This course is a continued study of the doctrine (most important teachings) of the Christian faith. The student will master the basic sources and methods of theology needed for theological reflection with particular attention to application. Specifically the student will master the doctrines of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, Sin and Salvation, Holy Spirit, Church, Sacraments, Divine Healing, and the Last Things from the perspective of Wesleyan – Arminian theology.
Theology is closely tied to worship and is actually the work of the whole Body of Christ. If our worship is correct our theology will also be correct. In the same way, if our theology is wrong or off course, our worship will be false or mis-directed. The main purpose of Theology for a beginning pastor is to help them guide their congregation into healthy holy lives. In most areas of Asia Pacific the existence of God is not as much a question as What kind of God He is in contrast to other concepts that are common in an area.
(From the Asia Pacific Regional Sourcebook)
CN-5 -6 Ability to identify and explain the main characteristics of the theological foundations of Christianity and how they proceed from Scripture.
CN-11 Ability to describe the events, personalities and theology in the history of the Church of the Nazarene in Asia-Pacific and other indigenous churches.
CN-22 Ability to demonstrate understanding of the sources of theological reflection, its historical development, and its contemporary expressions.
CN-23 Ability to integrate Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience for theological reflection.
CP-19 Ability to teach the position of the Church of the Nazarene on the doctrine of holiness.
CP-28 Ability to synthesize, analyze, reason logically for discernment, assessment, and problem solving, CP-30 Ability to think critically and communicate both gently and clearly the critical rationales of the Christian faith in a postmodern, pluralistic and multi-faith world.
CH-9 Ability to express humility and interdependence in all of one’s personal relationships.
CH-10 Ability to grow spiritually in their understanding of the intellectual aspects of their personal faith.
CX-12 Ability to explain and effectively use missiological and trans-cultural principles to retain meaning across contexts.
CX-14 Ability to move from an intellectual understanding to a personal.
ADM-4 Demonstrate how to teach and equip the members of the congregation with the knowledge and tools needed to fulfill the mission of the Church using the resources of all levels and auxiliaries with good stewardship. (Reference church board and reporting procedures)
DIS-3 To use the reading of God’s Word to foster one’s spiritual growth for personal devotions.
DIS-5 The student will demonstrate how to develop questions and make observations of the group that enables the group to more fully understand each other’s spiritual condition and how applying God’s word cares for the growth of the disciples.
DIS-7 The student will lead by example by demonstrating they are being discipled and discipling others as well.
DIS-11 Describe the effects of sin on humanity and the condition of humanity as fallen into sin.
DIS-12 Describe the difference between a “works salvation” and the works that proceed from salvation.
DIS-13 Teach others the Nazarene Articles of Faith. Clearly explain either orally or in writing a Wesleyan-Arminian understanding of the Nazarene Articles of Faith
Discipline Personal and Family
DPF-1 Develop an activity that prioritizes discipling the whole family. The student (if married) will have family devotions, and plan for their family to be involved in ministry activities. The student will develop and demonstrate an effective system for personal spiritual development, holistic personal care and articulate the importance of accountability for these.
MIN-1 Explain the essence of Christian ministry and how the Biblical theology of the stewardship and the Body of Christ applies to ministry activities, how ministry has changed through history.
MIN-2 Formulate a theological rationale for leading a missional church.
PRA-1 The student should have a strong passion for a life of prayer, and willing to devote himself/herself into prayer, and can demonstrate a life of prayer by keeping a prayer journal including a list of lost people God has made them responsible for.
PRE-28 Ability to explain scriptural holiness and other distinctive characteristics from the Wesleyan-Arminian theological perspective.
PRE-39 Compare and contrast the development of Christology (doctrine of Jesus Christ) in the Western and Eastern Church and its impact in 21st century Asia.
Core principles of this curriculum
Prayer is an essential activity for every Christian, pastor, teacher and layperson. We must include prayer as a constant and vital part of our teaching. We must include prayer in the classroom, not just as an introduction to the session, but as an active part of the activities, teamwork, and discussions. We should study prayer historically, explore different types, encourage silence, shouting, and read prayers. Teams should pray together. They should learn how to pray short prayers, and be given assignments that included long hours spent in prayer. The student should interact with God during the class, not just examine Him at a distance.
Students will engage in some of these pastoral activities in each class.
Accountability; Administration; Continuing Education; Counsel – Listen; Dealing Biblically with the Spirit World; Discipline – Personal and Family; Disciple; Evangelize; Fasting, Impact Community; Leadership, Ministry; Personal Spiritual Development (Holiness); Preach; Prayer; Ritual; Sabbath; Small groups.
