SYLLABUS FOR "BUILDING SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY"
Many of us have read systematic theology, but we seldom consider the process behind its development. This course analyzes the steps of building systematic theology, especially the formation of technical terms, theological propositions, and doctrinal statements. It examines the legitimacy of systematic theology, the place of human logic in the process, and the dangers and benefits of this tool. It is based on the DVD lessons of Dr. Richard L. Pratt, Jr.
Dr. Richard L. Pratt, Jr.
Dr. Pratt is the president and founder of Third Millennium Ministries. He received his M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary and his Th.D. in Old Testament Studies from Harvard University. He formerly chaired the Old Testament department at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Then he transitioned in 2006 from his teaching role at RTS to work full time with Third Millennium Ministries. Among his published books are: Every Thought Captive, Pray With Your Eyes Open, He Gave Us Stories, and Designed For Dignity.
Goals and Objectives
In this course, we would like to accomplish the following:
1. We hope you will develop a greater appreciation for systematic theology, and that you will become aware of its benefits and dangers.
2. We hope you will make use of all the instruction elements of the course to understand the process of developing systematic theology, including the proper use of human logic, the proper use of the Scriptures, and the proper method of defining technical terms, making theological propositions, and designing doctrinal statements.
3. We hope you make changes in your life as a response to the teachings of this course. It should change the way you use systematic theology and help you analyze contemporary theological expressions.
When you have done the following, it will show that the goals are met:
1. Use all the written elements of the course to express your own thoughts and attitudes regarding systematic theology.
2. Obtain satisfactory grades on the tests, demonstrating that you can do the following: a) explain the process of developing systematic theology, b) define some key terms of systematic theology, c) identify the proper use of logic in the process of systematic theology, d) identify the proper use of the Scriptures in the process of systematic theology, and e) identify the benefits and dangers of systematic theology.
3. Complete all the questionnaires, in which you express your own responses and opinions, showing how you have assimilated the teachings of the course and applied them to your own life.
The course is based on materials taught by Dr. Richard L. Pratt, Jr., produced and distributed by Third Millennium Ministries.
Birmingham Theological Seminary offers two hours of credit for this course, as part of the program leading to a Certificate in Christian Ministry.
Thematic Outline of the Course
1. What is Systematic Theology?
2. Technical Terms in Systematics
3. Propositions in Systematics
4. Doctrines in Systematics
Required Additional Reading
The Westminster Confession of Faith
James P. Boice, Abstract of Systematic Theology, chapters 4-42
You should begin with the following for each lesson:
1. Read the "Preparation" document and complete any activity mentioned there in preparation for the lesson.
2. Read the instructions for the lesson.
3. Watch all the videos (or listen to the audio, or read the text version).
4. Complete the study guide for each section of the videos.
While they are not required, and while they will not be graded, we recommend that you do the following for each lesson to prepare for the acummulative test and to get the maximum benefit from the lesson:
1. Take the quiz on each section of the videos.
2. If there are any, watch the videos of class discussion forums.
3. Browse through the glossary of the lesson.
The accumulative test
Take the accumulative on each lesson. This is required and will give you the grade for the lesson.
Required Additional Reading
After completing the lessons based on the video lectures, there is a final lesson based on required additional reading. The student should do the reading, complete the study guides, and take the corresponding test based on the reading.
Estimated Time for Study
While each student is different, we estimate that each lesson may take around 10 hours to do the required assignments, if the student is already familiar with how to use these courses.
You may see your grades at any time by clicking on the link. (It is in the left margin in the computer version, and at the bottom in other versions.)
1) Each accumulative test is worth 100 points and the test on the required reading is worth 100 points.
2) The quizzes on each section of the lessons are graded (10 points for each) so that you can evaluate your learning, but they will not be included in the official course grade. They are only for the purpose of practicing and learning.
3) The final grade for the course will be calculated by taking the appropriate percentages from each accumulative test and from the test on required reading, to make a total of 100%.
The evaluation scale has the following meaning:
90-100%: Excellent (A)
80-89%: Good (B)
75-79%: Average (C)
0-75%: Insufficient (F)
We highly recommend that you involve other people in your studies, in order to avoid isolating yourself. You may choose to form a study group with other students that are in the same program, or in a similar program of studies. You could share what you are learning, encourage one another, and pray for each . It would also be a great idea to form a mentoring relationship with your pastor or with another person you respect, to make yourself accountable to him. You could meet once a week to share what you are learning and pray together.