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Course Change

Ah the start of a new term… and term III none the less, which seems like the only normal term all year, but turns out not to be normal in the least.  

So this term I had planned on taking Dr. Purves class, Theology and Pastoral Care, for credit and auditing Dr. Cole-Turner’s class, The Doctrine of the Trinity.  Well, those plans got reversed this week and I’m now taking Doctrine of the Trinity, and auditing Theology and Pastoral Care.  Why you might ask?  That’s a great question.

I’ve had Dr. Purves for 5 courses in my seminary career (Theology/Practice of Holiness, Pastoral Care, Reformed Dogmatics, Theology of T.F. Torrance, and Scientific Theology) and I’ve benefited greatly from each and every course.  In fact, looking at the list I can name one significant insight that shapes how I live my life and how I do ministry (or to put it more appropriately, how I participate in the on-going ministry of Jesus Christ).  I had originally decided to take Theology and Pastoral Care for credit and write a paper that would take Dr. Purves framework and apply it specifically to youth ministry, and I’ll admit that in the back of my mind I had thought that someday I might write a book entitled something like “It’s Not Up to You: A Christ-Centered Theology for Youth Ministry.” Honestly, I’d still like to write that book/article/blog entry (I figure it’ll be one of the three) someday because I think what Dr. Purves is proposing is radical, Christ-centered, and would be of great benefit to many burned-out over-worked youth workers.  But, I have a pretty good understanding of what Dr. Purves is proposing because I took my first run at applying it to Youth Ministry last year in my philosophy of Youth Ministry paper.

On the other hand, since I was exempted from taking Introduction to Systematic Theology, I never had a course that covered the doctrine of God in any depth until I took Theology of T.F. Torrance and we read his book, The Christian Doctrine of God (which to this day has to be one of the most dense and demanding books I’ve ever read).  As I was sitting in Doctrine of Trinity on Tuesday, I saw that one option for being graded in the class was to write a paper that was 3500-4000 words long (roughly 12 pages) on our topic of choice, and Dr. Cole-Turner suggested that we compare Moltmann, who we’re required to read for the course, to another major Trinitarian thinker (he suggested Pannenberg, Jenson, T.F. Torrance, Freddy Zizioulas, or Catherine LaCunga).  During break I began reading “Rediscovering the Triune God” by Stanley Grenz and remember this line from the book: “Moltmann, in contrast [to Pannenberg], retains Barth’s focus on the Word as the locus of divine revelation.  In this sense, he stands closer to Barth than Pannenberg does” (Rediscovering the Triune God, Pg. 76).  This got me thinking that it might be fun to compare Barth and Moltmann, because they choose similar starting points, yet end up in two very different places, to the point where Barth is accused of being a modalist and Moltmann is accused of being a Tri-theist.  So my early title is as follows: “The Modalist and the Tri-Theist: The Word of God as Revelation in Karl Barth and Jurgen Moltmann” or something along those lines.  Basically what I want to do is test Grenz’s hypothesis and find out why, despite a similar starting point, they end up in such different places.  

So yes, I opted to write a paper that I have no idea how to write and will require me to read large sections of Barth’s church dogmatics.  Why might I do this?  Especially when I have only 8 weeks instead of 10 to write it?  Well, because I’m a big dork.  

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. March 16, 2006 at 8:07 pm


    “This project provides access to “images and transcriptions of important Bible manuscripts and early printed editions freely available through the Internet.” Materials include Hebrew Bible manuscripts and New Testament manuscripts. Also includes a bibliography and links to related sites. From the Religion and Technology Center, a nonprofit organization “devoted to the creation of high quality scholarly resources in religion.

    Found via the Librarians’ Internet Index, http://lii.org/pub/news/32.

    Yeah, not related. But still fun 🙂

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