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Course Overview

Christian Theology and the Wild God

This course introduces the student to the nature and goals of theological reflection, the nature and character of God, and the specific theological teachings (doctrines) of the Church.

A Deeper Look

From Dr. Jay Smith

Thank you for your desire to better understand Christian theology!

Over nine hours of the course, together we will investigate:

  • What is theology, and why is it important? Today’s church often either rejects theology or has a complete lack of theological understanding.
  • What is Truth? Experience? Community? Reason? Imagination?
  • What about the Bible? Scripture? Other texts? The Bible is the Christian’s “norming norm” for theology.
  • How does a person think theologically? Experience, Faith, Imagination, Culture, Tradition, Bible: Putting together the different elements of theological thinking for the Christian.
  • Is theology a new thing, or an old thing? Apostles, Fathers, Medieval, Reformation, Modernity, Postmodern: Theology is a very old process and begins in the Beginning to inform how we understand God.
  • Patterns of understanding: creeds, confessions, and systems, oh my! Creation, Humankind, Sin, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Church, Last Things: Since Jesus’ death, people have been wrestling with understanding who Jesus was, what Jesus did, and what Jesus desires from us. Every so often, the church has written what they believed in to ”Creeds” (I believe) and Confessions (formal statements setting out Christian doctrines).
  • How can we think theologically in today’s crazy world? Christian theology informs and empowers Christ’s mission in the world today. Theology, by itself, is an academic exercise – to be fully alive, it must have as its end a dynamic spiritual life and mission!

The EQUIP Program

The Equip program consists of a series of 8 courses, designed to provide church staff and attenders with high quality theological education covering essential topics of the Christian life. Each course is 9 hours in length and taught by members of YTI’s faculty.

EQUIP Courses

Your Guide

Dr. Jay Smith

Hi, my name is Jay Smith and I am a life-long musician: a symphonic and jazz trombonist, performer, arranger, composer, and director. I was born and reared in Oklahoma, later moving to Houston to finish high school. While at Sam Houston State University, I gave my heart to Jesus. Shortly afterward I met the woman who would be my wife, Melissa.

After a decade in music, I surrendered to ministry and completed my my B.A. in Biblical Studies at Howard Payne University, followed by an M.Div. at Baylor’s George Truett Seminary, Th.M. at Regent College in Vancouver, B.C. in 2002, and D.Min. at Carey Theological College in 2005. After several decades in the pastorate in Bellingham, WA; central Texas; and Bozeman, MT; I returned to HPU to teach theology and Christian studies. I earned my Ph.D. in 2013 from the University of Bristol-Trinity College, where I wrote on the theology of conversion in the work of Stanley Grenz. My academic interests include the Trinity, the church, the future, and the imagination and faith.

I am married to Melissa, and we have two adult daughters. I enjoy reading, writing, composing, wood working, bike riding, exploring, and smoking barbecue, along with football, soccer, baseball, and the Olympics. When I need humility, I remind myself that I’m from Oklahoma, and just fortunate to survive childhood!

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