Religion

In contribution to the mission of Bluffton University to provide a superior liberal arts program shaped by the historic peace tradition of Mennonite churches, the religion department of Bluffton University has four objectives:

  • to teach the skill and value of critical thinking toward Scripture and toward historical-denominational traditions with an aim toward deeper commitments to God as known in Jesus Christ and greater critical appreciation for the students' own heritage;
  • to expose all students at Bluffton University to Judeo-Christian history, literature and values in particular conversation with Anabaptist and Mennonite perspectives and traditions;
  • to offer a program of in-depth study for those whose interests take them beyond the minimum exposure to religion in general education courses and that provides further skill in biblical interpretation, in assessing theological proposals and in passing on theological traditions; and
  • to be a defining center of contemporary free church theology for both the academic community and the Anabaptist and Mennonite churches.
     

To accomplish this four-fold mission, the religion department offers two majors (Biblical and Theological Studies and Youth Ministries), five minors (biblical studies, theological studies, youth ministries, missions, and philosophy), and an interdisciplinary program (Communication in Church Organizations Program), each of which reflects and is shaped by the peace church heritage and the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition while remaining in conversation with other Christian traditions.

Those who plan to major or minor in religion should take COM 185 instead of MAT 105 as their general education reasoning course.
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Majors

Biblical and Theological Studies major

(40 hours)

The major in biblical and theological studies serves the needs of a variety of students. As a biblical and theological studies major, you will learn to think critically and appreciate how to understand and mediate among diverse perspectives. These skills are wonderful preparation for many vocations. The major in biblical and theological studies also provides an excellent foundation for those interested in church vocations or further graduate studies in religion. Biblical and Theological studies is also an excellent complement to another major.

Core courses:

REL 250 Introduction to Old Testament (3)
REL 252 Introduction to New Testament (3)
REL 273 Christian Theology (3)
REL 274 Christian Ethics (3)
REL 275 History of Christianity (3)
REL 276 War, Peace and Nonviolence
(3)
REL 322 Methods of Biblical Interpretation
(3)
REL 359 Mennonite History and Thought (3)
REL 395 Religion Seminar (1)

Choose 9 hours:
REL 312  Exegetical Studies (Old Testament) (3)
REL 312  Exegetical Studies (New Testament) (3)
REL 320 Historical and Theological Studies (3-6)

Choose 6 hours:
REL 115 World Religions (3)
REL 230 Christian Worship (3)
REL 242 Spiritual Disciplines (3)
REL 334 Foundations in Christian Ministry (3)

  Youth Ministries major

(39 hours)

The youth ministries major is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in a variety of ministry settings. Students are encouraged to choose a second major or a minor to focus their eventual vocational interests. For instance, students interested in congregational youth ministry may want to minor in biblical or theological studies, communication, worship arts, or psychology. Students interested in para-church ministries like Youth for Christ or camping and other outdoor ministries may want to minor in recreation management, graphic design, missions, theater, or wellness.

Core courses:
REL 110 Principles of Christian Education (3)
REL 230 Christian Worship (3)
REL 242 Spiritual Disciplines (3)
REL 334 Foundations of Christian Ministry (3)
REL 336 Discipling and Mentoring (3)
REL 362 Youth Ministry I: Theology and Programming (3)
REL 364 Youth Ministry II: History and Praxis (3)
REL 385 Youth Ministry Practicum (2)
REL 395 Religion Seminar (1)

(Choose three hours):
REL 250 Introduction to Old Testament (3)
REL 252 Introduction to New Testament (3)

(Choose three hours):
REL 273 Christian Theology (3)
REL 274 Christian Ethics (3)
REL 275 History of Christianity (3)

(Choose three hours):
REL 276 War, Peace, and Nonviolence (3)
REL 359 Mennonite History & Thought
(3)

(Choose six hours):
REL 312 Exegetical Studies (3)
REL 320 Historical and Theological Studies (3)
REL 322 Methods of Biblical Interpretation (3)

Minors

Minors enable students to explore a selected area in religion while devoting the majority of their academic program to another discipline. In keeping with the department's focus on conversation and diverse traditions, minors in missions and philosophy are offered in addition to biblical studies, theological studies, and youth ministries.

Biblical Studies minor (19 hours)

REL 250 Introduction to Old Testament (3)
REL 252  Introduction to New Testament (3)
REL 322  Methods in Biblical Interpretation (3)
REL 395  Religion Seminar (1)

(Six hours from the following umbrella course)
REL 312  Exegetical Studies (3+3)

(Three hours from the following)
REL 273 Christian Theology (3)
REL 274 Christian Ethics (3)
REL 275 History of Christianity (3)

Missions minor (18-19 hours)

REL 115 World Religions (3)
REL 275 History of Christianity (3)
REL 332 Christian Missions
(3)
REL 334 Foundations of Christian Ministry (3)
REL 395 Religion Seminar
(1)

(choose three hours from the following)
REL 242 Spiritual Disciplines (3)
REL 273 Christian Theology (3)
REL 336 Discipling and Mentoring (3)

(choose two or three hours from the following)
REL 385 Practicum (2)
REL 390 Independent Study (3)

Philosophy minor (18 hours)

PHI 105 Introduction to Philosophy (3)
PLS 270 Political Theory (3)
REL 274 Christian Ethics (3)
SOC 330 Social Justice and Social Change (3)
COM 344 Rhetorical Theory (3)
ENG 401 Critical Theory (3)

Theological Studies minor (19 hours)

REL 273 Christian Theology (3)
REL 274 Christian Ethics (3)
REL 395 Religion Seminar (1)

(Six hours from the following umbrella course)
REL 320 Historical and Theological Studies (3 +3)

(Three hours from the following)
REL 275 History of Christianity (3)
REL 359 Mennonite History and Thought (3)

(Three hours from the following)
REL 115 World Religions (3)
REL 242 Spiritual Disciplines (3)

Youth Ministries minor (21 hours)

REL 334 Foundations of Christian Ministry (3)
REL 362 Youth Ministry I (3)
REL 364 Youth Ministry II (3)
REL 385 Youth Ministry Practicum (2)
REL 395 Religion Seminar (1)

(choose nine hours from the following)
REL 110 Principles of Christian Education (3)
REL 230 Christian Worship
(3)
REL 242 Spiritual Disciplines (3)
REL 336 Discipling and Mentoring (3)

 July 2014