This course is designed to provide an introduction to the study of systematic (or doctrinal or constructive) Christian theology, with the aim of engaging students in biblically-warranted, critical reflection upon Christian beliefs. In addition to theological prolegomena, the doctrines to be treated include revelation, God, creation and humankind. Students will be encouraged to develop the capacity to articulate and evaluate thoughtfully their own understandings of Christian doctrine and to relate their study to the life and ministry of the contemporary church.
Significance for life and ministry
Christian theology represents Ňthe mindŐs journey to GodÓ (Bonaventure) and aspires to fulfill the biblical mandate to love God with Ňall your mind.Ó The course seeks to assist students to think for themselves theologically, while gaining an overview of some of the principal doctrines of the faith. Persons who accept the responsibility to teach the Christian faith to others should be well-grounded in their understanding and application of the basic doctrines which Christians have professed to believe.
To acquaint students with the tasks and challenges of critical, constructive theological reflection in a postmodern North American context (cognitive)—assessed by orientation reading essay, in-basket exercises, and final exam.
To introduce students to some of the content and forms of the first third of Protestant Christian doctrine in Lombardian order (cognitive)—assessed by orientation reading essay and final exam.
To equip students to use their knowledge of Christian doctrine in analyzing concrete problems of pastoral ministry in evangelical churches (instrumental)—assessed by in-basket exercises.
To encourage students to appropriate spiritual insights and resources from their study of Christian doctrine for their own Christian growth and service (affective)—assessed by devotional leadership.
Course sessions will include lectures, class discussions, student-selected issues for dialogue, and small group activities. The class will meet for ten three-hour sessions, Wednesday evenings, 6-9 p.m., September 28-December 7, except November 23.
Theological Orientation Reading: Choose one.
Gonzlez, Justo L., and Zaida Maldonado Perez. An Introduction to Christian Theology. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2002. ISBN-13: 9780687095735. 168 pp. $20.
Grenz, Stanley J. and Roger E. Olson. Who Needs Theology? An Invitation to the Study of God. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996. ISBN-13: 978-0830818785. 150 pp. $16.
Stone, Howard W. and James O. Duke. How to Think Theologically. 2nd ed. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-0800638184. 156 pp. $16.
Wilson, Jonathan R. A Primer for Christian Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2005. ISBN-13:978-0802846563. 143 pp. $14.
Theological Prolegomena and Revelation: Scalise, Charles J. From Scripture to Theology: A Canonical Journey into Hermeneutics. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1996. ISBN-13: 978-0830818730. 150 pp. (Available through Fuller Northwest Office.)
God: Moltmann, Jrgen. The Trinity and the Kingdom: The Doctrine of God. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1994. ISBN-13: 978-0800628253. 276 pp. $23.
Creation: Hayes, Zachary. Gift of Being: A Theology of Creation. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2001. ISBN-13: 978-0814659410. 130 pp. $16.95.
Humanity: McGill, Arthur. Suffering: A Test of Theological Method. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2007. (Originally published 1968.) ISBN-13: 978-1597529457. 130 pp. $17.
Systematic Theology Reading: Choose one and read relevant sections.
Berkhof, Hendrikus. Christian Faith: An Introduction to the Study of the Faith, rev. ed. Trans. Sierd Woudstra. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991 (pp. 1-270 of 600 pp.) ISBN-13: 978-0802805485. $50.
Grenz, Stanley. Theology for the Community of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000 (pp. 1-242, 379-404 of 723pp.) ISBN-13: 978-1579102661. $40.
Migliore, Daniel L. Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2004 (pp. 1-162, 354-369 of 439pp.) ISBN: 978-0802847553. $27.
Stiver, Dan R. Life Together in the Way of Jesus Christ: An Introduction to Christian Theology. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2009 (pp. 1-251 of 500pp.) ISBN-13: 978-1602580619. $39.95.
Tillich, Paul. Systematic Theology, Vol. I. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago, 1973 (entire 307pp.). ISBN-13: 978-0226803371. Or ISBN-13: 978-0226803364. $20.
Recommended Reading and Resources
Optional Extra Credit Reading:
Barth, Karl. Church Dogmatics, I/1, The Doctrine of the Word of God. Trans. T.F. Torrance and Geoffrey Bromiley. New York: T. & T. Clark (Continuum), 2004. ISBN-13: 978-0567050595. Or 2010 study ed. IBSN-13: 978-0567202901.
Fiddes, Paul. Participating in God: A Pastoral Doctrine of the Trinity. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2000. ISBN-13: 978-0664223359.
Grenz, Stanley J. and John R. Franke. Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001.
Gutirrez, Gustavo. A Theology of Liberation. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1971, 1990. ISBN-13: 978-0883445426. Or SCM Press: ISBN-13: 978-0334028536.
Johnson, Elizabeth A. She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse. New York: Crossroad, 1992, 2002. ISBN-13: 978-0824519254.
Krkkinen, Veli-Matti. The Trinity: Global Perspectives. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2007. ISBN-13: 978-0664228903.
Placher, William C. The Triune God: An Essay in Postliberal Theology. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2007. ISBN-13: 978-0664230609.
Powell, Samuel M. Participating in God: Creation and Trinity. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003. ISBN-13: 978-0800636029.
Scalise, Charles J. Hermeneutics as Theological Prolegomena: A Canonical Approach. Macon, GA: Mercer Univ. Press, 1994. ISBN-13: 978-0865544345.
Westphal, Merold. Whose Community? Which Interpretation? Philosophical Hermeneutics for the Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2009. ISBN-13: 978-0801031472.
McKim, Donald. Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1996. ISBN-13: 978-0664255114. 310pp. $30.
See resources on class homepage on Fuller Moodle system.
Assignments and Assessment
Systematic Theology Reading (examined on final exam)
Theological orientation reading essay 10% of final grade
In-basket exercises (nine 3 page essays) 45%
Take-home final exam 30%
Class attendance and participation 10%
Devotional leadership requirement 5%
None. (It is recommended that students take Church History A either prior to or concurrent with
Relationship to Curriculum
Meets M.Div. core requirement for Systematic Theology A (STA); M.A.: Church History/Theology.
(3/11) This ECD is a reliable guide to the course design but is subject to modification. Fall 2011