Exegetical Theology (18 credits)
Gospels I4.0 credits
Because of the centrality of Jesus Christ in the revelation of God, this will serve as a foundational course for the entire theological curriculum. After an introduction to Gospel literature as well as the history and practice of biblical interpretation, major portions of the Greek text of the Gospel of Matthew will be studied. Significant teachings such as the Nature of the Scriptures, Interpretation of the Old Testament, the Identity of Christ, the Kingdom of God, the Trinity and Baptism, the Apostolic Mission and Ministry, the Return of Christ, the Lord’s Supper, Jesus’ Death as Atonement and the Resurrection will be examined. Faithful interpretation of the Gospel of Matthew for preaching and teaching will be modeled in lectures and mentored in exegetical groups.
Gospels II: Pastoral and Missional Theology in Luke and Acts4.0 credits
This course will focus on the centrality of Jesus Christ in the revelation of God in the Gospel of Luke and the significance of the mission of the apostles in the Book of Acts. The teaching and preaching of Jesus in the Gospel, the sermons of the apostles in Acts, the sacramental theology in Luke-Acts and the missional and diakonal ministry of the early Christians will be examined. Since Luke is the only Gospel with a companion work describing the life of the Church, themes unique to Luke will be emphasized. Topics such as the Nature of the Scriptures, Interpretation of the Old Testament, the Identity of Christ, the Kingdom of God, the Trinity and Baptism, the Apostolic Mission and Ministry, the Return of Christ, the Lord’s Supper, Jesus’ Death as Atonement and the Resurrection will be examined.
Pauline Epistles4.0 credits
After an introduction to the life of the Apostle Paul, major portions of the Greek text of Galatians and Romans will be studied. Important central teachings in the Greek text of Pauls other Epistles will also be examined, such as the Person and Work of Christ, the Church, Baptism and the Lords Supper, the End Times and Pastoral Ministry. The importance of the Apostle Pauls teaching for the life of the church will be highlighted.
The Books of Moses: The Beginning and New Beginning3.0 credits
After an introduction to the first five books of the Old Testament, major portions of Genesis will be studied because of its foundational role in all theology and the mission of the Church. Creation, Marriage, the Fall into Sin, the Promise of Salvation, the Presence of the Son with the Patriarchs and other biblical themes in Genesis will be examined. Portions of Exodus through Deuteronomy will also be studied because of their foundational role for the history of Israel and all theology. The Exodus, the Law, the Presence of the Son, the Tabernacle, Worship, Sacrifices, Purity, Forgiveness and other biblical themes in Exodus-Deuteronomy will be examined. Commentaries, sermons, liturgies and hymnody from the history of the Church that addresses Genesis through Deuteronomy will also be considered. Integration of the narratives of Genesis through Deuteronomy and teachings in the missional life of the Church today will be accented.
The liturgical life of the church and the devotional life of her pastors have been shaped and influenced by the Psalter. This course approaches the study of the Psalter from an inter¬ disciplinary perspective by incorporating both exegetical and pastoral ministry concerns. Selected Psalms will be closely examined on the basis of the Hebrew text with specific attention not only to their grammatical issues but also to their theological content. The Psalms will also be examined as rich resources for the worshiping community and for the spiritual formation of ministers of the Word and Sacraments.
Historical Theology (9 credits)
History of the Deaconess Vocation in the Early Church3.0 credits
This course invites students to study the historical and theological foundations of the deaconess vocation as it took form and developed in the first five centuries of the Christian Church. Content covers the main theological struggles within Christianity that underlie the church’s confession as expressed in the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene – Constantinopolitan Creed, and the Councils of Ephesus (431 AD) and Chalcedon (451 AD). These theological conflicts are considered within the context of the larger cultural battle with the Greco-Roman world. Special emphasis is given to the relation of these conflicts to the Christian understanding of woman in the image of God as manifested in the rise and development of the deaconess vocation. erefore, this course seeks to do more than provide students with an objective knowledge of early Christian history and theology. Rather, the purpose of this course is to ground the identity of those preparing for the deaconess vocation within the theological narrative of the early Christian church.
