Concordia University Irvine
- What’s the Core Curriculum?
This course is part of Concordia’s Enduring Questions & Ideas (Q&I) Core. In Q&I Core, you are challenged to cultivate yourselves intellectually, ethically, and spiritually. You are encouraged to develop strong academic habits—reading closely, thinking critically, communicating effectively, and making connections between disciplines and the Christian faith—that prepare you broadly for life, further studies, and your future vocations.
Because the Core is academically rigorous, students need to employ excellent study habits from start to finish each semester. Since the Core upholds the academic virtues of responsibility, merit, and integrity, students will receive the grade that they earn in a Core course. Only in certain circumstances will a student be permitted to withdraw (W) from a Core course. These are: 1) an exceptional, documented, personal tragedy that has prevented the student from participating in and fulfilling the requirements of the course and 2) withdrawal from the university. A student may also request a withdrawal in weeks ten (10) or eleven (11) if the student is in jeopardy of failing the course and meets these merit-based conditions: the student has attended 90% of the classes up to that point, handed in almost all of the assignments, taken all available tests, spoken promptly with the professor each time after receiving an academic warning, and followed through on the professor’s advice for academic improvement. In each case, the student needs the written approval of the Director of Q&I to withdraw from a Q&I Core course.
Q&I Question: What does it mean to be human?
What is the common human condition? Can a human being know anything about God with certainty? Do we have souls? How about free will? What does it mean for a human being to be the object of redemption by an infinitely merciful Savior? How should a human being live and why? Which virtues, if any, are important in human life? Answers to these and similar questions have enormous consequences for individuals and society. Core Theology 200 and Core Philosophy 200 help students develop reasoned answers to questions such as these by engaging the Scriptures and classic texts to examine what it means to be human.
- What’s this course about?
This course examines the sources, methods, and doctrines of Christian theology, while giving attention to Christianity’s engagement with ideas beyond the discipline of theology. In conjunction with the course Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry (CPHI 200), special attention is given to the question “What does it mean to be human?” This course explores the significance of this question before God, in our own self-understanding, and before our fellow human beings. Successful completion of the course will enable students to articulate the content and rationale of foundational Christian beliefs, and the implications of some such beliefs in the development of the western world (To be taken in tandem with CPHI 200: Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry).
- What are we doing in this course and why?
|The MISSION of Concordia University
Concordia University, guided by the Great Commission of Christ Jesus and the Lutheran Confessions, empowers students through the liberal arts and professional studies for lives of learning, service and leadership.
|Institutional Learning Outcomes for Undergraduate Students (ULOs)
Written Communication (WC): Students will compose focused and coherent written content; organize and logically develop their ideas; find, analyze and integrate appropriate sources; and demonstrate facility in discipline- or genre-specific conventions of writing.
Oral Communication (OC): Students will make verbal presentations in which they articulate a central message, organize main ideas, integrate appropriate supporting information, employ language appropriate for the topic and audience, and utilize delivery techniques that enhance the presentation.
Systematic Inquiry (SI)—Critical Thinking & Information Literacy: Students will explain a problem, articulate a (hypo)thesis, investigate using appropriate sources, analyze the information, and craft logical conclusions and creative solutions to the problem.
Quantitative Reasoning (QR): Students will demonstrate understanding of quantitative facts and concepts, perform calculations successfully, and apply problem solving strategies to analyze quantitative data and to draw appropriate conclusions.
Christian Literacy and Faith (CLF): Students will describe the contents and contexts of the Bible, Christianity’s major teachings, how the Christian faith connects to their academic discipline(s) and vocations in life, and have many opportunities to receive instruction in the Christian faith.
Service to Society and Church (SSC): Students will serve society in ethical and merciful ways, examining benefits gained and challenges encountered, and Christian students have many opportunities to serve the church.
Informed and Responsive Citizenship (IRC): Students will explain how political and economic systems have influenced citizenship in the United States and the world; interact effectively and ethically with people of various cultural/global contexts; engage with and analyze the arts; articulate how the culture of scientific knowledge relates to other disciplines; and describe healthy lifestyles.
Specialized Knowledge (SK): Students will apply knowledge in a specific field that draws on current research, scholarship and/or techniques in the field.
|The PURPOSE of Christ College
The purpose of Christ College is to enable students to understand, communicate, teach, defend, and believe the Christian faith through systematic inquiry of the Bible, of the doctrines of the Church, and of other statements of faith. Christ College also equips students for professional church work in their chosen field. The school guides students interested in receiving certification for ministerial vocations in The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.
|Christ College Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)
A. Comprehension of Scripture [linked to CLF]
Outcome: Students will be able to express an understanding of the language, contents, history, culture, and themes of the Bible
B. Understanding of Doctrine [linked to SI]
Outcome: Students will be able to integrate and articulate Biblical doctrine in systematic constructs.
