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Religion

Master of Arts Degree

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Learn more about our program...

The Master of Arts in Religion (34 graduate semester hours) at Community of Christ Seminary is designed for bi-vocational ministers who want to deepen their understanding of faith and ministry and transform community, as well as for professional ministers preparing to lead others in discipleship and mission. It builds a strong foundation of formation in Christian scripture, tradition and mission and offers three concentrations for focused development: Christian Theology, Spiritual Leadership, Peace and Justice. This degree provides a strong academic foundation in biblical studies, Christian history, and theology, leadership, peace, and justice. These subjects offer essential preparation for Christian ministry and/or doctoral study in religion.

The Master of Arts in Religion provides a unique blend of religious theory and practical studies that can meet the needs of students with a variety of learning objectives. The classes in the program will be offered either totally online or online with a face-to-face session at the Community of Christ Temple in Independence, Missouri during the fourth week. The faculty is composed of scholars and professionals in the field of religion with the academic and applied backgrounds to make the study of religion stimulating and worthwhile.

Offerings
Graduate
Field of Study
Seminary
Format
Online Campus
Curriculum
  • MA Degree – Religion

    Core Curriculum 22 s.h.

    Complete all of one specific concentration: 12 s.h.
    Christian Theology

    Spiritual Leadership

    Peace and Justice

    *Students from other denominations may substitute approved denomination-specific course work.

    Courses Offered
    • RELG5011Christian Theology
      RELG5011 Christian Theology - 3 s.h.

      This course is an initial exploration of the discipline and methods of theology. The foundational topics of Christian theology are covered including the nature and necessity of the theological task and contemporary understandings of the doctrine of God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, humanity, the church, and Christian hope.

    • RELG5022Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
      RELG5022 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible - 3 s.h.

      A review of the sacred literature of ancient Israel, centered on its covenantal themes and Ancient Near Eastern contexts. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    • RELG5040New Testament – Gospels and Acts
      RELG5040 New Testament – Gospels and Acts - 3 s.h.

      A review of the New Testament literature focusing on the gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, centered around its christological themes as they relate to other primary doctrines. Attention will be given to techniques of exegesis based on various methods of biblical criticism. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    • RELG5050New Testament – Letters and Apocalypse
      RELG5050 New Testament – Letters and Apocalypse - 3 s.h.

      A review of the New Testament literature focusing on Paul, the General Epistles, and the Apocalypse of John, centered around its christological themes as they relate to other primary doctrines. Attention will be given to techniques of exegesis based on various methods of biblical criticism. Prerequisite: RELG5040.

    • RELG5060History of Christian Thought I
      RELG5060 History of Christian Thought I - 3 s.h.

      This course traces the theological and doctrinal development of the Christian church from the biblical period to the period immediately preceding the Reformation. Attention will be given to the historical context in which this development occurred. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    • RELG5350Community of Christ History and Scripture
      RELG5350 Community of Christ History and Scripture - 3 s.h.

      This course traces the historical development of Community of Christ, from its origins in the setting of revivalism and democratization on the American frontier of the 1820s to the challenges the church faces as it negotiates the 21st century’s global, postmodern context. The course will also explore how the unique sacred texts of this movement have reflected the tradition’s ongoing engagement with culture. Special attention will be given to helping students learn how to apply critical historical methodology to the study of a religious tradition. Prerequisite: RELG5011

    • RELG5435Pastor as Person
      RELG5435 Pastor as Person - 3 s.h.

      A focus on ministerial formation through exploration of the connection between vocation, ministerial “calling”, and social context. Students will engage in critical examination of ministerial myths, narratives, and stories that shape leadership response in a variety of pastoral experiences. Attention will be given to resources and tools for critical reflection on self and vocation. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    • RELG5440Spiritual Formation and Transformation
      RELG5440 Spiritual Formation and Transformation - 3 s.h.

