Somerset Christian College


TH 201 Foundations of Christian Faith

Spring 2006   Traditional Track

Academic Building Rm ***   Thu 7:00 – 9:30

Course Syllabus



Course Instructor


John Drury

Office: Academic Office  

215-971-5197 (cell)



Contribution of this Course to the Movement of SCC’s Mission and Vision


This course contributes to the student’s overall experience at Somerset by initiating him or her into the core doctrines of Christian theology.  We not only tell the Larger Story of God, but we also think about it.  The focus of this course will thus be on the Upward Call.  In addition, this course will contribute to the Inward Call by deeping our understanding of the object of our spirituality: God himself.  Finally, this course will explore the implications of Christian belief for the motivation and practice of ministry in the world (Outward Call).



Required Texts


- Main Text:  Alister E. McGrath. Theology: The Basics. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.

- Supplement:  Karl Barth. Dogmatics in Outline. New York: HarperCollins, 1959.



Course Objectives


By the end of this course the student will …


1.      have an basic understanding of Christian doctrine (McGrath; Lectures),

2.      be able to read and appreciate theological texts (Terms; Barth),

3.      be acquainted with the resources available for theological reflection (Paper)

4.      be able to think theologically about practical problems in life (Discussions)

5.      know, love and enjoy God better by studying him.


Course Description


“An introductory course designed to acquaint students with the content of the classical Christian faith through a study of essential doctrines.  Discussion also includes the task of theology, theological method, and the Triune nature of Christian reasoning about God.” 


Course Requirements


1. Weekly Points: 10 weeks x 20 pts/week = 200 points


Each weekly session you can earn up to 20 points.  These points will be awarded based on quizzes, assignments, reading, and active participation.  The primary means for earning these points will be the weekly terms & names quiz.  Each week you will encounter terms and names in your McGrath textbook.  They are listed in the back of McGrath.  I have them to their respective chapters and due dates in the appendix of the syllabus. 


2. Paper Points: 1 paper x 200 points = 200 points


Each student is responsible for one final paper.  It must be between 5 and 7 pages and is due on December 8th.  The paper should be written on one particular theologian’s views concerning one particular doctrine.  The student must hand in a paper topic proposal (no more than one sheet of paper) by November 17th.  The professor will review the proposal for approval and suggestions and return it the following class session.


3. Test Points: 3 Tests x 200 pts each = 600 points


There will be three unit tests worth 200 points each.  Each test will focus on the unit material but may also contain cumulative questions from previous units.  It will be comprised of matching drawn from your terms and names lists, objective questions from Lectures and McGrath, and quote analysis essays.  A forty-point section of each test will be dedicated to questions concerning the supplemental text (Barth).


Points and Grading Scale


     200 Weekly Points

     200 Paper Points

  + 600 Test Points

   1000 total points



1000 – 950  A

949 – 900  A-

899 – 870  B+

869 – 830  B

829 – 800  B-

799 – 770  C+


769 – 730  C

729 – 700  C-

699 – 670  D+

669 – 630  D

629 – 600  D-

599 –     0  F



Course Schedule


Jan 19th          Orientation: Why Doctrine?


Unit One: “I believe in God the Father”


Jan 26th          Method                       McGrath pg. xi - xxv; Barth ch. 1


Feb 2nd           Faith                           McGrath ch. 1; Barth ch. 2-4


Feb 9th            God                             McGrath ch. 2; Barth ch. 5-7


Feb 16th         Creation                     McGrath ch. 3; Barth ch. 8-9


Feb 23rd         TEST ONE


Mar 2nd           “Spring Break” – no class


Unit Two: “I believe in Jesus Christ”


Mar 9th            Incarnation                 McGrath ch. 4; Barth ch. 10-14


Mar 16th          Cross                         McGrath ch. 5; Barth ch. 15-20


Mar 23rd          Resurrection             Barth ch. 18-20


Mar 30th          TEST TWO


Unit Three: “I believe in the Holy Spirit”


April 6th           Spirit                          McGrath ch. 6; Barth ch. 21; TOPIC Due  


Apr 13th          Church                        McGrath ch. 7; Barth ch. 22


Apr 20th          Kingdom                    McGrath ch. 8; Barth ch. 23-24; PAPER Due


Apr 27th          TEST THREE

Points Tally                                                  NAME:


Sep 8th       Orientation



Sep 15th      _____/20 Weekly Points                                         Total = _____/20



Sep 22nd     _____/20 Weekly Points                                         Total = _____/40



Sep 29th      _____/20 Weekly Points                                         Total = _____/60



Oct 6th         _____/20 Weekly Points                                         Total = _____/80



Oct 13th       _____/200 TEST ONE                                           Total = _____/280



Oct 20th       _____/20 Weekly Points                                         Total = _____/300



Oct 27th       _____/20 Weekly Points                                         Total = _____/320



Nov 3rd         _____/20 Weekly Points                                         Total = _____/340



Nov 10th      _____/200 TEST TWO                                          Total = _____/540



Nov 17th      _____/20 Weekly Points                                         Total = _____/560



Nov 24th     No Class: Reading Week ~Thanksgiving Recess



Ded 1st        _____/20 Weekly Points                                         Total = _____/580



Dec 8th        _____/20 Weekly Points     ____/200 PAPER    Total = _____/800



Dec 15th      _____/200 TEST THREE                                      Total = _____/1000


Course Bibliography


The following selection is intentionally broad.  Thus the views found within are not necessarily endorsed by the professor.



