Course Descriptions and Suggested Text
I. Basic Theological Studies
A. Biblical Studies
BS 1 Old Testament I - The study of the Old Testament based on modern biblical criticism of texts representative of the Pentateuch and Former Prophets with attention to historical, literary, and theological problems, and to exegetical method. The primary purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the content of these biblical writings and to develop their competence in the critical analysis and interpretation of the texts. Three term hours.
Texts: A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament: 2nd Edition by Walter Brueggemann (Author), Bruce C. Birch (Author), Terence E. Fretheim (Author), David L. Petersen (Author), Publisher: Abingdon Press; 2 edition (September 1, 2005)
BS 2 Old Testament II - The study of the Old Testament with texts and issues representative of the Latter Prophets and Writings with attention to historical, literary, and theological problems, and to exegetical method. The primary purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the content of these biblical writings and to develop their competence in the critical analysis and interpretation of the texts. Three term hours.
Texts: The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures 4th Edition by Michael D. Coogan (Author), Cynthia R. Chapman (Author), Oxford University Press; 4 edition (July 3, 2017)
BS 3 New Testament I - A historical and theological introduction to the New Testament with texts and issues representative of the Gospels and Acts with attention to historical, literary, and theological problems, and to exegetical method. The primary purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the content of these biblical writings and to develop their competence in the critical analysis and interpretation of the texts. Three term hours.
BS 4 New Testament II - A historical and literary introduction to the New Testament with texts and issues represented in the Epistles and Revelation with attention to historical, literary, and theological problems, and to exegetical method. The primary purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the content of these biblical writings and to develop their competence in the critical analysis and interpretation of the texts. Three term hours.
BS 5 Introduction to Hebrew – Introduction to the syntax and pronunciation of Hebrew to allow students a functional grasp of identifying and reading Hebraic translations of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament. Three term hours.
Texts: Introduction to Hebrew: A Guide for Learning and Using Biblical Hebrew by William Fullilove (Author), P & R Publishing (April 28, 2017), The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon: With an Appendix Containing the Biblical Aramaic : Coded With the Numbering System from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible by Francis Brown (Author), S. R. Driver (Author), Charles A. Briggs (Author) Hendrickson Pub; Reprint edition (June 1, 1996)
BS 6 Introduction to Greek - Introduction to the syntax and pronunciation of Hebrew to allow students a functional grasp of identifying and reading Greek translations of the Bible, particularly the New Testament. Three term hours.
Texts: Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Coded with Strong's Concordance Numbers by Joseph Thayer (Author), James Strong (Author); Basics of Biblical Greek Workbook – Special Edition, by William D. Mounce, Zondervan; Workbook edition (November 28, 2009)
B. Christian Historical Studies
CH 1 History of Christianity I - The life and thought of the Christian church from the apostolic period to the Reformation. The course will focus on the persons, issues, and events that have shaped the central tradition of the church from the apostolic period to the Reformation. Three term hours.
Texts: The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1 (2010), Gonzalez, Justo
CH 2 History of Christianity II - The life and thought of the Christian church from the Reformation to the present year. The course will focus on the persons, issues, and events that engage the Christian church from the Reformation to the present. Three term hours.
Texts: The Story of Christianity, Vol. 2Gonzalez, Justo, (2010)
CH 7 Judeo-Christian Congregational Life – A study of the biblical account of the three primary and ordained gatherings of believers in the Judeo Christian faith: the Tabernacle, the Temple and the Church (with some discussion to Synagogue and its impact on Temple and Church life, polity and theology) Three term hours
Texts: Coogan, Michael D., The Oxford History of the Biblical World (2001), An Introduction to Early Judaism by James C. Vanderkam Eerdmans (November 14, 2000),
CH 8 The Prophets – A specific view of the major and minor prophets, their contribution to the biblical narrative, their basic and distinctive theologies, missions and audiences. This course will address what it meant to be prophetic in the ancient near east juxtaposed to the post-modern iterations of prophetic speak. Three term hours.
