Course Schedule Fall Quarter 2016

Course Schedule 2016-2017

Fall Quarter 2016
September 24 – December 10
Classes ordinarily run for 10 weeks

Opening Retreat
Date: Saturday, September 24, 10:00am–3:00pm
Professor: Chaplain Charles Marks and Faculty


The Gospel of Luke (2 credits)
Professor: Peter Hintzoglou

Location: La Canada Presbyterian Church, La Canada, CA
Monday evenings, (Sept. 26-November 28)
 6:45 – 9:15pm 

The practice of our Christian life and witness depends to a large extent upon our understanding of the Gospel, the person of Christ, the function of the Holy Spirit and the spiritual practices such as prayer, forgiveness, and so on. Luke, in his Gospel, introduces us to the person and ministry of Jesus. In this seminar we will explore the mission of His ministry, the nature of salvation, and the practices designed to help believers build healthy, loving, giving relationships and be effective witnesses to the love of Jesus.

Spirituality and Social Justice (2 credits)
Professors: Janna Gosselin and Charles Marks
Location: Second Baptist Church, Santa Ana
Saturday mornings: October 1, 8, 22, 29; November 12, 19; December 3, 10
9:30am – 12:00pm

“Two of the great hungers in our world today are the hunger for spirituality and the hunger for social justice. The connection between the two is one the world is waiting for.” This class aims to address that very connection. Although a meaningful spiritual life and social justice are both significant topics for the church and society today, few explore the crucial link between the two. Yet this link is where lives can be transformed. The lives of deeply religious people, on the one hand, show that, as their spiritual life deepens, a deeper interest in the welfare of others is a natural outgrowth. On the other hand, for those interested in perpetuating needed social change, a deeper spiritual life is vital to avoid burn-out. Beyond mere self-care, spirituality prompts the activist to transform his/her goals from a movement against a particular social ill to a movement toward deeper goals of hope, love and reconciliation. The leadership of Howard Thurman, Martin Luther King, and Sojourner Truth exemplified this principle.  In sum, a focus on spirituality both builds and sustains movements for social justice, allowing all to work from and for God’s love.

The Prophets (2 credits)
Professor: Michael Woodcock
Location: First Presbyterian, Encino
Tuesday evenings: September 27, Oct 4, 11, 25, Nov 1, 8, 15, 29 plus two outside Ministry engagements
6:45 – 9:15pm

This course will introduce the prophetic books of the Old Testament, with attention to the prophets’ calling, message and ministry, their historical setting, and the formation of the books that bear their names. These writings occupy a crucial place within the Old Testament and in the grand sweep of scripture, as they bear witness to Israel’s “death” and “resurrection.” We will explore the essential contribution they make to our understanding of God’s freedom, justice, commitment, passion, holiness, and steadfast love. Our study will yield some fresh discoveries of the prophets’ urgent relevance for our lives and our world, including the areas of social justice, idolatry, spiritual integrity, and hope. In our class meetings we will make use of both broad survey and more detailed investigation of key passages, as well as spiritual practices, discussion and reflection. We will also participate in two outside ministry experiences that implement some key parts of the prophets’ message.

Shadowing the Bible Teacher: The Book of Daniel (2 credits)
Professor: Jerry Tankersley
Location: Laguna Presbyterian Church, Laguna Beach, CA
Wednesday mornings: Sept 28 – Nov 2, plus three independent study sessions with the Bible teacher
7 – 8:30am

This new course offers the opportunity to shadow a pastor who is an outstanding Bible teacher. Students will attend Laguna Presbyterian’s regular Wednesday morning Bible study; and meet three times separately (independent study) with Dr. Tankersley as you consider various strategies for teaching the Bible in a congregational setting.

Daniel is an Old Testament story that places representatives of the Lord in Babylonian Exile. The relevance of these stories for the church points to what some say about the postmodern marginalization of the people of God. We have been displaced by the “principalities and powers”, have lost authority and influence in the culture, and our identity is in doubt. Institutionally we have lost out in possessing the symbols which western culture values. Therefore, can we survive? How do we stay alive, flourish in our walk with God, and fulfill our calling? Daniel gives us clues, stirs our imaginations, and inspires our obedience.


Spring Quarter 2016

Church History II: Medieval and Reformation(s)
Professors: Gary Sattler, Jane Atkins Vasquez, Ron White
Location: Tustin Presbyterian Church
Date/Time: Saturdays, 1:30-4:30 (April 9, 16, May 21, June 11, 18) and
Tuesdays, 6:45-9:15 (April 26, May 3, 17, 31)
Audit or 2 Credits

This class will survey the important themes and people in the Western Church from the late Middle Ages through the Reformations to Pietism at approximately 1600. We will explore the environment, movements, and significant personalities in the development of the Christian Church, since it is foundational for the Christianity we experience and express today. It is hoped that this course will promote a faithful love for and personal engagement with today’s Church through developing a familiarity with the issues and practices of Christianity as it was taking shape in the Medieval and Reformation eras. Exploring our past, for both its wisdom and follies, informs how we engage Scripture, one another, and the world in the next chapter of God’s life in the world.

