Master of Arts in Theology
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Degree Requirements/Courses

The Whitworth M.A. in Theology Program requires completion of 36 semester credits of study that include eight required core courses for 24 credits and 12 credits of approved electives.

The program is designed with flexibility to allow students to concentrate their elective credits in specific areas of interest in ministry, such as pastoral care and counseling, youth ministry, and Christian culture. There are several options available for completing elective credits, including independent studies and directed reading.


Core (Required) Courses, 24 semester credits. Listed in recommended sequence.

  1. THG 510  The Great Tradition: History of Christianity I (three credits).  The history, thought, and practices of the Christian church from its beginning to the dawn of the Reformation, with special attention given to pastoral, ecclesiastical, and cultural issues. 

  2. THG 560 Old Testament Theology (three credits).  The content and theology of the Old Testament in light of its literary, historical and religious background, with a view to gaining a good working knowledge of Old Testament theological themes.

  3. THG 540 Life of Jesus and the Early Church (three credits). The pivotal events and major teachings of Jesus as recorded in the four gospels and the growth of the church as recorded in the book of Acts, with special application to the church today.

  4. THG 520  Reformation and Renewal: History II (three credits).  The history, thought, and practices of the Christian church from the beginning of the Reformation to the present, with special emphasis on church reform and spiritual renewal.

  5. THG 550 Letters of the New Testament (three credits).  A detailed study of the Pauline epistles, Hebrews, the general epistles, and Revelation, with primary focus on theology and ethics, development of exegetical skills, hermeneutical understanding, and practical application to the life of the church.

  6. THG 515  Christian Theology (three credits).  An examination of the major topics of Christian theology.  Attention will be given to the core content of each doctrine, the coherence of the doctrines with one another, and the practical relevance of these doctrines to the lives of the students and to ministry. 

  7. THG 530 Christian Spirituality (three credits).  The history, theology and practice of Christian spirituality, and its implications for how students live, serve the church, and reach the world.

  8. THG  525 Leadership in the Christian Community (three credits).  An exploration of the demands and needs of Christian ministry and the spiritual resources, practices, and strategies Christians can use to do their work well.

Possible elective course options: 12 semester credits

  • THG 570 Christianity and Culture (three credits). One of the most effective ways to "read" the convictions and values of a culture is through its literature. Therefore, this class explores the intersection of classical Christian theology and the contemporary, postmodern novel. Students and professor will analyze works by authors such as John Irving, Ann Patchett, Ian McEwan, Ann Tyler and others, bringing their writings into dialogue with some of the central themes of Christian theology from across the centuries.

  • THG 575 Teaching and Preaching the Scriptures (three credits) (Prerequisite: THG 596 Biblical Exegesis for Ministry) This course will study effective communication in teaching and preaching the Bible. Attention will be given to the nature of human communication, principles of teaching biblical texts, and the preparation and presentation of messages involving a variety of biblical genres.

  • THG 586 Readings: Great Thinkers of the Church (three credits). The Reformed tradition seems remote, inaccessible, and excessively academic to many people, including many pastors. In truth it is opposite - accessible, energetic, and practical. This course will explore the writings of some of the most formative thinkers in the Reformed Tradition, including Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Barth, and Bonheoffer, focusing not only on their theology but also on its implications for the Christian life.

  • THG 535 Biblical Exegesis for Ministry (three credits). (This course is the prerequisite for THG 580 Teaching and Preaching the Scriptures.) A study of the different ways in which various types of literature in scripture are interpreted in order to enhance the pastoral ministries of teaching and preaching. The course will consider selected passages from the creation narratives, Pentateuch, Prophets, Psalms, Gospels, Paul's letters, and Revelation.

  • THG 596 The Missional Church (three credits) The Missional Church will explore the distinguishing contours of the missional church change, as well as the leadership required by it. Major course attention will center on three primary shifts underway: the shift from an internal to an external focus, the shift from program-driven to spiritual development as the core activity of the missional community, and the shift in how leadership is empowered and guided.

  • THG 596 Pastoral Care in a Faith Community (three credits). As Jesus said, God cares for broken, grieving, marginal people. The church should, too, which means that these people - which in fact includes ALL of us - should end up in the church, including our church. That requires the church to discern how best to welcome and care for the people whom Jesus came to reach. This class will focus how the church, as a redemptive, healing community, can do just that, with Christ's ministry as the model.

  • THG 586 Readings: Pastoral Theology and Practice (three credits). Students read and discuss a number of seminal books on the theology and practice of ministry, paying special attention to key theological issues and the practical skills necessary for effective ministry today.

Other elective options may be available through independent study.

Total program: 36 semester credits




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