Texts: The Prophets by Abraham J. Heschel (Author), Harper Perennial Modern Classics, (October 16, 2001)
CH 3 Black Church History I – Introduction to the complex beginnings of the African-American experience as a part of the Christian Church to include the Christian influence in ancient African countries through pre Civil Rights Movement in the Americas of the mid-20th century. Three term hours.
Texts: The Black Church in the African American Experience Lincoln, C. Eric and Mamiya, Lawrence H. (1990)
CH 4 Black Church History II – A continuation of studying the complex nature of the African-American experience as a part of the Christian Church from the mid-20th century through the present age. Some attention will be given to ethical challenges that have occurred with the rise of the “prosperity gospel” ideology in the Black Church. Three term hours.
Texts: Black Religion and Black Radicalism: An Interpretation of the Religious History of African Americans Wilmore, Gayraud S., (1998)
CH 5 A.M.E. Church History I - A historical survey of the origin and development of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, including the life of its founder, Richard Allen, and its’ expansion throughout the United States and abroad. Three term hours.
Texts: Freedom’s Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers by Richard S. Newman, NYU Press; (October 1, 2009); History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church: Two Parts, in One Volume (Classic Reprint), Forgotten Books (April 19, 2018) by Daniel A. Payne (Author)
CH 6 A.M.E. Church History II – A historical survey of Methodism beginnings in England and America, and the theological developments in Methodism from 1790 to 1935. The course will also examine Wesleyan theology and ecumenical Methodism today. Includes a study of the mission, organization and structure, theology, and practice of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Three term hours.
CH 7 A.M.E. Polity – The organization and function of decision making and acceptable conduct in the African Methodist Episcopal Church from a historical perspective and in present day practice. Three term hours.
Texts: Doctrine and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (current), African Methodist Episcopal Church Polity by Harold I. Bearden, The Genius and Theory of Methodist Polity by Henry McNeal Turner
C. Contextual Studies
CS 1 Christianity in the Public Square - An introduction to ethical inquiry from a Christian point of view. The course examines selected past and present methods in moral theology, basic concepts and criteria developed in moral philosophy, and selected situations as opportunities for concrete application of Christian moral reflection. Three term hours.
Texts: Black Faith and Public Talk: Critical Essays on James H. Cone's Black Theology and Black Power by Dwight N. Hopkins, Baylor University Press (August 1, 2007)
CS 2 Critical Race Theory in the Bible – How has race impacted religious communities in the Bible and how do they factor in the Church today? With a look at cultures in conflict in the biblical narrative, this course will draw parallels to those challenges to today’s complicated understanding of American race relations that are expressed in the name of God. Three term hours.
Texts: Critical Race Theory (Third Edition): An Introduction (Critical America) 3rd Edition by Richard Delgado (Author), Jean Stefancic (Author), NYU Press; 3 edition (March 7, 2017)
CS 3 Prophetic Preaching in the 21st Century – Students will address what it means to be a prophetic voice in one’s context through the general understanding of biblical prophets, post-modern prophetic voices. These will serve as a background for students to identify and craft sermons regarding areas that require God’s truth to speak to a current problem within a social community, government or within the Church. Three term hours
Texts: The Prophetic Imagination, 2nd Edition by Walter Brueggemann, FORTRESS PRESS (June 1, 2001); Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman, Beacon Press; (November 30, 1996), Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Certain Sound of the Trumpet: Crafting a Sermon of Authority, by Samuel D. Proctor, July 1, 1994
CS 4 Effective Christian Education - An introduction to the church’s educational ministry. Attention is given to biblical/theological, psychological, and philosophical foundations of Christian education; to planning, administering, supervising, and evaluating of a local church program; and to ministry with children, youth, adults, the aging, and singles. Includes the unique characteristics of small membership churches, with particular attention to their context, such as urban or rural. The course includes strategies for ministry with children, youth and adults; methods of recruiting, training, and supporting volunteers; and ways to use outside resources. A seminar examining a wide variety of curriculum resources for children, youth, and adults, and probing the questions, “What is a curriculum?” and “What purposes does a curriculum serve in the ministry and mission of the church?” Each student will write a curriculum resource for the educational ministry children, youth, and adults of a local church. Three term hours.
