An online seminar taught by Dr. Donald Tinder offers PhD students an opportunity in their first year of study to review previous theological studies. It is also a chance to explore avenues needing further and deeper study, especially in view of the increasing awareness of the global nature of Christian thought.
Theology, though based on divine revelation in the Ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman context, has been overwhelmingly shaped in and by the Western cultural tradition. In turn, Western culture since the 300s has been shaped by the experience of Christendom, that is the close linkage of society, church and state. The last few hundred years have been shaped by reactions against Christendom.
Beyond the West, partially apart from colonial endeavors, this has not been the experience of Christianity. Also needing to be explored are such challenges everywhere, including the West, as the rising influence of the natural and behavioral sciences and the strength of alternate worldviews such as Islam and secularism.
The goal of the class is to help students gain awareness of and critical appreciation for the range of theological endeavor globally, including ways in which the dominant tradition has been culturally influenced. Students also explore varying ways of making theology culturally relevant while remaining Biblically faithful. Finally, students will appreciate the variety of ways doctrines and practices are expressed while still receiving God's blessing.