Exploring Faith: Entry Level Course Offerings

(For Certificate Program Requirements)

Fall 2017 Courses:

Becoming a Theologian of the Cross in Context (CE093E)
John H. Paulson
Online; NOW DELAYED to October 2 to November 26, 2017 (8 weeks)
This course meets the Contextual Ministry requirement for Wartburg’s Certificate Programs.

Course description: This course looks at Martin Luther’s theology of the cross from the standpoint of a theologian engaged in the context of 21st-Century North America and specifically in urban and rural settings. It makes use of Luther’s description of what it means to be a “theologian” of the cross, his teaching about vocation, opportunity for reflection about the cross and the reign of God, and a cross-shaped model for theological reflection. Participants will emerge better prepared to help others become theologians of the cross as well.

ISLAM: Central Beliefs and Contemporary Questions (CE092E)
Gulsum Gurbuz-Kucuksari
This course meets the Contextual Ministry requirement for Wartburg’s Certificate Programs.

Course description: This class aims to develop an advanced understanding of central tenets of Islamic faith. The class is structured to equip students with necessary knowledge on issues of faith, such as the understanding of God and the Prophethood, as well as on the denominational splits, law, and the politicization of Islam from the 19th Century on. A main concern of the classis to allow students to make comparative analysis between Christianity and Islam through the coursework assigned. We will be reading on the images and understanding of Jesus in the Qur’an. This way it also cultivates an awareness towards mutual understanding between Islam and Christianity.

Cost: $200 per person.   (Group discounts are available for congregation or synod-organized groups of 6 or more students, in which case the tuition can be reduced to $150/person for students part of the group.  In this case, the course itself must enroll a minimum of 6 or more students for the course to occur and for the group discount to apply to the individuals identified by the organizing synod or congregation to be part of the group.)

To Register: Log in to MyWTS.
If you do not have a MyWTS account yet, you can request an account using the MyWTS Login Request form. You must provide all of the requested information in order for WTS to set up your account. The verification process is only needed once to create an account. Keep your MyWTS account information handy so you can use it to register for courses in the future. Email the seminary Registrar’s Office if you have questions about registration.

Registration on MyWTS opens six months prior to the start of courses for all Certificate students.

Certificate Program students can also take the TEEM Courses to meet their certificate requirements.

You are invited to take the Exploring Faith: Advanced Level courses or attend other Learning for Life opportunities.


Course Descriptions

CE015 El Pentateuco; Muchas Voces, un Solo Dios
En este curso exploraremos los relatos e historias de los primeros cinco libros de la Biblia Hebrea (Antiguo Testamento) desde una perspectiva luterana, liberacionista, mujerista, hispana y latina. También estudiaremos las voces teológicas que se encuentran en el Pentateuco desde el Génesis hasta Deuteronomio, para así poder interpretar este cuerpo literario tomando en cuenta el trasfondo histórico, económico y social de la audiencia a la que fue dirigida originalmente. Finalmente, una vez interpretados desde las perspectivas arriba mencionadas, utilizaremos algunos textos del Pentateuco para aplicar y entender su mensaje ético, y también su uso para la proclamación evangélica que nos enseña sobre la fidelidad de Dios para con la comunidad de fe de todo tiempo y lugar.

CE 016 The Pentateuch: Many Voices, One God
[Note: This is an English-language version of CE 015.] In this course we will explore the stories of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). We will also study the diverse theological voices that are found in the Pentateuch from Genesis to Deuteronomy. We will interpret this literary body taking into account the historical, economic and social background of the audience to which it was originally directed. Finally, we will use some of the Pentateuch’s texts and apply them to our current context in order to understand their ethical message, and their use for the Church’s proclamation. We will see how these texts teach us about God’s faithfulness to the promises God has made to the community of faith of every time and place.

CE020 These are Written: An Introduction to the New Testament
This survey course will present a brief introduction to the major sections of the New Testament, the Gospels and Acts, the Pauline Epistles, the Catholic Epistles, the Letters of John, Hebrews, and the Revelation. The emphasis will be on exegetical tools that will help students better read scripture in their own faith communities. The class will practice with these tools by going in deep each week on a significant passage from each section.

