Master of Arts in Theology

http://www.whitworth.edu/theologyma

Overview

The Whitworth Master of Arts in Theology Program seeks to produce Christ-centered, well-educated, spiritually disciplined, visionary leaders for the church and society. The students most likely to benefit from the program will be people already engaged in church leadership or those who show interest and promise to pursue such leadership. Students may use the program as a foundation for an M.Div. or other advanced degree, or as the first step in becoming a chaplain. The program is built on a sturdy foundation of the following elements:

  • Classical Theology: Professors teach the traditional theological disciplines of biblical studies, systematic theology and church history, as well as more applied areas.
  • Practical Preparation: Classes address contemporary challenges that people in ministry face every day; they also explore concrete and creative solutions.
  • Spiritual Formation: Students learn together in a praying, worshipping community, enjoy many meals together, and practice traditional spiritual disciplines.

Design

The program is structured for individuals who are energized by learning with peers and scholars and who are prepared to grow in their Christian vocation. Students have the opportunity to integrate community and spiritual enrichment by sharing meals, worshipping together, and networking with colleagues in the program. On-campus classes are clustered to enable those who work full time, or who live outside of Spokane, to pursue theological education. Between class sessions, students and professors engage online to continue each student's learning.

Academic Values and Outcomes

The Whitworth University Theology Department is solidly rooted in the Trinitarian faith of the church throughout the ages. It is committed to the authority of Holy Scripture as God’s word and to the worldwide mission and ministry of Jesus Christ. Its goal is to provide students with an intellectually challenging, academically rigorous, and spiritually enriching theological education that will equip them to serve in a wide variety of contexts. The M.A. in Theology Program focuses on the classical disciplines of biblical studies, church history and Christian theology. As students move through the curriculum, they are challenged to discern God's call on their lives and to apply what they are learning to the ministries in which they are engaged.

Student learning outcomes:

  • Develop skills in reading and interpreting important texts, arguing a point of view, writing for formal classroom work and for ministry, and communicating theology to laypeople; apply these skills in actual ministry settings.
  • Cultivate various disciplines in the spiritual life, such as Bible memorization and prayer; explore ways in which to help laypeople do the same in a ministry setting.
  • Understand the story of the Bible, theological themes in the Bible, and genres of biblical literature, and explore various  methods of biblical interpretation; learn how to explain these to laypeople in a ministry setting.
  • Gain knowledge and perspective on the history of the church; use as a resource for practical ministry.
  • Master the basic history, development, and ideas of Christian doctrine; apply this knowledge to a ministry setting.
  • Explore the principles of leadership in a ministry organization, methods of discipleship training, and techniques of pastoral ministry and counseling; adapt these to actual ministry settings.
Master of Arts in Theology Courses

All students will take eight core courses (24 credits) covering the disciplines of theology and ministry. Each course requires the completion of assignments before the class convenes, participation in classroom discussion, and submission of a final project after the class is finished. In addition, students can choose four electives (12 credits) that will allow them to explore areas of interest: for example, preaching, mission and church planting, youth ministry, pastoral counseling, biblical languages, and Christianity and culture.

Transfer Credit

Whitworth will accept applicable graduate work transferred from regionally accredited institutions or institutions accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in the United States or Canada. For institutions without regional accreditation, transfer credit will be considered if the credibility of the institution can be supported by the "three-letter rule," which states that it is the responsibility of the student to provide letters from three regionally accredited institutions certifying that they will accept credit from the institution from which the student is seeking credit.

Application and Admission Process

Admission Requirements

The Master of Arts in Theology Program seeks students who are currently involved in a church and/or Christian organization, as well as those who desire a deeper knowledge and understanding of Christian theology. Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA from a regionally accredited institution. Prior graduate coursework may also be considered if an applicant’s GPA is below 3.0.

If the applicant's academic record does not demonstrate graduate-level academic ability, further evidence of academic ability may be required.

Your application is complete when we have received the following:

  • a completed application
  • two professional recommendations
  • official college/university transcripts
  • a personal essay of up to 600 words
  • a writing sample of up to 1,000 words
  • your current CV

For further details, and to apply online, go to www.whitworth.edu/theologyma. Information not submitted online should be sent directly to the following address:

Master of Arts in Theology Program
Whitworth University
300 W. Hawthorne Road
Spokane, WA 99251

An on-campus interview is required prior to or following submission of all application documents. Call 509.777.3222 to schedule an appointment.

Admission Criteria

The following criteria will be considered in the admission decision process: undergraduate academic record, personal interview, quality of writing samples, professional recommendations, and involvement in churches and/or Christian organizations. Applicants will be notified by the master’s in theology office of their admission status once all documents are received and reviewed by the admissions committee.

