Gospel and Culture
The course functions within our core curriculum as an integrating capstone in which the primary learning objective is synthesis, not the acquisition of new knowledge per se. The learning outcomes for the MA and the MDiv state that, by the end of the program, all students should be able to:
- Interpret biblical texts competently within an understanding of the overall narrative of Scripture.
- Demonstrate how the narrative of the Bible, the history of Christianity, and the primary doctrines of the Christian church are instrumental for shaping one’s identity.
- Interpret and critique key texts, images, and narratives of contemporary culture in light of the gospel, and identify the primary challenges facing the gospel.
- MA: demonstrate how the Christian faith can be integrated with a person’s vocation and how this integration can effectively be expressed through a genuine embodiment of the gospel.
- MDiv: demonstrate the knowledge, skill, and character necessary to fulfill leadership roles in church or parachurch ministries.
- Articulate the importance of the regular practice of spiritual disciplines as an expression of one’s openness to the work of the Holy Spirit and as essential for a life of faith and witness.
The first part of the course involves a cycle of teaching, reading and discussion. We will build a repertoire of language, theology and imagery, and widen our imaginations concerning what it means for the Gospel to engage with and transform modern society. We will seek to develop the skills needed to become fluent readers of culture and to translate the Gospel story into contexts where traditional Christian language is often foreign and alienating.
In the second part of the course guest speakers from different cultural & vocational sectors are invited to reflect on their vision and their experiences as Christians in their chosen spheres. Drawing on what for them are key biblical and theological texts and themes, they explore the possibilities and the issues confronting them through specific case studies. This part of the course gives students an opportunity to begin developing a sustained and detailed engagement with one particular area of culture – one that they are either already vocationally committed to or that they are most interested in becoming engaged with.