The Certificate in Theological Studies (C.T.S.) fosters development of theological understanding as part of educational, professional, and spiritual growth. This four-course certificate program provides a balanced exposure to the disciplines of church history, biblical studies, and systematic theology. It is ideal for those looking to enrich personal or professional development through theological education.
Transfer of Credits
Credits can be transferred to MATS or MDiv programs if students want additional study or become interested in ordained ministry. The transfer of credit is dependent upon successful admissions into a degree program.
Students choose four (4) courses (3 credits each/12 credits total) from church history, biblical studies, and systematic theology. Depending on the semester, students choose four (4) courses from the following eight (8) courses:
CHRISTIANITY FROM JEWISH SECT TO COLONIAL CHURCHES This course is an introduction to the history of Christianity and historical theology from the second to the seventeenth centuries. During this time, Christianity developed the main features of what is today the world's largest religion. Along the way, Christianity was transformed again and again as it adapted to vastly different, changing cultural and social environments. This course is about Christianity in the real world. You will learn how to study the origins and development of beliefs and practices, but you will also study much more. The course will introduce you to the continuities and varieties of Christian experience and belief in different times and places, from the Roman Empire to Persia, China, Africa, Europe, and Latin America, and you will be introduced to the complexity of Christianity's social, cultural, and political entanglements in all these places. The course will help you learn to break down real life situations and understand the fine points at which religious innovation and change occur, even when people try to resist change or return to the past. Audio files of weekly lectures, illustrated with slides, and videos are provided for each week. Readings from primary sources in translation are indicated on the course schedule. The readings will illustrate history, but more importantly, they will give you the opportunity to develop basic skills in assessing and evaluating the belief and behavior of religious communities in the real world. Weekly exercises will ask you to apply analytical skills, draw conclusions, and communicate them to your peers. You will be introduced to the history of the interpretation of the bible on the example of commentaries on the first day of creation in Genesis 1. You will learn about the historical entanglement of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. You will read and study several theological and mystical classics. You will be exposed to the politics, ideas, and actions that gave rise to Protestantism and the intimate relationship of Protestant and Catholic reforms. You will discover the birth of the tension between theology and natural science. Finally, you will be encouraged to apply the critical skills and aptitudes you are developing in your study of the past to situations of religious life, leadership, and service today.
CHRISTIANITY FROM COLONIAL CHURCHES TO GLOBAL RELIGION This course is an introduction to the history of Christianity from the Sixteenth century to the present. During this time, Christianity became the largest religion in the world. Along the way, it was transformed again and again as it adapted to vastly different, changing cultural, social, and political environments. Topics will include the roles of Christian churches in European colonialism, the impact of expanding cultural networks across the globe on religious knowledge, cultural hybridization; Christianity and the rise of nation-states; the conflict of religion and science; the role of Christianity in slavery and in anti-slavery, suffrage, fascist, and labor movements; the rise and fall of American denominations; and the competition of orthodox and pluralistic theologies. Lectures, readings in primary sources, discussions. Midterm and final examinations (term papers may be substituted).
This course is an examination of Paul's life, letters, and theology, as well as of the deutero-Pauline letters and theology. Debated today, e.g., are Paul's relationship to Jesus, more broadly his relationship to contemporary Judaism(s), whether justification by faith is the center of his theology, his attitude to women's leadership in the congregations, what Paul meant by advising slaves to remain in their "call," his relationship to Roman imperialism, and how the deutero-Pauline epistles (re)interpret Paul's theology and ecclesiology. This introduction to Pauline letters will also include practicing exegesis, as well as increasing awareness of Judeo/Greco/Roman culture, religion, and society, e.g., of the houses in which Pauline congregations lived and worshipped. The course is partly taught as a "flipped classroom", Flipped classroom is a form of blended learning in which students learn content online by watching video lectures, and in tutorials is done with teachers and students discussing questions. Evaluation, Final examination, book review MDiv, MA/MTS.
This course is a general introduction to the canonical and apocryphal Gospels and Acts in early Christian literature. Major methodological issues in contemporary Gospel scholarship will be introduced first. Then, each text of the Gospels and Acts will be interpreted in terms of its literary characteristics, socio-historical background and theological ideas. Contemporary issues of reading the gospels in the 21st century postmodern global world will also be discussed.
This course offers a critical introduction to the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible wherein students will learn about the various contexts in which the literature, histories and ideologies of Scripture evolved. The processes from origina, oral transmission of prose and poetry to the formation of canonical books will be investigated. Different streams of tradition (theologies) within the text will be interrogated. Students will be challenged to read aspects of the Hebrew Bible through a variety of hermeneutical lenses.
The first semester of a two-semester introduction to Christian theology. Beginning with the meaning of religious faith, we move into the method question of the relation between divine revelation and the authority of scripture, human reason and experience. From there, we investigate the meaning of God using ancient and contemporary Trinitarian theology, Reformed theologian John Calvin, feminist theologian Elizabeth Johnson, and Latin American theologian Gustavo Gutierrez. We conclude with differing understandings of creation, and God's relationship to human suffering. Three exams (with option of substituting papers for exams). This course is the prerequisite for ST 1085, Systematic Theology II. Auditors with Faculty permission.
This course is the second semester of a two-semester introduction to Christian theology. The purpose is to help the student gain a basic knowledge of the principal topics of the theology of the universal Church, especially as these topics are understood in the Reformed tradition and in conversation with feminist and other contemporary theologies. Beginning with the doctrine of humanity, we look at our original goodness and our fall into relational forms of sin as pride, despair and denial. Next, we look at the person and work of Jesus Christ, from a variety of perspectives. We look deeply at the meaning of our being "saved by grace through faith alone," and the roles of the divine Spirit and human spirit in bringing about our healing. We conclude with the nature of the Christian spiritual life, including sanctification and vocation, the Church and its mission in the world and sacraments.
Through the School of Continuing Studies (SCS) the GST will provide a non-credit bearing version of the program for students with limited budgets. Courses will be $425/credit or $1,275 per course.