ICAM 801 INTRODUCTION TO RELIGIOUS EDUCATION FINAL PAPER

Your final paper represents the culmination of this course work. Therefore it is important to bring in as much of the class readings and discussion as possible.

–          Remember that you want to outline your own philosophy of educating in faith, in light of   what you have come to believe/conclude given the readings of this course:

o   defining and choosing between Religious, Christian or Christian Religious Education as the basis of your model;

o   describing your theology and practice of education, citing and engaging with as many of the course readings as possible.

o   articulating your own definition, justification and outlining/prescription of educating in faith that may be used as a guide as you engage in your ministry (keeping in mind the broad definition of teaching that includes educating in faith in ministries beyond that of a local congregation)

What matters is not citing the opinions of all of the writers you’ve read. What matters is addressing the questions/issues they’ve raised or considered.

Checklist:

•       Does your paper describe your own understanding of what it means to “educate in faith†? Does it explain the meaning and reason for the option among Christian Education, Religious Education or Christian Religious Education?

•       Does it present a definition for educating in faith? Does it expand that with a well-grounded, scholarly work articulating a personal philosophy of educating in faith? Does it arrive at any conclusion?

•       Does it account for the class readings? (This does not necessarily mean agreeing with all of the authors!) In other words, how deep is your bibliography/footnote section?

•       Does it address some of the key questions of the course –

•       What is the scope of Christian/Religious Education? What should our content be? Should we be teaching the specifics of doctrine, the practices of faith, the wide range of beliefs, etc.?

•       What are our goals? What are the implications of our goals?

•       In what ways does HOW we educate matter? What are appropriate strategies and concerns?

•       What are our tasks? Revision? Vision? What has been missing in Christian or religious education as you have seen it practiced?

•       What role should context play? Race? Culture? Gender?

•       Whose voices are key in the educational process?

What makes a “A†paper?

•       The paper is clear and cogent, offering meaningful connections. Use academic grammar and employ spell check.

•       The paper offers a definition clearing arising from consideration of six or more course readings, with citations; ample footnotes and bibliography related to THIS course. (Required reading & group assignments)

•       The paper names a lens (Christian Ed? Religious Ed? Ed for evangelism? Ed for formation and rootedness in Christ? Ed for transformation or liberation?) and discusses its import; the lens is apparent in the body of the paper and in the pedagogical implications

•       The paper offers a coherent and meaningful discussion linking the definition of educating in faith, the selected lens, and a philosophy of education, noting implications for future ministry

Sample Outline: (no fewer than 8 pages)

•       My informed lens:

•       My choice of Christian Education,  Religious Education, etc.

•       Succinct statement of my rationale for my choice

•       Succinct statement about the “problem†or “shortcomings†of CE today and how you see your lens (and philosophy) as a corrective

•       In light of the above, my informed definition of educating in faith (in light of my lens and what educating in faith should be)

•       In light of the above, my informed opinion about authority related to educating in faith; whose voice? (corrective?)

•       In light of the above, my informed opinion of the overall task of Christian/Religious education and therefore the scope of education

•       Role of context? For African Americans? For multi-cultural/multi-ethnic? Both?

•       In light of the above, my informed opinion about the goals of education

•       In light of the above, my informed opinion about the content of education

•       In light of the above, my informed opinion  about the strategies and processes necessary to achieve the goals/teach the content

•       Succinct summary of key points and implications for future

Based on your reading and reflection, from your perspective, what is and is not happening in Christian Education in the church?

From my perspective, we as a church have ceased to see that we are not teaching and learning ourselves what Christian Education is genuine. We have gone about our regular Order of Service with our traditional way of having church. Tye’s reason why we educate says that it “helps to shape good emotional and attitudinal space where learning is enhanced.†So why are we not “teaching, learning, growing in wisdom and becoming the disciples we are called to be?â€



Christian ED Work

Q I

            Although everyone has faith, is it possible that teaching in faith today might affect some learners who have no faith at all? The biggest question in my life is, does faith change the way students think? What are the major effects of educating in faith in the current world?

Q II

            I have learned that religious education is essential for an individual’s growth in other education areas, such as psychology, sociology, and even politics. Additionally, I have realized that knowledge is essential in all areas of learning.

