Interpreting the Bible (HE501, HE801)
How does God communicate through the Bible?
How do we apply the Bible today?
What does this passage mean?
How should I approach the Bible?
These are common questions for anyone who reads God’s Word. This unit helps to answer these questions and provides a foundation for all biblical study. It equips students to analyse and interpret the Bible responsibly and creatively by bridging the gap between the world of the Bible and our modern world.
In this unit, we look at different approaches to Scripture, the background of Scripture, how we as interpreters are involved in the process of constructing meaning, and how we can effectively apply the message of an ancient book to our world and lives today.
This unit lies at the heart of all biblical and systematic theological studies. Thus, it integrates with all New Testament, Old Testament and Systematic theological subjects.
Introduction to New Testament A – Gospels & Acts (NT501,NT801)
This New Testament unit is exciting because it provides an opportunity to seriously engage with the biblical text. Students will gain an insight into the background, purpose and overall message of the Gospels and Acts, introducing us to the person of Jesus, the kingdom of God and the mission of the church.
This is a core unit. For any person involved in ministry it is important to know the Bible and its overall message well. But this cannot be done unless we understand the story of Jesus, both in the light of the meta-narrative of Scripture and in the historical context out of which the story unfolds. Students will discover that this narrative is not only objective, but also intersects their personal lives, as the reality of a risen Saviour calls them to be participants in the continuation of a story that brings life and hope. Not only will students grow in confidence by coming to grips with God’s bigger picture, but this unit will also provide an open door for further in-depth studies.
Introduction to New Testament B – Letters (NT502,NT802)
Introduction to New Testament B (Letters) is an exciting unit because it provides an opportunity for students to seriously engage with the biblical text. Students will gain insight into the background, purpose, structure and themes of the New Testament letters, and understand various methodologies of studying these books.
For any person involved in Christian ministry, it is important to know the New Testament well because it is based on the authority of the Scriptures. This unit will have a life-changing impact on the students. They will be exposed to the teaching of Paul and other Apostles within the story of the Gospel reaching various parts of the world in the context of internal church problems and external persecutions.
An overview of the New Testament letters also opens the door for further in-depth study. Students will grow in their faith and understanding as they are exposed to topics that stir their interest for additional research.
Introduction to Old Testament A – Narrative (OT501, OT801)
Although most of the Old Testament is written as a narrative, it is seldom read as such. The purpose of this unit is, therefore, to examine how Genesis to Nehemiah should be read as a narrative.
We will start off by looking at what narrative is, how it functions and how it should be read. With this as a basis, we will be looking at the meta-narrative (‘big picture’ narrative) of the Old Testament and subsequently consider the building blocks that make up the narrative.
With the author as our guide, we will enter the world of the narrative. Through the author’s eyes, we will meet different characters and experience another world. We will also look at the interaction between the characters and, in the process, learn to know the main character better – who He is and what He is like. Furthermore, we will also inquire how the author, through His narratives, draws His audience into His story-world and changes their worldview.
Having engaged with the characters in the story and experienced another world, we will hopefully leave the narrative-world with a different perspective on the characters of the narrative, especially the main character, ourselves and the world we live in. The hope is that the narrative would have fulfilled its purpose in changing our worldview.
Introduction to Old Testament B – Poets and Prophets (OT502, OT802)
In OT502, we look at the story of God’s people. In this unit, we will be looking at life in God’s presence. What does it mean to live as God’s people in every aspect of our lives?
Ancient Israel expressed her life before God predominantly in the form of poetry. In the prophetic literature, we hear God’s admonishing and comforting voice. In the Psalms, we hear the voice of God’s people in their heartache, suffering, pain, hope, joy, worship and celebration. In the wisdom literature, the sages of old give direction as to how God’s people should live wisely in this world.
Studying these books of the Bible gives us, as God’s people, the opportunity to hear his voice anew. It also gives us a voice to express ourselves in all our needs and joys.
Introduction to Theology (TH501, TH801)
Introduction to Theology provides the student with the big picture of God’s involvement with humanity and the world and an opportunity to carefully consider their faith’s foundation. We will consider important questions such as:
• What is truth, and how can we understand and know God?
