Seminar Outline

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Worship: Proclaiming the One Church of Jesus Christ (2017-18)

Working hypothesis: The Disciples began as a movement for the scriptural renewal of congregational worship (especially through believer's baptism and the celebration of the Lord's Supper), and the movement's early leaders argued that this liturgical reform provided the basis for a union of Christians. This year's seminar sessions, therefore, examine the history of public worship as it interacted with a developing ecumenical theology. Increasingly, since the beginning of the twentieth century, the public representation of Disciples' identity has centered on this relationship between unity and worship.

Autumn Quarter: Worship and Christian Unity, 1800-1865
• The “Ancient Order” of Christian Worship
• Restorationism and Christian Unity

Winter Quarter: Worship and Christian Unity, 1865 to 1930
• The Experience of Christian Worship
• Ainslie, Morrison, and the Modern Ecumenical Movement

Spring Quarter: Worship and Christian Unity, 1930 to the Present
• The Reformation of Tradition
• Contemporary Issues in Christian Unity

Theology: The Word of God and Human Experience (2016-17)

Working hypothesis: Theological continuity in the Disciples tradition has unfolded as a conversation about the relation between Scripture and human experience in the ordering of the Christian life. Seminar sessions explore the ways in which changing assumptions about the nature of history, human psychology, and exegetical method have altered views on the authority and meaning of the Bible.

Autumn Quarter: Theological Developments, 1800 to 1865
• Reason and Religious Experience
• The Bible against History
Gilpin, Summary of emerging issues and themes

Winter Quarter: Theological Developments, 1865 to 1930
• The Bible within History
• Liberal Reformulations---sample set of readings: E. S. Ames, The New Orthodoxy; Albertina Allen Forrest, The Cry "Back to Christ": Its Implication; Gilpin, The Bible within History: Reformulating the Authority of the Bible in the Disciples Tradition (includes selections from sermons by McGarvey and Willett).

Spring Quarter: Theological Developments, 1930 to the Present
• Denominational Restructure as a Theological Enterprise
• The Reconstruction of Disciples Theology

The Design of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

The Church for Disciples of Christ: Seeking to be Truly Church Today by the Commission on Theology, Council on Christian Unity (1998)

Witness: Ordering the Church for Mission (2015-16)

Working hypothesis: The Disciples of Christ expressed convictions about the nature and mission of the church not so much by means of a formal ecclesiology as by practical strategies of witness through the creation of missionary societies, benevolence agencies, or methods of evangelism. The seminar will trace the history of this “pragmatic ecclesiology,” in order to analyze the denomination’s approaches to issues of evangelism, social justice, and polity.

Autumn Quarter: Mission and Polity, 1800 to 1865
• A Reform Society Institutionalized
• The Civil War and the Disciples of Christ

Winter Quarter: Mission and Polity, 1865 to 1930
• Life among the Denominations
• Organizing for Mission and Evangelism

Spring Quarter: Mission and Polity, 1930 to the Present
• The Process of Denominational Restructure
• Ministry and Mission amidst Global Christianity