Texts: A Theology for Christian Education by James R. Estep (Author), Michael Anthony (Author), Greg Allison (Author), B&H Academic (September 15, 2008); What Great Teachers Do Differently: 17 Things That Matter Most 2nd Edition by Todd Whitaker, Routledge; 2 edition (November 3, 2011)
D. Theological Studies
TH 1 Introduction to Christian Theology 1 - The life and thought of the Christian church from the Reformation to the present year. The course will focus on the persons, issues, and events that engage the Christian church from the Reformation to the present. Three term hours.
TH 2 Introduction to Christian Theology 2 - A continuation of the study of the basic doctrines and theologies that have shaped the Christian tradition. The second part of the course will start with the Reformation, Catholic and Protestant, and will conclude with certain nineteenth-century developments. Three term hours.
TH 3 Systematic Theology - The major Christian doctrines from revelation to eschatology, and the methods and insights of systematic theology, aimed at aiding the students in their own understanding of the content of the Christian faith. Includes an examination of the discipline and the construction of working Christian philosophies as it relates to theological studies, with particular attention to relevant religious problems, and the development of the student’s critical skills. Three term hours.
Texts: Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology, 3rd Edition by Daniel L. Migliore (Author), Eerdmans, (August 8, 2014), Black Theology & Black Power, October 31, 1997 by James H. Cone; We Have Been Believers: An African American Systematic Theology by James H. Evans Jr. and Stephen G. Ray Jr. Fortress Press; 2 edition (March 1, 2012)
TH 4 Global Methodism – The study of the intercontinental beginning and blossoming of Methodism, its historical impact and future survival. Three term hours
Texts: American Methodism: A Compact History by Jean Miller Schmidt (Author), Russell E. Richey (Author), Kenneth E. Rowe (Author), Abingdon Press; Reprint edition (October 1, 2012)
TH 5 Black Theology – A study of contemporary North American "black theology," with special attention to both its characteristic features and its development of social ethics. Principal readings include works by James Cone, Deotis Roberts, Major Jones, Cornell West, Katie Cannon, and Jacquelyn Grant. Three term hours.
Texts: God of the Oppressed by James H. Cone, Orbis Books; (November 21, 1997); Black Religion, Black Theology: The Collected Essays of J. Deotis Roberts (African American Religious Thought and Life), Bloomsbury T&T Clark; First. edition (May 22, 2003)
II. Practical Ministry:
PM 1 Hermeneutics – Students will receive a general understanding of a variety of viewpoints from which to view the biblical text based on social, geographical, historical, cultural and theological locations. The core of the course will move students towards understanding their own lens of the Bible and to identify the experiences that have shaped it. Three term hours
Texts: True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary Fortress Press; (June 1, 2007), The Africana Bible: Reading Israel's Scriptures from Africa and the African Diaspora Fortress Press (November 1, 2009); Stony the Road We Trod: African American Biblical Interpretation by Cain Hope Felder Fortress Press; (June 1, 1991)
PM 2 Homiletics - An introduction to preaching, focusing on the preparation of the sermon. Attention is given to the form, content, and style of the sermon; the liturgical and social context in which the sermon is preached; and the person of the preacher. The course surveys the value and various methods of developing programmed or structured preaching and the resources available for such preaching, including lectionary use, and denominational and civic calendars. the delivery of the sermon. Each student will plan a worship service according to the student’s tradition and deliver three sermons during the course. Three term hours.
