Upcoming courses

Student Sophia Austiin and professor Safwat Marzouk, PhDWant to explore seminary study?

At AMBS, students may take up to two courses for credit without having been admitted to one of our degree or certificate programs, with a limit of one course per term.

If you are not an admitted student at AMBS and not enrolled at another seminary, college or university, your first AMBS course for credit is 50 percent off regular tuition rates. (Grebel and CMU students, see this exception.) 

If you’d like to take one of the courses listed below, choose the registration form that best applies to you at this link:

Semester One, 2020–21

Online registration for 2020–21 is open. View/download a PDF of the Semester One course offerings.

Campus and blended courses that are open to auditors are designated below either with “Open to auditors” or “Auditors: consult with instructor.” (Online and hybrid courses cannot be audited.) See also FAQ: Auditing courses.

Questions? Contact the Registrar’s Office, or download the current course list and block schedule for details.

Note: The courses listed below are entry-level courses without prerequisites. See also courses with prerequisites and courses for admitted students only.

Online or blended courses

Sept. 1 – Dec. 11, 2020
Tuition due: Aug. 31, 2020

For online courses, students can do their online coursework at different times that suit their individual schedules and needs. (Some courses may require synchronous learning sessions during which students need to be online at the same time; this is noted in the course information.) All course activities are mediated through an online course management system (Moodle). Students interact with professors and peers through course discussion boards, email, video chats, Google Hangouts or other means. Please note: Online courses cannot be audited.

Blended courses are campus courses that students can join via videoconference during posted class times. Students who want to audit the blended “section” of a campus course should consult with the Academic Dean, Beverly Lapp.

Three credit hours — David Cramer, PhD

What Christians perceive to be God’s will makes a difference in the way we think about violence and war. Taking a longitudinal view, this course examines the historical development of Christian perspectives on violence and peace from the second century onward. We will examine how various views emerged and evolved, with attention to the contexts that gave rise to them. Special attention will be given to Jesus’s ministry, the emergence of pacifism, perspectives on just war theory, the evolution of peace concerns in diverse cultural settings, and possibilities for thinking beyond the just war-pacifism binary today.

Three credit hours — Jamie Pitts, PhD

Since the Middle Ages, Christian theology has been conceived of as an interconnected network of “loci” or focal points. Of the many loci, Christian Theology 1 covers God and the Trinity, creation and fall, sin and evil, the person and work of Jesus Christ, salvation, the nature of human persons, revelation, and scripture. Discussions of theological method are treated especially in relation to these last two loci. We will study closely a major Anabaptist interpretation of the loci from McClendon and compare this with liberation, evangelical, and ecumenical approaches.

Three credit hours — Drew Strait, PhD — Fri, 1:30–4:30 p.m. — Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

This course will read the Gospel of Mark in community with an eye toward animating its call to discipleship. As the architect of gospel literature, Mark the Evangelist inspired a media revolution as he wrote the Jesus story into history. Now widely understood as the first canonical gospel written, Mark’s blueprint of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection influenced subsequent gospels and generations of Christians to take up their cross and subversively follow Jesus on “the way.” Through a close reading of the text, we will drill down into the first-century Jewish and Greco-Roman world of Jesus and his first followers. The course serves as a historical and theological introduction to Mark’s Gospel, with special care for how this text speaks to the world today.

Three credit hours — Rachel Miller Jacobs, DMin — Tues, 1:30–4:30 p.m. — Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

Competent ministerial identity and practice are rooted in self- and other- awareness, theologically and biblically grounded reflection on human becoming, and a balanced and healthy spirituality. At the service of competence and flourishing in current or future ministry, this course has two goals: 1) to strengthen students’ understanding of practical theology as a content area and their skill in applying it as a methodology; and 2) to allow students to demonstrate growing personal and spiritual maturity. Class activities and assignments focus on putting human development and Christian formation frameworks into conversation with each other in an interdisciplinary way; thinking theologically and in culturally nuanced ways about human development and Christian formation; reflecting on the ways past issues and experiences can chart a way forward and/or hinder human development and Christian formation for self and others; and exploring the ways spiritual practices foster human development and Christian formation.

Four credit hours — Drew Strait, PhD

In this course, students will learn the Greek and Hebrew alphabets and how to use study aids and research tools. They also will be oriented to basic exegetical methodologies using the original biblical languages. Using print resources and computer-assisted Bible study programs, students will cultivate skills needed when studying the Bible in preparation for preaching and teaching in the congregation. Students should anticipate purchasing specialized texts or software that can be used beyond the completion of the course.

