You can read all of my course reviews here.
Let’s get started….
Reasons I Took This Course
I started the Theology Program several years ago, but never quite got very far. But, when I first designed my uThM Program, this was one of the first set of classes I added.
Though their ministry has seemingly faulted professionally over the years (does one really judge the success of a personal work in the Lord based on comparison with human enterprise?) I have found their program quite interesting.
It is certainly more thought provoking than any traditional seminary course I’ve taken (especially in comparison to the hermeneutics course I’m currently taking at the Master’s Seminary), and I find their middle of the road approach to be rather helpful. Of course their slanted in one direction or another, who isn’t? But, at least they declare those biases as they work through the material, rather than trying to disguise their personal beliefs as fundamental, universal truth.
Rhome van Dyck has since moved on from Bible.org and Credo House (if he ever worked there at all – there is no mention of him anywhere now). He seems today to be teaching bible studies out of a ministry co-op in Texas (didn’t even know that was a thing). There is mention on a facebook page of him being some kind of missionary, though I’m not sure how accurate that is.
Michael C Patton, the main instructor, still apparently runs the website Credo House, which boasts a blog and podcast. There are various teaching materials (doesn’t that really sum most “ministries” in professional Christianity today, producing some sort of teaching material, unless focused on building church attendance or mission work?).
This course was created, filmed and hosted on Bible.org years ago, at the prime of their ministry. I’m thankful (and a little surprised) it is still available and for free.
What I Liked About the Course
These two teachers are really great at walking the middle road in their courses, teaching us the controversies on both sides of the issue without really taking a position, or, at least, despite the position they hold, giving both sides pretty adequately.
They tend to ask a lot of questions during the lectures, which I find compelling and I’m convinced there is so much more you can learn from a great question than from a great lecture.
A terrible lecture and I can feel the knowledge just draining out of me as I reach for the scissors to stab mysel fin the ears.
Of course, this problem (and many others) I find the discussion questions in the notebook the very core of the course. This is where I get to wrestle with the concepts covered, one on one, few if any distractions.
This is really about forming my own theology and determining if what I currently believe is orthodoxy, or heretical (and, it’s okay to be heretical, I just want to know where my beliefs stand).
What I Did Not Like
Another course done and I come away with the inexplicable feeling like I just repeated the same course for a second time. Wasn’t this the same material covered in their Intro To Theology course that I finished several months ago? I could swear it is.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me.
I certainly don’t agree with the instructor’s assertion that the bulk of Christianity throughout history is correct in their theology. In fact, I would argue there is only a remnant of believers (and probably no denominations) that have the bulk of their theology correct.
We see this again and again throughout the bible, God dealing only with the remnant and discarding the masses. It is also illustrated in the account of the seven churches in Revelation. Only one of them had a good report from the Lord, and they were in utter disbelief that they were doing as well as they were.
I think church history as a whole is a fine and perfect record for us to determine what not to do in our faith, rather than as a prescriptive of what to do.
From the earliest of times, almost immediately after the time of the apostles (and probably even during) the church as a whole seems to be pretty much lost and without hope. She is riddled with heresy, and ultimately was overtaken by the hellenized world. It wasn’t until the 1600’s with the Reformation that they attempted an overall, but even that failed to bring about the changes the church so desperately needed.
Today, for all the hype and division, the protestant church is nearly no different than the Catholic one.
Mired and spiritually stalled by pagan and worldly influence.
As already mentioned, there was not a whole lot of new material presented. It seems like kind of a repeat form previous courses.
As already stated also, the discussion questions are where I learn.
I hope the other courses are more indepth than the first two were. I’m certain it will be quite awhile, though, before I take one of them up. I’m ready to jump into more important topics, such as death, consciousness, and more meatier theological issues.
In the end, this course is a great introduction, which, in reality, is what it was designed to do. It is possible I come away from the entire series feeling as if I’m wading in shallow waters.
But, even so, it is good review.
Until my next review…..
Please consider supporting my writing, my unschooled studies, and my hermitic lifestyle by purchasing one or more of my books. I’m not supported by academia or have a lucrative corporate job – I’m just a mystical modern-day hermit trying to live out the life I believe God has called me to. So, any support you choose to provide is GREATLY appreciated.
Excerpt from Seeking Light Aurora:
Thomas opened the front door of the diner and leaned inside, holding himself up by the door frame.
“What’s the matter?” Terrance said, looking away from Peg and Carol. They were all huddled together at the counter.
“Her truck is still freaking out. I’ll try to keep her busy for as long as I can, but I’m running out of ideas.”
He looked over at Derrick who was quietly sitting at the back booth reading one of his books.
“You’ve got to keep her busy,” Terrance said. “We don’t have any other choice.”
“Look –” Thomas hesitated. “This isn’t all on me you know. I’ve already told you. I don’t know jack shit about trucks or engines. I’m sure as hell not a mechanic.”
“It’ll be fine,” Peg said.
“We all know there’s nothing I can do to fix that truck.” Thomas was shaking his head. “She’s going to figure out that something’s up. What if she starts asking questions?”
“Stall her,” Terrance said. “We just have to keep her busy for a little while. Remember, whatever it takes.”
“But, what about –” Carol had tears welling up.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Terrance said. “We’ve all been through this before.” He looked at Thomas. “Just take a deep breath and relax.”
“Relax my ass,” Thomas said. “Save that bullshit for her, okay?”
“Just keep her occupied in the garage as long as you possibly can. She’s focused right now on getting her truck fixed, so use that.”
“Whatever you say.” Thomas pushed off the door frame and let the door close behind him.
“It’s not going to work,” Carol said. “She’ll figure out something is wrong and that will be it.”
Terrance put his hand on Carol’s arm, gently trying to reassure her.
“It’ll work, Carol,” he said. “Have faith. It’ll work. Whatever it takes.”
Buy my book Seeking Light Aurora to find out what in the world is going on at this strange, out of the way diner in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness!
But, you better strap in, because this is definitely not child’s play. People are getting hurt right and left – it just might be you next!