Courses

THG 501 Christian Leadership1
This course will introduce the M.A. in Theology program by focusing on the way in which Christ's values provide a leadership template for Christian leaders. We will also look at the ways in which the most successful 21st century organizations are structured and led.
THG 509 New Testament Greek I4
The basic vocabulary and grammar required for reading the Greek New Testament. An intensive course. Fall semester, odd years.
THG 510 History of Christianity I: Great Tradition3
The history, thought, and practices of the Christian church from its beginning to the dawn of the Reformation, with special attention given to pastoral, ecclesiastical, and cultural issues. Summer offering.
THG 512 New Testament Greek II4
Translation of the Epistles of John and selected passages from the Gospel of John in Greek. An intensive course. Prerequisite: THG 509. Spring semester.
THG 515 Christian Theology3
An examination of all the major topics of Christian theology. Attention will be given to the core content of each doctrine, the coherence of the doctrines with one another, and the practical implications of the gospel in the lives of individuals, the church, and the world.
THG 518 Greek Reading and Exegesis I Tradition3
This course develops proficiency in the grammar and vocabulary of Koine Greek through the reading of a variety of Greek texts, particularly in the New Testament, and it introduces students to the fundamentals of New Testament exegesis. Prerequisite: THG-512. Fall semester, even years.
THG 519 Greek Reading and Exegesis II3
Continuation of THG-518. Prerequisite: THG-518. Spring semester, odd years.
THG 520 History of Christianity II: Reform and Renewal3
The history, thought, and practices of the Christian church from the beginning of the Reformation to the present, with special emphasis on church reform and spiritual renewal.
THG 525 Leadership in the Christian Community3
The foundational premise behind this course is that the leaders' own personal journey of faith and their own continued growth in emotional, mental, and spiritual health is the most critical component in responding to challenging ministry realities in our rapidly changing world. In this course, we will look at some of the seminal issues facing ministry leaders and the communities they serve today, and some of the personal attributes and ministry skills that are necessary to survive and thrive over the long haul.
THG 530 Christian Spirituality3
This course will explore the nature of Christian Spirituality by focusing on the way in which various spiritual disciplines apply today. We will also look at the ways in which Christians of the past and present followed Christ and put in practice God's Word.
THG 535 Biblical Exegesis for Ministry3
This graduate level course in Theology will explore the various genre of scripture (narrative, history, poetry, parable, exhortation, teaching, and pastoral guidance) in order to discern the precise interpretive tools required to understand each type of literature in its original historical form and context. This course serves as prerequisite for the course "Preaching and Teaching the Bible," in which contemporary application and proclamation will be considered. Spring semester, odd years.
THG 540 Life of Jesus and the Early Church3
This course introduces students to the significance of the gospels for preaching, catechesis, and life in Christ by examining the genre of gospel literature, the formation of the four-fold gospel tradition, the unique characteristics and purpose of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the early missionary outreach of the church, as recorded in the Book of Acts.
THG 541 Biblical Hebrew I3
An introduction to Biblical Hebrew study within a ministerial context, including vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, for the purpose of reading narrative texts from the Hebrew Bible. Fall semester, even years.
THG 542 Biblical Hebrew II3
An introduction to Biblical Hebrew, including vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, for the purpose of reading narrative texts from the Hebrew Bible. Spring semester, odd years.
THG 543 Hebrew Reading & Exegesis I (narrative)2-3
This course, the first of a two-semester sequence, presupposes the knowledge of the fundamentals of biblical Hebrew grammar and is intended to enable students to gain greater mastery over the vocabulary, syntax and grammar of biblical Hebrew and to introduce them to the fundamentals of exegesis of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), including textual criticism, literary analysis, and theological interpretation. Prerequisites: THG 541 and THG 542.
THG 544 Hebrew Reading & Exegesis II (poetry)2-3
This course, the second of a two-semester sequence, presupposes the knowledge of the fundamentals of biblical Hebrew grammar and experience in translating and interpreting biblical Hebrew narrative. The course is intended to enable students to continue to develop in their mastery of the vocabulary, syntax and grammar of biblical Hebrew and to introduce them to the fundamentals of exegesis of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), including textual criticism, literary analysis, and theological interpretation. In this semester, students will be introduced to the issues involved in translating biblical Hebrew poetry. Prerequisite: THG 541, THG 542 and THG 543, or the equivalent.
THG 550 New Testament Letters3
A careful study of Paul's Letters, Hebrews, the General Epistles, and Revelation, focused on the content, distinctive emphases, and theology of each letter, and its potential to transform Christian living and thinking today; development of exegetical and hermeneutical skills.
THG 560 Old Testament Theology3
The literature of the Old Testament, the history of Israel, critical issues and method in Old Testament study, and the theology of the Old Testament with an emphasis on covenant as an integrative theme and as anticipatory of Jesus Christ.
THG 565 Pastoral Care in a Faith Community3
This course equips students for ministries of compassion and caregiving. We will examine the varieties of struggles and illnesses common to our time and culture, and seek to apply the rich resources of the Christian tradition and the Church to the task of fostering healing and wholeness for those in our care. Through a combination of Biblical and theological perspectives, as well as the insights of modern psychology, students will gain a holistic understanding of the task of pastoral care. Jan Term, even years.
THG 567 Mission-Shaped Church: The Church in Post-Christendom3
Students will learn to analyze our postmodern, pluralist American context with the goal of developing a more faithful witness. Special consideration will be given to a biblical-theological rationale for the existence of the church as well as tensions between Christendom and missional models of its life.
THG 570 Christianity & Culture3
This course helps students develop an understanding of the notion of "culture", especially in terms of postmodern culture, and its relationship to the Christian faith in order to better equip students for Christian ministry.
THG 574 Missional Perspectives of Global Christianity3
The Global South has emerged as the center of evangelical Christianity. The purpose of this course is to understand that movement, its impact on how missions are conducted today, and how collaboration and partnership need to be redefined for tomorrow. Several pressing topics will be given special attention, including the Middle East migration crisis, the rise of fundamentalisms, and the moral challenge of sexual ethics. We will also hear from key mission practitioners abroad through live video interviews. Coursework will culminate in the creation of a ministry outreach methodology that is more adequate to today's globalized world.
THG 577 Theology in the Public Square3
With Christendom now behind us, the American church has been given an urgent and exciting opportunity to re-think its presence in the public square. The purpose of this course, then, is to explore the uniqueness of the gospel. We will consider a Christian approach to human life and dignity; to community and its barriers; to excellent work and the freedom of genuine play. The goal of this graduate level course is not only to appreciate how the gospel illumines our world, but to develop our own strategies for creative engagement in our contexts.
THG 580 Teaching/Preaching the Bible3
A study of effective communication in teaching and preaching the bible. Attention will be given to the nature of human communication, principles of teaching biblical texts, and the preparation and presentation of messages involving a variety of biblical genres. Prerequisite: THG 535.
THG 580A Teaching and Preaching the Bible: Theology1
A study of effective communication in teaching and preaching the bible. Attention will be given to theological foundations, the nature of human communication, principles of teaching biblical texts, and the preparation of a Christian witness that is more winsome, effective and faithful. (See also THG-580B and C)
THG 586 Readings3
THG 599A Master's Thesis3
A master's thesis is aimed at development of scholarly competence and expertise on a particular topic of church history, Christian doctrine, or biblical studies. Students may register to complete the two parts of this project (THG-599A and THG-599B) within the same semester or across consecutive semesters.
THG 599B Master's Thesis3
The second of two parts required for a thesis.

