By Lauryn Grimes

Four new courses were introduced this fall in conjunction with a revised core curriculum for students entering the traditional undergraduate program – Spiritual Formation, Progress of Redemption, Christianity and Culture and Historical Theology.

Dr. Randy Nelson, chair of the department, explained that the 30-credit Bible core was revised by the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies as part of a broader review of the university’s core curriculum.

Previous department chair Mike Wise led the department on a two-year process that resulted in the recommended changes.

Two of the new courses, Spiritual Formation and Progress of Redemption, are recommended for incoming students.

The Spiritual Formation course is centered around living a life pleasing to God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

This course is designed to help students grow spiritually “by knowing what they believe, getting into a closer relationship with God and living out the Christian life,” said Dr. Mark Muska, associate professor of Biblical and Theological Studies. “[Students can expect to learn] the foundations of the Gospel Message, living as a spirit-filled Christian, Christian character [and] practicing spiritual disciplines.”

According to Dr. Nelson, Progress of Redemption is a course where students will learn about God’s grand story that unifies the Old and New Testaments and calls for participation.

“The focus is to provide a map of Scripture, or better, a quick overview of the Biblical storyline,” said Dr. Ardel Caneday, Professor of New Testament Studies and Biblical Theology. “Our objective is to help our students by providing the Bible’s storyline hooks on which they may hang the larger amounts of information once they take the Old and New Testament History and Literature courses. “

In place of Christian Theology, students now have the option of taking either Systematic Theology or Historical Theology.

Christianity and Culture – Formerly Community and Culture – has been introduced as a course that will help students live out their Christian values in a culturally and ethnically diverse world. Christianity and Culture will explore two questions: How has Christianity interacted with the culture, and how has the world influenced Christianity?

“We’ve had an influence on the world, but the world has also influenced us, and how has Christianity been successful in addressing ethnic cultures,” said Dr. Ken Young, Professor of Systematic Theology, Education and Christian Ministries.

Other relevant curriculum changes include the following:

  • Old Testament History and Literature has been divided into two, two-credit courses: Old Testament Law and History and Old Testament Poetry and Prophecy.
  • Principles of Biblical Interpretation has been integrated into all Bible Exposition courses.
  • Students are now required to take two to four selective credits in the category of Theological Philosophy and four to six credits in the category Spiritual Formation and Integration.

For returning students, the implications are minimal. Neither the number of Bible credits required nor the number of graduation credits required have changed. For example, a returning student who did not take Principles of Biblical Interpretation (PBI) – which no longer exists – must now replace the two credits with any BIA, BIB or selective listed in the “Texts and Contexts” section of the curriculum. More information on how the core changes affect returning students can be found under the Academics tab on the ROCK.

Muska, Caneday and Young all served as chairs of the sub-committees for the corresponding courses to standardize the development of these courses.

For more information on curriculum changes effective this fall, contact the Registrar’s Office, 651-631-5248 or registrar@unwsp.edu.

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