We will engage the student in these pastoral activities while in the classroom and use those activities as bridge points or opportunities to learn content. For example, the theology of preaching is discussed as the student preaches. Communication theory is taught while evaluating the student’s sermon. Sociology and learner focus pedagogy are discussed while the student is developing lesson plans. Major projects are typically outside the classroom environment and done in teams.
The role of the pastor strongly influences activities needed in the classroom. In Ephesians Paul lays out five different types of ministers; apostles, evangelists, prophets, shepherds and teachers. Each of these has a different set of activities, types of ministries and a bit different focus but the main point of each of their ministry is the SAME; equipping of the Body of Christ for the work of ministry.
We aim to equip the pastor to teach and train others for ministry! THEIR work of service. The teacher needs to see the students demonstrate that ability – often – during their classes. We need to build the expectation into the students that equipping is their role, and help them gain the confidence to equip others.
We want a student to consider the ordinary problems that believers face as they minister to their family, co-workers and community. This is why there are four engagements in every class. People in a local church should be able to apply what the student is learning.
We want our students to engage in four ways in every single class. The form this takes will vary greatly from class to class, but some form of all these four must be included in every class.
1) With themselves
2) With other students
3) With a worshipping community
4) With the larger non-Christian community.
Lets look at these more closely.
With themselves. The student needs to grow in, character, understanding, confidence, and skill. Each class should help the student see clear evidence of their own growth as they fulfill the outcomes for that class. This will show them that their understanding is growing, their skill level is growing, and give them confidence in their continued ministry.
With other students. Learning to function in teams and to lead teams is a crucial skill for pastors. Teams will normally be cohorts structured so that the leadership constantly rotates. Often a team will be a cohort but not always. In fact at times it will be helpful to put the students in new groups to help them understand the dynamics of changing personnel. Leadership skills, teamwork skills, issues of hard work, integrity, timelines, trust, roles (and others) will be dealt with over and over within each of the classes. This way, a student’s faults and shortcomings will be constantly addressed. They will have many opportunities to improve on weaknesses and to identify and build strengths. By practicing these skills in every class and having some form of feedback on their progress, students will have the opportunity to grow well in areas of teamwork and leadership. It is important that every teacher briefly remind students why they are being formed into teams and what they are expected to learn from the team process.
With a worshipping community. The student must be a part of a worshiping Christian community to properly develop as a pastor. Projects assigned in the class must be accomplished within a local church / congregation / church plant. This means that the students will need to work with their pastor to have steady opportunities to minister in their local congregation. If the student is a pastor they can work with their local church board. At times the student themselves must develop a ministry, outreach or opportunity with the encouragement and support of their local congregation. Members of the congregation should be aware of the student’s study and be willing to encourage and help the student progress and develop. The student will develop the crucial skill of engaging others in ministry and working within a congregational structure to develop ministries. This skill will be important for the long term success of their ministry. They will need to develop healthy attitudes toward criticism and input. They will need to learn to look past the emotional content of criticism and find ways to improve themselves. They will also need to learn how to deal with destructive people who may try to manipulate, embarrass, or demean them in the presence of others. It is impossible to encounter the wide possible range of attitudes in one or two times of ministry with a congregation. It is crucial that a student is engaging with the congregation in every class so that they deal with a wide range of both opportunities and obstacles.
With the larger non-Christian community. Community engagement is a crucial skill for pastors. The ability to meet people in poverty and distress, business people, community leaders, government officials, wealthy individuals and people without a title but with strong influence in the community, sick and prisoners and other ordinary individuals will enable the pastor to preach the gospel to the whole community. Each class will have some project for the student in the community. They will engage people from different social and economic backgrounds. This builds the student’s confidence as they move into new ministry settings and begin to understand how the whole community functions. They will begin to understand how influential people in a community can help make (or oppose) good changes. They will also begin to develop the skills of community assessment and development.
Cohort and Mentor
Cohort. Students will be formed into small groups of 3 or 4 to study together both in class and if possible outside of class. We call this type of group a cohort. If possible the student will stay with their cohort for the whole time they are in the Course of Study. In some cases they will be assigned a new cohort each time they attend a class.
This cohort will function in several ways.
- As a study group. Students will meet before class and make sure that each of them has been able to complete the pre-class assignments.
- As an accountability group. Students will pray for each other and function as a spiritual growth and accountability group.
- As a classroom team. When teams are formed in the classroom, the cohort will be the primary team structure. At times, the teachers will want to mix members of teams so that other perspectives and personal interactions can be experienced.
- As a discussion group. One of the keys to a quality education is the ability to ask questions and discuss issues and ideas with other people. This cohort will give a natural group where these discussions can take place.
