Reflecting on Year One of Free Seminary

practicaltheologyLast year Cornerstone launched into its first year of free seminary training for our congregation and folks in our community. We offered four classes: Systematic Theology (part 1), Biblical Theology, The Doctrine of the Trinity, and Systematic Theology (Part 2). We were thrilled with the responses to and participation in each class. This has been exciting new addition to our discipleship and Christian education program and we are planning to continue expanding it moving forward.

This coming September we will pick up a new cycle of classes. Each class is 12 weeks of weekly study, lecture, and discussion, taking place on Tuesday nights at 7pm. The classes are designed to give students an introduction to the foundational points of the subject at hand and aim specifically at application to the life of the believer. So, while the courses are intensive they are designed specifically to focus on practical life as a believer. This fall we will be offering two new courses: Biblical Counseling and Hermeneutics.

Biblical Counseling: This course aims to introduce students to the basic theological and practical foundations of doing Biblical counseling. Through weekly reading, class discussion, and case studies we will seek to learn and apply basic tools and concepts to the every day struggles of believers. The course will equip students to be able to apply the Scriptures to their own sins and sorrows and to those of their fellow church members. For those interested in the counseling ministry at Cornerstone this course will serve as a compression of tracks 1 and 2 of our normal training program.

Hermeneutics: This course is designed to introduce students to the basics of Biblical study and interpretation. Through weekly reading and practice, students will learn how to get the most out of their own personal Bible study and in preparation to teach others. Whether you’re a pastor-in-training, a Sunday School teacher, or just looking to improve your own private study this course will give you the tools you need to get the most out of your study of the Scriptures.

We are also considering adding some other components to the educational process, possibly an examination or a paper (TBD). This will allow us to help students evaluate how well they understand the material. Our aim as a whole is to give students the most help we can in growing knowledge and application of God’s Word.

The Free Seminary program as a whole centers around four core categories. These categories are then broken down into four primary courses for each, providing the student with a strong footing in each of the basic components of good theological education. The four categories and sixteen courses are as follows:

Scripture:

Biblical Theology, the Gospel, Hermeneutics, Homiletics

Systematic Theology:

Bibliology, Theology Proper, Soteriology, the Christian Life

Practical Theology:

Biblical Counseling, Evangelism, Personal Spirituality, Apologetics

Church History:

Birth of Christianity, Rise of Christendom, The Renaissance, and the Modern Church

Of course we cannot cover everything in these four categories and sixteen courses. That’s why we’ve included a bottomless pit of electives, with fresh ones being added regularly.

We also utilizes a wide range of teachers. Each cycle attempts to offer new voices to learn from, those whose experiences, background, and training differ widely. This provides us with plenty of diversity within unity to ensure better discussion and educational value. We can also better accommodate diverse learning styles through pedagogical diversity. We are anxious to include several new teachers in the next cycle.

While this program surely can’t replace quality master’s level education, it will be a great start for those looking into such programs, and it will be a great aid to those who are otherwise not planning on attending seminary. It is my hope that this will continue to grow as a ministry in our church and to our community and that those who have been champions of it this last year will continue to advocate for it and encourage others to join in the years to come.

Comments

  1. Kypros, Bess says:

    These course offerings sound so exciting!!! ________________________________________

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