Q III

            The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) values education. The church’s Department of Christian Education’s role is to develop a unified and detailed Christian learning program that results in the Christian Church’s knowledge, religions and scriptures, and the realization of the values above in the believer’s daily life. Additionally, in partnership with the publications department, the Department of Christian Education has general oversight of the AME church’s schools[1]. I do not see any major challenges in the foundations of my faith concerning ministry in the present world. However, not all women are given leadership positions in the Church. It is still a challenge.

Q IV

1.

            In the present world, the reflection of theology is done by everyone in the Church. Hence, the church must conduct a vital theological inquiry concerning the community’s challenges since the Church is close to people and understands what they face daily. Additionally, the Church understands what the scripture says about providing help in the community. The Church can help society by engaging in community work, providing free medical help, evangelism, and forming non-governmental organizations to help the needy in different life areas. The balance between corporate enterprise and the individual role is that they all meet to fulfill society’s needs. In this contest, the pastor is responsible for providing guidance and counseling to Christians.

2.

            Christian education has transformed with time because church leaders and their followers do not take the scripture seriously. Also, most church leaders involve themselves in politics and seem to prioritize money other than the word of God. The word of God does not change; it remains the same yesterday, today and forever.

3.

            The Church has made numerous changes in its teachings; for example, slavery ended many years ago, women have been provided women numerous church leadership roles, and grounds for divorce. These changes have been caused by the human rights movements and few human rights activists, Richard Allen. Through numerous protests with people from different faiths, they made it possible for the Church to review some of its rules in the above areas.

 4

            Theological debates could be detrimental to the congregation since (i) few believers have misguided beliefs, and (ii) others are not well informed about the doctrine. In the former category, initiating older heresy could inspire more confusion. Simultaneously, in the latter, introducing these debates could lead to filling God’s people with falsehood when they should be provided with the truth[2].  Contrariwise, getting involved in hot-button issues is a danger when one experiences a phenomenon of the emotional gland in reaction to a societal issue[3].

            Theological debate and hot-button issues are essential in the present fallen world. In Jude 3, God orders Christians to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.” Believers should yearn for propagation and defense of the entire God’s counsel for enriching His children and His glory[4]. Evading these debates could lead to misinformation among believers, hence landing in the hands of deceivers.

5

            It is difficult to challenge our embedded faith since we have been taught ever since I was young. Therefore, challenging it will be a sign of deceit and disrespect to the people who taught us.

 6

            The above questions are significant in a Christian education class since they help us understand more about religion and Christian beliefs.

                [1] Shonda Nicole Gladden. (2016). “Confirmation Equivalent Practices in the African Methodist Episcopal Church: Christian Youth Learning and Living the Faith†. RESEARCHGATE,

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335775640_Confirmation_Equivalent_Practices_in_the_African_Methodist_Episcopal_Church_Christian_Youth_Learning_and_Living_the_Faith  ( accessed Sept 20, 2020)

                [2] Nicholas, T. Batzig, “Dangers of Theological Controversy.†FEEDINGONCHRIST, https://feedingonchrist.org/dangers-theological-controversies/ (accessed Sept 20, 2020)

                [3] Eric Davis “When Hot-Button Issues Cry Out to Young Pastors.†CRIPPLEGATE, https://thecripplegate.com/hot-button-issues-cry-pastors/ (accessed Sept 20, 2020

[4] The MacArthur Study Bible. “The Holy Bible, English Standard Version.†CA: Thomas Nelson, 1997.

Bibliography

Batzig  Nicholas, T., “Dangers of Theological Controversy.†FEEDINGONCHRIST, https://feedingonchrist.org/dangers-theological-controversies/ (accessed Sept 20, 2020)

Davis Eric “When Hot-Button Issues Cry Out to Young Pastors.†CRIPPLEGATE, https://thecripplegate.com/hot button-issues-cry-pastors/ (accessed Sept 20, 2020

Gladden Shonda Nicole. (2016). “Confirmation Equivalent Practices in the African Methodist Episcopal Church: Christian Youth Learning and Living the Faith†. RESEARCHGATE,             https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335775640_Confirmation_Equivalent_Practices_in_the_African_Methodist_Episcopal_Church_Christian_Youth_Learning_and_Living _the_   Faith  ( accessed Sept 20, 2020)

The MacArthur Study Bible. “The Holy Bible, English Standard Version.†CA: Thomas Nelson, 1997.

