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The Place and Importance of Historical Theology in a Rhetoric-Stage Curriculum – Steven Mittwede

In the Upper School of Providence Classical School, the Bible/Theology scope and sequence is as follows: seventh grade – Bible Study Methods/Hermeneutics; eighth grade – Old Testament Survey; ninth grade – New Testament Survey; tenth grade – History of Theology, eleventh grade – Ethics; and twelfth grade – Apologetics.

can such a scope and sequence for Bible/theology be justified, in particular, the tenth-grade course offering? Of the myriad possible classes that could be offered, why one in historical theology? and what is historical theology anyway? This workshop will be based on a number of assertions:

Assertion 1: Historical theology is chronically under-emphasized – in the church at large, at seminaries and Bible colleges, and in Christian school curricula.

Assertion 2: Most Christians have little understanding even of the overall purview (concepts, content, and methods) of historical theology.

Assertion 3: The reappearance of old heresies with new monikers constitutes proof of Assertion 1.

Assertion 4: Widespread and rancorous sectarianism within Christendom is further evidence that Christians have neglected this pivotal branch of theology.

Following explication of these assertions, the balance of the workshop will provide 1} an outline of historical theology toward the goal of countering the trends that the aforementioned assertions reflect, and also 2} an argument for the necessity of an historical theology course – rather than a course in church history or systematic theology – in the rhetoric stage curriculum of a classical and Christian school. Historical theology as a discipline in a sine qua non of Christian theological inquiry and discussion, as well as substrate that promotes and under girds Christian unity.