Christian doctrine is vital to the life of Christian faith and to Christian ministry. To faithfully minister in both church and world, Christian leaders must engage the truth, beauty, and complexity of historic Christian doctrine, while also interrogating the ways that lived ministry challenges and forms doctrine for the future of the church.
In an age of deconstruction of faith, we need leaders who can build constructive, faithful, and life-giving theology for a variety of contexts.
The DMin program in Doctrine, Theology, & Practice, led by Dr. Beth Felker Jones, aims to train Christian leaders whose lives and work embody the integration of doctrinal and practical theology for service to the Church of Jesus Christ and to the world.
The program is run on a cohort model, and students can expect to form a unique community of learning as they journey through the program with their cohort. Ministry groups within the cohort will meet on a regular basis—virtually—throughout the four years for shared inquiry and encouragement. Classes in the program, however, are also open to students from other cohorts and programs, giving students the best of a cohort model together with the dynamism that comes from encountering new colleagues in various classes.
The program includes seven seminars. They bring together pastors and ministry professionals from a variety of contexts to journey in connecting solid theological training with work in ministry. Each student writes a Thesis at the end of the program and goes through a capstone Oral Exam. Students can work on many possible thesis projects in completing the DMin in Doctrine and Ministry, including but not limited to: examining the relationship between doctrine and questions related to the Black Church, Women in the Church, Immigration and Refugees, Health Care, Wealth and Poverty, Prisons, Catechetical Practice, and Worship.
Shared core courses, required for all DMin programs:
1) Becoming Doctors of the Church
This course introduces students to the function and importance of the office of “doctor of the church.” In the course, students delve deeply into “why I believe” the central tenets of the faith and identify and begin to research a key ministry context. The research will become central to the doctoral thesis.
2) The Bible and Theological Method
This course is a general hermeneutics course that grounds theological method and the study of Scripture. It provides an opportunity for students to engage specific biblical texts and theological topics as they relate to their ministry contexts and thesis.
3) Thesis Design
This seminar walks the student through constructing a thesis that begins with a driving question about the relationship between doctrine or women’s studies and a ministerial context. The approval of the thesis proposal that comes from this class sets the stage for the final thesis that provides the capstone of the Doctoral process.
Courses specific to the Doctrine, Theology, and Practice Program:
The DTP courses together form the core of the program’s curriculum and expose students to a wide breadth of issues in historic and contemporary theology while challenging students to examine the classic theological loci as they shape and are shaped by ministry contexts.
These courses form the unique centerpiece of the Doctrine, Theology, & Practice program at Northern Seminary, as no other DMin program in the country offers this depth and breadth of course work in doctrinal theology. These courses are not, however, an overview of doctrinal content. Rather, they are advanced courses exploring the dynamic intersection between doctrine and ministry contexts. All four courses will interact with contextual and practical application of doctrine in relation to matters such as gender, race, class, church practices, and spiritual disciplines, as these are shaped by and, in turn, shape doctrinal theology. These courses will undergird, expand, and bear fruit for ministry.
Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Ministry: DTP 1 Examines aspects of the doctrines of creation, soteriology, ecclesiology, and eschatology in relation to ministry.
Imago Dei, Theodicy, and Ministry: DTP II. Focuses on the doctrine of theological anthropology and its relationship to perennial questions about evil and suffering in relation to ministry.
The Triune God and Ministry: DTP III. Investigates the doctrine of God, Christology, and pneumatology in relation to ministry.
Doctrine, Ministry, and Theology of the Human Body. This course is a theological examination of women and gender in Christianity. Theological, historical, literary, exegetical, and feminist methods are variously employed as students consider the relationship between gender and ministry contexts.