      A study of the historical and theological roots and implications of spiritual formation. Students will engage in critical study and practice of spiritual practices and formation models. Students will reflect on study and practices from biblical, historical, and psychological perspectives through individual experience in class as in the context of ministerial and spiritual leadership. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    • RELG5445Theology of Peace
      RELG5445 Theology of Peace - 3 s.h.

      An introduction to and exploration of peace in Christian theology. Biblical, historical, and theological perspectives of peace as central to theological narratives. Focus on given students’ resources for building foundational theologies of peace and resources for application of peace through a theological lens. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    • RELG5450Philosophy of Peacebuilding
      RELG5450 Philosophy of Peacebuilding - 3 s.h.

      Peace is central to theological and ethical thinking. Students will explore approaches to peace, grounded in social and moral philosophy. Emphasis on evaluating ethical implications of peace, justice, and peacebuilding for individual, communal, and vocational contexts. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    • RELG6050Christology and Liberation
      RELG6050 Christology and Liberation - 3 s.h.

      Explores Christological intersections between classical interpretations of Jesus of Nazareth’s identity and various modern and post-modern liberative approaches. As well as considering the contributions of the Social Gospel Movement, the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Jürgen Moltmann, special attention will be given to Latin American, Feminist, Womanist, African American, and Eco-liberationist Christologies. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the relevance of Jesus’ life and message to situations of violence, racism, and various forms of gender, environmental and economic oppression. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    • RELG6070History of Christian Thought II
      RELG6070 History of Christian Thought II - 3 s.h.

      This course traces the theological and doctrinal development of the Christian church from the Reformation into the 21st century. Attention will be given to the historical context in which this development occurred. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    • RELG6240Contemporary Culture and Theologies
      RELG6240 Contemporary Culture and Theologies - 3 s.h.

      An examination of the nature and implications of current issues and practices found in major world cultures with emphasis on their impact on Christian ministry, particularly ecumenical and intercultural ministry. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    • RELG6245Transformational Leadership
      RELG6245 Transformational Leadership - 3 s.h.

      Exploring leadership that leads to sustainable and transformative change in community and organizations. Critical study of missional leadership through theological, sociological, biblical, and ministerial analysis. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    • RELG6250Community Building and Diversity
      RELG6250 Community Building and Diversity - 3 s.h.

      Examining essential skills in developing leaders as spiritual/sociological researchers in the context of their ministerial community for the purpose of cultivating missional transformation. Topics of social analysis will include social location, theological perspective, culture and cultural diversity, community systems, and religious pluralism. Attention will also be given to adaptive change as it relates to rapidly changing culture and context of ministry experience. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    • RELG6255Social Justice: Ethics, Ecology, and Peace
      RELG6255 Social Justice: Ethics, Ecology, and Peace - 3 s.h.

      An exploration of religious and philosophical foundations of imperatives for social and ecological justice. Examines mutual implications between interpersonal and environmental ethics as well as the scope of theories of justice as applied to human/nonhuman communities. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    • RELG6260Conflict Resolution and Restorative Justice
      RELG6260 Conflict Resolution and Restorative Justice - 3 s.h.

      Examining methods, concepts, and skills of conflict resolution and restorative justice paired with theological and historical perspectives. Intended to equip students with the skills to engage constructively and meaningfully with conflict and justice in personal, congregational, institutional, and community settings. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    • RELG6500Portfolio
      RELG6500 Portfolio - 1 s.h.

      A summative project that encourages students to reflect on their experience and the directions it may take them as a disciple or minister. The Seminary Graduate Portfolio consists of a beginning paper, gathering of graduate work,and self-assessment. The student will review her/his portfolio with a committee as a “finale” of her/his graduate work. (Evaluated on a pass/fail basis.)

    • RELG6900Advanced Topics in Ministry
      RELG6900 Advanced Topics in Ministry - 1-3 s.h.