C. Acquaintance with Other Theological Thought and Expression [linked to IRC]
Outcome: Students will be able to accurately describe prominent religions, denominations, and philosophies of the past and present.
D. Engagement with Western Philosophy [linked to WC]
Outcome: Students will articulate an understanding of Western philosophical history, classic texts, argument analysis, and the interaction of philosophy with Biblical faith, theology and other thought systems.
E. Development of Faith in Christ [linked to CLF]
Outcome: Christian students shall articulate a personal faith in Christ that is well informed from a biblical perspective.
F. Mission-Oriented Church Leadership [linked to SSC]
Outcome: Christian students, whether preparing for called ministry or lay leadership in Christ’s church, will demonstrate skills and attitudes to effectively live out and lead the church in the Great Commission and lives of service.
Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs; with links to ULOs and PLOs above)
The student will be able to:
- Demonstrate a responsible and thoughtful engagement with both faith and knowledge, being able to articulate the similarities and differences between these concepts (SI, CLF, 3, 5, A, B, E)
- Display competency with the tools and methods of basic biblical interpretation (WC, OC, SI, SK, A, B, F)
- Formulate explanations of and rationale for foundational biblical doctrines (SI, CLF, SK, A, B, E, F)
- Analyze and provide a critique of various intellectual challenges to Christian doctrine (WC, OC, SI, CLF, IRC, C, D, E)
- Articulate the significance of Christianity for select episodes in the development of Western life and thought (SI, SSC, IRC, B, C, D)
- Examine and evaluate his or her informed perspectives on Christian theology, in the light of biblical doctrine (SI, CLF, IRC, A, B, E, F)
Evidence of Student Learning (with links to CLOs)
- Attendance (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
- Reading quizzes & assignments (1, 3, 4)
- Term Paper and related assignments (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
- Exams (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
- What resources will you need for this course?
- Steven P. Mueller, ed., Called to Believe (Wipf & Stock, 2006)
NOTE: Christ College students may choose to purchase the unabridged version of the above text (Called to Believe, Teach, and Confess) as it will be required in upper-level Doctrine courses.
- Introduction to Theological Thought Reader (provided in class)
- The Bible: You must bring a print Bible to every class (no digital Bibles allowed). Any translation that you can readily understand will be fine. Recommended are the ESV (English Standard Version) or NIV (New International Version). I would not recommend the KJV (King James Version) unless you can already define words like propitiation, threescore, scall, peradventure, and sheweth. Also, a paraphrase of the Bible—e.g, The Living Bible, The Message, Good News for Modern Man—will be wholly inadequate for the purposes of this class. If you do not have a Bible, see the campus pastor to get one for free!
- Additional reading material may be distributed in class and/or placed on Blackboard from time to time.
- What will you do in this course?
You will do a great deal of reading, reflecting, discussing, taking notes, etc. throughout this course. Those activities will help you do well in the following graded assignments/activities:
- Attendance: You will receive points for being present with a print edition of the Bible (no digital Bibles allowed) and for participating actively in class discussions based on the readings. No Bible, no points!
- Reading Quizzes & Assignments: Expect a quiz (both objective questions and short answer) normally at the end of each unit (this will be announced in class). The quizzes will be over both the material covered in class and the readings (not all readings will be covered in class). You will also be asked to complete a number of short written assignments on select readings.
Helpful Hint: The reading quizzes are important because they make up a substantial portion of the grade and some of the questions will be repeated on the exams. All quizzes (unless specifically indicated otherwise) are open-Bible. Normally one or more of the questions will require you to look up Bible passages. NO ONLINE BIBLES ALLOWED IN CLASS.
Note regarding absences: Those absent will normally receive a 0% for any missed quizzes and/or assignments. However, the lowest two quiz grades will be dropped from the final grade.
- Exams: You will take three exams in this course including the final exam. These exams are comprised of both “objective” (e.g., true/false, multiple choice) and essay questions. Expect to use your Bible on part of the exam.
- Term Paper: Throughout this course you will work on a 5-7 page term research paper. The paper will include preliminary assignments and a one-on-one tutorial with the professor. See below for details.