One credit hour — Safwat Marzouk, PhD — Fri, 12:30–1:20 p.m. — Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused much suffering and grief around the world. The pandemic has altered the life of the church as a community of faith gathered around the word and the sacraments. In response to the uncertainty and disorientation that this pandemic has caused, Christians turned to the Bible in order to find a sense of meaning and orientation in the midst of this chaos. This colloquium seeks to provide an opportunity for students to reflect on biblical hermeneutics and theologies that have surfaced in response to the pandemic. Topics that will be covered include: chaos and creation; oppression and plagues; suffering and mystery; chaos as opposing to God's intentions for creation; spiritual practices such as prayers, trust, lament, and repentance; church in exile; leadership in crisis; transforming social and economic relations; stories of encounters with Jesus and God in houses and quarantine.

Two credit hours — Rachel Miller Jacobs, DMin

With the Bible as primary textbook and prayer as primary practice, this class explores the intersection between text and formation for both individuals and groups. What does scripture-saturated personal and corporate prayer look like? How might we pray scripture through memory, movement, and music, either by ourselves or in small groups, Sunday school classes, spiritual friendships, and family life? Over the course of a semester, we will experience and experiment with a variety of ways of praying and sinking deeply into scripture as well as leading others in doing so.

Hybrid courses

Aug. 3 – Dec. 11, 2020 (online portion)
Hybrid week on campus Aug. 17–22, 2020
Tuition due: July 27, 2020

Hybrid courses begin and end with online assignments and interactions. Normally, students are expected to be on campus for one scheduled week during the course for face-to-face interactions with other students and faculty; this allows students to meet the residency requirements of AMBS’s accrediting agency.

COVID-19 update: In light of the pandemic, we will evaluate whether on-campus time will be required for the hybrid courses. (See our COVID-19 Update Center for more information.) For ease of our system and record-keeping, the H will remain as part of the course designation whether or not there are extra course meetings during hybrid week.

Please note: Hybrid courses cannot be audited.

Two credit hours — Rachel Miller Jacobs, DMin

This course explores spirituality in the context of the Christian family. It works at two levels: 1) developing biblical, theological, ethical, and human development foundations for understanding how the presence of God is known and experienced in the family; and 2) suggesting models for nurturing and strengthening faith within the family for the sake of participating in what God is doing in the world. The class will cover biblical understandings of covenant, family, and faith; the ways in which the intergenerational nature of family life strengthens the faith of everyone; the role of ritual in family life; and the relationship between family and congregation in God’s wider mission.

Three credit hours — Al Fuertes, PhD

This course is designed to provide participants with a thorough overview of the complex issues of trauma and healing within socio-historical and cultural contexts. Participants will explore the social-psychological-neurobiological-physical-spiritual processes of responding to deep personal loss, pain, and suffering in settings of protracted, violent conflict, as well as examine recently developed approaches to the healing of individuals and communities as they move from violence or war to just peace. Participants will explore the theoretical bases through narratives and case examples from a variety of national and international settings, and engage in practical exercises to demonstrate approaches to trauma recovery. This course specifically aims to integrate trauma healing into the larger peacebuilding and conflict resolution/transformation field, since unhealed trauma often continues the cycle of violence. It is expected that participants will bring a general understanding of these issues and be prepared to address them theoretically and practically. The learning process for this course involves a collaborative, interactive effort by the professor and participants through a format that includes lectures, hands-on activities, role-plays, dialogue, and circle processes.

Campus courses

Sept. 1 – Dec. 11, 2020
Tuition due: Aug. 31, 2020

Face-to-face campus courses meet on the AMBS campus in Elkhart, Indiana. Classroom sessions have accompanying assignments outside of each class session. While these courses have online requirements, classroom learning is a central element of the course. Download a course list and block schedule.

Blended courses are campus courses that students can join via videoconference during posted class times. If you are at a distance and are interested in taking a campus course by videoconference, please contact the Registrar. The instructor of the course may be open to such an arrangement.

COVID-19 update: In light of the pandemic, we will evaluate the delivery format for the campus courses and make changes as needed for the safety of students and instructors. (See our COVID-19 Update Center for more information.) 

Please note audit designations in each course description.

Four credit hours — Safwat Marzouk, PhD — Tues and Fri, 8:30–10:40 a.m. — Auditors: consult with instructor

This is the basic course in the Old Testament exegesis sequence. It prepares students for exegesis by providing (1) a working knowledge of Hebrew grammar; (2) the ability to read Hebrew narrative; and (3) an introduction to the process of exegesis. This course is a prerequisite for Old Testament exegesis courses.