I Corinthians for Today’s Church
Professor: Peter Hintzoglou
Location: San Marino Community Church
Date/Time: Monday evenings 6:30-9:00, April 18- June 13 
The class will meet on Memorial Day, May 30
Audit or 2 Credits

In the midst of the divisions within today’s church and society, we will study Paul’s first letter to a divided Corinthian church. We will seek to understand the cultural, sociological, and religious context of the letter. We will explore the theological issues in the church in Corinth with a special emphasis for the implications for the life and ministry of the church today.

Christian Spirituality and Suffering
Professor: Janna Gosselin
Location: La Canada Presbyterian Church
Date/Time: Tuesday evenings 6:45-9:15, April 12—June 14
Audit or 2 Credits

Why do we suffer? If we are suffering, are we falling short? Does God use suffering? Can we draw closer to God through our suffering? What about the times when we are overwhelmed by suffering? Does God suffer with us? Although we typically think of suffering in terms of physical pain, suffering can take many forms, including emotional heartache, relational isolation, and spiritual alienation. Some believe that if we are suffering, we are failing in our Christian life. Yet, suffering is built into the very fabric of our faith through Christ’s suffering on the Cross. Tim Keller says, “Suffering is actually at the heart of the Christian story.” Christ’s suffering is redeemed in the resurrection. Is there a way that our suffering can be redeemed as well? In this class, we will read from Scripture– including Job, the Psalms, the Gospels, and Paul–as well as works by C.S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and others as we seek to understand the role suffering plays in our lives.

Reading the Bible for Spiritual Growth
Professor: Tina Blair
Location: Second Baptist Church, Santa Ana
Date/Time: Saturday mornings, 9:30-12. April 23, 30, May 7, 28, June 4.
Audit or 1 Credit

The Bible exhorts the faithful to pursue holiness, that is, to grow spiritually. These same scriptures provide us with many tools with which to practice spiritual disciplines, that we might be more faithful and holy disciples of Jesus Christ. This course will study these tools and teach these practices. We will explore ways to enrich prayer and contemplation, to engage in lectio divina, and to foster practices of justice and peace.



Winter Quarter 2016 (No longer being offered)

January 11-March 18

Church History I: Early Christianity (2 credits)
Date/Time: Tuesday evenings, 6:45-9:15
Professor: Jane Atkins Vasquez
Location: First Presbyterian Church, Tustin

The history of Christianity from the second to the sixteenth century will focus on the beliefs and practices of significant individuals, movements, and institutions. We will explore Christianity in the West (Europe and North Africa) and in the East (Eastern Mediterranean, Slavic peoples, Asia). We will ask about Christianity’s engagement with Islam before 1500. Special attention will be given to: (1) The authority and role of the Bible; (2) Early Christian missions in the Americas and Asia. In this seminar each participant’s life and faith experience is valued.

The goal is that through our immersion in Christian History we can live into a more informed participation in our respective faith communities, both locally and globally.

View Course Page


Faith Engaging Culture (2 credits)
Date/Time: Monday evenings, 6:45-9:15
Professor Eric W. Dailey
Location: La Canada Presbyterian Church, La Canada

Culture is what we make of God’s good creation because we believe culture has the imprint of God. In this class we will explore basic theological tools for Christian engagement with different forms of cultural expression, including film, music, television, dance, visual arts, and sports. Our goal will be to think theologically about the cultural expressions we enjoy, and therefore discover how they can best be used to build God’s kingdom.

A special invitation is extended to the many people in Southern California for whom the media in all its expression is their vocation.

View Course Page


Tell Me The Stor(ies) of Jesus: Looking at the Four Gospels (2 credits)
Date/Time: Monday evenings, 6:45-9:15
Professor Jeff H. McCrory, Jr.
Location: Canvass Church, Irvine

We have in our Bibles four Gospel stories about Jesus Christ: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Anyone who has read the accounts knows that they differ in the events they present, in the order of the events, and in the characterization of Jesus himself. Yet the church over the centuries has kept the four separate stories in spite of attempts to harmonize the differences. As early as the 2 nd century a church father named Tatian attempted to pull the stories together and give us one story of Jesus. He called his story The Diatessaron, “the four through one.” The church rejected his harmonization. To this day we live with four Gospels, four stories, and one Jesus. How did we get these stories? What are they meant to tell us about Jesus and about our faith? How can we continue to read them so that the Holy Spirit speaks to us? Using symbolism (human, lion, ox, and eagle) arising in the 2 nd century, we will explore these stories and address many questions regarding Jesus and those who wrote about him.

View Course Page



September 26 – December 2

Opening Retreat
Date: September 26 [Saturday] 10-4
Professor: Chaplain Charles Marks and Faculty

The Opening Retreat will introduce students to the distinctive NTS West emphasis of theological education as spiritual formation. In our student-centered seminary, the retreat is an opportunity for students to get to know one another at the beginning of their course work. Various faculty and staff will present the learning/teaching strategies of the seminary, especially our emphasis on continually connecting the dots between theory and practice. Come prepared to participate with fellow students in the discernment of God’s presence in this new chapter in your life.