• Who is God, and how are we designed in his image?
• What is the effect of sin on God’s design for creation?
• Who was Jesus, and how do his life and work affect us today?
• Who is the Holy Spirit, and how is he involved with us now?
• What is the church’s charter in the world today, and what is our unique role within it?
• How will this world end, and what lies beyond?
This subject takes a person’s Biblical knowledge which is often compartmentalised and places it in a broad theological framework. This allows students to think more clearly and wider on all sorts of issues that present in ministry and everyday life.
The subject doesn’t only detail and describe the foundations of the Christian faith but places the major theological themes of the Bible into the living drama of a gracious covenantal God. This provides the student with a more precise perspective of God’s involvement with them in everyday life.
Chaplaincy Processes (CP602, CP702)
Chaplaincy is a unique profession, ministering to the deep spiritual needs of others. This unit offers prospective and current practitioners the opportunity to develop an informed praxis for chaplaincy in a variety of settings. There is a dynamic interrelation between theology and praxis that links biblical truths with spiritual care. A rich theological understanding of God’s salvific intervention in the world informs the process of chaplaincy and the unique role of the chaplain.
This unit will be a journey of discovery in understanding how chaplains minister in this current place in the history of God’s salvation and redemption, and how to assist others to know spiritual wholeness in the midst of distress, disease and the end of life phase. An integrated model with a foundational understanding of people as spiritual and emotional beings, and bearers of the image of God, will inform and empower the processes of chaplaincy.
The unit will therefore reflect on the unique role of the chaplain, pastoral care as an active ministry, and how one may deliver the hope, love and vision of Christ to others.
Christian Discipleship (PM504, PM804)
Christ calls the believer to follow Him, and to live a life of faith and obedience whilst we remain in the midst of a broken reality. We are called to participate in the Kingdom of God through the power of the Holy Spirit to become more Christlike as we seek to glorify our Heavenly Father. All who decide to follow Christ commence the journey of Christian discipleship, which challenges and transforms the entire manner in which we live.
The Scripture provides specific direction to train, exhort and to teach others to grow in deeper wisdom and maturity, bearing fruit in keeping with repentance, both individually and corporately. In a society seeking instant gratification there remains an urgent need to consider Christian Discipleship. As we engage and identify with sinful, fallen, broken humanity we need the deep wisdom and understanding gleaned through authentic discipleship. This course will establish a comprehensive trinitarian theology for Christian discipleship, explore historical precedence and engage in the transformational journey that will shape and equip us for Christian life and ministry.
Christian Spiritual Formation (PM505, PM805)
Growth, maturity and discipleship are all vital components of Christian life, and all denominations have spiritual traditions designed to encourage believers down this path. What these traditions (at their best) have in common is a desire to participate joyfully and fully in the work of the Holy Spirit in and through us, both individually and corporately.
Most of us, however, have only a limited exposure to the different ways in which men and women delight in, pursue, share, worship – and are shaped by – God. This unit is designed to explore a wide range of these pathways with the goal of expanding our understandings of spirituality and discipleship.
We all may ask questions regarding relationship with God. How can I grow in my spiritual life? Is there any way I can appreciate God’s work in the world profoundly? How can I engage in a deeper way with Christians whose traditions are different to my own? How can I live an authentic and coherent Christian life? This unit shows the differing ways in which Christians approach these issues.
Christianity and World Religions (MI603, MI703)
Australia has become highly multicultural at all levels of society. It is essential for students seeking to minister, both in Australia and overseas, to gain an awareness of other people’s worldview, religions and cultures in order to develop principles and strategies for relating them and engaging them in dialogue.
The aim of this unit is to broaden the student’s understanding of the beliefs and practices of several of the major world religions and the way they are expressed in culture. This unit will explore the differences and similarities between these religions and Christianity and ways in which Christians can relate, communicate and witness to people of other faiths in a multicultural, pluralistic society.
And as Christians – do we know how to engage in dialogue with a person from another religion? Do we know what they believe in order to share our faith in an honest and purposeful way?