CE023 The Gospel According to John the Pastor
Three major themes focus this study as the young and fearful Christian community is urged to “stay together in Christ”, “love each other in humility” and “go out with forgiveness.” The alternate translation of John’s purpose “These are written that you may continue to trust that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God….” (John 20:31) is seen as the Gospel’s primary emphasis.

CE030 Paso a Paso: Una Historia de la Iglesia en Español
El curso explorara los tiempos y eventos mas significativos de la historia de la Iglesia desde las primeras comunidades cristianas, los primeros siglos de la era común, la Edad Media, la llegada de la modernidad y hasta nuestro dias. Se enfatizarán  los sucesos relacionados a la Reforma Luterana en la tardía Edad Media y la historia de la Iglesia en Centro y Sur América, el Caribe y las comunidades hispanas en EUA.

CE033 Christian Spiritual Tradition
As Christians we have a rich heritage of foremothers and fathers to whom God has spoken and given divine knowledge and insight. Through reading and pondering their words, God invites us to learn from them and grow ourselves in knowledge and love of God. In this course we will study and discuss a number of these Christian spiritual writers and guides.

CE035 The Struggle for Faithfulness & Flexibility: From the Reformation to the Present
There is a continuing tension in the life and mission of the Church. On the one hand, the church must remain faithful to the unchanging truth of God revealed in and through Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. On the other hand, the Church much proclaim this truth in meaningful and relevant ways in many different cultures and times. This course will look at church history as the story of the Church’s efforts, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to discern how it can be both faithful to the truth and engaged with the world in meaningful and relevant ways. This course begins with the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century and continues to the present.

CE036 Teologia de las Confesiones Luteranas
Lectura de los escritos confesionales de la Iglesia Evangélica Luterana agrupados en el Libro de Concordia. Nuestro propósito será estudiar los temas esenciales del luteranismo. Nuestro estudio será primordialmente de carácter teológico, mientras buscamos interpretar los textos a la luz de las controversias doctrinales y el contexto histórico que les dieron forma. También le daremos atención al significado contemporáneo de estas confesiones de fe.

CE040 Introduction to Theology:  Grace in the Middle of Things
Commonly, theologies open by answering for where they have begun: God, the Trinity, Christ, creation, secular knowledge, the Bible, tradition, or human experience, for example. This course will introduce theology as a practice in media res (in the midst of things, of everyday realities). This might be characterized as something of an incarnational-sacramental-liberation approach that avoids oppositions to worldly experience and allows for the dynamism of Christ meeting us “in, with, and under” creaturely life. Course readings will be thematic selections of ancient and contemporary sources. Assignments will aim to merge theory and practice, emphasizing application for real-life ministry situations that come up in media res.

CE041 Una Apropiación Latino/a del Legado Teológico Luterano
El curso propone la exploración el legado teológico luterano desde una perspectiva latino/a.  Nos acercaremos a Martin Lutero y a dimensiones centrales de su propuesta teológica desde una perspectiva histórica.  Se analizará una selección de varias de sus obras.  También veremos algunos/as de los exponentes latino/as contemporáneos cuya apropiación del legado teológico de Lutero sirve de argumento para la pertinencia de este legado teológico para hoy.

CE043 Global Christologies: The Many Faces of Jesus
Courses in Christology often seek to respond to Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” This course continues to pursue that question, but with a variety of ways in which Jesus is interpreted in different cultural contexts. As we look at the various Christological orientations, we will be mindful of the prophetic ways Jesus has engaged the world. The question of ‘who Jesus is’ goes beyond doctrinal confession, but brings together a lively engagement in our faith and life refreshing Christian discipleship and church practices.

CE045 Herencia Confesional Luterana
Este es un curso de introducción al tema propuesto.  El curso proveerá un trasfondo histórico del surgimiento de los documentos confesionales de la iglesia Luterana en el siglo dieciséis y su pertinencia para nuestros días.  Se hará un estudio especial de La Confesión de Augsburgo y su significado para conferirle identidad al legado confesional luterano.  Se examinarán las figuras de Martín Lutero y Felipe Melanchton como líderes importantes de este legado confesional.  Se estimulará a los/as participantes a valorar este legado confesional tomando en consideración los desafíos del contexto histórico presente.

