This is really a
“course within a course“. We will have lectures, presentations
and lively discussions about the church’s historical responses to
these and other “eternal questions”. But we will also evaluate
and improve the means of promoting such discussions within our own
church communities. All (for credit) students will construct and
take with them their own six-session user-friendly course in basic
introductory theology that they will be able to introduce and
facilitate at their own churches.
We will read
from three principal texts during the course:
1) Gray, Tony, and Steve English. The
Potted Guide to Theology. Carlisle U.K.: Paternoster
McGrath, Alister E. Christian Theology. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell
Publishers Ltd., 1997
3) Migliore, Daniel L., Faith Seeking
Understanding. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eermans
Publishing Company, 1991
All three of these books are available at the Hartford Seminary Book
Store. Students will also be provided various handout materials during the
It is suggested
that students read the following material before the beginning of the course:
Chapter 6 (The Sources of Theology) and Chapter 7 (Knowledge of God) and
Migliore, Chapter 2 (The Meaning of Revelation) and Chapter 3 (The Authority of
might also choose to read as much of the following assigned material as possible
before the course begins:
Monday, June 9th
How can we possibly respond to the eternal questions about God? What are
the sources of our knowledge about God? Revelation,
Scripture, Reason, Tradition and Experience
for Tuesday: McGrath, Chapter 9
(The Doctrine of God); Migliore, Chapter 4 (The Triune God), Chapter 5 (The Good
Creation) and Chapter 7 (Humanity in the Image of God)
Tuesday, June 10th
What is the nature of God? What
is the nature of God’s Creation?
Readings for Wednesday: McGrath,
Chapter 10, pp. 319-327 (The Doctrine of the Trinity), Chapter 11, pp. 345-354
(The Doctrine of the Person of Christ) and Chapter 12, pp. 386-396 (The Quest of
the Historical Jesus); handout
Wednesday, June 11th
Who is Jesus Christ? What is
the nature of his work?
Readings for Thursday: Migliore,
Chapter 6 (The Providence of God and the Mystery of Evil);
McGrath, Chapter 14 (The Doctrines of Human Nature, Sin and Grace),
Migliore, Chapter 12 (Christian Hope);
McGrath, Chapter 18 (Last Things)
Thursday, June 12th
Why do bad things happen to good people?
What does it mean to be “saved”?
What happens to us after we die, and why?
Friday, June 13th
Student presentations. Open
discussion with theologians on knotty issues.
Each student who is taking this course for credit will be
expected to produce a personal plan for the presentation of these or similar
ideas to an adult study group. The
plan should consist of the materials announcing and describing the program, the
outlines for the presentations and a brief essay addressing the mission and
challenges of such programs. Students
may collaborate on lesson plans but must write their own essays.
also be expected to complete the reading assignments and participate actively in
the course discussions.
Approximately six months after the conclusion of the course, the Seminary
will sponsor a luncheon for the students in this course at which we will discuss
how everybody got on with their projects and what further we can learn from each
AIMS OF THE COURSE
- Learn the
difference between faith, belief and works;
the impact of social dynamics on faith communities;
the importance of class, gender, age, etc. on beliefs;
- Learn how
to articulate their beliefs in a public forum;
about various faith traditions;
- Learn how
to produce and deliver a class in “theological basics”;
that beliefs have changed over time;
that the theological experts have traditionally disagreed;
that their beliefs are worthy of consideration by others;
- Learn the
basic theological beliefs of historical figures;
that they are saved and become more cheerful.