ET/NT 543 New Testament and Christian Ethics

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1 Course Instructor: Dr. Rollin Grams ing Course Format Dates: Saturdays, Feb. 14; Mar. 14; Apr. 18 Times: 5 p.m. 7:00 p.m. ET/NT 543 New Testament and Christian Ethics Prerequisites: Old Testament Survey, New Testament Survey Course Description: This course explores significant topics for Christian ethics as they are addressed within the New Testament. Students are provided with an understanding of the interaction between NT studies and Christian ethics and between NT theology and NT ethics. Expanded Course Description: This course is primarily about the use of the New Testament for Christian ministry and discipleship. During the course, a methodology for approaching questions in Christian ethics will be explored through four tasks of theology (primarily the first two): the exegetical, Biblical theological, convictional, and pragmatic tasks. New Testament ethics will be presented primarily with reference to ethics in Jesus, Matthew, Luke, and Paul. Several ethical topics will be explored in the course, including wealth and poverty, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, and pacifism/use of violence. These and other-- topics will serve as examples for how to engage the New Testament in Christian ethics today. Course Goals: *Information and Orientation: To gain an orientation to New Testament ethics--what recent scholars are saying and a description of the ethics of several NT books. *To gain analytical and critical skills for Christian ethics: evaluation of methodologies in Christian ethics and uses of Scripture in ethics; analysis and critique of contemporary culture from a Biblical, Christian perspective. *To integrate the theological curriculum with reference to Christian ethics: Old Testament, New Testament, Christian thought (theology, history) and practice. *To engage (informatively, analytically, critically) a variety of ethical topics relevant to Christian life and ministry today and so hone skills in doing Christian ethics as part of Christian ministry. Assigned ing and Textbooks: Blomberg, Craig. Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, Pp or Gagnon, Robert. The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, Pp. 520 [to be read in part, see below] Grams, Rollin G. The Bible and Christian Ethics. CAMS, [selections] Green, Joel. The New Testament and Ethics: A Book-by-Book Survey. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker 1

2 Academic, ISBN: Kalantzis, George. Caesar and the Lamb: Early Christian Attitudes on War and Military Service. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, Pp Strauss, Mark, ed. Remarriage for Divorce in Today s Church: 3 Views. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, Pp Thompson, James W. Moral Formation According to Paul: The Context and Coherence of Pauline Ethics. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, Pp ISBN: or the entire book. Course Requirements: 1. Attendance and Participation. The classroom experience is considered an important aspect of this course, especially since we meet only for 6 hours. Discussion and interaction are valued components of the course, and failure to participate appropriately will mean at least a reduced grade of one full letter at the discretion of the professor. So, students are expected to be present during class times and to engage in the group discussions. No excuses will be given other than for sickness or bereavement, and students might consider dropping the course in such situations. Any excused but missed hours will need to be made up by extra work, usually fifty additional pages of reading per hour of class missed, plus written reflection on the reading (if this is not done, the grade will be reduced by a partial grade per hour missed). Not more than 2 hours of class may be missed to receive a pass or credit in this course. Any student who has not read the material to be completed by the first class meeting, on 14 th of February, should not take this course. The only exception will be if a small amount of reading is still to be completed this should be discussed with the instructor. Students might be placed in groups for discussion of the reading (depending on class size). Each class meeting will involve discussion of all the reading to that point in the course and the topics that have been considered. Students will have engaged this material on the forums and will be able to discuss the material with each other in class. Class time will also involve some lectures aimed at helping students understand the reading and New Testament Ethics in general. 2. ing: The success of this course depends on careful reading of the selected books and your engagement with them. 2a. Pre-Course ing: 2

3 By 14 th of February, students are to have read about 800 pages. The reading schedule below lists the pages to read from various books for each weekend of class. A reading report is due the first day of class for each part of the course s reading requirement (see ing Log for Intensive, below). The purpose of this required reading is so that students will be able to hold meaningful discussions in class during the intensives based on their reading. 2b. ing for the Entire Course: Students are expected to state that they have read at least 1,500 pages in total in this course (reading 2,000 pages is more likely, given the research paper). Be sure to keep a record of all your reading for this course (see ing Log for Entire Course, below). The reading log has space to record additional reading from other sources. This additional reading may be for any of the papers in the course. The reading log, which shows what a student has read, will be due for the course by 18 th April. If a student completes the required reading and reads at least 1,500 pages for the course, his or her final grade will not be affected. If a student fails to meet this goal, his or her grade will be reduced, as follows: 90%: Reduction of 1/3 of a grade (e.g., from A to A-) 80%: reduction of 2/3 of a grade (e.g., from B+ to B-) 70%: reduction of a full grade (e.g., from B to C) 60%: reduction of 2 grades (e.g., from A- to C+) 50%: reduction of 3 grades (e.g., from A to D) Below 50%: failure of the course 3. Forum Discussions Most weeks (see Course Outline), students will be responsible to post thoughts on the forum for this course (on Sakai) and reply to 1 other student s post that week. Posts must be uploaded by Saturday of that week, and a reply must be posted by Tuesday of the next week. There are a few weeks during which no posts are required. This part of the course requirement is intended to keep students engaged with the reading throughout the course (week by week) and with each other, despite the short face to face meeting times. The forum posts also allow students to cover more topics than the major reading in the course. The plan for this part of the course requirement is that students will use my writings to get thinking about a given topic or comment on reading for a book not chosen for one of the papers. The student is not required to respond to my writing on the subject the goal is to engage the topic in an informative and interesting way. However, a student must 3