PM 3 Pastoral Care - An introduction to the theory and practice of ministry to persons relating contemporary psycho-social model of helping, healing, and care to the church’s historical concern for the care of persons. The course includes lectures, pastoral reports, role-play, audio-visual materials, and small group discussion, and offers the student an opportunity to grow both in personal awareness and pastoral competence. Basic principles and skills of pastoral counseling and their applications to pastoral situations including informal, crisis, grief, referral, marriage/family, ethical and spiritual issues. Three term hours.
Texts: The Practice of Pastoral Care, Revised and Expanded Edition: A Postmodern Approach by Carrie Doehring, Westminster John Knox Press; Revised and Expanded edition (January 2, 2015), African American Pastoral Care: Revised Edition by Edward P. Wimberly, Abingdon Press; (September 1, 2008); Cultivating Wholeness: A Guide to Care and Counseling in Faith Communities Kornfeld, Margaret, (2000)
PM 4 Theology and Practice of Worship – From a ministerial perspective, this course will address the intentional implementation of worship experiences, as well as the assumed and often unintended habits that have shaped how organized Christian communities execute and build sacred spaces to interact with God. Three term hours
Texts: We Have This Ministry: The Heart of the Pastor’s Vocation Proctor, Samuel DeWitt and Taylor, Gardner C., (1996), Finding Words For Worship: A Guide For Leaders by Ruth C. Duck, Westminster John Knox Press; 1st edition (November 1, 1995)
PM 5 Organizational Leadership - A study of the nature and function of pastoral leadership in a local church setting. Opportunities will be given for a study of literature in the field of effective local church leadership and for responses to case studies of effective local church pastors at work. Three term hours.
Texts: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't, HarperBusiness; 1st edition (October 16, 2001) by Jim Collins; African American Church Management Handbook by Floyd H. Flake (Author), Elaine McCollins Flake (Author), Edwin C. Reed (Author), Judson Press (December 15, 2005); The Unstuck Church: Equipping Churches to Experience Sustained Health by Tony Morgan, Thomas Nelson Publishing (May 16, 2017)
PM 6 Church Management and Administration - Studies of the importance of effective administration in pastoral ministry with special attention to organization, budgeting, the use of time, the development of management skills, and group process. Three term hours.
Texts: Data Driven Nonprofits by Steve MacLaughlin, Saltire Press (August 3, 2016), Church Finance: The Complete Guide to Managing Ministry Resources by Michael E. Batts (Author), Richard R. Hammar (Author) Christianity Today International; (April 14, 2015), Less Than Tipping: Twenty-five Reasons to Tithe, New Seasons Press (2005) by William D. Watley (Author)
PM7-11 Ministerial Ethics - Ethical reflection on the office of minister, with attention to the nature of the office, the character and action of the minister, and the responsibility of instructional church life upon ministerial morality. An examination of the ways in which society, culture, and personality are influenced by the church and how social structures and trends affect the church. An examination of the church as a social institution and the social structures, trends, and dynamics affecting contemporary life, local communities, and the mission of the church. Three term hours.
Texts: Ministerial Ethics an Etiquette by Nolan Harmon
III. Program Electives
TH 8 The Theology of African Methodism – Understanding the impact and idiosyncrasies of Methodism from the Black perspective, primarily in the African Methodist Episcopal Church but also in its close historical relationship to other Black Methodist movements. Three term hours
Texts: Black Methodism Basic Beliefs by G. Lovelace Champion (Author), H. A. Belin, Jr (1980)
TH 9 Womanist Theology - An exploration of the critique and vision brought to contemporary theology by Black women’s perspectives represented in texts by feminist and womanist theologians, and in women’s fiction and essays. Three term hours.
Texts: Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God Talk by Delores S. Williams, Orbis Books; Anniversary Edition (November 1, 2013); Womanist Theological Ethics: A Reader (Library of Theological Ethics) by Katie Geneva Cannon (Editor), Emilie M. Townes (Editor), Angela D. Sims (Editor), Westminster John Knox Press (October 27, 2011); I Found God in Me: A Womanist Biblical Hermeneutics Reader by Mitzi J. Smith; Cascade Books (February 5, 2015)
CS 5 Applied Technology for Ministry – This course will address the following questions: in the 21st century modalities of communication through technology, how do churches ethically implement impactful delivery of the Christian ministry to its direct community, potentially new partners and the world? What are the best practices that are in use in small to large congregational contexts? Students will design the best structure for the use of technology in their current context or context of choice. Three term hours.
