If I were teaching a systematic theology class…

syllabs2This quarter I had the privilege of TAing in a systematic theology class, and it got me thinking of how I would structure such as a class if I were teaching at a seminary. So the other night I planned out a rough sketch of how I would organize systematic theology classes, if I were teaching any of the main three that most seminaries offer. This assumes that I would be teaching at an institution on a 10-week quarter system, and at an institution which was evangelical and Protestant, and open to a broadly reformed approach. In the first two classes I have a number of shorter readings from throughout church history, and one lengthy contemporary book, because I think historical readings are often more helpful for learning theology than contemporary books. In the last class I chose only contemporary books because it seemed like the subject matter made it more appropriate. This is a very rough sketch, and it could probably be filled in with a lot more detail. But it was fun to plan a basic outline.

Systematic Theology I: God and Humanity (Theology and Anthropology)

Lectures:
1) Introduction and Theological Method
2) The Knowledge of God

Assignment: read St. Thomas Aquinas’ 5 ways in Summa Theologica, write one page response

3) The Revelation of God

Assignment: read Anselm’s Proslogion, chapters 1-4, write one page response

4) The Trinity

Assignment: read C.S. Lewis’ “Beyond Personality: Or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity,” in Mere Christianity, write one page response

5) God’s attributes
6) Creation

Assignment: Book Review of Robert Letham’s The Holy Trinity due

7) Providence, including prayer and miracles

Assignment: Read Boethius’ The Consolation of Philosophy, Book 5, write one page response

8) Angels and Demons (Angelology and Demonology)
9) The Doctrine of Humanity (Theological Anthropology)

Assignment: Research Paper due

10) Sin (Hamartiology)

Assignment: read Augustine’s Confessions, Book 8, write one page response

Assignments:
-5 Readings and one page responses (15%, due throughout)
-Book Review of Robert Letham’s The Holy Trinity (3-4 pages, 15%, due week 6)
-Research paper (15 pages, on a topic of student’s choice, 35%, due week 9)
-Final Examination (from lectures, worth 35%)

Systematic Theology II: Christ and Salvation (Christology and Soteriology)

Lectures:
1) Introduction and Christ’s Person (1): Christological Heresies
2) Christ’s Person (2): Chalcedonian Christology

Assignment: Read Chalcedonian Creed, and Mark Noll’s “Doctrine, Politics, and Life in the Word: The Council of Chalcedon,” in Turning Points, write one page response

3) Christ’s virgin birth, incarnation, and earthly life

Assignment: Read Athanasius’ On The Incarnation of the Word, chapters 2-3, write a one page response

4) Christ’s atoning death (1)

Assignment: Read John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, II.16, write one page response

5) Christ’s atoning death (2)
6) Christ’s exaltation (including resurrection, ascension, intercession, and second coming)

Assignment: Book Review of Robert Peterson’s Salvation Accomplished By the Son due

7) The Doctrine of Election

Assignment: Read Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics 2.2., paragraph 33, section 1, “Jesus Christ, Electing and Elected,” write one page response

8) Applied Soteriology (1): Regeneration, Conversion, and Justification
9) Applied Soteriology (2): Union with Christ, Adoption, and Sanctification

Assignment: Research Paper Due

10) Applied Soteriology (3): Perseverance and Glorification

Assignments:
-4 Readings and one page responses (15%, due throughout)
-Book Review of Robert Peterson’s Salvation Accomplished by the Son (3-4 pages, 15%, due week 6)
-Research paper (15 pages, on a topic of student’s choice, 35%, due week 9)
-Final Examination (from lectures, worth 35%)

Systematic Theology III: Spirit, Church, and Last Things (Pneumatology, Ecclesiology, and Eschatology)

Lectures:
1) Introduction, and the Holy Spirit’s Person and Work
2) Spiritual Fruits and Gifts
3) The Nature and Marks of the Church

Assignment: Book review of Sinclair Ferguon’s The Holy Spirit due

4) Church Government and Discipline
5) Sacraments of the Church (1): Baptism
6) Sacraments of the Church (2): The Lord’s Supper

Assignment: Book Review of Understanding Four Views on the Lord’s Supper due

7) The Worship of the Church
8) The Return of Christ

Assignment: Book Review of Four Views of the End Times due

9) The Millennium and Intermediate State

Assignment: Research Paper due

10) Heaven and Hell

Assignments:
-3 Book Reviews (3-4 pages each, 30%, due weeks 3, 6, and 8)
-Research paper (15 pages, on a topic of student’s choice, 35%, due week 9)
-Final Examination (from lectures, worth 35%)

2 Comments

  1. […] offers his outline of how he would structure a course on Systematic […]

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