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’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 listed below for credit and you are not an admitted student at AMBS or not enrolled at another seminary, college or university, register here:

Semester One, 2019–20

August/September – December

Hybrid course

Aug. 5 – Dec. 13, 2019 (online portion)
Hybrid week on campus: Aug. 19–24, 2019
Tuition due: July 29, 2019

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 AMBSs accrediting agency.

Three credit hours — Rachel Miller Jacobs, DMin

With learning at its center, this class has one goal: to strengthen students’ capacity to integrate learning theory and practice so that they can design and teach curriculum for significant learning. At the service of this goal, students will deepen their capacity to select appropriate forms of presentation, choose effective application activities, and assess performance in ways that deepen and extend learning and growth for both students and teachers within the design of your course/curriculum (the major project for this course).

Class activities include learning about and implementing backward design; experimenting with mini lectures and a variety of reading practices; engaging in discussions and writing activities; and planning ways to evaluate learning and both provide and receive feedback well. The course is bookended by two “special sauce” sessions: what’s in mine and what’s in the students’. This allows me to be transparent about my commitments as a teacher at the beginning of this course and students to claim the commitments they want to carry forward into their own teaching at its end.

Online courses

Sept. 3 – Dec. 13, 2019 (online)
Tuition due: Aug. 27, 2019

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; this is noted in the course information.) 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 credit hours — Luke Beck Kreider, M.A., currently a doctoral candidate

This course is about listening carefully and deeply as Creation groans in travail. Our practice of faithful listening involves spending time with several interconnected themes: the theological context of environmental stewardship; the ethical dilemmas we face as we respond to calls for ecojustice (a blend word comprising economic, ecology, and justice); the intersection of place and spirituality; and how these themes shape creation care practices in the Christian church. We will use the terms “Watershed Discipleship,” “Earthkeeping/Earthkeepers,” and “Earth Creatures” to describe our shalom-based understanding of creation care, environmental stewardship, and ecojustice.

Three credit hours — James Krabill, PhD

This course will examine the history, mission dynamics, and changing demographics of the African church. Beginning with biblical reflections, the study will highlight the expansion of the African Christian movement, the impact of the Western colonial encounter, contextualized forms of the faith, and issues facing the church today. Students can choose to examine particular issues such as interfaith conversations, the African-initiated churches, women’s roles, worship trends, or the holistic witness of the church.

Three credit hours — Rachel Miller Jacobs, DMin — This class requires synchronous meetings with the campus course on Thursday afternoons.

According to Franciscan Richard Rohr, “If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.” The goal of this class is to give you the tools and “container” to do (your part of) the work of transformation so that both you and your ministry can flourish. In service of that goal, we will together practice the skills of thinking theologically and in culturally nuanced ways about human development and Christian formation; put human development and Christian formation frameworks into conversation with each other in an interdisciplinary way; reflect on the ways past issues and experiences may chart a way forward and/or hinder our own human development and Christian formation; and explore the ways spiritual practices foster human development and Christian formation in us and in others.

Three credit hours — Heather Bunce, MA

In this thematic and genre study of the Psalms, various types of poetry will be linked with different facets of human experience, both of God and of the world. In this way, students will draw a picture of an integral spiritual maturity from the Psalms. This course is particularly suited for those seeking spiritual growth guided by biblical texts and the development of concepts for nurturing spiritual development in congregations.

Three credit hours — Safwat Marzouk, PhD — This class requires 45 min. of synchronous learning time per week.

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.

Campus courses

Sept. 3 – Dec. 13, 2019 (campus)
Tuition due: Aug. 27, 2019

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. Download a course list and block schedule.

Three credit hours — Drew Strait, PhD — Wednesdays, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

This course explores the historical context and theology of the Book of Revelation within the context of the Roman imperial order. Special attention will be given to Revelation’s theologies of resistance and discursive strategies for negotiating and resisting Roman imperial domination, hegemony and idolatry. The literary and material cultures of the Greco-Roman world will serve as important conversation partners as we animate John’s invitation to follow the slain lamb into God’s new just world. The course will also consider themes of worship, allegiance, power, violence and mission within the social setting of earliest Christianity and for the life of the church today.