4 post on the forum thoughts on each of the books not chosen for the book analyses. In all posts, the major concern is to engage Scripture in regard to the topic and to do so with sensibilities regarding method in Christian ethics. Remember: these forum posts are for a course in Ethics and the Bible (New Testament in particular). Keep your focus on those two areas of interest. Be courteous in your responses to fellow students and when engaging the literature for the course in your forum discussions. Length of Forum Posts: 300 words (+ or 10%) Length of Response to Another Student s Forum Posts: 150 words (+ or 10%) Percentage of Final Grade: 30% 4. Two Critical Book Reviews There will be two papers in this course. Students may write 10% above or below the page limits for the papers. Papers must be submitted electronically as attachments to an e- mail that is entitled: NT Ethics, Paper 1 [or 2]. Papers should include your name, the course name, and a paper title. A bibliography is unnecessary as relevant resources should appear in the footnotes. Papers should be in 11 or 12 point font, double spaced, spellchecked, and edited for English grammar and appropriate style for footnotes (Turabian, SBL, APA, Chicago). Both papers should have footnotes showing research. Remember: these papers are for a course in Ethics and the Bible (New Testament in particular). Keep your focus on those two areas of interest. Plagiarism: Unintentional plagiarism is considered sub-standard academic work and will result in failing the course, not just the paper. Intentional plagiarism is considered immoral. Either type of plagiarism must be referred to the Registrar for further action according to the Student Handbook. a. Book Analysis and Critique I Choose either Blomberg or Strauss for this assignment. Write a 2,000 critical analysis of either the textbook by Blomberg or Strauss for this essay, as follows. After briefly describing the book, you are to analyse the argument in the book you have chosen. How has Scripture been used in this book? Which key texts are used to guide the ethical discussion? Have they been used correctly? Should other texts have been considered as well? Do you agree with the application of these texts to the arguments of the author/s? What theories (Christian ethics, social analysis, practical application, etc.) have been engaged? In the case of the Strauss textbook, which has several authors, compare and contrast 4

5 their understandings of the Scripture passages that guide their interpretations and show where their disagreements lie. In this paper, you are to critique the use of Scripture on the basis of what you know: your reading of Biblical texts in their contexts, your careful reading of this textbook, your learning in this course, your exegetical and Biblical theological knowledge; logical reasoning; etc. You should engage three commentaries on at least three key passages of Scripture discussed in the book. This analysis and critique is more in-depth than a typical book review. Paper Length: 1,500 words Paper Due Date: 14 th March Percentage of Final Grade: 35% b. Book Analysis and Critique II Write a critical book analysis for one of the following texts for this course: Gagnon (the required part), Kalantzis, or Thompson. These books are a bit more in-depth than the first assignment. You do not need to engage commentaries for this review but should engage Scripture in your discussion. Paper Due Date: Percentage of Final Grade: 18 th April 35% of final grade Course Outline The course consists of: Three meeting times to discuss methodology, the reading for that part of the course, and direction in the course Weekly online forum discussions 2 Critical Book Reviews Week 1: January ing and Forum Discussion: Methodology, Apartheid (and Ethnic Issues) ing Grams: Methodology 5

6 'The Case for Biblical Norms in Christian Ethics,' Journal of European Baptist Studies, Vol. 3.3 (May, 2003): 'The Use of Biblical Norms in Christian Ethics,' Journal of European Baptist Studies, Vol. 4.1 (September, 2003), pp Toward an Ethic for Mission Practice (Oxford Centre for Mission Studies Lecture, 2002; unpublished) Practices (unpublished) The Shaping of Christian Convictions and the Avoidance of Ideology: Paul s Contribution to a Vexing Issue in 1 Corinthians, Baptistic Theologies, Vol. 3.1 (Spring, 2011). Grams: Apartheid (South Africa) and Mission Biography Chapter 20: Restitution, in Stewards of Grace: A Reflective, Mission Biography of Eugene and Phyllis Grams in South Africa, Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, Green: David Downs, Lists of Virtues and Vices, pp Week 2: January ing and Forum Discussion: Methodology (Bible and Ethics), Gospels, Acts ing Green: Allen Verhey, Ethics in Scripture, pp. 1-9 Charles Cosgrove, New Testament Ethics, pp Robert Brawley, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, pp Michael Westmoreland-White, Golden Rule, p. 95 Bruce Chilton, Kingdom of God, pp Glen Stassen, Sermon on the Mount, pp Week 3: February 2-7 ing and Forum Discussion: Mission and Ethics, Ministry/Leadership ing Grams: Mission and Ethics The Centrality of Christ in Missions, Theology, and Ethics Church and Mission in Matthew Grams: Is it Ministry or Leadership? 'Not 'Leaders' but 'Little Ones' in the Father's Kingdom: The character of discipleship in Matthew's Gospel.' Transformation 2004 (21.2):

