One-course options

Ron Moyo, MDiV Connect student from North Newton, Kansas.Want to explore seminary study before applying?

The Semester One courses listed below are well suited to students who are exploring seminary studies. 

At AMBS, students may take up to two courses without having been admitted to one of our degree or certificate programs, with a limit of one course per term. If you’re a nonadmitted student, your first AMBS course for credit is 50 percent off regular tuition rates. 

If you’d like to take one of the courses below and you are not an admitted student at AMBS or not enrolled at another seminary, college or university, register here. Contact the Registrar's Office if you have questions.

Semester One • 2018–19

Hybrid courses

Aug. 6 – Dec. 14, 2018 (online)
Hybrid week on campus: Aug. 20–25
Tuition due: July 30, 2018

Hybrid courses begin and end with online assignments and interactions. 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 agencies.

Three hours — Ben Ollenburger, PhD

Students will read and study the English text of the entire book with a view to its theological coherence and its relation to both diverse historical circumstances and the rest of Scripture. Individual texts will be studied in detail, with an interpretive approach appropriate to both theological reflection and preaching. We will give particular attention to Isaiah’s creative use of Zion as a symbol of judgment, hope, and transformation, and to issues of conflict and migration.

Two 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.

Online courses

Sept. 4 – Dec. 14, 2018
Tuition due: Aug. 28, 2018

Students can do their online coursework at different times that suit their individual schedules and needs. (Some courses may require occasional sessions during which students need to be online at the same time.) All course activities are mediated through an online course management system. Students interact with professors and peers through course discussion boards, email, video chats, Google hangouts or other means.

Three 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’ 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 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.

Two hours — Rachel Miller Jacobs, DMin

With the Bible as primary textbook and prayer as primary practice, this seminar 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? This course provides space for experiencing and experimenting with a variety of ways of praying and sinking deeply into Scripture as well as leading others in doing so.

On-campus courses

Sept. 4 – Dec. 14, 2018
Tuition due: Aug. 28, 2018

Face-to-face courses meet on the AMBS campus in Elkhart. 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.

Four hours — Safwat Marzouk, PhD

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.

Three hours — Mary Schertz, PhD

In this course, we will work to understand theoretically and practice personally the formational aspects of biblical study. How can the Bible become a lifelong and life-giving spiritual resource for individuals and congregations? Confessional or contemplative reading of the Bible is reading the Bible as if our life depends on it, as of course it does. Accompanied by artful response and worship, it leads us toward maturity, wisdom, and compassion. Not incidentally, through this way of reading, the biblical text itself vibrates with new meaning for new situations and new problems, new conflicts, new migration, and new developments of the earth in travail.

Three hours — Ben Ollenburger, PhD

This course will survey the prophetic material from Hosea to Malachi, focusing especially on Hosea, Amos, Micah, Haggai, and Zechariah, and on specific texts within those books. We will pay attention to historical and literary context, the history of prophecy in Israel and Judah, and prophetic theology and ethics. The course also will attend to connections in these prophetic books to the wider Old Testament and biblical canon.

Three hours — Safwat Marzouk, PhD

Although the Bible is familiar to the majority of Christians, a close study of its texts in their historical contexts takes the readers on a new journey through the strange world of the Bible. In the first part of Strange New World of the Bible, students will delve deeply into the texts and contexts of the Old Testament and will be introduced to the major events that have shaped the texts and theologies of the Old Testament. 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. The 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 hours — Jamie Pitts, PhD

A descriptive and analytic study of the settings, ideas, and personalities that shaped Anabaptism within the context of the early 16th-century church and society. Bearing in mind the social and political setting, the course will highlight doctrine, ethics, mission, sacramental life, and spirituality in various streams of Anabaptism, noting their common and contrasting characteristics. The relevance of this heritage for contemporary ecumenical, doctrinal, congregational, and personal life will be assessed.

Three 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 hours — Malinda Berry, PhD

Human Sexuality and Christian Ethics is designed to take us on an exploration of sexuality’s meaning and purpose in our lives as human beings. As Christians, biblical faith, life in community, and our cultures of origin shape the context for this exploration. Along the way, we will take stock of how our attitudes, experiences, and beliefs are also part of our attitudes toward and beliefs about morally appropriate expressions of sexuality. Our primary goal is to develop a definition of “healthy sexuality” for Christians seeking to participate in God’s reconciling mission in the world. Methodologically, we use Christian ethics to focus our attention on the human need for intimacy, how this need is connected to sexuality, and how those connections promote shalom. We will primarily concern ourselves with what Margaret Farley describes as meta-ethical issues in Christian sexual ethics: human embodiment, sexual desire, sex’s meaning and purpose, and universal and/or particular moral norms. Another theme in this course will be the role that personality and conflict style play in how we deal with differences about what healthy sexuality is and what that means for faith communities.

Three hours — Janna Hunter-Bowman, PhD

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 multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary peacebuilding approaches through case study.

One hour — Janna Hunter-Bowman, PhD

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. Students must register to receive credit; other students may attend without registering.

Three hours — Rachel Miller Jacobs, DMin

This course gives students both tools and impetus to reflect on their own Christian formation and human development as well as the impact of Christian formation and human development in ministry with others by 1) understanding human development and Christian formation in an interdisciplinary perspective; 2) identifying and working with issues and experiences from the past that may hinder human development and Christian formation; 3) exploring the role of spiritual disciplines in fostering ongoing Christian formation; and 4) reflecting theologically on Christian formation and human development in culturally sensitive and nuanced ways.

Three hours — Allan Rudy-Froese, PhD

This course explores major issues in preaching such as biblical interpretation for preaching, sermon form, and sermon embodiment. The connections between preaching and worship, the role of the preacher, and the purposes and theologies of preaching will be addressed throughout the course. Class time will include short lectures, discussions, voice/body exercises, and, of course, preaching, and listening to sermons.

One hour — Allan Rudy-Froese, PhD 
Meets Sept. 4, 11, 18, 25; Oct. 2, 9, 16

Money — a medium of social exchange that creates hope, anxiety, blessing, conflict, opportunity, and temptation. Students will examine the values related to money in the communities that have shaped them; think through their beliefs about money theologically; evaluate their current money practices in light of their theological beliefs; and develop a money-related practice to pursue throughout the seminar.