I have finished a course from the Theology Program titled, Principles of Biblical Teaching and figured it was time for a course review. This class is part of my Unschooled Master of Theology program.

Let’s get started….


Course Overview

Overall, this was a pretty good course. In the first few lectures they talked about the antiquated nature of the closed lecture approach to teaching, and how the printing press ultimately led to this. Before this monumental event that changed the world forever, eventually leading to mass production of knowledge and advanced systemetization of storage, resulting now today in the internet of things and the equivelant aggregation of human knowledge and wisdom fitting comfortably in my back pocket, people had to meek out an existence in familial patterns, with few and brief moments of enlightenment, if those moments were ever to come at all. The lecture and the sermon were the catalyst for knowledge. It was the best mechanism by which the human creature could transmit information from one generation to the next. Most people before the printing press were illiterate.

So, this discussion prompts the question. What should replace the lecture? In fact, what we’re seeing is not an all out replacement, but a kind of quasi-metamorphosis. The traditional lecture has fragmented into different beasts. There is the lecture but placed on and delivered by the digital stream. This allows students to listen or watch lectures at their optimal convenience as well as re-watch portions or lectures in their entirety again and again, as needed. This cannot be easily done with the traditional lecture.

Next is the lecture transformed into the informational podcast. From Joe Rogan (who really is not relevant anymore after his $100 million dollar deal) to any professor with a mobile device or laptop computer, famed institutions of higher learning, to some nobody guy like me living in the woods as a megalomaniacal, misanthropic ne’er do well – anyone can record what they want in “lecture,” long form and post it immediately to the web were it will be infused into the singular conscience of the machine.

Podcasting for education has exploded in the last several years and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of it slowing down. It is the day and age where the very best lectures can be recorded and distributed as stand alone, as a series, or in an online, asychronous course. This is truly the future of education and the vocation, applicative nature of the Church and Christian education has embraced it. In my own situation I can attest to it. It is quite possible that I will not have to create audio or video lectures for my workbook courses at all. There is enough content on Youtube and elsewhere in podcast form that I can link to that material as lectures and books as third party material, then use the written form in the workbooks as my own lectures, while leveraging student electronic portfolios for assignments to streamline the grading process. I may never have to record myself once (which might be good as I really don’t care for the sound of my own voice).

In the course lectures they also covered teaching as a spiritual gift. Most important for me was the question of whether spiritual gifts were endowed at the moment the individual was saved or at birth. As for me, I don’t think I necessarily have the gift of teaching as much as I have the gift of solitude (if that could be defined as a gift), contemplation, research, maybe discipleship (though I have not really discipled anyone), but certainly the gift of administration, which I have used throughout my adult life to support myself.

During the course I completed the reading of Teaching to Change Lives and Effective Bible Teaching as well as finished a Teaching Philosophy Paper.

You can check out each one at the above provided links for my reviews. Overall, I did not think the books were all that informative. The writing assignment turned out to be an interesting summation of not only my theories on teaching but my hopes for teaching opportunities in the future including teaching at a few online seminaries (depending on the outcome of my ThD program) as well as hanging my own shingle as a Christian Philosopher, developing asynchronous workbook courses independent of any institution.

What I Liked About the Course

I did like their overall approach to teaching and implementation most. Their process: exegesis, cross-referencing, timeless principle I found to be a great description of my study method as well as how I would like to teach. Chuck Missler does not seem to utilize this methodology all that much. He seems to work topically backward – doing indepth research in various topics of interest (most not biblical), then doing a systematic study of the text (basically reading) and then inserting the extra-biblical, topical information as there is relevance.

I think it is a fine approach, and I have to admit of all the teachers I’ve been acquainted with over the years, Missler by far holds my attention the most. Dr. Heiser would be second. James White probably a third. Michael Patton fourth, only because his work doesn’t focus on the same subject matter that my interest lies in rather than is style or approach.

Lecture 7 summed up the exegetical process: what is the text talking about, what did it mean (to the author and audience)? How does it relate to other scripture, what is the timeless truth being expressed? What does that timeless truth look like in modern life, and what does the author want you and I to do with that timeless truth?

