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Courses | M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care

Summary

Below are some of the courses you’ll have an opportunity to take as a student in this program. Note: This list is intended to give you a quick glimpse into the program’s academic offerings, and should not be used as a guide for course selection or academic advising. For official program requirements see catalog for details.


Course Overview

The following documents outline a suggested course schedule.


Curriculum Requirements

A broad survey of the Old Testament books, including selected introductory and critical issues, relevant background, major themes and divisions, and crucial problems. Notes: Required of M.Div. and M.A. students. Grade Mode: A.

A general overview of the New Testament books, including selected introductory and critical issues, relevant background, major themes and divisions, and crucial problems. Notes: Required of M.Div. and M.A. students. Grade Mode: A.

Training in biblical interpretation and its relevance to the process and goals of spiritual formation. Emphasis is given to analysis of written communication and language usage, general rules and specialized principles for the various biblical genre, and the place of the Word of God in Christian spiritual growth from a biblical, experiential and historical perspective. Notes: Required of all SF students. Grade Mode: A.
An introductory study into the nature of spiritual formation and the various ways that Christians have sought to deepen their relationship with God, with special emphasis given to the nature and practice of prayer in the Church and the Christian life. Notes: Required of all SF students. Grade Mode: A.
An introduction to the history and theory of spiritual soul care, mentoring and direction from a biblical, experiential and psychological perspective. Specific focus is on assisting others in deepening their relationship with God through increased sensitivity and responsiveness to the Holy Spirit's presence and work in all areas of life (including the common and ordinary). Attention is also given to understanding the personal dynamics at work within and between the guide and directee and the role of spiritual guidance within the broader context of pastoral care and mentoring as well as in the more specific discipline of spiritual direction. Notes: Required of all SF students. Grade Mode: A.

An exploration of spirituality through Church history. The course introduces the student to the various traditions of spirituality (contemplative, holiness, Word, charismatic, social reform etc.) and their historical-theoretical roots (Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Reformed, Lutheran etc.). Attention is given to appreciation, evaluation and critique. Various experiential projects are designed to facilitate understanding, appreciation and personal growth with respect to these traditions.

