The John Leland Center for Theological Studies
Fall Semester 2020
Facilitator: Samuel L. Feemster Office: Online
Office Hours: Online 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Mon. & Tu. Class: 8:05 – 10:00p.m. Thurs.
EH2305 – In Search of Biblical Justice: A multi-focal perspective
Biblical Justice is about making the love and truth of God a tangible reality. In the Holy Bible, this ancient truth is understood. Despite its prominence in the Bible, Christians today know little about biblical justice. This ignorance has given rise to disturbing realities. First, many professed Christians do not see ‘doing justice’ as part of their calling. Second, many younger Christians embrace a secular approach to rectifying the church’s failure to teach and practice biblical justice—this reaction leads to gross distortions in their practice and lives. Because of these realities, we designed In Search of Biblical Justice to introduce students to the truth about what God declares he loves. Based upon exposure to God’s self-disclosure, students will reflect upon what God might say about justice as defined and promoted in churches and the world. More importantly, students will consider their preparedness to be an instrument of God’s righteousness.
This course consists of interactive lectures followed by collaborative discussions based upon assigned readings and insights about justice provided by visiting professors and pastors. Synthesizing information from the presentations and readings, each student will submit their reflections to assigned questions weekly. As one group, students will identify policy, regulation, rule, or law that intentionally disadvantages a group of people based upon difference, and then create innovation to redress the injustice. This format will promote opportunities for informed students to cultivate skills essential for working together to create a sustainable environment where the love and truth of God are a tangible reality.
- Communicate the meaning of justice as revealed by God in Scripture
- Promote the pursuit of justice and righteousness as the character of God and the work of the Church
- Compare the centrality of justice in the life of Israel, the teachings of Jesus, and life in 21st Century churches where we worship
- Cultivate a working knowledge of essential language and concepts to inform the design, development, and implementation of innovations intended to dismantle systems and structures that sustain injustice
- To encourage the pedagogical virtues of integrity, excellence, challenge, and support. (along with discovery, creativity, tenacity, imagination, and fun!).
- To foster the life of the mind via intrinsic motivations for authentic Christian learning.
- To push beyond the normal boundaries of individualistic thinking.
- To be demanding, engaging, respectful, creative, & fair.
- To be accessible to every student as needed.
- To use a variety of formats in the learning process (where feasible).
- To explore descriptive and advanced materials.
- To facilitate or encourage collaborative inquiry and learning via groups.
- To promote cooperative learning across various learning styles.
- To encourage virtue (see Romans 12:21 and Philippians 4: 8).
- To advance student competencies and professionalism in theology
- To equip students for leadership and service in the church, society, and the world.
Required Readings for EH2305
Barram, Michael, Biblical Justice and Christian Formation (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI., 2018) ISBN 978-0-8028-7507-5
Nicholas, Jessica, God Loves Justice: A User-Friendly Guide to Biblical Justice & Righteousness (S&E Educational Press, LA, Cal., 2017) ISBN 978-0-9989031-0-1
St. Ambrose: On the Duties of the Clergy (Benediction Classics, Oxford., 2020) ISBN 978-1-84902-616-1
The Poverty and Justice Bible, (American Bible Society) ISBN 978-158516-973-3
Tisby, Jemar, The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Churches Complicity in Racism (Zondervan Press, Grand Rapids, MI., 2018) ISBN 978-0-310-5927-8
Gilbert, Kenyatta R. Exodus Preaching: Crafting Sermons about Justice and Hope (Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN., 2018) ISBN – 13:978-1-5018-3257-4
Houston, Walter J., Justice – The Biblical Challenge (UK: Equinox Publishing Ltd., London, SW3 55R, 2010) ISBN 9781-84553-888-0 (Paperback $42.00; Kindle $31.78) On Reserve
Marshall, Chris; The Little Book of Biblical Justice (Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2005) ISBN 978-1-56148505-5 (Paperback $5.99; Kindle $5.99)
Westfall, Cynthia. L., and Dyer, Bryan, R., EDS, The Bible and Social Justice: Old Testament and New Testament Foundations for the Church’s Urgent Call (Pickwick Publications, Eugene, Or., 2015) ISBN 13:978-1-4982-3807-6 (Paperback $29.00; Kindle $ 9.99) On Reserve
Attendance is required: Three unexcused absences constitute automatic failure.
- Due Thursday August 27, 2020
- Weekly assignments Due: 7:00 PM the day of class (electronic)
- Group project. Each week students will participate in a 1-hour group discussion (online) about the previous lecture and their group project. Students will:1) Identify a policy, regulation, rule, law, or norm that intentionally disadvantages a group of people in communities across our nation or other nations based upon difference, and 2) detail how its enforcement violates God’s justice. Due Thursday, December 17, 2020.
- [Cohort students will begin to create an innovation to redress this injustice. They will incorporate the required “action” and anticipated “learning” impact of this change as part of their externship proposal.]
- Final paper. Due: On or before December 22, 2020 at 11:59 PM