Four credit hours — Drew Strait, PhD — Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:30–10:40 a.m.

In this first-level Greek course, students learn the basics of the Greek language and read parts of 1 John, an early Christian letter about knowing and loving God. This basic skill-building course for the New Testament exegesis sequence will also help students gain a clearer understanding of the biblical text and how it functions in the life of the church. Imagine! You can read Greek! This course is a prerequisite for New Testament exegesis courses.

Three credit hours — David Cramer, PhD — Fridays, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

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 — Tuesdays, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

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 credit hours — Andy Brubacher Kaethler, PhD — Wednesdays, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

This multidisciplinary course focuses on developing an understanding of adolescent and young adult faith formation and spirituality. Developmental stages, intentional practices in the family and congregation, and cultural influences are considered in order to nurture Christian faith more effectively and authentically in congregational and relational contexts.

Three credit hours — James Krabill, PhD — Fridays, 1:30–4:30 p.m.

God’s Shalom and the Church’s Witness is a course that serves three purposes: 1) it is a course that combines various sub-fields of practical theology by bringing into focus questions related to advocacy theologies, applied theology, and spiritual theology; 2) it is an introduction to the biblical, theological, and spiritual core of theological education at AMBS; and 3) it is an introduction to missional theology in Mennonite perspective. What does this mean? It means this 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.

This course will meet over the following weekends on the AMBS campus:

  • Fri Sept. 6 (1:30-4:30 p.m. and 6:30-9:30 p.m.)
  • Fri Sept. 27 (1:30-4:30 p.m.)
  • Fri+Sat Oct. 11 (6:30-9:30 p.m.) and Oct.12 (8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-4:30 p.m.)
  • Fri+Sat Nov. 8 (6:30-9:30) and Nov. 9 (8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-4:30 p.m.)
  • Fri+Sat Dec. 6 (6:30-9:30) and Dec. 7 (8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-4:30 p.m.)

Three credit hours — Rachel Miller Jacobs, DMin — Thursdays, 1:30–4:30 p.m.

According to Franciscan Richard Rohr, “If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.” The goal of this class is to give you the tools and “container” to do (your part of) the work of transformation so that both you and your ministry can flourish. In service of that goal, we will together practice the skills of thinking theologically and in culturally nuanced ways about human development and Christian formation; put human development and Christian formation frameworks into conversation with each other in an interdisciplinary way; reflect on the ways past issues and experiences may chart a way forward and/or hinder our own human development and Christian formation; and explore the ways spiritual practices foster human development and Christian formation in us and in others.

Three credit hours — Carli Steelman, PhD student — Tuesdays, 1:30–4:30 p.m.

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.

Three credit hours — Allan Rudy-Froese, PhD — Tuesdays, 1:30–4:30 p.m.

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.

Three credit hours — Jamie Pitts, PhD — Thursdays, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

Recent church debates about sexuality have involved disagreement about their relationship to the global church. Some critics of the movement for LGBTQ inclusion describe it as a Western phenomenon that further isolates Western churches from other Christians. On the other hand, proponents of inclusion have sometimes charged that current Christian sexual categories are a product of the same colonialism that has disfigured and divided the global church. In this course we will examine conflicting arguments over the historical and theological origins of Christian sexual ethics, giving special attention to colonial and mission histories. Students will be challenged to relate their developing understanding of the issues to the current debates over inclusion and the realities of the global church.

Three credit hours — Safwat Marzouk, PhD — Wednesdays, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

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 — Jo-Ann Brant, PhD — Fridays, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

In order to study women and gender in biblical and intertestamental literature, we will adopt a methodologically rich approach that includes investigation into the sociocultural contexts of antiquity, the demands of genre and rhetorical aims, and various critical theories that have been found useful to modern scholarship. We will also look at the way that biblical women have been appropriated in the course of Christian tradition and Western art in ways that both illuminate and distort the shape of biblical passages.

One credit hour — Drew Strait, PhD, and Jason Shenk — Wednesdays, 12–1 p.m.

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.