CE051 Faith & Money: Breaking the Taboo
Mary Elizabeth Hobgood claims that while gender, race, and class are the most significant sources of injustice, income (or class) as the material basis of life is the most profound and significant, since it enters into matters of gender, race, health, and spirituality.   And yet, the church has often neglected to face squarely into the reality of the theological impact of money and how it can become idolatrous or grace-filled. This course will examine the relationship of faith and money and collaboratively strive to find a theological framework for the daily reality of money and how we use it.

CE056 The Gathered – Scattered Church: Releasing God’s People for Ministry in the World
The church at its best is missional; our very nature and purpose are defined by our participation in God’s redemptive mission in and to the world. Yet we have not lived into that call because we have not been able to move beyond an understanding of church as a gathered, corporate entity. While we want to be God’s people at work in the world, our priorities, leadership and planning betray us. We are seemingly unable to talk about ministry in any terms except what we do in or through the congregation. This course will help congregations and their leaders find new meaning, vitality, purpose and even joy by letting go of our preoccupation with the vitality of the institution and re-forming ourselves as communities that prepare, support, encourage, equip and send people into their everyday lives as God’s partners in the care of all creation.

CE065 Introduction to Theologies of Worship
This course examines what we believe we are doing in worship and preaching, paying attention to how what we believe impacts how we engage in worship and preaching. Particularly, we will consider various aspects of the divine-human interaction within worship: is worship for us, for God, or for both? Students will have the opportunity to read several perspectives for how God is involved in worship and preaching, and what the role of the leader and congregation are in these events. Once students have a larger framework for understanding worship, we will examine theologically the task of preaching within the context of worship. At the end of the course, students will be asked to describe their own theologies of worship and preaching, and articulate how these theologies impact the preparation of and their participation in these events.

CE066 Psalms in the Life of the Church
Embedded in our worshiping tradition are psalms such as 51, 70 and 95 worthy of careful study, along with seasonal iconic texts like Psalm 1, 22, 23, 40, 90 and 91. This course explores the psalmic roots of the ancient liturgy. Through theological reflection, students will come to understand the ancient underpinnings of worship and the liturgical calendar.

CE071 Connecting Faith & Daily Life
This course will provide ways to develop the congregation and other faith communities as “confirming communities” using Martin Luther’s Large and Small Catechisms in highly experiential ways. The group will be using a wide variety of methods; the content will be participants’ own lives and the foundations of the faith. Participants will gain skill in leadership in education among all ages.

CE075 Spirituality and Discipleship
This course explores Christian spirituality and discipleship in the midst of daily life. The course begins with a classic in Christian Spirituality: Dietrich BonhoeFer’s Life Together. The course then turns to a range of traditional Christian practices —”hospitality, prayer, household economics, work (vocation), etc —”to explore faith as a way of life. Finally, the course explores insights from ordinary religious people from diverse background to explore how lived faith breaks through in even unexpected places: on walks with the dog, in the car on the way to work, in popular culture, etc. Students in the course will (a) commit to spiritual practice from the Christian tradition and document their learning-in-practice through weekly journaling and (b) learn to discern God’s presence in a range of everyday forms by reflecting on their own life stories, (c) develop ministry skills for cultivating spirituality in daily life among those they serve in ministry.

CE090 Evangelism & Mission
The mission of the Triune God is a persistent theme in the Old and New Testaments. An examination of missions from Biblical, theological, historical, and cultural perspectives in an effort to discern significant components of contemporary missions in a global context.

CE091 Re-Visioning Rural Mission: Leadership in Multi-Point Parishes
This course studies the changing patterns of Small Town and Rural (STaR) ministry and the formation of multi-point parishes. In many regions, STaR congregations cooperating with other congregations in various types of configurations is the norm rather than the exception. The area parish, a configuration of multiple congregations with a staff of pastors is a cutting edge and growing model for STaR mission.  This course addresses the challenges, the art, and the opportunities for ministry in these settings. Development, leadership, administration, and planning aspects of this type of ministry will be explored.

CE094 The Emerging Church
This course introduces the student to the emerging church period (1984 – 2014), its key influences, leaders and ongoing significance. The student is also introduced to late modern culture, which is a central component to the contextualization of the emerging church. Themes of narrative theology, imagination, storytelling and self-awareness are discussed to foster greater understanding of the emerging church’s faith, hope and love. This course is meant not only to inform students about the emerging church but offers a safe place to discuss their own experiences of transformation of mind and heart, which will lead them to more minister faithfully to this generation.