7 The Need for Servants, Not Leaders Not Even Servant Leaders. Blog: Issues Facing Missions Today 18. A Biblical Theology of Leadership? Blog: Issues Facing Missions Today 9. Six Uses and Misuses of Scripture in Leadership Studies. Blog: Issues Facing Missions Today 17. Power as Service in Paul s Apostolic Role. Blog: Issues Facing Missions Today 20. Some Methodological Questions for Leadership Studies. Blog: Issues Facing Missions Today 24. Week 4: February 9-14 ing and Forum Discussion: Economic Ethics, Wellness and Prosperity, Love ing Grams: Economic Ethics Early Christian Views on Wealth, Possessions, and Giving Remuneration for Ministry Grams: Wellness and Prosperity The Daniel Diet?! The Theology of Well-Being. Toward a Pauline Theology of Suffering Green: Joel Green, Healthcare Systems in Scripture, pp Thomas Ogletree, Love Command, pp Sondra Wheeler, Love of Enemy, pp. 120 Nijay Gupta, Love of Neighbor, pp CLASS MEETING: 14 February Week 5: February ing and Forum Discussion: The Church, Pauline Ethics ing Grams: Ethics and the Church The Church 1: Mission as Forming Gathered Communities of Christ The Church 2: Congregational Singing as the Formation and Confession of Convictions The Church 3: Saying the Creed as the Beginning of Missionary Proclamation 7

8 Tolerance, Unity, and Love Whatever Happened to the Ban in the Evangelical Church? An Ethic for Overseers, With a Particular Focus on the Issue of Divorce and Remarriage From Being to Doing: the Identity of God s People as the Ground for Building a Christian Social Ethic Transformation Mission Theology: Its History, Theology and Hermeneutics A Holistic Gospel Louie Gigglio, Big Brother, and a Lesson from the Anabaptists Green: David Horrell, 1 Corinthians, pp David Downs, 2 Corinthians, pp Jerry Sumney, Ephesians, pp Week 6: March 2-7 ing and Forum Discussion: Post on either Blomberg or Strauss (whichever you are not writing a report on; reply to another student s post on either book) Week 7: March 9-14 ing, no Forum Discussion CLASS MEETING: 14 March Week 8: March ing and Forum Discussion: Women in Ministry, Communal Virtues and Vices, James Ethics, Pauline Ethics ing Grams: Women and Ministry Women s Ordination: Contextual Considerations Grams: Communal Virtues and Vices Brief Essays [ three of the following] Non-Retaliation Love of Enemies Dying with Christ Truthfulness Community of Hope Praying for Faith, Love, and Hope Pride Generosity (for children) 8

9 Honoring One s Parents and Care for the Elderly Green: David Edgar, James, pp Victor Paul Furnish, Romans, pp Victor Paul Furnish, Galatians, pp Victor Paul Furnish, Philippians, pp Victor Paul Furnish, Philemon, pp Week 9: March ing, no Forum Discussion Week 10: March 30-April 4 ing and Forum Discussion: Post on either Gagnon, Kalentzis, or Thompson (whichever you are not writing a report on; reply to another student s post on any book) Week 11: April 6-11: Post on either Gagnon, Kalentzis, or Thompson (whichever you are not writing a report on and have not yet discussed in a forum; reply to another student s post on any book) Week 12: April ing, no Forum Discussion CLASS MEETING: 18 April Critical Book Review II: Due 2 May 9

10 Copy Save Submit by attachment by 2 nd May. Check off everything read in full; fill out other reading and last column. ing Log for Entire Course Copy Save Submit by attachment by 16 July. 2 pages. Check off everything read in full; fill out other reading and last column. a total of at least 1,500 pages for the course. ing Thompson, James W. Moral Formation According to Paul: The Context and Coherence of Pauline Ethics. Blomberg, Craig. Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions. Gagnon, Robert. The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics. Chapter 3: The Witness of Jesus Chapter 4: The Witness of Paul and Deutero-Paul Chapter 5: The Vice Lists in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 Chapter 6: The Hermeneutical Relevance of the Biblical Witness Kalantzis, George. Caesar and the Lamb: Early Christian Attitudes on War and Military Service. [Note: quickly skim pp ] Strauss, Mark, ed. Remarriage for Divorce in Today s Church: 3 Views. Green, Joel, ed., The New Testament and Ethics Grams, Rollin. The Bible and Christian Ethics Totals: Pages During Course Total Pages : 1,500 Pages Required x 100 = % of Required ing Completed 10

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