About the course
The Exploring Theology scheme at St Augustine’s allows you to take a single 20 credit module from our undergraduate programme in theology, ministry and vocation without university accreditation. However, most students on this scheme decide to enrol fully onto our undergraduate programme (i.e. with university accreditation) after successfully completing one module.
This option is often used by people who are considering ordained or licenced ministry, but who are not yet on a church-sponsored ministerial programme and are unfamiliar with theological study. Typical introductory modules are Biblical Studies, Christian History, and Spirituality and Discipleship. You are expected to undertake several hours of private study per week and to complete normally two assignments per module.
To apply to join our Exploring Theology programme you will need to complete the application form for Independent Students.
For further details, please contact our admissions team.
Where can I study?
You can choose to study your modules either through evening classes (Mondays at Southwark, Wednesdays at Malling Abbey); or fortnightly teaching days (Fridays at Malling Abbey).
How much study time is involved?
You will attend either evening classes or teaching days and normally complete two assignments for each module. You will take one module per term.
As well as covering all the traditional theological disciplines, the programme provides opportunities to develop skills in theological reflection able to ground a faith based perspective on every aspect of daily life.
You should expect to devote at least 10 hours of independent study per week.
What will I study?
Level 4 Shared Modules
Modules available include:
Introduction to Biblical Studies
This module introduces you to the contemporary study of Scripture. You learn how to use the major critical tools that scholars employ to interpret the Bible. You shall study how these critical techniques have developed and so understand the story of modern biblical criticism. In this way, this module introduces you to the most important issues raised for Christian life and worship by the study of Scripture.
Spirituality and Discipleship
This module puts spirituality at the heart of your study of theology, integrating that study with the life of discipleship. You shall examine the place of prayer and repentance, of contemplation and ‘bearing the cross’, of ‘detachment’ and pilgrimage, both literal and metaphorical. The module also looks in detail at some of the most important scriptural and doctrinal sources for Christian prayer and spirituality. Along with all this, you shall choose and undertake a set of spiritual practices that will help stretch your soul.
Introduction to Christian Doctrine
This module examines central Christian theological affirmations about the person and work of Jesus Christ (Christology and soteriology) and considers what follows for Christian life and practice. It introduces you to theological debates about the person and work of Jesus Christ down the centuries and explores some of the implications of these for Christian life and practice.
Foundations in Christian Worship
In this module, you shall consider daily, weekly and yearly patterns of worship in the Christian churches today. By way of a local history project, historical study will complement your exploration of the contemporary diversity of these patterns. You shall also visit a variety of churches to grasp something of this variety at first hand. Examining the way Christians shape and mark time through their worship, this module concentrates on the vital relationship between past traditions and present realities.
Level 5 Shared Modules
Old Testament Studies
This module gives you a broad overview of salvation history, that is, the history of the covenant people in its relationship with God, as portrayed in the narrative of the Old Testament. It will also extend and develop the range of critical skills you use to interpret Scripture and link these skills to the roles of scripture within the Christian community. As the vehicle for achieving this, you shall analyse specific biblical texts related to the themes of creation and covenant.
New Testament Studies
In this module you shall study the mission and ministry of Jesus in the Gospels, as well as and the early Christians’ experience of the risen Christ and of the Holy Spirit. You shall pay particular attention to Luke-Acts and to Paul’s epistles, especially Romans. You shall examine how Jesus drew on the theology of contemporary Judaism and reshaped it. The module explores the experiences and concerns of the earliest Christian communities and discusses to how the beginnings of Christian faith and practice continue to shape the ministry and mission of the church today.
Christian Faith and Ethical Living
This module addresses the foundations of Christian ethical reasoning, offering a theological account of core Christian moral concepts. You shall discuss their application to issues currently subject to sharp controversy within and outside the Church: sexual ethics, family, distributive justice and poverty, and Christian participation in public life.
Level 6 Shared Modules
Christian Doctrine in Focus
This module focuses on the Christian doctrines of Trinity, creation, and the person and work of Jesus Christ. You shall study modern and post-modern critiques of these doctrines and examine constructive and influential responses, including Radical Orthodoxy and postliberal approaches.
Texts and Traditions in Christian Spirituality
In this module you shall study a range of voices from the Christian spiritual tradition, entering into a conversation with influential texts using both theological and secular disciplines. You will learn academic approaches to spirituality as well as reflecting of the formative challenges and inspirations found in some of the classics of reflection upon Christian prayer and mysticism.
Dissertation in Theology, Ministry and Mission
This provides you with the opportunity to research a topic of particular interest to you and, under tutorial supervision, present your work in the form of a long essay.