Religion

Religion is about the ultimate issues of life, dealing with three essential concerns: 1) our faith relationship to God; 2) our desire to discover meaning based on that faith relationship; and 3) our effort to live a life that glorifies and enjoys God forever. For this to happen, we need to take the study of religion seriously, and thus scholarly examination is appropriate.

The religion department grounds you in the academic study of the Christian faith tradition for the purpose of promoting and nurturing reflective Christian life, service, and mission in the world.

  • By grounding youwe intend to guide you to base your life and service on the authority of the Christian scriptures and through theological reflection on the Christian faith from a Reformed, evangelical and ecumenical perspective.

  • By promoting and nurturing reflection we intend to train you to critically engage the best in the academic study of religion in the areas of biblical studies, theology, church history and missions.

  • By Christian life and service we mean to train and equip you to serve God’s people, the church and the world by cultivating deeper growth in personal spirituality, which is expressed in the inseparable combination of proclaiming and living the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The religion minor is an excellent option for students majoring in other disciplines. It enables you to deepen your understanding of the Christian faith and to integrate your faith into your field of study.

Religion department homepage

Note for religion minor:Take any combination of REL courses (excluding REL110 and REL262) to equal 24 credits. Up to 8 credits of GRE and HEB may be taken.

Minor requirements

REL 260 - Christian Ethics
A biblically based, theologically and historically informed study of both personal and social moral issues from a Christian perspective. (2 credits, offered at the discretion of the department, consult department)
REL 280 - History of Christianity
A survey of the development of Christianity from the apostolic period to the contemporary world. Themes examined will include the separation of Church and Synagogue, Christianity in the Roman Empire, ecumenical councils, missionary expansion of the church in Europe and Asia, monasticism, the church in the High Middle Ages, the Protestant and Catholic Reformations, Confessionalism and the Wars of Religion, Puritanism, Pietism, The Enlightenment, Christianity and European Colonialism, Revivalism, Modernism and Evangelicalism, modern missionary expansion, the ecumenical movement, and Christianity as a global religion. (4 credits)
REL 290 - Christian Witness and Community Development
An examination of Christian witness as verbal proclamation (evangelism), as reasoned response (apologetics), as a distinctive lifestyle and as the practice of social justice. Prerequisite: REL250 (4 credits)
REL 294 - Introduction to Christian Missions
A general overview of the biblical foundations and historical evolution of Christian mission, with special emphasis upon the modern development of mission theory and practice. Prerequisite: REL250(2 credits)
REL 295 - Intercultural Communication
REL 310 - Christian Spirituality
REL 317 - Topics in Old Testament Studies
A study of a single book or larger section of the Old Testament or a current area of critical inquiry concerning the Old Testament. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the Pentateuch, the Historical Writings, the Prophets, and the Poetic and Wisdom books.Prerequisites: REL110 and sophomore class standing.(2 credits)
REL 322 - Topics in New Testament Studies
A study of a single book or larger section of the New Testament or a current area of critical inquiry concerning the New Testament. Possible topics include the Synoptic Gospels, the Book of Acts, the Johannine Literature, the Epistolary Literature, the Apocalypse.Prerequisite: REL110 and sophomore class standing.(2 credits)
REL 328WI - Biblical Interpretation and Theology
REL 340 - Heart of Worship
(2 credits, alternate years, consult department) A study of an interdisciplinary area of religion, not sufficiently covered by other courses, in response to student or faculty interests. This course will explore Christian worship: its history and branches, its underlying liturgical and sacramental theology, and principles and practices of worship leadership. Students are encouraged to connect their own worshipping experiences with course content in order to understand why their congregations came to worship as they do.
REL 345 - Theology of Worship
(2 credits, alternate years, consult department) A biblical, historical, and theological study of Christian worship from classical and contemporary perspectives. This course fulfills a requirement in the Worship Arts Major and complements the introduction to the elements and experience of worship in the Art of Worship course.Prerequisite: REL250.
REL 370 - Calvin and Calvinism
A study of John Calvin's INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION, as well as a survey of other varieties of Reformed theology, including later Calvinism. Prerequisite: REL262 (4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
REL 375 - Topics in Theology
A study of one or more standard areas of theology, (such as the doctrines of Revelation, God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, Humanity, Salvation, the Church, and Last Things) from a classical as well as a contemporary perspective.Prerequisites: REL110 and 262.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
REL 382 - Religion in America
Focusing on the Christian tradition, this course will examine the individual, institutions, movements and faith traditions which have shaped and contributed to the American religious experience. To understand both the variety of and unity within the pluralist religious landscape, the course will seek to evaluate the interrelationship between religion and the broader social, cultural and political aspects of the American experience.(4 credits)
REL 384 - Topics in the History of Christianity
A historical study of a religious group, theological movement or important leader in the history of the Christian church.(2 credits, offered on demand or discretion of department, consult department)
REL 385 - Topics in Religion
A study of an interdisciplinary area of religion, not sufficiently covered by other courses, in response to student or faculty interests.Prerequisite: REL250 or permission of instructor.(2-4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
REL 390 - World Religions
The major religions of India, East Asia and the Middle East are examined in the light of the Christian faith. This course emphasizes the interaction of religion and culture with a view to cross-cultural understanding. In-depth research into a specific culture and religion is required.(4 credits)
REL 392 - Topics in Missiology
A topical and selective study of major missiological themes, permitting students to read and reflect intensively upon the nature and challenge of Christian mission. Topics will vary from year to year. Sample topics might include Religious Conversion, The Finality of Christ in a Pluralistic World, Interfaith Dialogue, Contextualization, Women in Mission Yesterday and Today.Prerequisite: REL294 or permission of instructor.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
REL 472 - Senior Seminar in Religion
A research seminar in which students will explore contemporary questions and issues in light of the Christian religious and theological tradition. Features the writing and presentation of a major paper, discussions, analysis and critique of research. Prerequisites:REL110, 262 and senior class standing. (4 credits)
GRE 101 - Elementary Biblical Greek and Culture
This course will focus on learning the basics of koine Greek grammar and vocabulary as well as the cultural backgrounds of the New Testament writings. Readings and translation will focus on the Gospel and Letters of John. The New Testament writings will be examined in light of their social-historical and literary settings within Hellenistic Judaism and the broader Greco-Roman world.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
GRE 102LA - Elementary Biblical Greek and Culture
(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)(IGE option under Language and Culture) This course (a continuation of Greek 101) will focus on learning the basics of koine Greek grammar and vocabulary as well as the cultural backgrounds of the New Testament writings. Readings and translation will focus on the Gospel and Letters of John. The New Testament writings will be examined in light of their social-historical and literary settings within Hellenistic Judaism and the broader Greco-Roman world. Prerequisite: GRE101.
GRE 201 - Intermediate Biblical Greek and Culture
GRE 202 - Intermediate Biblical Greek and Culture
HEB 101 - Elementary Biblical Hebrew and Culture
This course will focus on learning the basics of biblical Hebrew (vocabulary and grammar) and the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the Old Testament. Readings from the different types of literature in the Hebrew Bible will be incorporated into the course work. The Old Testament writings will be studied against the historical and social backgrounds of the ancient Near East.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
HEB 102 - Elementary Biblical Hebrew and Culture
This course (a continuation of Hebrew 101) will focus on learning the basics of biblical Hebrew (vocabulary and grammar), the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the Old Testament, and the fundamentals of Hebrew exegesis. Readings from the different types of literature in the Hebrew Bible will be incorporated into the course work. The Old Testament writings will be studied against the historical and social backgrounds of the ancient Near East.Prerequisite: HEB101.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)

Total credits required: 24

LOADING …