Texts: The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways Second Edition by Meredith Gould (Author); The Connected Church: A Social Media Communication Strategy Guide for Churches, Nonprofits and Individuals in Ministry by Natchi Lazarus CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 7, 2017)
CH 9 Comparative Religious Studies - A study of world religious traditions and the global patterns of contemporary world religious as symbol systems and expressions of discrete, coherent, worldviews. The course examines the global context of the religions, including themes such as racial and gender equality, poverty and socioeconomic justice, the environment, and war and peace. The purpose of the course is to provide the student with the opportunity to examine and survey religions from Eastern traditions, trace the historical development of the religions, and look at the way they continue to influence billions of people today. Three term hours.
Texts: The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions by Karen Armstrong, Anchor; Reprint edition (April 10, 2007)
CH 9 The Genius of Black Preaching – A historical timeline of the great African American preachers, the structure of some of their more notable sermons and the thesis of their major messages in order to ascertain principles that students will use to construct and deliver sermons of their own. Three term hours.
Texts: Preaching with Sacred Fire: An Anthology of African American Preaching from 1790 to the Present by Simmons, Martha and Thomas, Frank, (2010), They Like to Never Quit Praisin' God: The Role of Celebration in Preaching Apr 15, 2013 by Dr. Frank A Thomas; Daughters of Thunder: Black Women Preachers and Their Sermons, 1850-1979, October 10, 1997 by Bettye Collier-Thomas
BS 7 Biblical Criticism – A general overview of the various scholarly tools for biblical exegesis, to be put into practice with well-known and difficult texts. Three term hours.
Texts: Handbook of Biblical Criticism, Fourth Edition by Richard N. Soulen (Author), R. Kendall Soulen (Author), Westminster John Knox Press; 4th ed. edition (November 23, 2011); Elements of Biblical Exegesis: A Basic Guide for Students and Ministers by Michael J. Gorman, Baker Academic; Revised, Expanded edition (September 1, 2010)
BS 8 Advanced Greek – A continuation of the introductory class that will include writing and speaking Greek, for the primary purpose of being able to interpret biblical documents written in the Greek translation. Three term hours
Texts: Going Deeper with New Testament Greek: An Intermediate Study of the Grammar and Syntax of the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger (Author), Benjamin L Merkle (Author), Robert L. Plummer, B&H Academic (June 1, 2016)
BS 9 Advanced Hebrew – A continuation of the introductory class that will include writing and speaking Hebrew, for the primary purpose of being able to interpret biblical documents written in the Hebrew and Aramaic translations. Three term hours.
Texts: Introduction to Hebrew: A Guide for Learning and Using Biblical Hebrew by William Fullilove, P & R Publishing (April 28, 2017)
IV. Capstone Courses (6 Hours)
Middler Project – Students will identify an issue in the Church or the community and develop a thesis to address it using historical experiences that mirror the issue, their own experience with the issue, biblical principles that address the issue and established theological viewpoints that support the students thesis. Three term hours
Texts: The Dissertation Journey: A Practical and Comprehensive Guide to Planning, Writing, and Defending Your Dissertation Second Edition by Carol M. Roberts Corwin; (August 23, 2010)
Senior Project: Students will develop their Middler Project thesis into a tangible, actionable project that is the culmination of the answers they derived from their thesis. This project must include a full write up on the materials, resources, timeline and personnel needed for initiating their project. The project objectives must be quantitively or qualitatively measurable based on the students approach to implementation. Three term hours.
Texts: Research texts, thesis and topics will be determined by the students with advice and approval from faculty mentors.