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Ecclesiology and Eschatology - Course Description

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Course Description

What is the Church? Why is the Church here? What is the Church supposed to be doing? And how it the Church supposed to do it? These are questions of Ecclesiology. What does the future hold? What are the events that we should expect to happen when God brings about the end of His current plan? Why are there so many conflicting interpretations about the millennium, the tribulation, and the rapture? These are questions of Eschatology. This course is a study of both the nature and purpose of the Church and a study of the end times. The purpose of this course is to orient people to the program of God throughout the ages, understanding how the Church fits in to His program. The vital relationship between one's view of the Church and one's view of the end times will be emphasized. We will come to the understanding that while orthodox Christianity has always believed that Christ is coming back, there are many differences concerning the details of His coming.

Course Outline

Session 1 - Nature of the Church
Session 2 - The Church and Israel: A Defense of Replacement Theology
Session 3 - The Church and Israel: A Defense of Dispensational Theology (and an introduction to "Progressive Covenantalism")
Session 4 - Purpose of the Church: What is the Church Supposed to be Doing?
Session 5 - Ministries of the Church: How is the Church Supposed to do it?
Session 6 - Ministries of the Church: Ordinances/Sacraments
Session 7 - The Gifts of the Church
Session 8 - Marks of a False Church and the Government of the Church
Session 9 - What are the Different Views of the Millennium?
Session 10 - Rapture and the Afterlife

Course Objectives

  • The student will learn the various views of the nature of the Church.
  • The student will understand the difference between the universal body of Christ and the local church.
  • The student will learn the different ways that people have understood the relationship of Israel to the Church.
  • The student will gain a greater understanding of the purpose of the Church by asking the question, Why is the Church here?
  • The student will gain an understanding of what the essential ministries of the local church are.
  • The student will learn the various theories concerning the end times.
  • The student will study the glories of Heaven and the fears of Hell.

Course Textbooks

Required:

  • Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994.
  • Olson, Roger. Mosaic of Christian Belief. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2002.
  • Bible (Preferably NET or NAS)

Assignment Description (guidelines for self study students)

1. Reading: There will be various reading assignments during the ten-week period. Each student will be expected to read and be prepared to discuss on the forum the material according to the schedule found in the syllabus.

2. Scripture memorization: Each student will memorize the passages provided on the Scripture memorization sheet. Once completed, the student will recite the memorized Scripture to a partner who will affirm the completion by signing the Scripture memorization sheet (included in The Student Notebook). The Scriptures should be memorized in one of the following translations:

  • New American Standard
  • New English Translation - NET Bible
  • English Standard Version
  • New International Version (though not preferred)

3. Case Studies: There will be two case studies that must be completed. These will be handed out by the teacher. Online/DVD students are to post their case studies online on the bible.org TTP forums.

4. Vocabulary Quizzes: There are two closed book theological vocabulary quizzes (in course downloads). Once the student looks at the quiz, he or she must take the quiz. In other words, you cannot look at the quiz and then study the terms.

Note: Online/DVD students only: All online students are required to spend one hour a week on the bible.org TTP forums, discussing issues relevant to the course. Each course will have a separate section on the forum.

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