Master of Arts in Theology Courses (36)

Required (Core) Courses (24 credits)
THG 510History of Christianity I: Great Tradition3
THG 515Christian Theology3
THG 520History of Christianity II: Reform and Renewal3
THG 525Leadership in the Christian Community3
THG 530Christian Spirituality3
THG 540Life of Jesus and the Early Church3
THG 550New Testament Letters3
THG 560Old Testament Theology3
Electives: choose 12 credits:12
(Additional courses may apply. See advisor for details.)
New Testament Greek I
New Testament Greek II
Greek Reading and Exegesis I Tradition
Greek Reading and Exegesis II
Biblical Exegesis for Ministry
Biblical Hebrew I
Biblical Hebrew II
Hebrew Reading & Exegesis I (narrative)
Hebrew Reading & Exegesis II (poetry)
Pastoral Care in a Faith Community
Missional Church
Christianity & Culture
Theology in the Public Square
Teaching/Preaching the Bible
Readings
Master's Thesis
Master's Thesis
Note: THG-596 courses will apply toward this requirement. See advisor for details.
Director

JEREMY WYNNE

Professors

KEITH BEEBEKARIN HELLERADAM NEDERGERALD SITTSER

President emeritus

BILL ROBINSON

Associate professor

TERENCE MCGONIGAL

Assistant professors

KAREN PETERSEN FINCHHALEY GORANSONWILL KYNESJOSH LEIMJONATHAN MOOJEREMY WYNNE