THE5200EN - Issues in a Theology of Resilience

Course description

This course provides an in-depth theological study by researching, analyzing, defending, and critically reviewing the biblical, theological, and practical visions of resilience with a focus on key Old and New Testament themes, Viktor Frankl's Logotherapy, and key themes in Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship. Part one addresses the Biblical visions of resilience. Israel, Judah, the birth of scripture and monotheism as well as Judah’s survival are covered. Also, Christianity’s founding trauma and the traumatized Apostle Paul are addressed. Bonhoeffer’s work on grace and discipleship is discussed, and contemporary experiences in a concentration camp are studied. The second part focuses on the theological visions of resilience. Emphasis is placed on Jerusalem’s destruction, the Babylonian exile, Abraham and the subsequent exile. Also, emphasis is placed on the traumatic origins of Judaism and Christianity, the post-traumatic gospel, Bonhoeffer’s thinking on the sermon of the mount and the messengers, and contemporary Logotherapy. Finally, the third part highlights the practical visions of resilience. The story of Moses, the return back to Jerusalem, and the traumatic crystallization of scripture are discussed. How the Bible is saturated with trauma and the survival of it, as well as discussing a contemporary study of trauma and ancient trauma, highlighting the case for tragic optimism. It concludes with Bonhoeffer’s reflections on the people of God and the life of discipleship.

How this course benefits students

This course assumes a basic knowledge of the theology of resilience and examines case studies on key Old and New Testament accounts. It provides necessary skills and a conceptual framework for understanding and evaluating the theology of resilience as it pertains to creation care and ecological stewardship with the natural-, social-, built-, and virtual environments, and entering into a constructive, missional dialogue with it.

Why this course is important

The missional perspective in the theology of resilience is one in which the reign of God is realized within the framework of creation care on earth through Old and New Testament accounts, and how they helped to shape and transform the God's people during times of extreme adversity with key Old and New Testament messages. This course teaches the practical process of living a theology of resilience while exercising creation care through good ecological stewardship with the natural-, social-, built-, and virtual-environments in everyday reality and practice within the body of Christ.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Environmental Theology
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.
Dr. Stephen Latham, Professor of Environmental Mission

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

The scriptures, in this course focusing on the New Testament, are the foundation for both faith and practice. The student does not just study the text to memorize basic bible truths and learn systematic theology, but rather studies the text to learn how it speaks to him/her within their cultural context to inform their ministry and missional practices according to the theology of resilience and creation care. A missional perspective of the Bible provides the theological framework for missional and ministry practice in light of the cultural context of both the scripture and community cultural groups. This course and program builds on the implications of a theology of mission through a theology of resilience and creation care.

Missionally driven

This course is driven by the concept that Christian believers should become part of the missio dei — the mission of God in this world, which seeks to join in with God where he is at work — in homes and communities — so that we may see the spiritual transformation of people and communities through a theology of resilience and creation care. Students taking this course value a missiological understanding of the missio dei (the mission of God) that enables believers to discern where God is at work among peoples in the community and join in God’s mission in the world. This course and program identifies implications of the missio dei in relation to missional and ministry practice as it pertains to a theology of resilience and creation care.

Contextually informed

Through various resources, students will conduct research to be exposed to demographic and sociographic data for their local communities to enable them to develop missional approaches for their local contexts according to a theology of resilience and creation care. The student values various forms of cultural research that inform both the student’s understanding of the sociocultural contexts within their communities and their missional and ministry practice. This course and program incorporate contextual information as foundational for the delivery of missionally-driven implementation according to the theology of resilience and creation care.

Interculturally focused

This course celebrates the cultural diversity that exists in this world as a reflection of the creative nature of the image of God in humanity. We desire that all peoples would have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We desire that Christian believers learn how to express their faith in their own social context in culturally-appropriate ways, as informed by a theology of resilience and creation care. We value embracing diverse cultures and fostering authentic, culturally-appropriate faith expressions among each cultural group. This course and program embrace culturally-appropriate missional and ministry practice according to a theology of resilience and creation care.

Practically minded

This course calls upon the student to engage individuals, families, groups, organizations and/or communities of the people of God in the theology of resilience and creation care. It also advances biblical righteousness, redemption and reconciliation in support of a theology of resilience and creation care. Finally, it calls upon the student to evaluate the biblical and ethical dimensions of a theology of resilience and creation care.

Experientially transformed

Integrated throughout this course is an experiential orientation including “field practice” where concepts that are discussed in class are lived out in the real world according to a theology of resilience and creation care. Reflection, integration, and collaboration flow out of the relationships that are formed between students and faculty. This experiential learning has transformative power to equip students with ministry and missional skills. We value theological and missional reflection conducted within a community of missional and ministry practice that informs and interprets those experiences. This course and program interpret missional and ministry practice by reflecting biblically, theologically, and missionally on a theology of resilience and creation care.