The Opening Retreat is required for M. Div. and M.A. students and encouraged for all 2015 entering students.

Constructing Theology in the Local and Global Church (2)
Date: Monday evenings, (Oct. 5 – Dec 14)
Time: 6:45pm – 9:15pm
Professor: Christine Blair

Location: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Tustin, CA

How is theology – the “word about God” — constructed out of Holy Scripture, Christian tradition and faith experiences?  In what ways does the local church context shape theological thinking?  In this course, students become acquainted with classic theological thinking and contemporary theological movements. With this foundation, students focus on the theologyfound in their churches within the diversity of Southern California.

Church History I (2)
Date/Time: Tuesday evening 7:00 – 9:30
Professor: Jane Atkins Vasquez
Location: Pasadena-Burbank area

The history of Christianity from the second to the sixteenth century will focus on the beliefs and practices of significant individuals, movements, and institutions. We will explore Christianity in the West (Europe and North Africa) and in the East (Eastern Mediterranean, Slavic peoples, Asia). We will ask about Christianity’s engagement with Islam before 1500.

Special attention will be given to: (1) The authority and role of the Bible; (2) Early Christian missions in the Americas and Asia.

This is a seminar where each participant’s life and faith experience is valued. The goal is that through our immersion in Christian History we can live into a more informed participation in our respective faith communities, locally and globally.

I Corinthians (2)                                                                            
Date/Time: Tuesday evening, (Sept. 29-Dec. 1)
Time: 6:45pm – 9:15pm
Professor: Peter Hintzoglou
Location: Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, Costa Mesa, CA

Our study of 1 Corinthians will be to help us become acquainted with the content of the letter in its cultural, socioeconomic, and historical context. We will consider Paul’s teaching on the person of Christ, the nature and unity of the church, his theology of the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts and the leadership of the church. Our purpose will be to examine what the text says, and also what it means, that is, how does it apply to the church’s ministry and witness today. A component of our study will involve reflection on how to study the text (principles of Biblical interpretation) and how to apply the ancient text with relevance to the context of today.

Psalms (2)
Date/Time: Monday evenings, (Oct. 5 – Dec. 7)
Time: 6:45pm – 9:15pm
Professor: Jeff McCrory Jr.
Location: La Canada Presbyterian Church

The Old Testament Book of Psalms is perhaps the most important book of the Bible for ministry. The New Testament quotes the Psalms more than any Old Testament book. Jesus shapes his Kingdom work from the Psalms. The church’s worship and spiritual formation takes root in the Psalms. In this class we will learn (1) the content, literary features, and theological message of the Psalms, (2) the historical and cultural setting of the Book of Psalms (3) how to interpret various psalms moving from a psalm text to whole Bible context and then to our context (4) to pray and sing the Psalms for worship and spiritual growth.

Shadowing the Bible Teacher (2)

How do you teach the Bible in a congregation? Would you like to learn from a master teacher? Believing learning and teaching the Bible is crucial for the renewal of the church, NTSWest has invited a number of master pastor-teachers to work with students on the content and strategy at the heart of their Bible teaching.

  • Pastor-Teacher: Jerry Tankersley
    Location: Laguna Presbyterian Church
    Date/Time: Tuesday 9:15-10:30 a.m. Women,  Wednesday 7-8:15 a.m. Men & Women

  • Pastor-Teacher: Alexia Salvatierra
    Location: Hope Lutheran Church, Hollywood
    Date/Time: Sunday 12 noon

  • Pastor-Teacher: Ivan Pitts
    Location: Second Baptist, Santa Ana
    Date/Time: Wednesday 7-8:15 p.m.


  • Pastor-Teacher: Gareth Icenogle
    Location: La Canada Presbyterian Church
    Date/Time: Wednesday 6:30-7:30 a.m.

*Customized Courses

[Requested by a Congregation]

Reading and Teaching the Bible in a Multicultural World (1)
Date/Time: Saturday, 10-12, September 26 – November 14
Professor: Christine Blair
Location: 2nd Baptist Church, Santa Ana

In reading the Bible, our native cultures are lenses through which we read and understand God’s Word for us. In Southern California, our congregations have members from diverse cultures. How do their cultural differences shape biblical interpretation? How do we read and teach the Bible faithfully while honoring cultural differences? In this seminar we will deepen our appreciation of the Bible and our understanding of the role of culture in shaping our reading and teaching of biblical texts. Our goal is to work together to develop strategies for finding unity amid diversity.

Judaism, Christianity, Islam: Related Religious Traditions (2)
Date/Time: Wednesdays (9/30-12/2) 6:45pm-9:15pm
Professor: Reinhard Krauss
Location: Encino Presbyterian Church

The course offers an analysis of the complex interrelatedness of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  The aim is to present these religions as living traditions whose historical origins, current interactions, and future development is the dynamic context for ministry in the multi-religious world of Southern California.  To acquire a grasp of the internal ethos of each of these traditions, renowned scholars and recognized leaders will be guest presenters.

The course culminates in a forum in which scholars of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam engage in a “Trialogue” to explore the commonalities and differences on a key issue of common concern. This forum is open to the public.