History: The Church in Missiological Perspective3.0 credits
Beginning with a description of the Church in the 21st century, especially from the perspective of trends and challenges for world-wide missions, this course looks for historical connections with contemporary Christianity from the Reformation to the present day. Students will learn about the Reformation origins of major Protestant denominations as well as of modern Roman Catholicism, but also will consider the impact on the mission of the Church from broad historical developments like pietism, liberalism and ecumenism. Special attention will be paid to the modern missions movement that has seen the planting of Christianity around the globe and what this has meant for the Church in America as well as abroad.
Diakonia and the Church in the Modern Era3.0 credits
This course is a survey of the theology, practice and life of the Lutheran churches in America, with special focus on the particular role of women and the deaconess presence from 17th-century Europe to the present American scene. Students will be introduced to the careers and influence of European Diakonal leaders including Wilhelm Loehe, Amalie Sieveking, and Theodore Fliedner, along with American Lutheran leaders including William Passavant, Phillip Wambsganss, and the women of the Concordia Deaconess Conference. Together we will explore the larger American Lutheran context, including church leaders such as Henry Muhlenberg, Samuel Schmucker, Charles Porterfield Krauth, C. F. W. Walther and Franz Pieper; trace the institutional and liturgical development of American Lutheranism; and investigate and assess the various theologies represented and promulgated by the Lutheran churches of America. Enrollment limited to M.A. in Deaconess Studies (Distance) students.
Systematic Theology (12 credits)
Lutheran Confessions: Introduction and Overview3.0 credits
The study of the Book of Concord will examine the Augsburg Confession and its Apology, the Small and Large Catechisms, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise and the Formula of Concord. Emphasis will be on the basic teachings and issues which define the theology of the Lutheran Church in its historic context and in today’s world.
Lutheran Confessions in Today's World3.0 credits
Teaching the Lutheran Confessions today requires an emphasis on the rich heritage of mature Lutheran theology in its historical context and its application to our contemporary world. This course will show the connection between the Confessions and catechesis, providing an appreciation of Luther’s contribution to the Book of Concord. It will also examine a selection of themes in the Lutheran Confessions such as predestination, Christology, justification by faith, Church and ministry, infant Baptism, the Lord’s Supper and Church and state.
Theology of Mercy and Diakonal Care3.0 credits
This course engages students in the systematic study of the biblical and theological foundations of God as mercy with particular emphasis of the embodiment of that mercy in the person of the Son, Christ Jesus. From the consideration of Christ’s mercy as bestowed through the life of the church, and its distinctive expression through the care of the deaconess toward the needy and the suffering, the student will develop connections between the theoretical and the practical.
Theologia: The Means of Grace3.0 credits
This course focuses on the Word, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper as the theological acts through which the life of the church is constituted and sustained. Using the Scriptures, historic baptismal and eucharistic liturgies, baptismal catechesis and dogmatic elaboration, this course considers the way in which Christian identity is shaped through the concrete life of the church. Thus, this course seeks to create an appreciation for the integration of all the theological disciplines—exegetical, historical, systematic and practical—in the ecclesial activities of hearing the Word, undergoing Baptism and participating in the Lord’s Supper.
Deaconess Courses (36 credits)
Heaven on Earth: The Worship of Lutherans Today3.0 credits
This course will acquaint the student with the biblical and confessional foundations of the Lutheran liturgy, the structure and components of the Divine Service and the daily office in Lutheran Service Book. Time will be spent in helping the student plan creative worship with special attention to the central motifs of the Christian calendar and the Church’s hymnody. Attention will be given to the history and theology of the Church year and Christian hymnody from biblical times, as well as the great treasury of contemporary hymnody.
Into All the World: Confession and Care I1.5 credits
This is the first of two sessions with a missional focus which will lay out biblical and theological principles for pursuing the task of bringing the Gospel to the world in varying contexts. Special emphasis will be given to emerging mission challenges and opportunities for deaconesses as they assist the church in sharing the Good News of Christ in the national context. Learning will occur through a combination of online instruction and discussion, on-campus seminars and mission project during Intensives, and practical application within the context in which they serve as Deaconess Interns or Field Workers. Enrollment limited to M.A. in Deaconess Studies students.
Into All the World: Confession and Care II1.5 credits
The second of two sessions with a missional focus, the course continues the exploration of the biblical and theological principles for pursuing the task of bringing the Gospel to the world in varying contexts. Special emphasis will be given to emerging mission challenges and opportunities for deaconesses as they assist the church in sharing the Good News of Christ in the international context. Learning will occur through a combination of online instruction and discussion, oncampus seminars and activities during Intensives, and application from the context in which they serve. Enrollment limited to M.A. in Deaconess Studies students.
