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The Pillars of Formation

Associates Degree

Associates Degree (Course Descriptions)

These courses are intended to prepare persons for local ministry in their church or parish. Associate Degree level courses may be taken individually to help prepare individuals in meeting local church and denominational educational requirements. These courses may also be taken as a core program leading to an Associate of Arts Degree in Ministry. A total of 60 credits is required for this program.

Prior experience and courses you have taken may be considered for Ministry Experience Credit. Upon application to this program, your previous experience will be personally evaluated for course equivalency credit. The application process is online as is all communication with the school. We are as close as an e-mail away regarding any questions you might have throughout the process.

You may use two books that we may not yet have in our curriculum. You may also consider courses found in the Bachelors and Masters degree programs. Such choices must be pre-approved by UTS. Please email or write us about books/courses you may wish to substitute in your degree program. We will be pleased to work with you in making your experience at United Theological Seminary as fulfilling as possible 

BIBLICAL STUDIES

AS-101. Beginnings of the Old Testament   A survey of the history of the period, looking at the origins of these writings and a discussion of their content. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction by Lawrence Boadt.

AS-105. Prophets and Prophetic Books   A brief introduction to each of the Bible’s prophets and their prophetic books, developing the theological themes present in each with an eye toward how the prophetic message is relevant today. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): Old Testament Prophets for Today by Carolyn J. Sharp.

AS-110. Beginnings of the New Testament   An overview of the canon of Scripture comprising the New Testament including a survey of the varying methodologies historically employed in interpreting these writings and the significance of their content. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods and Ministry Formation by David A. deSilva.
Optional Text(s): Horizontal Harmony of the Four Gospels in Parallel Columns by Thomas M. Mumford.

AS-120. Introduction to Mark   This course is intended to help you find your way around Mark and will enable you to sense the urgency and excitement of Mark’s Gospel in a way that is new and fresh. Wright helps one to find it full of interest and delight, with a powerful message that comes home to the church to today and tomorrow just as much as it did to the church of yesterday. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: AS-110
Required Text(s): Mark for Everyone by Tom Wright.

AS-122. Introduction to Matthew   In this course, you are offered eye-opening comments on the Gospel and what it might mean for people today combined, passage by passage, with the author’s new translation of the Bible text. Making use of true scholar’s understanding, yet writing in an approachable and anecdotal style, Wright captures the immediacy of Matthew’s Gospel in a way few writers have. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: AS-110
Required Text(s): Matthew for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-15 by Tom Wright.
Optional Text(s): Matthew for Everyone Part 2: Chapters 16-28 by Tom Wright.

AS-124. Introduction to Luke   This course on Luke includes a wealth of information and background detail, provides real insights for our understanding of the story of Jesus and its implications for the student. Wright’s clear style is accessible to new readers of the Bible, as well as to those who are further on. His exciting new translation of the biblical text brings to life, passage by passage, the immediacy and drama of Luke’s Gospel. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: AS-110
Required Text(s): Luke for Everyone by Tom Wright.

AS-126. Introduction to John   Making use of his true scholar’s understanding, yet writing in an approachable and anecdotal style, Tom Wright manages to unravel the great complexity of this extraordinary gospel. He describes it as ‘one of the great books in the literature of the world; and part of its greatness is the way it reveals its secrets not just to high-flown learning, but to those who come to it with humility and hope’. Wright’s stimulating comments are combined with his own translation of the Bible text. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: AS-110
Required Text(s): John for Everyone Part 1: Chapters 1-10 by Tom Wright.
Optional Text(s): John for Everyone Part 2: Chapters 11-21 by Tom Wright.

AS-130. Introducing the Book of Romans   In this course, we are helped to see the great sweep of this letter. Romans has long been viewed as the book above all in which Paul spells out the basic doctrines of the faith, and the picture of God’s life for us. It is the classic setting-out of the Gospel. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: AS-110
Required Text(s): Paul for Everyone: Romans 1-16 by Tom Wright.