Hill

            Most of the theological foundations of African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) were articulated and shaped by the messages provided or hymns written by Charles and lessons that John Wesley taught as they established the Methodist movement within the Anglican Church to generate a revival of the church. Hence, the AMEC church will articulate its theology in its teaching following the strategies and ministry approaches provided by Wesley’s[1]. Additionally, theological and biblical beliefs can act as a guide of articulation. Other ways include the application of its philosophy, the basic church beliefs that the church is keeping with other believers of the Methodist Episcopal gatherings, which are found in the Twenty five religion articles and the Apostle’s creed[2].

             I believe that the most vital responsibility of theological studies is to advance theology of the ministry. Those who prepare for this ministry and the church needs to be grounded on theological knowledge of their faith, while recognizing that this may not be it’s last purpose. The most appropriated teaching practices for theological studies must be to instill individuals within the church with an inquisitive faith that does not fear to explore the universe of ideas, to enhance knowledge, competencies and perspectives essential to guide churches in mission and faith; and to enhance a scholarly and vigorous defense of the Christian faith to unbelievers and resources for reflection of nurturing believers faith[3].

            Besides the need for Black’s theological studies as stated by Hill, the Black church remains to support the Black community, compared to American churches. Black churches give more priority to societal challenges, such as racism, penitentiary ministry, drug abuse, gang violence, and poverty. Theological education may be vital but social needs should be prioritized to give room for studying theology.

                [1]. Thomas Jackson, ed., The Works of John Wesley(Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979),13:101

            [2]. Howard D. Gregg, History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church: The Black Church in Action (Nashville: Henry A. Belin, Jr., 1980), 16.

            [3]. Stanley Grenz and  Roger Olson, Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 25

Bibliography

Gregg Howard D., History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church: The Black Church in Action , Nashville: Henry A. Belin, Jr., 1980.

Grenz Stanley and Olson Roger, Who Needs Theology? : An Invitation to the Study of God, Downers Grove, IL:       InterVarsity Press, 1994.

Jackson Thomas, ed., The Works of John Wesley, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979.

 Most of the theological foundations of African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) were articulated and shaped by the messages provided or hymns written by Charles and lessons that John Wesley taught as they established the Methodist movement within the Anglican Church to generate a revival of the church. Hence, the AMEC church will articulate its theology in its teaching following the strategies and ministry approaches provided by Wesley’s[1]. Additionally, theological and biblical beliefs can act as a guide of articulation. Other ways include the application of its philosophy, the basic church beliefs that the church is keeping with other believers of the Methodist Episcopal gatherings, which are found in the Twenty five religion articles and the Apostle’s creed[2].

             I believe that the most vital responsibility of theological studies is to advance theology of the ministry. Those who prepare for this ministry and the church needs to be grounded on theological knowledge of their faith, while recognizing that this may not be it’s last purpose. The most appropriated teaching practices for theological studies must be to instill individuals within the church with an inquisitive faith that does not fear to explore the universe of ideas, to enhance knowledge, competencies and perspectives essential to guide churches in mission and faith; and to enhance a scholarly and vigorous defense of the Christian faith to unbelievers and resources for reflection of nurturing believer’s faith[3].

            Besides the need for Black’s theological studies as stated by Hill, the Black church remains to support the Black community, compared to American churches. Black churches give more priority on societal challenges, such as racism, penitentiary ministry, drug abuse, gang violence, and poverty. Theological education may be vital but social needs should be prioritized to give room for studying theology.

                [1]. Thomas Jackson, ed., The Works of John Wesley(Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979),13:101

            [2]. Howard D. Gregg, History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church: The Black Church in Action (Nashville: Henry A. Belin, Jr., 1980), 16.

            [3]. Stanley Grenz and  Roger Olson, Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 25

Bibliography

Gregg Howard D., History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church: The Black Church in Action ,Nashville:       Henry A. Belin, Jr., 1980.

 Grenz Stanley and Olson Roger, Who Needs Theology? : An Invitation to the Study of God, Downers Grove, IL:       InterVarsity Press, 1994.

 Jackson Thomas, ed., The Works of John Wesley, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979.

Formation of wisdom must become essential as well as deliberate focus on Christian education in African American churches. This guarantees African American’s hope, priesthood and liberating actions in the third millennium, particularly in the face of what Wilson Amos defines as the overwhelming reality of the African American self-annihilation system, and the deep feelings of hopelessness experienced by African Americans. Hence, African American churches are responsible for guiding their people in the formation of wisdom[1].

                [1] Anne E. Streaty Wimberly and Evelyn L. Parker, In Search of Wisdom: Faith Formation in the Black Church, (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2011)

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