cannot replace theology Why Because theology is about hope and prayer and until hope and prayer cannot only be explained but replaced by what he calls 39reasoning discourses39 theology will continue to occupy a central role in cultural life On the other hand I do theology partly because I think Habermas is wrong I think he39s wrong to say that theological thought only eludes philosophy 39for the time being39 I suspect that the time being may turn out to be a very long time Those who are familiar with the end of Durkheim39s Elementary Forms will know why 39A philosophy can very well be worked out in the silence of inward meditation but not a faith A faith above all is warmth life enthusiasm enhancement of all mental activity uplift of the individual above himself Except by reading outside himself how could the individual add to the energies he possesses How could he transcend himself by his own strength39 There have been many projects for human beings to transcend themselves by their own strength from the tower of Babel to the slogan of a wellknown local start up software company 39Where do you want to go today39 All of them in fact require us to transcend ourselves at the expense of the poor the exploited the hungry the marginalized and now that it is fashionable to admit it the environment One can live without what UFDN 3100 Christian Theolog Dr Jeff Keuss Fall 2008 10 Durkheim calls 39warmth39 and some have even advocated living without life and enthusiasm When it39s clear that they are right I shall probably stop doing theology In the meantime however there is work to do Increasing numbers of the world39s population do not know what to hope for and find that for whatever reason they cannot pray There are probably complicated reasons for this There may also be some simple ones I can think of two First our lives are marked by tragedy second we are powerless to prevent or explain it Those who believe that theology should explain tragedy turn away in disappointment Those who believe that technology or economics should prevent it give up in despair I think they are right about technology but wrong about theology Theology is not for explaining tragedy it39s for renewing hope and prayer and nding deeper and better ways of articulating them Of course it39s about many other things too But in a world where people find hoping and praying almost impossible theologians are going to be busy enough