      An in-depth study of topics selected from various areas of practical ministry such as church leadership, Christian ethics, mission, pastoral care, public ministry, spiritual formation, and disciple education. Students should have taken all of their other coursework prior to this course as this is a capstone course. The course is designed to guide students to integrate their learning into practical ministry application. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    RELG5011Christian Theology RELG5022Introduction to the Hebrew Bible RELG5040New Testament – Gospels and Acts RELG5050New Testament – Letters and Apocalypse RELG5060History of Christian Thought I RELG5350Community of Christ History and Scripture RELG5435Pastor as Person RELG5440Spiritual Formation and Transformation RELG5445Theology of Peace RELG5450Philosophy of Peacebuilding RELG6050Christology and Liberation RELG6070History of Christian Thought II RELG6240Contemporary Culture and Theologies RELG6245Transformational Leadership RELG6250Community Building and Diversity RELG6255Social Justice: Ethics, Ecology, and Peace RELG6260Conflict Resolution and Restorative Justice RELG6500Portfolio RELG6900Advanced Topics in Ministry
    Course Descriptions
    RELG5011 Christian Theology - 3 s.h.

    This course is an initial exploration of the discipline and methods of theology. The foundational topics of Christian theology are covered including the nature and necessity of the theological task and contemporary understandings of the doctrine of God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, humanity, the church, and Christian hope.

    RELG5022 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible - 3 s.h.

    A review of the sacred literature of ancient Israel, centered on its covenantal themes and Ancient Near Eastern contexts. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    RELG5040 New Testament – Gospels and Acts - 3 s.h.

    A review of the New Testament literature focusing on the gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, centered around its christological themes as they relate to other primary doctrines. Attention will be given to techniques of exegesis based on various methods of biblical criticism. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    RELG5050 New Testament – Letters and Apocalypse - 3 s.h.

    A review of the New Testament literature focusing on Paul, the General Epistles, and the Apocalypse of John, centered around its christological themes as they relate to other primary doctrines. Attention will be given to techniques of exegesis based on various methods of biblical criticism. Prerequisite: RELG5040.

    RELG5060 History of Christian Thought I - 3 s.h.

    This course traces the theological and doctrinal development of the Christian church from the biblical period to the period immediately preceding the Reformation. Attention will be given to the historical context in which this development occurred. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    RELG5350 Community of Christ History and Scripture - 3 s.h.

    This course traces the historical development of Community of Christ, from its origins in the setting of revivalism and democratization on the American frontier of the 1820s to the challenges the church faces as it negotiates the 21st century’s global, postmodern context. The course will also explore how the unique sacred texts of this movement have reflected the tradition’s ongoing engagement with culture. Special attention will be given to helping students learn how to apply critical historical methodology to the study of a religious tradition. Prerequisite: RELG5011

    RELG5435 Pastor as Person - 3 s.h.

    A focus on ministerial formation through exploration of the connection between vocation, ministerial “calling”, and social context. Students will engage in critical examination of ministerial myths, narratives, and stories that shape leadership response in a variety of pastoral experiences. Attention will be given to resources and tools for critical reflection on self and vocation. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    RELG5440 Spiritual Formation and Transformation - 3 s.h.

    A study of the historical and theological roots and implications of spiritual formation. Students will engage in critical study and practice of spiritual practices and formation models. Students will reflect on study and practices from biblical, historical, and psychological perspectives through individual experience in class as in the context of ministerial and spiritual leadership. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    RELG5445 Theology of Peace - 3 s.h.

    An introduction to and exploration of peace in Christian theology. Biblical, historical, and theological perspectives of peace as central to theological narratives. Focus on given students’ resources for building foundational theologies of peace and resources for application of peace through a theological lens. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    RELG5450 Philosophy of Peacebuilding - 3 s.h.

    Peace is central to theological and ethical thinking. Students will explore approaches to peace, grounded in social and moral philosophy. Emphasis on evaluating ethical implications of peace, justice, and peacebuilding for individual, communal, and vocational contexts. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    RELG6050 Christology and Liberation - 3 s.h.