A. Reflections on the Apostle’s Creed


Balthasar, Hans Urs von. Credo. New York, NY: Crossroad, 1990.

Barth, Karl. Credo. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962.

Barth, Karl. Dogmatics in Outline. New York, NY: Harper Torchbooks, 1959.

de Lubac, Henri. Christian Faith. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius, 1986.

Gunton, Colin E. The Christian Faith: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine. Oxford: Blackwell, 2002.

Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why It Matters .New York, NY: Doubleday, 2003.

Lash, Nicholas. Believing Three Ways in One God. South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1993.

Luther, Martin. Small Catechism. St. Louis, MO: Concordia, 1986.

McGrath, Alister. I Believe. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1998.

Pannenberg, Wolfhart. The Apostles' Creed in Light of Today’s Questions. Wipf & Stock, 2001.

Theilicke, Helmut. I Believe: The Christian’s Creed. Paternoster, 1998.


B. Theological Textbooks


Migliore, Faith Seeking Understanding. 2nd edtion

McGrath, Alister. Christian Theology: An Introduction.

Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology.

Placher, William, ed. Essentials of Christian Theology.


C. “Systematic” Theologies


Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae. 50 vols.

Luther, Martin. Luther’s Works. 55 vols.

Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion. 2 vols.

Schleiermacher, Freidrich. Christian Faith.

Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology. 3 vols.

Barth, Karl. Church Dogmatics. 15 vols.

Tillich, Paul. Systematic Theology. 3 vols.

Rahner, Karl. Theological Investigations. 22 vols.

Pannenberg, Wolfhart. Systematic Theology. 3 vols.

Moltmann, Jurgen. Systematic Contributions to Theology. 5 vols.

Balthasar, Hans urs von. Theo-Drama. 5 vols.

Tanner, Kathryn. Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity: A Brief Systematic Theology.

Course Attendance Policy


Because of the significant amount of participatory learning, attendance is assumed and required in all Drury classes.  The syllabus clearly shows that there are points at stake in every class session.  Thus absences jeopardize not only the student’s learning but also his or her grade.  Bottom line: come to class.


Nevertheless, absences are inevitable.  The Somerset Christian College attendance policy outlines the penalty for excessive absences (see catalogue and/or below).  The following policy supplements the official policy by indicating the protocol for earning “weekly points” in the case of absence.


Excused Absences


An absence is considered excused when the student is too sick to come to class or has experienced a death in the family.  Other instances will be reviewed on a case by case basis.


To be eligible for make-up work, the student must notify the professor by email ( or by phone (215-971-5197) by the beginning of the class session to be missed. 


In order to receive credit, the student must hand in any missed assignments or take any missed quizzes or tests by the end of the next class session in order to receive credit.  It is the student’s responsibility to find out any relevant information, collect class notes, and arrange make-up quizzes or tests in consultation with the professor.


Unexcused Absences


An absence is unexcused in any case that is not illness or death in the family. 


To be eligible for make-up work, the student must notify the professor by email (, by phone (215-971-5197), or in person by the end of the class session previous to the class session to be missed.  Otherwise, all weekly points are forfeited.


If the professor is notified accordingly, the student must send in any assignments by the regular due date in order to receive credit.  Assignments may be sent in with another student, dropped off at the front SCC front desk, or emailed to the professor.  The student is responsible to inform the professor of his or her method of sending in assignments.  Quizzes and tests must be taken by the end of the class session following the absence.  It is the student’s responsibility to find out any relevant information, collect class notes, and arrange make-up quizzes and tests in consultation with the professor.


Instructional Resource Center


The IRC at Somerset Christian College offers tutorial support services designed to help all students achieve their full academic potential and goals. The IRC as a venue of both remediation and enhancement to the coursework requirements, offers materials and tutorials in study skills such as time management, organization, and learning or test strategies; in MLA format and style;  in writing assistance such as outlining, drafting, researching, and editing; and in computer skills and information access. Conveniently located in the AK White library on campus, the IRC works to provide students with materials and skill sets necessary to carry out information access, evaluation, and application effectively.   It also offers assistance in resume building and in reference letter requests. As a supplement to the regular classroom experience, the IRC promotes quality and excellence of all student endeavors to the glory of God.

For current hours of operation, you may email the director, Dr. Beverly Busch at or call  732-356-1595, ext. 1126;  you may also call the library direct at 732-356-1595, ext. 1120; or check the SCC web page (Academics, IRC) as these hours are subject to change throughout the academic year. Blessings to you all as you follow Christ!   

