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TTP - A Survey of Theological Traditions


Enroll Now: Class begins June 12

Course Description

This course surveys the major Theological traditions of Christendom including Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism and then Examine Protestantism in its major sub-traditions including Lutheranism; Reformed (Calvinism), Wesleyan-Arminianism; Dispensationalism; Liberalism; Neo-Orthodoxy and Liberation Theology. Its primary purpose it to expose you to the breadth of historic Christianity in its diverse forms and by so doing to give an understanding and appreciation for the motivating factors, key conceptions and thought forms of the various traditions. Particularly, you will grasp that the traditions have arisen out of particular historical circumstances and are wedded to particular philosophical conceptions and epistemologies.

Course Objectives:

The student will come to understand that each theological tradition is a time-bound contextualization of the gospel.

The student will come to understand the historical circumstances that gave rise to the various traditions.

The student will begin to understand the various traditions “from the inside” rather than just critiquing traditions foreign to him/her from the perspective of his/her own tradition.

The student will realize that his/her tradition is not to be equated with the TRUTH but is instead a fallible human interpretation of the truth.

The student will gain a genuine appreciation for theological systems and traditions outside his/her own.

Course Texbooks:


Sawyer, M. James. The Survivor’s Guide to Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006.

Recommended (NOTE: Not necessarily honors reading books since they are textbooks):

McGrath, Alister. Historical Theology: An Introduction to the History of the Christian Church. Malden MA: Blackwell, 1998.

McGrath, Alister. Reformation Thought: An Introduction 2nd ed. Cambridge MA: Blackwell, 1993.

Course Requirements and Grading:

Certificate students take the course for a grade to receive a certificate that can be applied towards the TTP diploma. You must pay the tuition, attend or listen to all five sessions, and complete enough of the homework according to the grading system below to receive a passing grade. This applies to both online and campus students.

Honors credit can be earned in this course by completing all the coursework and completing an additional reading assigned by the teacher. See list below for honors reading options.

Assignment Description – see course schedule for due dates

Attending Classes: Students are required to attend or listen to all five sessions of the course. These sessions will take place on Monday nights on Paltalk from 9-11pm central standard time. While attending or listening to the sessions is required for all certificate students, it does not apply toward your grade and you cannot receive credit without it. If you happen to miss a course, they will be recorded and available to view the day after the course on the TTP student website.

Five hours of theological community time: All online certificate students are required to spend one hour a week in the online TTP forums where you accrue theological community time by asking or answering questions of other students, blogging your thoughts, reading the posts of others, and discussing issues relevant to the course. While theological community time is required for all online certificate students, it does not apply toward your grade and you cannot receive credit without it.

  1. Reading: Reading assignments are listed in this syllabus. Each student is expected to read the material according to the session schedule provided in the syllabus.
  2. Case Study: The student is to attend a church service of a major tradition outside his/her own and to write up the experience.
  3. Comparison study: the student will write a paper comparing and contrasting two of the traditions studied.
  4. Reading & Reflection: The student will read on one tradition outside of his own and write his/her analysis of that tradition giving both positive contributions as well as problems found within the tradition. This assignment is based upon his/her reading beyond the required reading listed in the syllabus. (Every chapter includes a bibliography for further reading. The reading for this assignment will be drawn from these lists).

    Grading System

    Complete 1 of 4


    Complete 2 of 4


    Complete 3 of 4


    Complete 4 of 4


    Complete all 4 plus honors reading


    With honors


    Session No.

    Session Date



    Due Date




    Introduction; Contextualization & Systematic Theology

    Survivor’s Guide

    71-108; 203-233





    Orthodoxy; Roman Catholicism

    Survivor’s Guide

    239-253; 257-280




    Lutheranism, Reformed (Calvinism)

    Survivor’s Guide

    285-301; 305-336




    Wesleyan-Arminianism, Dispensationalism

    Survivor’s Guide

    345-371; 373-392




    Liberalism, Neo-Orthodoxy

    Survivor’s Guide

    397-414; 419-444


    Honors Reading Options:

    Daniel Clendenin, Eastern Orthodox Theology: a Western Perspective
    Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church
    Richard McBrien, Catholicism
    Duane W. H. Arnold & C. George Fry, The Way The Truth and The Life
    Eric W. Gritch and Robert W. Jensen, Lutheranism
    John I Hesselink, On Being Reformed
    John Leith, Introduction to the Reformed Tradition
    Thomas Oden, The Transforming Power of Grace
    J. Kenneth Grider, A Wesleyan-Holiness Theology
    Craig Blaising and Darrell Bock, Progressive Dipensationalism
    Vern Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists
    Adolf von Harnack, What is Christianity?
    Lloyd J. Averill, American Theology in the Liberal Tradition
    David L Mueller, Karl Barth
    J. Edward Humphery, Emil Brunner
    Bernard Ramm, After Fundamentalism
    Liberation Theology
    Leonardo Boff and Clodovis Boff, Introducing Liberation Theology
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