- As a coaching / mentoring group for active ministry. Each of the students will be engaged in active ministry as they take classes. Getting feedback, coaching and mentoring is a key to growing in leadership, grace, and personal confidence. Some mentoring or coaching needs to come from long-term pastors who can give guidance, but some needs to come from peers who are walking a similar journey and can often more easily identify with the problems and needs.
Coach / Mentor. Each student should have an assigned mentor / coach who will meet with them as they journey through the Course of Study. This person will help them connect to ministry in their local area. If the student is a member of the Church of the Nazarene, the mentor will guide them through the Nazarene steps toward ordination and provide feedback, coaching and guidance as they progress in ministry. This person should be an Ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. For a non-Nazarene who might be taking our Course of Study, this should be an Ordained elder from their own group.
It will be part of the enrollment process to make sure the cohorts and coach / mentors are identified. There should be a mechanism at each educational provider to make sure that these structures stay in place and continue to function. A person from the school should be checking on the mentor / coaches and making sure that meetings with the students are happening at least once every three months. Cohorts that have a change in members should be reformed with new members at the next class session.
Students will bring a Bible to class.
- 5% Students will read the following and turn in a journal record of their reading that shows when and how much they read at a time. Luke (Whole); Romans 1-8; 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Corinthians 4-5; Colossians 1-2. (DIS-3, DPF-1)
- 10% Small Group Reporting – At the close of each lesson, small groups will talk about questions on the day’s topic. Students will rotate reporting to the class what their group discussed. (DIS-5, DIS-7)
- 15% Small Group Presentation – Present the teachings and applications of the following Scriptures: The “I am” statements of Christ; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 2:5-11
- 10% Journal the Course – The student will keep a journal (diary) during the entire course with personal reflections on what has been taught in class, what has been read, discussions in class, and their prayer for the unsaved. (PRA-1)
- 20% Session Content Evaluation – The teacher will compose an assessment for each section. It will be given at the beginning of each session and will cover the material presented during the previous session. Here is a list of possible topics:
- The person and deity of Christ
- The saving work of Christ (i.e. atonement, the cross, etc.)
- The deity and work of the Holy Spirit
- The church
- The second coming of Jesus
- 10% Glossary of Theological Terms and Concepts – Create a glossary of theological words and phrases that are taught in each lecture and the required readings during the whole course. The glossary should be in the student’s local language.
- 5% Teaching – Teach a group of children or youth the Articles of Faith using the Study Maps. The student must ask another church worker to use the evaluation tool on his/her lesson. (Note to Teacher: The teacher must create an evaluation tool based in the Study Maps.) (ADM-4, DIS-13)
- 8% Community / Church Engagement – Create a sermon on the Second Coming of Christ and preach it in a local church. Use the evaluation tool with the congregation after the sermon. (Note to Teacher: the teacher must create the evaluation tool for this.) (PRE-28)
- 7% Choose 1 of the following,
- Tell the story of a local church that made a positive impact in their local community.
- Identify a need in a community and find a way to address by partnering with a local church.
- 10% Final Essay – Describe the Nazarene beliefs about speaking in tongues and answer common objections. (Note to teacher: this exercise can be done orally or written as a paper).
course author: Gregory Crofford, Ph.D.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotations are from the New International Version (Zondervan, 1984) of the holy Bible.
Slight editing for context by Wm David Phillips. The original course is found in the Nazarene Theological Institute, Africa Region
The following texts or internet resources were consulted in the preparation of this course. Books with an (*) are written at a more basic level, and are recommended for purchase by the library in the country where you serve. For sake of brevity, internet sources consulted do not appear in this list, but are included in the body of the course.
The Manual of the Church of the Nazarene – current
Bosch, David J. Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in the Theology of Mission. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1991.
Bridge, Donald, and Phypers, David. The Water that Divides: A survey of the doctrine of baptism. Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor, 1998.
Bruce, F.F. The Hard Sayings of Jesus. Downer’s Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1983.
Burpo, Todd (with Lynn Vincent). Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2010.
Catechism of the Catholic Church – http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/
Chanda, Chanshi. Christlike Justice and the Holiness Tradition. Lenexa, Kansas: Prairie Star Publications, 2010.
Collins, Kenneth J. The Theology of John Wesley: Holy Love and the Shape of Grace. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 2007.
_______________. John Wesley: A Theological Journey. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 2003.
Crofford, James Gregory. Streams of Mercy: Prevenient Grace in the Theology of John and Charles Wesley. Lexington, KY: Emeth Press, 2010.
____________________. “Justification in John Calvin and John Wesley: A Comparative Study.” M.A. dissertation, University of Manchester (England), 2005.
