Saturday, November 13, 2010

Course Scope and Sequence --Draft

Course concept: to build a historically solid and Biblically sound framework for thinking theologically and applying that to the sorts of worldview challenges and sectarian/cultic issues that we are likely to encounter. The Nicene creed is capital for this as it synthesises so much and is so directly Biblical. Level: GX/AX, 3 Cr
U1 Intro:
Our foundation in the gospel [1 Cor 15:1 – 11], thus the historic, C1, apostolic, resurrection anchored, NT faith, in the face of typical current challenges [the tidal waves]; Nicene creed as a historic, biblically based summary thereof that will help organise our thoughts. (NB: Value and validity of the NT Scriptures as authentic, credibly accurate testimony, esp Lk-Ac and the key Pauline Epistles, fulfillment of OT prophecy esp Is 53.) Understand the credibility, historically anchored warrant and authenticity of the C1 gospel-based Christian faith. Analyse the creeds as Biblically based summaries (not imposed distortions). Appreciate the need for a structured grasp of the core Bible teaching.
U2: The Gospel on Mars Hill:  foundations for a Christian worldview,  and for culture- transforming service
The gospel on Mars Hill:  Ac 17, 1 Cor 1 - 2 & 15, with Rom 1 - 2 . . . confronting skeptical worldviews, ways of life, cultures & communities not  grounded in the Creator. Warranted credible truths, comparative difficulties & worldview choice. Atheism, agnosticism, evolutionary materialism, the problems of good and evil, generic theism and Bible-based covenantal theism.  1 Cor 15:1 – 11, historical credibility, minimal facts, prophetic context [esp. Is. 53, 44: 7 - 8, warrant of OT through prophetic power]. Surrender to the Lord of Life & Saviour, discipleship and reformation. Appreciate through Ac 17, the gospel challenge to worldviews contrary to scripture, and how warranted credible truths [WCT’s] help resolve, esp. the resurrection and fulfilled prophecy. Able to recognise, assess and respond to major worldviews and their WCT gaps, opening the way for hearing the gospel, discipleship and reformation.
U3: Our Anchorage in God
God, maker and Lord of all things; idolatry as the chief sin (including modern versions where "images made to look like . . ." sit in museums, in textbooks etc and are used to pull us away from foundation on God; in the name of science or racial solidarity w. Egypt etc). Faith – i.e. repentant trust in and loyalty to God based on his Word -- as our due and proper response to God, on the Heb 11:1 - 6 principle: “faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see. For by it the people of old received God’s commendation. By faith we understand that the worlds were set in order at God’s command, so that the visible has its origin in the invisible . . . . without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Understand the centrality and relevance of “the Most High God, Creator of heaven and earth” [Gen 14:19] to a Biblical, Gospel based worldview. Identify key gaps in and consequences of typical worldviews that substitute another focal loyalty and trust for the Creator. Appreciate that knowledge – warranted, credibly true belief – embeds faith, and that we must decide who or what to trust in a world of doubts, errors, deceits and disputes. Can explain in brief “the reason for the hope we have.” [1 Peter 3:15, Ac 17:22 – 31.]
U4: Man, sin, culture, chaos; need for redemption, reformation and restoration
Ac 17, Gen 1 - 3 and our common root in God as his creatures -- male and female -- made in his image. Family and marriage as key parts of the Creation order for man. The image of God, equality, the neighbour-love principle and moral government. Civil government under God and guarding the civil peace of justice in the face of sin. The covenantal view of our relationship with God, Gen 1 - 10 and the common familial origin of the nations. Genetic support & implications on the sweep of history & prophecy. Rom 1 – 3, Eph 4:17 - 24 & why we need the gospel: the nations have drifted from and often forgotten God, leading to confusion, sinful chaos and en-darkenment.  The gospel as God's loving, restorative good news for the nations, and the church's global commission.  Dynamics of ingratitude and willful ignorance of God. Substitute deceptive images, ideas and ideals, darkening of understanding and benumbing of conscience. Chaos, up to and including sexual chaos. Apostate religiosity & the Jn 8:31 –47 ff challenge: deceived, smug and so deaf to the truth and to correction of error. (Three key tests from Jn 3:17 – 21 etc: (i) truth as being accurate to reality; (ii) truthfulness – one’s yes is yes, & no is no; (iii) one humbly walks in the light with those of the light.) Explains how we (individuals, families and nations) are rooted in God and derive from one family, ultimately from one couple. States the significance of sin and how trusting or rebellious attitude to God shapes lives and cultures for good or ill, based on Rom 1 – 3 etc. Identifies how rebellion against our Creator leads to chaos. Appreciates that a nominally godly culture, church or individual is often in a state of apostasy, and the use of the scriptures as a moral mirror and prophetic call to walking in the light with those who are of the light.