Three credit hours — Jamie Pitts, PhD — Tues, 8:30–11:30 a.m. — Auditors: consult with instructor

Since the Middle Ages, Christian theology has been conceived of as an interconnected network of “loci” or focal points. Of the many loci, Christian Theology 1 covers God and the Trinity, creation and fall, sin and evil, the person and work of Jesus Christ, salvation, the nature of human persons, revelation, and scripture. Discussions of theological method are treated especially in relation to these last two loci. We will study closely a major Anabaptist interpretation of the loci from McClendon and compare this with liberation, evangelical, and ecumenical approaches.

Three credit hours — Susannah Larry, PhD — Thurs, 8:30–11:30 a.m. — Open to auditors

Sexualized violence remains a salient problem in our society even as it is also reflected in our sacred scriptures. Frequently, biblical texts representing violence (and their interpretations) are a source of trauma for survivors of sexual violence. This course aims to bend the trajectory of these texts’ interpretation away from deeper wounding. While the subject matter of this course remains difficult, the goal will be to move towards a “hermeneutics of reclamation,” in which the trauma represented in the Bible can be read as the witness to survivors’ testimony.

Three credit hours — Andy Brubacher Kaethler, PhD — Tues, 1:30–4:30 p.m. — Auditors: consult with instructor

This course serves three purposes: 1) to combine various subfields of practical theology by bringing into focus questions related to advocacy theologies, applied theology, and spiritual theology; 2) to introduce students to the biblical, theological, and spiritual core of theological education at AMBS; and 3) to introduce students to missional theology in Mennonite perspective. The course is organized around a basic question: What is the center/meaning/goal of the gospel? Developing a reply to this query with any depth of meaning requires us to use critical, appreciative, reflective, and confessional approaches as we articulate our posture. In other words, integrating peace theology, missiology, and ecclesiology, we will determine what is central to the Christian church’s identity and purpose and how we know if we are being faithful to this calling.

Four credit hours — Drew Strait, PhD — Fri, 1:30–4:30 p.m. — Campus section: Open to auditors; Blended section: Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

This course will read the Gospel of Mark in community with an eye toward animating its call to discipleship. As the architect of gospel literature, Mark the Evangelist inspired a media revolution as he wrote the Jesus story into history. Now widely understood as the first canonical gospel written, Mark’s blueprint of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection influenced subsequent gospels and generations of Christians to take up their cross and subversively follow Jesus on “the way.” Through a close reading of the text, we will drill down into the first-century Jewish and Greco-Roman world of Jesus and his first followers. The course serves as a historical and theological introduction to Mark’s Gospel, with special care for how this text speaks to the world today.

Note: Blended courses are campus courses that students can join via videoconference during posted class times. 

Two credit hours — Rachel Miller Jacobs, DMin — Tues, 1:30–4:30 p.m. — Campus section: Auditors: consult with instructor; Blended section: Auditors: consult with instructor and Academic Dean

Competent ministerial identity and practice are rooted in self- and other- awareness, theologically and biblically grounded reflection on human becoming, and a balanced and healthy spirituality. At the service of competence and flourishing in current or future ministry, this course has two goals: 1) to strengthen students’ understanding of practical theology as a content area and their skill in applying it as a methodology; and 2) to allow students to demonstrate growing personal and spiritual maturity. Class activities and assignments focus on putting human development and Christian formation frameworks into conversation with each other in an interdisciplinary way; thinking theologically and in culturally nuanced ways about human development and Christian formation; reflecting on the ways past issues and experiences can chart a way forward and/or hinder human development and Christian formation for self and others; and exploring the ways spiritual practices foster human development and Christian formation.

Note: Blended courses are campus courses that students can join via videoconference during posted class times. 

Three credit hours — Susannah Larry, PhD — Tues, 1:30–4:30 p.m. — Open to auditors

Genesis is the first book in the biblical canon, and it has stood at the center of multiple cultural conflicts. This course examines these origin and ancestral stories of ancient Israel and interprets their significance for the Church and world today. Particular focus will be given to questions of ethnicity, gender, family, creation, and violence and reconciliation in Genesis.

Three credit hours — Janna Hunter-Bowman, PhD — Thurs, 1:30–4:30 p.m. — Auditors: consult with instructor

This course introduces students to the growing discipline of peace studies through the lens of peacebuilding, an integrated framework of academic study and practice. It guides students through key texts from peace research as well as cultural studies, religious studies, interventions from peacebuilding practice, and theologies that shape transformative approaches to peacebuilding. Students will have the opportunity to do substantial research in the areas covered by the course or to devise multidimensional and interdisciplinary peacebuilding approaches through case study.