- Extra Credit: Attending certain library workshops, CUI Bono events, and Core Convocations will earn you two additional points toward the next exam (limit of 4 points per exam, event must be attended before the exam, and a “Notes Page” along with proof of attendance presented to the prof).
- What are the expectations for our time together during this course?
- Familiarity with Blackboard
This course requires you to become familiar with Blackboard, CUI’s online classroom. Daily announcements, special announcements, all course documents, and your grades will be posted on Blackboard. You will also submit a final copy of your term paper to SafeAssign in Blackboard. If you are having trouble finding your way around Blackboard, please see me or contact IT services right away (http://www.cui.edu/it/ or 3175).
Blackboard can be accessed by going to cui.blackboard.com using most web browsers such as Firefox (Firefox.com), Google Chrome (Google.com/Chrome), Internet Explorer (Microsoft.com/InternetExplorer) and Safari (Apple.com/Safari). Blackboard’s official list of supported web browsers can be found at http://goo.gl/zH21E. As a best practice, it is highly recommended that you have at least two, if not three, web browsers installed on your computer. You can install these additional free browsers by visiting the sites listed above. If something does not work correctly in one browser, simply try again using a different browser.
At any time you experience technical problems, you may contact our Information Technology Services (ITS) department. The email address is ITS@cui.edu and the phone number is 949 214-3175. For specific hours of operation and additional help information, go to http://www.cui.edu/it.
Passwords: Concordia provides a 24 hour 7 days a week self-help password assistance program. To access this service, go to myaccount.cui.edu. If you need further assistance, please email ITS@cui.edu or call ITS at 949 214-3175.
Department of Faculty Training and Development: This is Concordia University’s student resource page, which is found at: http://www.cui.edu/academicprograms/provost/faculty-training-development
This page provides a wide variety of resources ranging from links to MyRecords (Banner) to help with Microsoft Office. There are also hundreds of video tutorials for a large number of software packages. This tutorial repository can be accessed directly at http://movies.atomiclearning.com/highed/highed. For your class, the username for the service is “cui” and the password is “eagles”.
- Attendance, Preparation, and Participation
Students are expected to attend all classes, to have completed and reflected on the readings and assignments for that day, and to be active and involved in any class discussion. On average, students should expect to spend two hours in preparation for each hour of class time (2 ½ hrs for a 75 min class). Absentees will normally receive a 0% for any missed quizzes and/or assignments. Attendance will be taken per university policy.
- “Reasonable Accommodation” statement
Concordia University is committed to making its programs, services and classes accessible to all students. If you need disability-related accommodations to fully participate in this class, please inform the instructor and provide the required documentation from Disability and Learning Resource Center (DLRC) as early in the semester as possible. For further assistance please contact the director of DLRC in Administration Building 114.
You should regularly consult “My Grades” in Blackboard to know what grade you are earning in the course. If you have any questions or notice any potential mistakes, please contact the professor.
Assessment will be done on a percentage scale (0%-100%). Weighting of assignments will be as follows:
Attendance (w/ Bible) 05%
Reading Quizzes & Assignments 20%
Three Exams 50%
Term Paper 25%
A = 100-95 B- = 82-80 D+ = 69-67
A- = 94-90 C+ = 79-77 D = 66-63
B+ = 89-87 C = 76-73 D- = 62-60
B = 86-83 C- = 72-70 F = 59 and below
- Electronic devices during class
For the mutual respect of all those in class, instructor and students alike, electronic device usage during class will be limited. With regard to cellphones, please turn them off and put them away. In no case will cellphones (or iWatches or any electronic device) be allowed during tests or quizzes. Please keep them out of sight. An infringement will result in an immediate 0% for the test or quiz.
Computers, tablets, etc. are allowed in class, but only for course-related uses. Surfing the internet, doing Facebook, checking email, and other such activities are not course-related and you should refrain from doing them during class.
- Policy on Honesty and Plagiarism
This course seeks to empower students for independent learning, resourcefulness, clear thinking, and perception. All submitted work and activities should be genuine reflections of individual achievement from which the student should derive personal satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. Plagiarism and cheating subvert these goals and will be treated according to the policy stated in the Code of Conduct.
The instructor reserves the right to utilize electronic means to help prevent plagiarism. Students agree that by taking this course all assignments are subject to submission for textual similarity review. Assignments submitted for review will be included as source documents in a restricted access database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism in such documents.
Be informed! Ignorance is not an excuse. There are resources available at the Writing Center (www.cui.edu/studentlife/writing-center) for clarification on what constitutes plagiarism. A good place to start is: http://www.plagiarism.org/.
