An Introduction to Christian Theology

Your invitation to come on a journey across 2000 years of Church history. Along the way we will explore the great ideas of Christian theology and the people and events which shaped them.

Where?

Deane Church Centre BL3 4LT

When?

7.30-9pm over 7 Wednesdays, starting 25th October 2017.

Who?

The course is for anyone who is keen to learn. No previous knowledge required.

Style?

Relaxed! There will be input from the course tutor, Rev’d Terry Clark, various multi-media items and discussion around tables.

What will be covered?
Week 1 Wednesday 25th October. Knowing God
In order to get better acquainted with God, and with what he has said and done, we need to be reasonably confident in our sources of information about him, so we need to ask the question ‘what is our source of authority?’ Without a convincing answer to this question, everything else is like shifting sands. In this first session we will think about the concept of God revealing himself to us. We will consider the Anglican theologian Richard Hooker’s three sources of authority (Bible, reason and tradition) and a fourth: experience.
Week 2 Wednesday 1st November. The Bible
In this session we will look into the origins of the Bible and be asking questions such as: Who wrote the Bible’s books… and when? Why were certain books kept in and others excluded? How reliable are the gospel accounts? … and last, but not least… What is the Bible about anyway!?
Week 3 Wednesday 8th November. The Patristic Period
This period stretches from the time when the last New Testament books were written (c100AD) to the Council of Chalcedon (451AD). Lancelot Andrews, in the 17th century, said that Biblical Christianity is based upon ‘two testaments, three creeds, four gospels and the first five centuries of church history’. The patristic period witnessed the clarification of most of the big ideas of Christianity, from the relationship between Christianity and Judaism to the establishment of who Jesus actually is! Key people during this period include Augustine of Hippo and the Emperor Constantine.
Week 4 Wednesday 15th November. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance
This period runs from c1000AD through to c1500AD and the scene of most of the events has now moved from the Mediterranean to Western Europe. The Roman Empire has long since disappeared and Europe is emerging from the ‘Dark Ages’. The Western Church and Eastern Church separate from each other in 1054. It is the period of Byzantium and the Crusades. The intellectual world is dominated by two important movements: scholasticism and then humanism. Renaissance culture (1300s onward) was much influenced by the classical period, thus inspiring artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Key theologians during this period include Thomas Aquinas and Erasmus.
Week 5 Wednesday 22nd November. The Reformation
On 31st October 1517, the German monk Martin Luther nailed his ‘95 Theses’, protesting against papal indulgences, to a church door in Wittenberg. The theses were soon translated from Latin, copied on the recently invented printing presses and distributed throughout Europe. Thus the Protestant Reformation and the split with the Church of Rome was sparked. The 1530s saw the publication of John Calvin’s monumental book Institutes of the Christian Religion. In England, Henry VIII wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Ann Boleyn, thus causing a rift with the Pope; and the Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer compiled the Book of Common Prayer. Throughout much of Europe there was a great turning back to the Bible as the chief source of authority.
Week 6 Wednesday 29th November. 1700 -1899
The Modern Period and the Enlightenment. Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, George Whitefield, Charles Simeon. The Great Awakening in North America. Christian mission societies. Social reformers. Darwinism and the Biblical Creation accounts. Liberal Protestantism. The Oxford Movement.
Week 7 Wednesday 6th December. 1900-2017
Evangelicalism in Britain. The charismatic movement. Postmodernism. Religious pluralism. Albert Schweitzer and The quest of the historical Jesus. The Jesus Seminar. Revivals.
Liberation theology. Prosperity theology. Emergent church. The Gospel Coalition. C.S.Lewis, Karl Barth, John Stott, Billy Graham.
Is there an exam?

No! Is there homework? Yes! You will have some reading to do (all included in the course booklet) and a few questions to answer but these will not be taken in or marked.

How much?

£15 to cover course booklet, other materials and refreshments.
You can pay for your place(s) online at the bottom of this page, or you can by cash or cheque at Deane Church Office. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Deane PCC’.

Booking?

Yes, booking is necessary since places are limited. Until 12th September bookings will be open only to those from Deane, Lostock, St Andrew’s and St Bede’s churches. After then, bookings will be open to those from any church in Deane Deanery.

You can book places using the form below.

Pay for your place(s) online

You can pay online here

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