The Diploma in Theology is offered to any members of the WFICC who are seeking to grow in their discipleship and/or skills for ministering to others. Every member who is applying to be an ordained minister with the WFICC who has not earned a degree in theology, biblical studies or a ministry-related topic is required to complete the Diploma in Theology program. The program is designed to be convenient for ministers who are already engaged in ministry by providing the option of them being able to take a minimum of one course per year. Each course in the Diploma of Theology program is $450.00. In order to receive more information or register for a course, please email: Rt. Rev. Dr. Kristen Caldwell at ohbishopwficc@gmail.com.

Course Descriptions

TH 501Introduction to Old Testament
TH 502: Introduction to New Testament
TH 503: Pastoral Care and Counseling or CPE 101: Clinical Pastoral Education
TH 504/EP701: History, Polity & Ethics of the WFICC
TH 505/EP 704: Women in Church Leadership
TH 506 Hermeneutics I
TH 507 Homiletics I

TH 501/EP 701 Introduction to Old Testament: This course presents an overview of the books of the Old Testament using the various disciplines of biblical study. Literary analysis will be provided which will identify a books particular author or composition, genre, themes and context as it relates to the overall message of scripture. The historical background of the Ancient Near East will also be explored, examining how the context of the Babylonian and Assyrian cultures intersect with the prophets. Individual texts will be viewed to provide examples as to how Biblical Hebrew can open up a new world of interpreting and understanding the Bible. By following the chronological scheme of events of the Old Testament (rather than the order in most Bibles), students should be able to more fully understand the larger story of the Bible and be introduced to key methods of biblical interpretation.

TH 502 Introduction to New Testament: This course presents an overview of the books of the New Testament using the various disciplines of biblical study. The historical background of the Greco-Roman world will be discussed as it intersects with the events recorded in the New Testament. The core messages of each book of the New Testament will be discussed exploring the implications of its author or composition, genre, and literary context. Connections from original situational contexts to our present day context will be made for praxis in the 21st century. Individual texts will be also viewed to provide examples as to how Biblical Greek can serve to open up a greater understanding of scripture unavailable to the average English reader. By examining the books of the New Testament in chronological order, students should be able to engage in a basic knowledge of biblical scholarship.

TH 503 Pastoral Care and Counseling: This course is a core link from the theories and abstract concepts to the concrete reality of ministry. By focusing squarely on the praxis of ministry, this course seeks to equip ministers with the challenges of seeking to take care of oneself in order to better take care of those under one’s pastoral care. Themes that may be incorporated include: the importance of self-care, the meaning of call, key elements of pastoral care, chaplaincy, ministering at weddings/ funerals, wisdom in leading a congregation, leadership formation, counseling, suicide prevention, and marriage and family therapy. By sharing key methods of pastoral care, perseverance and stamina in God and wisdom in seeking to fulfill God’s call in what can sometimes be a complex journey, this course is designed to fill the needed gap between theory and praxis.

TH 504 History, Polity & Ethics of the WFICC: This course is designed to introduce members of the WFICC to its history, missional purpose, and its basic church polity. Members will become acquainted with the places, times and critical events that led up to the formation of the Worldwide Fellowship of Independent Christian Churches. The course will also explore the WFICC’s mission/ theology, organizational structure and church polity which is both similar and different from denominations and outline expected ethics for ordained ministers of the WFICC.

TH 505/EP 704 Women in Church Leadership: This course is composed of three segments focusing on women in church history, a biblical theology of women in church leadership and a sociological and psychological analysis of women clergy in the 21st century. The first segment will explore women in the early church as it transitioned to an institution in the third century, the women abbesses who held ecclesial jurisdictions throughout Europe, and the hundreds of women evangelists who preached in the United States between 1750-1850. The second segment will explore the biblical foundations for women in church leadership, discussing key differences in Bible translations, and current polemical theologies that have arisen on this topic (creation order theology, role, and the ontological subordination of the Trinity). Lastly, from a psycho-social lens church and denominational patterns will be explored as it relates to women clergy in conjunction with the implications of the results of a survey of 75 women clergy representing 18 denominations.

TH 506 Hermeneutics I: This course is designed to acquaint students with the science of biblical interpretation using both historical and new methods of interpretation that have arisen in the 21st century. By examining how a reader brings their own lens to the study of scripture, this class opens up the world of understanding this complex three-dimensional relationship between original context of author, the text, and the reader. In examining the context of the author and original context, attention will be given to the historical background, biblical languages, and the soft sciences of textual criticism, literary criticism, form criticism, and redaction criticism. In examining the lens of the reader, new methods of interpreting scripture being sensitive to the lens of own’s original context will be examined. This includes postcolonial criticism which adopts an optic for scripture that identifies the inter-dynamics of power, politics and colonized countries.

TH 507 Homiletics I: This course is designed to prepare men and women who sense the call to preach on their lives. Whether one has never preached a sermon or has been preaching for 30 years, this course gives people the freedom to explore different methods of preaching through the presentation of various models found in church history and the contemporary literature. In a hands on manner, this will involve the preaching of sermons during the class time using the different models that were presented. In being stretched to experiment with different types of preaching, one can not only solidify the model which best fits their temperament and personality, but can expand their creativity with the other models. While the emphasis of this class is on learning how to preach effectively and with the power of the Spirit, other themes this course may include are the ethics of preaching, the identity of the preacher, and the practical wisdom needed for the preaching task.