- Drop policy
See the first section of this syllabus as well as the Q & I Core Handbook for a description of the drop policy for this course. Note that the drop policy for courses in the Q & I Core Curriculum is different than that for other courses. If you have any questions, see the professor or Director of the Q & I Core (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- What resources are available to help you do well in this course?
- The instructor. Your professor is available and wants to help you. See above for ways to contact him.
- The Writing Studio. Writing well is essential for doing well in this course. The Writing Center is available and eager to help you at no cost. This is an incredible resource. Visit: cui.edu/studentlife/writing-studio
- The Library. There are two types of knowledge: Knowing the thing itself and knowing how to find out about the thing. The second will prepare you for life even more than the first. The library staff is very eager to help you find the resources you need and weed out those you do not. Use them.
Core Peer Tutor. CUI employs core peer tutors who are available to help you understand class concepts. The CPTs for CTHL 200 are Makayla Denniston, Benjamin Oesch, Jared Peterson, and Lynnea Marlatt. To make an appointment, visit http://www.cui.edu/studentLife/tutoring/index/id/24992.
- Class schedule: See Blackboard and refer to in class announcements for the latest schedule.
CThl 200 Term Paper & Related Assignments
The major writing assignment for this course is a term paper of 5-7 typed, double-spaced pages, excluding title page and bibliography, with 1 inch margins and Times New Roman size 12 font. Its genre will be that of the “argumentative” essay; that is, it will clearly state and make an intelligent argument in favor of a particular thesis (and thus also argue against a counter theses).
NOTE: This paper can be written from the point of view of one who generally shares common beliefs with the Christian faith or from the point of view of one who does not share those beliefs. The former might present his/her arguments from a personal point of view. The latter might present the views of a certain theological tradition (though he/she might not personally hold that view). It is also entirely legitimate for you to “try on” a particular tradition (e.g., Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Baptist) though you may not really embrace that view. All are legitimate papers. All must present the necessary evidence to intelligently argue a thesis. And, most importantly, all must use Scripture as the formal principle.
NOTE: CUI hires people to help you write papers. Please make use of them. You should make an appointment and visit the Writing Studio (www.cui.edu/studentlife/writing-studio) at least once as you write this paper. You should also make use of their online tools to check for proper grammar.
There are three assignments related to this paper:
- Tutorial (Any time BEFORE Nov 30)
This is required to pass the course. Schedule a 30 minute tutorial with the prof. When we meet is entirely up to you as long as it is before NOV 30. When do you think you need help in the writing process? Early on in the process when you’re still narrowing down the topic? Later on in the process when you’re refining your argument? I would encourage most of you to come see me earlier on in the process so I can help make sure you’re on the right track. However, it’s up to you. It may be either before or after the proposal. Before meeting, you must at the very least have a topic in mind and have read at least one article about your topic from a theological encyclopedia in the library. (No online sources allowed!) Bring a photocopy of the article with you. The point is to have an intelligent conversation about the topic.
- Proposal (due 11/16, 20% of your total term paper grade)
Your proposal is the foundation upon which you will build your paper. A solid, well-organized, and well-researched proposal will lead to a successful term paper. In your Proposal, you will: a) Construct a thesis question, a thesis and a counter-thesis; b) Write 3-5 argumentative statements supporting your thesis; and c) Find and report on your sources via an annotated bibliography. See the description below for more specific details. Submit a paper copy of the completed proposal at the beginning of class on the due date.
- Final Paper (due 12/7, 80% of your total term paper grade)
Taking into consideration your continued research and reflection on your thesis as well as the feedback provided during the tutorial session, you will add flesh to the bare bones of your Proposal to produce a first draft of your paper. Write a first paragraph that introduces your topic, thesis question, and, most importantly, your thesis. Your thesis must appear clearly and prominently in your first paragraph. Write a second paragraph presenting the counter-thesis and legitimate arguments in support of it. Do not skip this step. Setting up a weak counter thesis will only weaken your overall paper. Then, write several paragraphs in support of your thesis. The argumentative statements in your Proposal can serve as topic sentences for these paragraphs, followed by supportive evidence. Finally, write a concluding paragraph that summarizes your thesis and arguments for it. The organization of your final paper is crucially important. Make sure that every paragraph relates coherently and logically to your thesis and flows seamlessly from one point to the next. Try to explain your paper to a friend in 1-3 minutes. If you cannot do it easily and/or your friend doesn’t get it, then you probably need to re-organize and sharpen your paper. In addition, pay attention to grammar, syntax, and spelling (avoiding clichés and colloquialisms). Make sure that your final version is consistent with Chicago Manual style (e.g., footnotes, bibliography). Finally, carefully reread your essay to ensure that you have avoided all intentional or accidental plagiarism. Once convinced that your paper is complete, submit a copy electronically via SafeAssign in Blackboard before the deadline. See the grading rubric below for further details.