U5: The restorer -- Christ, promised, prophesied and fulfilled.
The eternal Christ -- Heb 1, Jn 1, Col 1, promised in OT, manifested in C1, declared in NT; fulfilled the prophecies, served in love, confronts the powers of darkness, deception, hypocrisy etc and liberates, heals, dies for sins, rises, ascends, commissions. LORD! Dan 7:13 – 14, Isa 45:18 – 23, Phil 2:5 – 11, Col 1:15 – 20, Heb 1:1 – 14, the Shamrock principle of Patrick, complex unity (and the problem of the one and the many), the scriptural basis for the triune view of God, its relevance to the gospel and the Christian life. Starting from Isa 52 – 53, is able to explain the gospel, and to tie the biblical understanding of messiah into the life, passion and resurrection of the Christ. In that context, uses the complex unity view to explain the triune redemptive, monotheistic view of God. Uses the prophetic scriptures and 1 Cor 15:1 – 11, etc. to correct typical errors.
U6: The Gospel & the salvation of the individual
The gospel, and what it is: 1 Cor 15 and the "according to the scriptures"principle in light of Is 52 - 53, Dan 7, etc, and the Hebraic prophetic vision of  end times, the Kingdom of God and the messianic deliverer. Heb 1, the Son of Man/Son of God principle, redemptive sacrifice and the unexpected suffering servant messiah. Eph 2 and receiving the Christ in penitent faith, entering into the transformational scheme: regeneration, justification, sanctification and empowering, discipleship, glorification. The gospel and the culmination of history. Responding and bearing witness to the gospel in light of key exemplars and principles in the Gospels, Acts, Romans, Galatians and other epistles.. The great commission, the gospel, discipleship and witness to the nations.
Explains the historic setting of 1 Cor 15:1 – 11, ties it to the key OT prophecies of Isa 53, points out how one responds to it based on key cases in Acts etc. Uses Eph 2:8 – 10, Titus 2:11 – 14 etc. to highlight justification, sanctification and service, glorification.
U7: Gospel and Spirit
The Spirit -- Tracing the biblical basis for understanding the Spirit as the third person of the triune Godhead who is the Comforter sent to us, leading to the work of the Spirit in our lives, the church and the world. Using Jn 14 – 16 and Acts 1 – 2, 3 & Rom 8 etc, the role of the Spirit in the work of regeneration, sanctification and empowerment for service. The Spirit sent, indwelling, transforming and poured out in power. The Spirit and the Scriptures. The Spirit, the Word and prayer. The Spirit Baptism debate and spiritual gifts debate, a modest proposal for balance. Gifts, ministries, body life and church organisation. Spirit-filled life, witness and service. The church empowered, equipped and mobilised as the body of Christ using diverse manifestations of the Spirit (aka spiritual gifts), the church anointed by the power of the Spirit prophetically confronting the world in witness to Christ , calling to penitence and discipling those who receive Christ. The kairos principle [Ac 17 with Ac 11 & Eph 4] and reformation. The seasons of refreshing principle [Ac 3] and moving from repentance [& rebirth] to renewal, revival & reformation. The fullness the Spirit and the fullness of Christ
Using Jn 14 – 16 and Acts 1 – 2 etc, identifies the role of the Spirit in the work of regeneration and empowerment for service. Explains the kairos principle and seasons of refreshing, thence transformation of life, church and society through the gospel and the poured out Spirit.