Attendance Policy


In an effort to ensure that students experience the greatest return from their studies at SCC and to maintain a sense of community between and among students and faculty, the following policy about student attendance has been established:


SCC recognizes that extenuating circumstances will necessitate students missing class on occasion. Therefore, students are allowed to miss one block session (unexcused) per three credit-hour course without question and without academic penalty. A block session constitutes one class meeting (2 ˝ or 3 ˝ hour session) per week.


Unless approval is obtained from the instructor in advance, students missing 2-4 classes will have their letter grade lowered one full letter for every block class missed (e.g. students missing 2 block classes would have his/her grade lowered from A to B; 3 absences would reduce the letter grade from A to C, etc.). Students who accrue more than 4 absences will be assigned a grade of "F" for that course. In all cases, students have the right to appeal. Appeals must be made in writing to the instructor and the Academic Dean.


In all cases, including unexcused absences, students must make up all assignments and tests missed during any absence through arrangement with their instructor(s) in order to receive academic credit.


Snow and Other Emergency/Class Cancellation Policy


In case of inclement weather or other emergency conditions, students, staff and faculty should consult the Somerset Christian College website, voice mail, and/or STAR 99.1 for up to date information.  Call 732-356-1595 or 1-800-234-9305 and press 9, the college information line, for up to date information on class cancellation. 


Somerset Christian College Official Style Guide


SCC requires that all research papers conform to the style guide as outlined by the MLA (Modern Language Association).


Gibaldi, Joseph.  MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. NY: MLA, 2003.

Four important rules to remember in order to avoid plagiarizing something:

  • Your instructor is your best resource if you have any questions regarding whether or not your information is documented accurately.
  • Put an in-text citation at the end of any idea or fact which you found in a book or article, whether or not you change the words.
  • Exact quotations should either be put in quotation marks or indented and an in-text citation should be used to indicate the source
  • When in doubt, go ahead and document the source.

*Note: Documenting sources helps your reader find more information as well as helping you avoid plagiarism.

Gannon, Jack. The Week the World Heard Gallaudet. Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press, 1989. (modified BB 1/05).




Grading Scale


The grading scale is listed below with the respective grade point values. The unit of credit is defined as one 50 minute session per week for one semester of 15 weeks or the equivalent. Academic standing is defined as the ratio of total grade point values to the total semester hour credits. The 4.0 point system is used to compute the grade point standing. The grading system is as follows:




Grade Point   Grade, Num. Score/%

A         4.0            A            95-100

A-        3.7            A-           90-94

B+       3.3            B+           87-89

B          3.0            B             83-86

B-        2.7            B-            80-82           

C+       2.3            C+           77-79

C         2.0            C             73-76

C-        1.7            C-            70-72

D+       1.3            D+          67-69

D         1.0            D            63-66

D-        0.7            D-           60-62

F          0.0            F               0-59

The following grades are not counted in the calculation of the GPA (grade point average):

W            Withdrawn

WP         Withdrawn Passing

WF         Withdrawn Failing

NC         No Credit


To remain in good academic standing, a student must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average. Transfer credit hours are not counted in calculating academic standing. To graduate a student must complete at least  60 hours of academic credit for the two-year Associates degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 on all credits attempted at Somerset Christian College.



Appendix 1: Terms


The following are keyed to the date of the class and McGrath’s chapter titles.



Sep 15th - Getting Started

Apostolic era









Sep 22nd - Faith

Ancilla theologiae


Five Ways, the


Sep 29th - God


Oct 6th - Creation

Analogy of faith

Analogy of being




Oct 20th - Jesus




Chalcedonian definition








Two natures, doctrine of

Oct 27th - Salvation








Nov 17th - Trinity


Cappadocian fathers

Appropriation Charisma, charismatic




Dec 1st - Church





Radical Reformation





Dec 8th - Heaven


Beatific vision







Appendix 2: Names


The following are keyed to the date of the class and McGrath’s chapter titles.



Sep 15th - Getting Started

Descartes, Rene

Rahner, Karl

Tillich, Paul

Vincent of Lerins


Sep 22nd - Faith

Anselm of Canterbury

Thomas Aquinas

Calvin, John

Luther, Martin

Paley, William

Pascal, Blaise


Sep 29th - God

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich

Brunner, Emil

Julian of Norwich


Oct 6th - Creation

Augustine of Hippo

Edwards, Jonathan

Barth, Karl

Justin Martyr

Irenaeus of Lyons

Thomas a Kempis


Oct 20th - Jesus



Bultmann, Rudolf

Sayers, Dorothy L.

Oct 27th - Salvation

Gregory the Great

Hugh of St. Victor

Peter Abelard

Melanchthon, Philip

Wesley, Charles

Wesley, John


Nov 17th - Trinity

Basil of Caesarea

Gregory of Nazianzus

Gregory of Nyssa

Jenson, Robert



Dec 1st - Church

Cyprian of Carthage

Ignatius of Antioch

Zinzendorf, Nicolas v.

Zwingli, Huldrych


Dec 8th - Heaven

Peter Lombard

Methodius of Olympus