AS-140. Introduction to First Corinthians   In this course we experience the liveliness of cosmopolitan Corinth and the wisdom and challenge of Paul’s writing is revealed, bringing out the pastoral sensitivity and deep insight that make this letter one of Paul’s crowning achievements. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: AS-110
Required Text(s): Paul for Everyone: 1 Corinthians by Tom Wright.

AS-150. Introduction to Hebrews   In this course you will find your way around the letter to the Hebrews, one of the most challenging writings in the New Testament. It is acknowledged that people often find it difficult, because some of the ideas it contains are strange to us. Yet, like meeting a new friend, Wright helps us to find it full of interest and delight, with a powerful message that comes home to the church to today and tomorrow just as much as it did to the church of yesterday. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: AS-110
Required Text(s): Hebrews for Everyone by Tom Wright.

AS-190. Leading Bible Study Groups   Leadership: it can make or break a small group! Whether you’re a nervous newcomer or a confident veteran, this course gives you the tools and information you need to effectively lead any kind of small group – Bible study, fellowship, task, or support group. Plenty of exercises help you grasp practical leadership skills and group dynamics. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): How to Lead Small Groups by Neal McBride.

THEOLOGICAL STUDIES

AS-201. Introduction to Theology   An introduction to the study of Christian Doctrine. A clear, comprehensive yet understandable exploration of the often neglected area of Doctrine. The course surveys a diverse array of religious beliefs without prejudice toward a particular creed or denomination. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): A Primer for Christian Doctrine by Jonathan R. Wilson.

AS-210. Introduction to Christology   An ecumenical, international, and contextual introduction to the person of Christ in contemporary theology, both in Western academy and in third-world theologies. It offers three main perspectives on Christology (biblical, historical, and contemporary) and combines classical and contextual work done in Christology over the course of church history. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: AS-201
Required Text(s): Christology: A Global Introduction by Veli Matti Karkkainen.

AS-215. Jesus; The Life and Vision of a Revolutionary   In reply to the rampant confusion today, the former dean of Lichfield Cathedral crisply outlines the church’s position regarding who Jesus was, what he taught, and how he died. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: AS-201
Required Text(s): The Original Jesus by N. T. Wright.

AS-220. Introduction to the Apostles Creed   An introduction to the meaning of this ancient and venerable Creed and its significance for today’s Christians. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: AS-201
Required Text(s): Saving Belief by Austin Ferrar.

AS-225. The Creeds in Christianity   The course depicts how and why the two most familiar Christian creeds – the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed – came into being. It explores how creeds originated in instruction before baptism and have their roots in the New Testament itself. Then it describes the construction of the great Christian doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): The Making of the Creeds by Frances Young.

AS-230. The Augsburg Confession   An analysis of the confessions themselves and commentary for current day Lutheran life. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: AS-201
Required Text(s): Augsburg Confession: A Commentary by Leif Grane and John H. Rasmussen.

AS-240. Introduction to Lutheran Theology   What it means to be Lutheran in 21st century American life. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: AS-201
Required Text(s): On Being Lutheran: Reflections on Church, Theology, and Faith by Timothy F Lull and Mark S. Hanson.

AS-250. Methodist Thought   A clear exposition of Methodism’s theology, founded as it is upon the biblical witness and enriched by the traditions of the apostolic fathers, the Protestant Revival, and the Wesleyan revival. This course will be helpful both to the Methodist constituency and to its partners in ecumenical dialogue. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: AS-201
Required Text(s): Living Grace: An Outline Of United Methodist Theology by Walter Klaiber and Manfred Marquardt.

AS-260. Introduction to Evangelical Biblical Theology   A systematic approach to traditional conservative Christian beliefs in God and God’s creation based on the authority of Scripture. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: AS-201
Required Text(s): Basic Theology by Charles C. Ryrie.

CHRISTIAN ETHICS

AS-301. Ethics in the Christian Community   This course articulates the shared features of Christian faith and shows how that communal commitment forms our values, character, virtues, and “eagerness to do what is right.” Who we are informs what we choose. This dynamic, dialogical basis for ethics is an open framework. This is applied it to a host of tough, real-life dilemmas such as affirmative action, end-of-life decisions, medical ethics, truth telling, environmental justice, and war-making. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): Ethics in the Community of Promise: Faith, Formation and Decision by James M. Childs, Jr.