Counselling and Pastoral Care for the Ageing (CP606, CP706)
As more Australians live into old age, pastors and chaplains increasingly require an understanding of the pastoral needs of older people. This unit considers ageing and care of the elderly from a theological perspective, identifying where that differs from cultural expectations and lived experience.
This unit considers various Australian contexts where ministry occurs with elderly people and their families. This may be the pastoral care that occurs within a church congregation. It may be care shown to a friend or neighbour in the community. Or it may be a specific ministry organised to reach out to older people living in their own homes, or living in residential aged care facilities.
This is a practical unit so students will benefit if they engage with ageing people to understand their perspective on issues raised in the unit. This may be through conversations with elderly family members, neighbours, members of the local congregation or through engagement with an aged care service provider.
Cross Cultural Training (MI602, MI702)
This unit is an integration of two fields of study – Cross-cultural Communication and Teaching and Learning Studies. It will therefore look at the concepts of culture, worldview and communication, and the understanding of how to communicate effectively in a cross-cultural setting. Then students will learn about the basic theories of teaching and learning, development of training material and the planning, preparing, delivery and evaluation of lessons (all within a cross-cultural context) and put it to the practice.
Denominational Polity (PA606, PA706)
Students entering the pastoral ministry in a local church need to have a good understand of their denominational affiliation and where their denomination fits into the church scene. In this unit students study of their denomination’s history, doctrinal distinctives, practices, structure and administration. The unit includes topics such as:
1 The History of the Denomination.
2 Theological basis and developments.
3 The denominational scene
4 Doctrinal distinctives
5 Administrative structures
Students also consider the particular distinctive doctrines and practices of their denomination and how and why they are different from other denominations.
Foundation for Christian Spirituality (PM606, PM706, PM806)
In this unit Christian spirituality concerns both vertical and horizontal dimensions. It refers to “living a life of transformation and self-transcendence that resonates with the lived experiences of the divine”. This definition consists of two aspects: “a lived faith experience of the divine-human relationship” and “living a life of transformation and self-transcendence that resonates with that of the divine-human relationship”. Therefore, this unit focusses on the character of the triune God, and how this God can be experienced in the believer’s daily life. It also focusses on the character of the believer that enables the believer to experience the divine in that person’s life.
Foundational Mission Perspectives (MI601, MI701)
This Mission unit is exciting because it cuts to the heart of the Father’s agenda for his creation, that is, his mission to reconcile all things to himself through the person and work of his son, Jesus Christ. It is the church’s joy to participate in this mission by following Jesus through the empowering of the Holy Spirit to be agents of reconciliation. Students will gain insight into this remarkable privilege through considering the history of the church on mission, the Trinitarian heart of mission, and modern missional issues for the church in the 21st century.
This course is an optional ministry unit. One may not be a full time minister or missionary in the ‘typical’ sense of the term, but each person has a mission field and is called to be a witness in their respective environs. It may be it their family, their workplace, or elsewhere. Whatever the case may be, it is for this reason that an understanding of the history of missions and the God who engages people through mission is vital for one’s understanding of their place in God’s story.
Leading Christian Ministry (PA601, PA701)
Many students who enter ministry, having done a lot of study, are soon asking themselves – “How do I now do church?” “How should we lead and manage this ministry?” In this subject we put it all together, theology, Bible knowledge, and practical skills – and ask the question, “How are we going to lead a church or ministry?”
Leading a church or a ministry is more than understanding the Bible and having a good theology. It requires vision, planning, an understanding of organisational dynamics, and the ability in any given context to provide a relevant expression of church while maintaining the core values of what a church or particular ministry should be.
This unit covers areas such as developing values, visions and strategies, organisational approaches and leadership styles, dealing with change and reviewing progress.
However, the goal of this unit is for each student to have developed their own philosophy and strategy for church and ministry so that at the completion of the unit they have a framework for approaching, developing and leading ministry with confidence.
Marriage and Family (CO604, CO704)
This unit deals with human sexuality, marriage and family life. Human sexuality, marriage and family sets us apart from the animals. It is exactly in the domain of sexuality and relationships that the dignity of humanity is the most clearly expressed. Our sexuality calls us beyond ourselves to a whole, secure, healthy and intimate relationship with another human being who is ‘other’ than us.
