Rationale: This course will help students to absorb and appreciate the fundamental teachings of the Holy Orthodox Christian Church, with a special emphasis on learning how to communicate these Orthodox teachings in comparison and contrast with Roman Catholic and Protestant views.
Course Aims and Outcomes: The aim of this course is to provide knowledge that will help students comprehend and live their Orthodox Faith more fully and to raise their level of confidence in communicating their faith to others. Each class will seek to explore the uniqueness of Orthodox theology and practice compared with later views developed after the Great Schism. The student will have the opportunity to acquire the knowledge of specific teachings in Holy Scripture and Holy Fathers that uphold the Orthodox perspective on each of eleven topics.
By end of the course, students will be able to:
- Distinguish between Orthodox and non-Orthodox views on fundamental theological points;
- Point to specific scriptural verses that affirm the Orthodox position;
- Articulate the position of the early Church Fathers affirming the Orthodox position;
- Understand how the Orthodox position affects one’s world-view and way of life; and
- Communicate or defend the Orthodox position to non-Orthodox and, to some extent, respond to common objections to these positions.
Course Requirements: Students should be active participants in the life of the Orthodox Church, providing them with a practical and personal basis for and general experience of the topics covered. The exclusive required text is “Know the Faith: A Handbook for Orthodox Christians and Inquirers,” Fr. Michael Shanbour, Ancient Faith Publishing. However, the student is encouraged to read the New Testament as well as other texts which, from time to time, may also be brought to the attention of the students. The book is available in hardcopy or e-book format. Reading assignments take both formats into account.