What I Disliked About the Course

Most of the course I found quite interesting, though I did take issue with a few points. First, they insisted on external sources as a means of illustrating how the teaching was not just their opinion but came from other places. Personally, I find citation to be quite worthless, especially in the day and age of the digital world we live in. You tell me Moreland said XYZ and I can copy and paste the quote and find it in a matter of seconds, regardless of what book he wrote it in. A little less accessible are videos and audios, but how often does somone reference one of those without providing the direct link to it? After finishing the researching and writing for my ThD program, I purposefully (and with some joy) turned off the auto citation feature in LOGOS. The only time I use citations now is when I’m quoting from the Bible.

Another issue I had with the instructors was the insistence that the Bible was not written for me. I agree there was an original audience when the letters were written. Romans was written to a particular group of believers who lived in Rome at the time it was written. But, that was Paul’s audience. It may not have been the only audience the Holy Spirit had in mind when guiding Paul when writing it. By insisting on this original audience only, we deny the ability of the Holy Spirit to write things that were actually for people in the future. Remember the letter to Cyrus from God in Isaiah? Josephus has Daniel presenting Cyrus with the scroll, illustrating to him the scroll’s prophetic nature. Likewise, what about what the Seven Thunders uttered in Revelation 10. Who were they written to? Why were they mentioned at all? Their message was authenticated, was understood by John (he was ready to write it), but it was “sealed up what the Seven Thunders have uttered, and do not write them.” Why not?

I would argue with the teachers of this course, whenever the Bible says “You” it is quite possible it is applicable to whoever is reading it.

Conclusion

All in, I think it was a good course, but it still lacked meat and substance. Then again, this might simply be a desire of mine for something that doesn’t exist as I have this underwhelming feeling after taking most courses available these days. It was fine, but I imagine you could learn more by reading a handful of books.

Until my next assignment….


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 In the Meadow:



A second later, the engine roared to life, and Dawn glanced back, one last time, at the trailer she’d grown up in.

The empty yard.

The trail she’d blazed through the blackberries.

That gaunt looking trailer.

Everything she saw now looked so dirty and run down, almost a shambles.

It was like a dream.

Paul circled wide, then threw the truck in reverse and backed up. As he braked and put it back into drive, Dawn could see Harold’s place a few slips down.

Paul gave the truck some gas.

As they went by, she could see Harold standing outside, near his front door, motionless, watching them.

She didn’t mention the earlier conversation to Paul.

Why would she?

He was just a creepy ass guy, and one of the handful of things she didn’t have to deal with anymore.

They drove out the front gate of the trailer park, down the side street to the corner, Paul stopping for a moment as he waited on the traffic to clear.

He took her hand and smiled at her, then pulled out onto the highway, heading west.

They drove past the Ray’s Grocery Store, past the gas station, where Bart was out front, talking excitedly to the Desmond boy.

Paul kissed her hand and she smiled, laying her head back against the headrest.

There was nothing else standing in her way now.

As Dawn began to relax, she watched as her old life quickly dissipate into vapor in their wake.

For the first time in her life, she was leaving Oakridge. She was moving to an entirely different state, a new home, with the man of her dreams.

She’d never even been out of Oregon before.

“Now or never,” Paul said, as they drove past the trailhead sign, on the right.

Dawn tightened her grip on his hand.

She’d finally gotten her wish.

She was leaving Oakridge.


Buy my book In the Meadow to find out what Dawn will do as her perfect fairytale life begins to unravel. Are the girls calling out from the banks of the Skagit River trying to help her? Do they want to hurt her? What secrets will she find?

Click here and grab your copy today! Get the sequel, Returning the Meadow and keep the story going even longer!

But, trust me when I say, this is going to be a roller coaster of a ride. People are dying all around her, and you have no idea what evil lurks in the meadow! Get started in this thriller story today and find out why they’re warning her…calling out to her….trying to tell her…to RUN!


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Blog, Course-Reviews, systematic-theologies-combo-course, unschooled-masters-degree