TERM PAPER PROPOSAL
The “Proposal” is the foundation upon which you will build your paper. It should include the following three things:
- Thesis Question – Thesis – Counter Thesis
An argumentative essay must make an argument, and an argument implies a clear thesis. Here are some steps to produce a good thesis question, thesis, and counter thesis. First, choose a topic that interests you, but also make sure that you can understand the topic and that you can derive a clear thesis from it that you can argue in 5-7 pages. Second, read at least the chapter or section in Called to Believe (Mueller) or in another basic doctrine book that gives a general overview of your topic. Third, ask a specific question about the topic that has at least two answers. Do some research before asking the question. The question should be simple and clear. Fourth, formulate an answer to the thesis question for which you would like to make an intelligent argument. This is your thesis (statement) and every sentence in your paper should in some way relate back to it. Again, keep it as simple as possible. Fifth, formulate a second answer to the thesis question against which you would like to argue. This is your counter-thesis. It should also in some way oppose your thesis statement. See the addendum at the end for helpful resources for this first step.
Thesis question: Why do Christians do good things?
Thesis: Christians do good things for others out of thankful response for the salvation they already have in Jesus Christ.
Counter-thesis: Christians do good things for others in order to please God and get to heaven.
After doing some preliminary research, write 3-5 concise statements that logically and coherently argue in favor of your thesis. These “arguments” should be full sentences and can serve as topic sentences of major paragraphs in your final paper.
Argument 1: The Apostle Paul clearly indicates in Romans 3:19-31 that we are saved by faith and not by works of the law.
Argument 2: Paul also urges us in Romans 12:1-2 to do good because of what Jesus has already done for us.
Argument 3: It is biblically and theologically important to distinguish between justification (God’s good work to save us) and sanctification (the good we do for others).
Argument 4: True good works for others come from the right motivation – faith in what Jesus has done to save us.
- Annotated Bibliography
Locate and read the following five sources that explicitly address and answer your thesis question:
- Bible – The formal principle for your paper must be Scripture. This means that you should pick a few key Bible passages and argue why those passages support your thesis and oppose the counter-thesis.
- Commentary – A bible commentary that explains the few key Bible passages you have chosen. A commentary is an important research tool for anyone studying a religious book: https://www.logos.com/products/info/commentaries
- Doctrine book – A [text]book (other than Mueller) that explains your topic and supports your thesis.
- A source supporting your thesis – Find a book, chapter in a book, or journal article that supports your thesis. This can be contemporary or historical.
- A source against your thesis – Find a book, chapter in a book, or journal article that is against your thesis.
NOTE: Internet sources are NOT allowed for this assignment. You may use, however, peer-reviewed, academic journal articles that have been reproduced online in ALTA, EBSCO, or JSTOR. Please do not use magazine articles, blogs, etc.. No online books allowed. See the professor or librarian if you have questions. Submit the bibliographical details in correct Chicago Manual style (see the cheat sheet on Blackboard), along with a very concise (single paragraph) summary of each source. Include a short explanation of how the source relates to your thesis.
Proposal Grading Rubric
Thesis Question – Thesis – Counter-thesis
1) Constructs a simple and clear thesis question that can be answered in two ways.
2) Constructs a simple and clear thesis (statement) that can serve as the basis for a paper.
3) Constructs a simple and clear counter-thesis that is opposed to your thesis.
1) Formulates 3-5 concise argumentative statements (full sentences).
2) Constructs arguments that logically and coherently support the thesis and oppose the counter-thesis.
1) Identifies five relevant sources that meet the requirements as described above.
2) Formats bibliographic information using proper Chicago Manual style.
3) Writes accurate and helpful annotations for each reference that indicate the source has been carefully read.
4) Briefly explains how this source is related to the thesis.