An exploration of the various stages of growth involved in the believer's journey, employing both experiential and biblical data. Particular focus is given to St. John of the Cross who developed perhaps the most elaborate and influential approach to understanding the work of the Spirit in various phases of the Christian's life and how this relates to the relationship between discursive and contemplative prayer and meditation. Notes: Required of all SF students. Grade Mode: A.
This course focuses upon the importance of self-understanding for spiritual and emotional well-being as well as effective ministry to hurting people. It includes an investigation into the impact of personal and family history on theological outlook, emotional congruence, relational attractions and moral decisions. Several personal assessments as well as one or more therapy sessions are an integral part of this course and will require an additional fee. Notes: Required of all SF students. Grade Mode: C.
An overview of personality development and the major forms of psychopathology from a depth psychological perspective (psychodynamic and existential). This course provides a framework for understanding the dynamics inherent in personality development and distortions of that development under the influence of sin. Notes: Required of all SF M.A. and M.Div. students. Grade Mode: A.
The first of a two-course sequence which facilitates development of empathic listening, interpersonal skills and basic spiritual guidance techniques that form the basis of effective spiritual direction. Attention is also given to the development of discernment in order to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in His ministry. Provides a beginning framework for understanding issues in professional ethics. Emphasizes a small, interactive group format for the development of skills. Notes: For M.Div. and M.A. Soul Care students only. A passing grade for this course is B or better. In addition, students will be evaluated to determine whether they will advance to Pre-practicum II, repeat Pre-practicum I, take an SF elective (for M.Div. students) or have the option to transfer to the M.A. Concentration program (for M.A. Soul Care students). Grade Mode: A.
The second of a two-course sequence which facilitates development of empathic listening, interpersonal skills and basic spiritual guidance techniques. Direct observation and taping of the student's first clinical spiritual direction practicum in the university's Center for Spiritual Renewal provide a supervised introduction to the spiritual direction process. It also educates students to recognize more severe disorders that require psychological or psychiatric referral. Notes: A passing grade for this course is "B" or better. In addition, students will be evaluated to determine if they will advance to Practicum I, repeat Prepracticum course(s), transfer to TTPT 791/792 Field Internship (for M.Div. Students) or have the option to transfer to the M.A. Concentration program (for M.A. Soul Care students). Course should be taken concurrently with or subsequent to TTSF 524. Grade Mode: A.
Students experience their own spiritual direction for the purpose of deepening their self awareness and relationship with God and implicit training in doing direction with others. The student is encouraged to be open and honest with the spiritual guide, hiding nothing regarding one's relationship with God and, within reason, attending to the direction of the guide. Notes: Required of all SF students each semester enrolled. Grade Mode: C.
A theological and experiential exploration into the panoply of spiritual disciplines sanctioned by the Bible and developed throughout Church history. The emphasis is upon understanding their nature and relationship to personal growth, identifying their pathological manifestation and appreciating their impact in one's personal and community experience. Topics may include various approaches to prayer, fasting, solitude, acts of service, meditation etc. Notes: Required of all SF M.A. students. Grade Mode: A.
An introduction to ethics including the nature of personal character, virtues and vices, and their relationship to the spiritual disciplines as means of spiritual growth into the image of Christ. Notes: Required of all SF M.A. and M.Div. students. Grade Mode: A.
M.Div. and M.A. Soul Care students are required to have a total of three weeks of extended off-campus retreat in isolation or partial isolation to explore and cultivate the inner life in the presence of God under the supervision of a spiritual guide (as designated or permitted by the faculty) and one's advisor. The first half of this classroom course, taken early in the program (2 credits for M.A. Soul Care students, 1 credit for M.Div.), will cover theory and preparation for the retreat. The second half of the course (2 credits for M.A. Soul Care students, 1 credit for M.Div.), taken late in the program, and after completing the retreat, will serve to debrief and further understand the retreat process. Grade Mode: A.
Students practice and complete a specified number of hours of individual spiritual mentoring of others while enrolled in Soul Care Practicum I. Work is done at a faculty approved site (Biola, church setting etc.) under the supervision of faculty. This also includes a weekly small group which focuses on theoretical training as well as individual supervision and training throughout the semester to foster personal growth and insight into the work of doing spiritual mentoring. Notes: Required of M.A. Soul Care students, optional for M.Div. students. Grade Mode: A.
This is the second course in which students practice and complete a designated number of hours of individual spiritual direction of others. Work is done at a faculty approved site (Biola, church setting etc.) under the supervision of faculty. This also includes weekly small group experience which focuses on theoretical training as well as individual supervision and training throughout the semester to foster personal growth and insight into the work of doing spiritual soul care. Notes: Required of M.A. Soul Care students, optional for M.Div. students. Grade Mode: A.
Yearly required seminars are offered under this course designation which focus upon some issue, controversy or dimension in the area of spiritual formation. Notes: Required of all SF M.A. students. Grade Mode: A.
An introduction to theology and theological method. Scripture, including inspiration and inerrancy. God, including his attributes and triune nature. God's work of creation, including God's eternal plan, the angels, and providence. Notes: Required of M.Div. and M.A. students.Grade Mode: A.
Humanity in the image of God, including human nature, the family, and civil government. The fall and the effect of sin upon humanity. The person and work of Christ. The nature and application of salvation, including regeneration, justification, and sanctification. Notes: Required of M.Div. and M.A. students.Grade Mode: A.

The person and work of the Holy Spirit. The inception and nature of the church, both as a living organism and an organization, its function, ordinances, and mission. The broad kingdom purpose of God, including Christ's second coming, the millennial reign of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, judgment, and the eternal state. Notes: Required of M.Div. and M.A. students. Grade Mode: A.


Co-Curricular Requirements

See the Institute for Spiritual Formation section of the catalog for a full description.

Didactic Therapy
Faculty-Student Retreats
Personal Retreats
Student Progress Assessment

Students experience their own spiritual direction for the purpose of deepening their self awareness and relationship with God and implicit training in doing direction with others. The student is encouraged to be open and honest with the spiritual guide, hiding nothing regarding one's relationship with God and, within reason, attending to the direction of the guide. Notes: Required of all SF students each semester enrolled. Grade Mode: C.
M.Div. and M.A. Soul Care students are required to have a total of three weeks of extended off-campus retreat in isolation or partial isolation to explore and cultivate the inner life in the presence of God under the supervision of a spiritual guide (as designated or permitted by the faculty) and one's advisor. The first half of this classroom course, taken early in the program (2 credits for M.A. Soul Care students, 1 credit for M.Div.), will cover theory and preparation for the retreat. The second half of the course (2 credits for M.A. Soul Care students, 1 credit for M.Div.), taken late in the program, and after completing the retreat, will serve to debrief and further understand the retreat process. Grade Mode: A.

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