Dunning, H. Ray. Grace, Faith & Holiness. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1988.
______________, ed. The Second Coming: A Wesleyan Approach to the Doctrine of Last Things. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1995.
Fudge, Edward William. The Fire that Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment. Third Edition. Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2011.
*Greathouse, William M. Love Made Perfect: Foundations for the Holy Life. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1997.
Green, Michael. Baptism: Its Purpose, Practice and Power. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1987.
Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Present Day. Peabody, Massachusetts: Peabody/Henderson, 2008.
Grider, J. Kenneth. A Wesleyan-Holiness Theology. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1994.
Heitzenrater, Richard P. Wesley and the People Called Methodists. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 1995.
___________________. The Elusive Mr. Wesley. 2nd ed. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 2003.
Ingersol, Stan. Nazarene Roots: Pastors, Prophets, Revivalists and Reformers. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 2009.
Ladd, George Eldon. A Theology of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1974.
Leclerc, Diane. Discovering Christian Holiness: The Heart of Wesleyan-Holiness Theology. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 2010.
Lodahl, Michael. The Story of God: Wesleyan Theology and Biblical Narrative. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1994.
*Oord, Thomas J., and Lodahl, Michael. Relational Holiness: Responding to the Call of Love. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 2005.
Orjala, Paul R. God’s Mission is My Mission. Kansas City, Missouri: Nazarene Publishing House, 1985.
Powell, Samuel M. Discovering Our Christian Faith: An Introduction to Theology. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 2008.
*Purkiser, W.T., ed. Exploring our Christian Faith. Revised edition. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1960, 1978.
_______________. The Gifts of the Spirit. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1975.
Ridderbos, Hermann. The Epistle of Paul to the Churches of Galatia. In The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1953, 1984.
*Staples, Rob. Outward Sign and Inward Grace: The Place of Sacraments in Wesleyan Spirituality. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1991.
Stinton, Diane B. Jesus of Africa: Voices of Contemporary African Christology. Nairobi, Kenya: Pauline Publications, 2004.
Taylor, Richard S., ed. Beacon Dictionary of Theology. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1983.
Wiley, H. Orton, and Culbertson, Paul T. Introduction to Christian Theology. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1946. (Available on www.WHDL.org)
Wright, Nigel. The Satan Syndrome: Putting the Power of Darkness in its Place. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan/Academie Books, 1990.
_______, N.T. Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. New York: Harper One, 2008.
Wynkoop, Mildred Bangs. A Theology of Love: The Dynamic of Wesleyanism. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1972.
Lesson 1 – The problem: humanity’s rebellion against God (DIS-11)
- Original sin: rebellion in the garden
- What is an “act of sin”?
- Sin in relation to the community
- Punishment and forgiveness
Lesson 2 – The solution: Jesus Christ and God’s plan of salvation
Part 1 – Christology: The person and work of Christ (PRE-39)
- Jesus as the “God-man”
- African images of Jesus: life-giver, mediator, loved one, and leader
- Prophet, priest, and king
- Models of the atonement: penal satisfaction, moral influence, Christus Victor
Part 2 – Soteriology: God’s transforming grace (DIS-12)
- prevenient grace
- repentance and faith
- justification, regeneration, adoption, redemption, reconciliation and initial sanctification
- sanctification: progressive (growth in grace) and entire
- mutual accountability and the life of holiness
Lesson 3 – The kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit and the church (MIN-1, MIN-2)
Part 1 – The kingdom of God
- What is the “kingdom of God”?
- Should a follower of Christ be involved in government?
Part 2 – Pneumatology: the doctrine of the Holy Spirit
- Who is the Holy Spirit?
- The fruit and the gifts of the Spirit
Part 3 – The church: advancing God’s kingdom in the power of the Spirit
- What is the church? How is the church related to the kingdom of God?
- Preaching the Bible
- Sacraments: The meaning of baptism and Eucharist (the Lord’s Supper)
- The priesthood of all believers: men and women together in ministry
- Holistic ministry: the church meeting the needs of the whole person
- Missio Dei: The missionary nature of the church
Part 4 – Special issues in ministry
- Confronting the darkness: spiritual warfare and deliverance
- Divine healing
- The prosperity message
- Financial integrity
- Overcoming addictions
- Christian view of sexuality (homosexuality)
Lesson 4 – Eschatology: the triumph of God’s kingdom
Part 1 – second coming and resurrection
- Premillenial, postmillenial and amillenial views
- The danger of some types of “prophecy”
- Resurrection and the goodness of the human body
Part 2 – judgment, punishment and reward
- Hell: unending, conscious torment, or final destruction?
- Heaven: living in the new creation