Deaconess Practicum I4.5 credits
The Deaconess Practicum involves deaconess students in direct activities of human care concurrent to their Seminary studies through collaboration between the student, Seminary and mentor within the congregation or institution where the student is employed or volunteering. Students engage in readings and online discussions with peers and focus on various topics of human care, in particular those of concern to women and children. The total experience should provide opportunity for spiritual, personal and professional growth, alongside her academic preparation for her future service as a deaconess.
This course will examine the biblical and confessional foundations for catechesis in the Lutheran congregation and seek to assist students in acquiring skills and developing practices that are consistent with these foundations. Special attention will be given to the content and pattern of catechesis reflected in the catechism of Martin Luther.
This course will be delivered as an online course for M.A. in Deaconess Studies students and will be noted as PMMD 233 on the students transcripts.
Diakonal Counseling3.0 credits
The course considers the practice of biblical counsel as diakonal care as students reflect on the application of biblical wisdom by the deaconess to the faith and life of God’s people. An overview of the history and theories of secular and Christian counseling will be explored, as well as practical and ethical guidelines for care within a biblical and confessional framework. Helping and listening skills will be introduced and practiced, patterns of interpersonal dynamics identified and mercy topics of special concern to women, youth and children addressed.
Deaconess Practicum II4.5 credits
This course involves the deaconess student in the second year of directed practical experiences within the congregational, human care agency or mission field. Students continue to build their vocational skills and experience spiritual, personal and professional growth as they prepare for diakonal service.
Deaconess Field Education Final Seminar2.0 credits
This is the final session of a series of seminars aimed at encouraging deaconess formation through the study and discussion of practical, focus topics. Students will engage in practical and collaborative learning as they present mercy topics, ministry case studies and lead their peers in prayers, devotionals and Bible studies which they have prepared during the course of their studies in the deaconess program. Students will combine resulting guidance and feedback with personal goals in creating an individual plan for continued education, spiritual and vocational growth as they enter commissioned church work.
Deaconess Internship3.0 credits
See description of the internship program on page 50 or page 55.
Enrollment limited to Deaconess Certification and M.A. in Deaconess Studies students.
Deaconess Formation Forum3.0 credits
The Deaconess Forum will be taken by M.A. in Deaconess Studies students after they have completed successfully all other academic requirements for their degree. The Forum will focus on helping the students to reflect on their formation as deaconesses and on assisting them to integrate the role of Deaconess into their existing jobs. It will include student-led case studies and other exercises toward evaluating individual strengths and weaknesses. Students will develop an ongoing plan for addressing their weaknesses and capitalizing on their strengths in order to improve the effectiveness of their service.
Theological Ethics3.0 credits
Theological ethics, understood from a distinctly Lutheran perspective, are contrasted with contemporary pluralistic approaches to ethics. The place of ethics is defined in relation to the doctrine of justification within a trinitarian framework. Key Lutheran themes such as the Law/Gospel distinction, two governments in relation to creation and redemption and vocation are put in conversation with current issues, especially those related to sexuality, marriage, beginning of life and end of life.
Ministry to the Sick and Dying1.5 credits
This course will examine the Biblical teachings of sickness and death towards the development of a theological perspective which informs the deaconess in her response to the suffering. Sickness, suffering and death will be considered through the cross of Christ, with an emphasis on the care that is rendered through the Means of Grace. e benefits and practice of the visitation of the sick by the Pastor and Deaconess will receive particular focus. e role of the Deaconess in facilitating the congregational support of the sick and their family will be considered from a family systems perspective. Learning will occur through a combination of online instruction and discussion, on-campus seminars during Intensives, student conversation with their mentor, and an exploration of church and community resources.
Ministry to the Sick and Dying1.5 credits
This second section of Ministry to the Sick and Dying will engage the student in the furtherance of their development of a theological understanding of sickness and death, grounded in Scripture, which informs the response of the church to the suffering. The Christian care afforded by the Pastor, Deaconess and church at the time of death, through the funeral rite, and in the care of the bereaved, will receive particular attention. Learning will occur through a combination of online instruction and discussion, on-campus seminars during Intensives, student conversation with their mentor, and an exploration of church and community resources.