    Explores Christological intersections between classical interpretations of Jesus of Nazareth’s identity and various modern and post-modern liberative approaches. As well as considering the contributions of the Social Gospel Movement, the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Jürgen Moltmann, special attention will be given to Latin American, Feminist, Womanist, African American, and Eco-liberationist Christologies. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the relevance of Jesus’ life and message to situations of violence, racism, and various forms of gender, environmental and economic oppression. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    RELG6070 History of Christian Thought II - 3 s.h.

    This course traces the theological and doctrinal development of the Christian church from the Reformation into the 21st century. Attention will be given to the historical context in which this development occurred. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    RELG6240 Contemporary Culture and Theologies - 3 s.h.

    An examination of the nature and implications of current issues and practices found in major world cultures with emphasis on their impact on Christian ministry, particularly ecumenical and intercultural ministry. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    RELG6245 Transformational Leadership - 3 s.h.

    Exploring leadership that leads to sustainable and transformative change in community and organizations. Critical study of missional leadership through theological, sociological, biblical, and ministerial analysis. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    RELG6250 Community Building and Diversity - 3 s.h.

    Examining essential skills in developing leaders as spiritual/sociological researchers in the context of their ministerial community for the purpose of cultivating missional transformation. Topics of social analysis will include social location, theological perspective, culture and cultural diversity, community systems, and religious pluralism. Attention will also be given to adaptive change as it relates to rapidly changing culture and context of ministry experience. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    RELG6255 Social Justice: Ethics, Ecology, and Peace - 3 s.h.

    An exploration of religious and philosophical foundations of imperatives for social and ecological justice. Examines mutual implications between interpersonal and environmental ethics as well as the scope of theories of justice as applied to human/nonhuman communities. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    RELG6260 Conflict Resolution and Restorative Justice - 3 s.h.

    Examining methods, concepts, and skills of conflict resolution and restorative justice paired with theological and historical perspectives. Intended to equip students with the skills to engage constructively and meaningfully with conflict and justice in personal, congregational, institutional, and community settings. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

    RELG6500 Portfolio - 1 s.h.

    A summative project that encourages students to reflect on their experience and the directions it may take them as a disciple or minister. The Seminary Graduate Portfolio consists of a beginning paper, gathering of graduate work,and self-assessment. The student will review her/his portfolio with a committee as a “finale” of her/his graduate work. (Evaluated on a pass/fail basis.)

    RELG6900 Advanced Topics in Ministry - 1-3 s.h.

    An in-depth study of topics selected from various areas of practical ministry such as church leadership, Christian ethics, mission, pastoral care, public ministry, spiritual formation, and disciple education. Students should have taken all of their other coursework prior to this course as this is a capstone course. The course is designed to guide students to integrate their learning into practical ministry application. Prerequisite: RELG5011.

Exceptional Faculty
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Tuition
FEEAMOUNT
Tuition$300.00 per semester hour
Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Charge$240.00 per course
Auditing Fee$450.00 per course
Extension Fee (for incomplete course, non-refundable)$100.00
Non-Degree Seeking Administration Fee (Missouri program students have a three business day right of rescission.)$50.00 per course
Program Support Fee (online courses)$18.00 per course
Reactivation Fee$50.00

Why Graceland

  • An approach to curriculum, teaching and the seminary’s community life that enhances and integrates the intellectual, personal, professional and spiritual growth of students
  • A dynamic relationship of research, consultation and learning with local church congregations and denominational jurisdictions at all levels
  • A proclaiming community of faith and learning inclusive of women and men who are diverse in ethnic, economic, social and national background
  • The preparation of the Christian leaders for mission through ministries of proclamation, justice, peace and reconciliation in religious, educational, political and public settings
Contact Us

Learn more about our graduate seminary degree programs.