Three credit hours — Allan Rudy-Froese, PhD — Thurs, 1:30–4:30 p.m. —  Auditors: consult with instructor

This course explores major issues in homiletics such as biblical interpretation for preaching, embodiment of the sermon, the contextual nature of preaching, and sermon form. Matters such as the place of preaching in worship and the image/role of the preacher as well as purposes and theologies of preaching will be addressed throughout. Class time will include short lectures, discussions, solitary reflective work, voice/body exercises, and, of course, sermons.

One credit hour — Safwat Marzouk, PhD — Fri, 12:30–1:20 p.m. — Campus section: Open to auditors; Blended section: Auditors: consult with Academic Dean

The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused much suffering and grief around the world. The pandemic has altered the life of the church as a community of faith gathered around the word and the sacraments. In response to the uncertainty and disorientation that this pandemic has caused, Christians turned to the Bible in order to find a sense of meaning and orientation in the midst of this chaos. This colloquium seeks to provide an opportunity for students to reflect on biblical hermeneutics and theologies that have surfaced in response to the pandemic. Topics that will be covered include: chaos and creation; oppression and plagues; suffering and mystery; chaos as opposing to God's intentions for creation; spiritual practices such as prayers, trust, lament, and repentance; church in exile; leadership in crisis; transforming social and economic relations; stories of encounters with Jesus and God in houses and quarantine. Students must register to receive credit; other students may attend without registering.

Note: Blended courses are campus courses that students can join via videoconference during posted class times. 

Two credit hours — Allan Rudy-Froese, PhD — Tues, 6:30–8:30 p.m. — Not available for audit

Building students’ confidence in their voices is the main focus of this course. Through voice exercises and short oral performances, students will explore the range and registers of their speaking voices and develop increased vocal flexibility and expressiveness. We will work primarily with Kristin Linklater’s theory and method.

Three credit hours — Safwat Marzouk, PhD — Thurs, 8:30–11:30 a.m. — Auditors: consult with instructor

Although the Bible is familiar to the majority of Christians, a close study of its texts in their historical contexts takes readers on a new journey through the strange world of the Bible. In the first part of Strange New World of the Bible 1, students will delve deeply into the texts and contexts of the Old Testament and will be introduced to major events that have shaped its texts and theologies. They will study closely texts from the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings, and they will get acquainted with the genres of narrative, law, history, and wisdom of the Old Testament and the ancient Near East. This class integrates historical, literary, cultural, and theological approaches to studying the Bible in order to equip students with the tools to interpret the Bible in its historical, literary, and theological contexts so that they can proclaim the Bible’s witness to God’s mission in the world.

Three credit hours — Malinda Elizabeth Berry, PhD — Fri, 8:30–11:30 a.m. — Open to auditors

How should Christians respond to violence, health care, and creation care issues? What choices face us regarding sexuality and systemic racism? Using a case studies approach to deepen students’ ability to think ethically, this course also outlines several major approaches to ethics from a Christian stance: social ethics, duty ethics, consequentialist ethics, and virtue ethics. Working from an Anabaptist-Mennonite framework called “shalom political theology,” students will also integrate the various forms of ethical reasoning and reflection with three theological motifs: scriptural authority, Christology, and ecclesiology.

One credit hour — Janna Hunter-Bowman, PhD — Weds, 12–1 p.m. — Open to auditors

This colloquium is for students in the MATPS program and other degree programs who are interested in peace and justice issues related to the church’s witness, peacebuilding, and interaction with other religions. It provides a setting for sharing information and assessing aspects of church engagement and for encouraging the integration of discernment, action, reflection, and evaluation. Semester One is an engaged learning seminar with local partners; trainings are included. Semester Two consists primarily of presentations and discussions. Students must register to receive credit; other students may attend without registering.

One credit hour — Rachel Miller Jacobs, DMin — Thurs, 12–1 p.m. — Open to auditors

For students who enroll in it, the colloquium functions as a worship committee that helps those on the AMBS campus worship in ways that reflect the diversity of our learning community. This diversity includes but is not limited to differences in language, culture, nationality, theological orientation, and worship “style.” In our work together, we will practice tending to chapel services that are both suited to our particularity and that unite us with the body of Christ in worshipping the living God. For those who are leading an individual chapel service, the colloquium serves as a group with whom to study the biblical text that anchors the chapel service, do some preparatory brainstorming to begin their planning, and debrief after the fact. For both groups, the colloquium provides a lab setting for worship planning and evaluation that strengthen corporate worship life. Students must register to receive credit; other students may attend without registering. The colloquium may be taken twice for credit and is open to anyone on the AMBS campus. Those planning and leading chapels are strongly encouraged to attend the colloquium two weeks in advance of their chapel service in order to take advantage of the resources available through the colloquium.