U8: Gospel, culture, church and Community
Eph 4:17 – 24 ff: the call to repentance [in light of Ac 17: the resurrection and God’s call to turn from ignorance, error and wrong], discipleship, transformation, blessing. Mission to all nations -- our role as the Caribbean people. Gospel, culture, reformation and transformation of communities in C21. Uses Eph 4:17 ff and Mt 28:18 – 20 to show the relevance of the gospel for discipleship and reformation of church, culture and community. Is able to identify several issues of the day that are relevant to this challenge, and is able to suggest strategies in light of Ac 17 and Eph 4:9 – 24 etc, for addressing them.
U9: The issue of the sins (and blessings) of Christendom
The historic and current sins of Christendom, and the excuse to forget God and rebel. Warning from Deut 8, esp 17 ff. Dealing with hardened cultures and the rhetoric of polarisation against the gospel, the Scriptures and the church through calling to truth, repentance, reconciliation and making amends. The contention between the reprobate and the remnant; Rom 1:18 - 32, 2:1 - 8, God's judgement and consequences for individuals and nations in defiant rebellion. The blessing of Abraham, and God's blessing to the nation that repents and seeks renewal and reformation. Can identify and describe several historic and current sins of Christendom. Uses biblical teachings and historic cases of reformers to suggest ways we may deal with them, and with those who are alienated from the gospel on account of such sins. Identifies typical rhetorical tactics of polarisation, and suggests well-founded corrections. Also, highlights the blessings that have/may come to nations through repentance at the voice of the prophet and  through resulting reformation under the promises and counsel of God.
U10:  Discipleship
What discipleship under the gospel is, based on key NT texts, e.g. Matt 16:13 - 26, 28:18 - 20, Eph 1:17 - 23 & 4:9 - 5:11, 1 Jn 1:5 - 2:6. Ac 2:41 – 47, 2 Tim 2:15 & 3:13 – 17, Titus 2:11 – 14, 2 Peter 1:1 - 11 etc, on the basic disciplines of discipleship and signs of spiritual growth. Heb 6:1 - 2 foundations, the Ac 2 and Titus 2:11 – 14 challenges, the 9-pegged fruit of the Spirit [Gal 5:16 – 26, cf 1 Cor 13:4 – 7, 2 Pet 1:1 - 11], sanctification and transformation through the truth in love, service under Eph 2:8 - 10, stewards of the call and gifts of God, accountable in light of resurrection and eternal judgement [Heb 6:2]
Explains what discipleship is, based on key NT texts. Based on Ac 2:41 – 47, 2 Tim 2:15 & 3:13 – 17, Titus 2:11 – 14, 2 Peter 1:1 - 11 etc, identifies the basic disciplines of discipleship and signs of spiritual growth. shows such disciplines in action through a one-week spiritual journal.
U11: The culmination of all things
Daniel & Mt 24 on The Day of the Lord, Ac 2 & Joel 2 on the day of the promise of the Father. Ac 1:6 – 8 on our proper focus. Three principles of interpretation of Bible prophecy: immediate relevance,  partial fulfillments, ultimate eschatological surprise & culmination. Positive & negative responses to Jesus in the Gospels (and Acts) in light of then current eschatological expectations; lessons for us in our time. Main schools of thought on matters eschatological, key concepts, texts, issues, alternatives; strengths and weaknesses. The significance of the culmination of history through the Second Coming.  Why/how a disciple takes his/her own particular view. Balanced discipleship & stewardship in light of resurrection, judgement and hope.
Discusses the significance of the culmination of history through the Second Coming. Identifies several major schools of thought and lists strengths and weaknesses. Suggests why s/he takes their own particular view. Identifies and explains the point of balance for a disciple.
U12: For such a time as this
The opportunity and challenge to us here, in our day Explains the opportunities and challenges facing the Caribbean church. Proposes some personal steps of response, over a one-year period.