Grading Rubrics: Term Paper (FINAL DRAFT)
Student’s Name:____________________________________ Grade:____________
>The thesis question and thesis statement are clearly expressed in the introduction
>Each body paragraph is relevant to the thesis (question) and coherently organized
>A counter-thesis is clearly expressed and explained in the body of the essay
>The conclusion answers the initial thesis question
EXCELLENT GOOD FAIR WEAK POOR /20 pts
>Argues a thesis on a topic of Christian Theology using Scripture as the formal principle and interpreting Scripture in a responsible and accepted way (see lecture notes)
>Argues a thesis on a topic of Christian Theology using scholarly literature to bolster and supplement its use of Scripture
>Supporting arguments and details are relevant, accurate, complete, logically and coherently developed, and smoothly integrated
>Argues convincingly and coherently against an expressly stated counter-thesis
>Uses a theological dictionary/encyclopedia from the library to orient research.
>Uses the Bible, a commentary, a doctrine book and at least two other relevant peer-reviewed sources including books, chapters in books, or journal articles (in print or reproduced on-line in full text on ATLA, EBSCO, and JSTOR). No web pages, blogs, magazines, or lecture notes.
EXCELLENT GOOD FAIR WEAK POOR /40 pts
>Sentences are free of errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and word usage
>Writer avoids repetition, wordiness, and excessive quotation
>Writer makes use of academic language and avoids colloquialisms
EXCELLENT GOOD FAIR WEAK POOR /20 pts
>The paper is 5-7 full pages in length apart from title and bibliography pages
>The paper follows The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) format
>Citations are documented according to CMS style (see Hacker and cheat sheet)
>Bibliography adheres to CMS style
EXCELLENT GOOD FAIR WEAK POOR /20 pts
HELPFUL RESOURCES FOR YOUR PROPOSAL
I have found over the years that students who chose their topic and word the thesis carefully have much less difficulty with the Term Paper. It should also be something you’re interested in. Here are a few ideas. There are also many more.
Natural knowledge What does natural knowledge reveal about God? How is natural knowledge useful? What use is philosophy in theology?
Scripture How reliable is Scripture? Is Scripture the Word of God? How should one interpret Scripture? What is the material principle of Scripture?
Law & Gospel What is the relationship between Law & Gospel? What is the role of the law for the Christian?
Sin Why are humans sinful? Do all humans have original sin? What is original sin?
Evil Where did evil come from? If there is a God, how can there be evil?
Jesus Was Jesus a real person? Was Jesus true God? What was the purpose of the incarnation? What was the purpose of Jesus’ death? Did Jesus Rise from the dead? What is the purpose of Jesus’ resurrection? (There are many more possible questions one could ask!)
Justification How is one justified? How is one personally saved? Can those who have never heard God’s Word be saved?
Holy Spirit Who/what is the Holy Spirit?
Conversion How is one converted? What is faith? Who/what produces faith?
Baptism What is baptism? What happens in baptism? Should one baptize infants? Is baptism necessary? How should one baptize? (Many more questions could be asked!)
Communion What is communion? What happens in communion? How should one prepare for communion? What does the (Christian and/or non-Christian) communicant receive when communing? How is Christ present in communion? (Many more questions could be asked!)
Sanctification What is the role of good works for a Christian? What is the worth of a non-Christian’s good deeds? How should the Christian live vis-à-vis society? Are miraculous gifts still given today? What is the proper/biblical view of church & state? How should the Christian serve God (i.e., vocation)? Which good works are pleasing to God?
Last Things Why do human beings die? Is there a hell? Is there a spiritual death? How will Jesus return? Will the dead rise on the last day?
Your first step is to read an article about your topic from a theological encyclopedia. Here are some additional helpful resources that give differing points of view on certain topics:
*The Historical Jesus: Five Views (ed. James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy)
The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views (ed. James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy)
Justification: Five Views (ed. James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy)
*Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World (ed. Dennis L. Okholm and Timothy R. Phillips)
Four Views on Eternal Security (ed. J. Matthew Pinson)
What About Those Who Have Never Heard? Three Views (ed. Gabriel Fackre et al.)
*Five Views on Law and Gospel (ed. Stanley N. Gundry)
*Five Views on Sanctification (ed. Stanley N. Gundry)
*Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? 4 Views (ed. Wayne Grudem)
Baptism: Three Views (ed. David F. Wright)
The Lord’s Supper: Five Views (ed. Gordon T. Smith)
*The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (ed. Robert G. Clouse)
*Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (ed. Darrell L. Bock)
*Science and Christianity: Four Views (ed. Richard F. Carlson)
Three Views on Creation and Evolution (ed. J.P. Moreland and John Mark Reynolds)
Church, State, and Public Justice: Five Views (ed. P.C. Kemeny)