AS-310. Situation Ethics   ‘Situation ethics’ basically states that sometimes other moral principles can be cast aside in certain situations if love is best served. It is one of the main ethical theories studied in all introductory courses on Christian ethics. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): Situation Ethics by John Warwick Montgomery and Joseph Fletcher.

CHURCH HISTORY

AS-401. Early Church History   The history of the Christian Church from Apostolic times to the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): A Short History of Christianity by Stephen Tomkins.

AS-410. Church History: From the Reformation to the Present Day   The history of the Christian Church from the Reformation to the current day, including a broad perspective of present day Christianity in America. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): A Short History of Christianity by Stephen Tomkins.

AS-420. The Story of the Reformation   The thinking and times of Luther, Calvin and Zwingley as they challenged the traditional religious thinking of their day. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): The Reformation: A History by Diarmaid MacCulloch.

AS-430. The Episcopal Church in the United States   Beginning with the church of colonial times and the formation of the Episcopal Church thereafter, the evolution and issues of this branch of the Christian tradition will be traced to the present time. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): A Brief History of the Episcopal Church by David L. Holmes.

AS-440. Lutheran Heritage   The history and diversity of Lutheranism, from the reforming and confessional movement sparked by Luther, through the age of Lutheran Orthodoxy, the great Pietist reaction, diversification through the Industrial Revolution, to its global and increasingly ecumenical ventures. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): A History of Lutheranism by Eric W. Gritsch.

AS-450. Heritage of Methodism in America   Traces the development of a new church in a new nation from its new beginnings with the Wesleys in England to the changes and challenges of later twentieth-century America. The great movement of the Methodist Church westward, as the American continent expanded. From early circuit riders, the union of the various divisions, to the United Methodism that exists today with its focus on inclusivty, the rich history of this tradition will be explored. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): The Story of American Methodism by Frederick Norwood.

AS-460. John Wesley   The life and work of John Wesley. From rectory life at Epworth, through his university career at Oxford, to his mission to Georgia, his conversion at Aldersgate and his life thereafter as a religious leader in England. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): John Wesley: A Biography by Stephen Tomkins.

AS-470. American Evangelical Churches   The growth and significance of the Evangelical religious movement in American will be explored. In surveying the past forty years of evangelicalism this course does not look back with the warm glow of nostalgia but takes a long hard look at today’s evangelical church. In a society where nothing is right or wrong and anything is tolerated apart from a biblical faith, those who believe the Bible are viewed as bigoted, ignorant and lacking in love. It takes a careful look at many aspects of church life including worship, Bible versions, preaching and leadership and asks ‘Where do we go from here’. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): Evangelicals Then & Now by Peter Jeffery.

AS-480. Presbyterian Church History   This book unfolds the story of the growth and development of the Christian church from the New Testament era to the present day. Interesting stories and quotations are presented as the author highlights key events and presents prominent persons who have had an impact on the Presbyterian church’s life. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): History 101: An Introduction for Presbyterians by William M. Ramsay.

PASTORAL CARE

AS-501. Introduction to Pastoral Care   This course identifies three paradigms of pastoral care: the classical, which conveys the message of God who caringly creates human beings for relationship and continues to care by hearing and remembering them; the clinical pastoral, which emphasizes the experimental and reflective participation in caring relationships as an ideal way to learn about caregiving for self and others; and the communal contextual, which emphasizes the caring community and the various contexts for care rather than focusing upon pastoral care as the work of the ordained pastor. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): Pastoral Care: An Essential Guide by John Patton.

AS-510. Dealing with Death and Dying   Focuses on the now-famous idea of the five stages of dealing with death: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

AS-520. Families in Transition   The sense of lostness often comes in times of transition –whether moving from one city to another, a health crisis, loss of a family member through death of divorce, or downsizing at work. This course is intended to provide insights through the wilderness of transition. To get back on track one needs to begin to make hard choices: to be found by God and others, to feel, to find meaning in the pain, and ultimately, to flourish. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): Grace Points: Growth & Guidance in Times of Change by Jane Rubietta.

CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY

AS-601. Personal Spirituality   This course Seeks to help us “rejoin soul and role,” so that individuals and communities can be healed from the ravages of consumerism, injustice and violence. No small task, yet this mission is fleshed out with stories, poems, personal confessions and a plan-concrete steps for creating “circles of trust” where honest, open sharing allows each person’s “inner teacher” to show up. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life by Parker J. Palmer.

AS-610. Personal Growth and Renewal   Walking the personal journey of faith. Covers the values, strength, skills, habits, and relationships you need to fulfill your life mission. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.

AS-615. Wesleyan Prayer   Let John Wesley guide you into a deeper prayer life-these excerpts from his prolific writings will motivate and challenge you to greater communion with God. In approximately 45 readings, Wesley explains the why and how of prayer for believers at any stage of the Christian life. Lightly edited for ease of reading, Wesley’s insights are sure to improve the way you pray. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer (Value Books / 2008 / Paperback) by John Wesley.

AS-620. Spiritual Growth   Charting a new course in life for persons who are searching for ways to deal with the problems of everyday life. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck.

AS-630. Essentials of Prayer   A down-to-earth approach to the essentials of Prayer. Answers many questions of the spiritual life, such as How do we learn to listen to God in our prayer and How do we develop a life of prayer in the midst of busy, active lives?. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): The Practice of Prayer by Margaret Guenther.

CHURCH GROWTH AND EVANGELISM

AS-701. Evangelism in the Church   This course proposes to ground the practice of evangelism in an understanding of God’s love for the world, specifically as seen in the incarnation of God in Christ. Because in Jesus God took on all of what it means to be human, evangelism must be a ministry to the whole person. The typical distinctions between soul-winning, social action, and church growth evaporate; individual conversion and acts of mercy are part of the same ministry of bringing persons more fully into the reign of a loving God. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): The Evangelistic Love of God and Neighbor A Theology of Witness and Discipleship by Scott J. Jones.

AS-710. Church Growth and Renewal   Every church is driven by something. Tradition, finances, programs, personalities, events, seekers, and even buildings can each be the controlling force in a church. But Rick Warren believes that in order for a church to be healthy it must become a purpose-driven church by Jesus. Now the founding pastor of Saddleback Church shares a proven five-part strategy that will enable your church to grow. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): The Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren.

THEORY AND PRACTICE OF MINISTRY

AS-801. Introduction to Preaching   A methodology for taking the literary characteristics of biblical texts into account in the text-to-sermon process. That process is applied separately for preaching on the psalms, proverbs, narratives, parables and epistles. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): Preaching and the Literary Forms of the Bible by Thomas Long.

AS-805. An Introduction to the Diaconate   This course includes a history of deacons in the early church, a survey of deacons from the Reformation to the present, stories of modern diaconal ministries, including first-hand accounts, and a discussion of the formation, training, and deployment of deacons. A comprehensive look at this vital ministry in the Episcopal Church today. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): Many Servants, Revised Edition: An Introduction to Deacons by Ormonde Plater.

AS-810. The Order of the Diaconate   A study of the development of the office of the deacon in the early church and situated today within the context of the church’s total ministry. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): The Diaconate: A Full and Equal Order by James Monroe Barnett.

AS-820. Hymnody in Worship   A fruitful interchange between the two disciplines of theology and worship, alongside anecdotes from congregational life, examples from church history, themes from novels and films, and the creative use of modern hymns. 4 credits.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Text(s): A More Profound Alleluia: Theology and Worship in Harmony by Leanne Van Dyk, Editor.

Textbooks

Books can be ordered through Christian Books Distributor (CBD) at ChristianBook.comAmazon.comBarnesandnoble.com, your local bookstore, or any one of the Online booksellers. Textbooks are NOT included in your tuition payments.