Marriage and family issues present an ideal opportunity for us to show how the gospel can affect lives for the good. Our marriages and family relationships can become showcases of the grace of God. It does not mean that we have to present ourselves as ‘getting it right’ in our marriages and families. But we can meet the world as people who have tasted something very good and thus cannot settle for anything less. The hope that we can offer people in the light of our understanding of God’s vision for our marriages and families can transform lives and relationships.
Ministry in a Cross-Cultural Context (MI607, MI707)
This unit provides the opportunity for cross cultural exposure, ministry and field research in a context chosen by the college. The student will be required to undertake a group field trip to a cross cultural context of at least 2 weeks and consider among other things the following:
1 The cross cultural issues of the context
2 The worldview and religious distinctives of the context
3 Approaches to communicating the gospel in the context
4 The theological and ministry challenges of the context
5 The personal impact of cross cultural involvement for life
Missional Chaplaincy (CP601, CP701)
Chaplains serve in a range of environments providing caring services. It is the function of caring that enables chaplains to engage people with the mission of God.
This unit develops a theology of care for a Western Culture environment.
The unit will relate a theology of care to the practice of chaplaincy and address resources appropriate to the context.
Models for Pastoral Counselling (CO601, CO701)
Pastoral counselling equips us to engage meaningfully with people in the light of the message of the gospel. This unit will present and explore a number of models that are foundational to the understanding and practice of pastoral counselling. They will include psychological, anthropological, theological and counselling theories and models. This will enable students to develop pastoral counselling relationships that are informed, supportive, at times graciously challenging and always hopeful.
Pastoral Counselling as Community Care (CO603, CO703)
Pastoral counselling does not occur in a vacuum. It occurs in a particular context – a church, a school, a para-church organization or in more specialized agencies. It also exists within particular community and cultural contexts. People’s challenges and struggles also occur within particular contexts.
This unit will help the student to develop the understanding and skills needed for pastoral counselling and care in their particular community, cultural and practical ministry contexts.
Pastoral Counselling in a Christian Context (CO602, CO702, PA604, PA704)
In this unit students will be embarking on the development and practice of pastoral counselling models shaped by theological thinking, the social sciences and ministry contexts. Through practicum and role-play students will be taught to work through a number of counselling models. After developing the skills to move through the models step by step they will then be encouraged to use the models more flexibly and contextualise the models to specific case studies. The Christian context being referred to is in the first instance developing and practicing counselling models that are informed by a Christian perspective and worldviews and secondly refers to the vocational contexts a pastoral counsellor may be working in.
Preaching (PA603, PA703)
Preaching is the task of conveying the message of the heart of God in such a way that people today hear God’s message as if it was meant for them. All church ministries involve communicating God’s word into one context or another. The skill to share God’s word effectively is essential to anyone entering any form of Christian ministry. In this unit, we study the Word of God to understand what it means to us today and then consider how we should communicate it into today’s culture for maximum impact. We consider the content, delivery, and style needed to construct a faithful message to God’s Word and communicate effectively with our target audience. Developing your preaching skills will significantly improve your effectiveness in serving God and increase your ministry opportunities. Preaching also affects you. The process of Preaching – moving from exegesis to interpreting the text, contemplating the delivery and communication context, serves to promote spiritual growth in the life of the servant of the gospel. The message first needs to touch your heart before you can touch others with the good news.
The Local Church and Mission (MI605, MI705)
John Piper states that the Church exists to worship God. But because not all of humankind worships Him, missions exist to introduce people to their Maker, so that they will worship Him! The local church is central in reaching the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and, therefore, should understand its own identity and task within God’s universal plan.
The Bible, and especially the New Testament, gives us a good understanding of the principles of what the Church is, what her role is in reaching the world, as well as some principles in missionary methods. This course will seek to integrate current missiological discussions while simultaneously staying grounded in Scripture, particularly the letter of 1 Peter.
Over the course of the semester we shall move towards a missionary theology for the local church by looking at some of the relevant issues that concern the church both today, and will be on the agenda in the not-too-distant future.