Free course: Introduction to Theology
A place to start
Introduction to Theology is a free, online course that provides an overview of confessional Lutheran theology for individuals interested in exploring further study in Lutheran theology. The class utilizes live on-line teaching; it is taught in English and is meant for students for whom English is a second-language. The instructor is Rev. Dr. Charles Lloyd Cortright. Dr. Cortright holds a Ph.D. in historical theology from Marquette University, Wisconsin, USA. Before coming to The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s Eurasia mission field in 2017, Dr. Cortright served as a professor of theology in the USA for 15 years. He lives in Rīga, Latvia, where he is working with Rev. Dr. John Bombaro (LCMS) and the Luther Academy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia (LELB).
Introduction to Theology provides an academic overview of confessional Lutheran theology and includes surveys of the four basic areas of theology: biblical, historical, dogmatic, and applied (practical) theology. There is no tuition; the course is offered for free and is designed to help students assess their interest and aptitude for theology and exploring preparing themselves for Lutheran ministry.
Introduction to Theology: Prospectus
Introduction to Theology is a live, distance-learning class using PowerPoint presentations. The class is taught in English for students for whom English is a second-language. The instructor is Rev. Dr. Charles Lloyd Cortright.
Introduction to Theology is an academic study of the basic principles of confessional Lutheran theology and includes surveys of the four basic areas of theology: biblical, historical, dogmatic, and applied (practical) theology. This is a free, no-tuition course designed to help students assess their interest and aptitude for theology and their ability to learn theology via English. Individuals thinking about the B.Th. English program of the Rīga Luther Academy are encouraged to consider taking this course.
Specific course objectives and outcomes
Participants in this course will . . .
... review or become acquainted with theology as an academic discipline along with its various divisions.
... review or become broadly acquainted with the books and contents of both the Old and New Testaments (= “isagogics”).
... become broadly acquainted with the history of the interpretation of Scripture in the Christian church and gain an appreciation for the method of interpretation (= “hermeneutics”) used in confessional Lutheranism.
... become broadly acquainted with the history of the Christian church with emphasis on the western church.
... understand the basics and specialized vocabulary by which the Lutheran church expresses the truths of Scripture (= “dogmatics”).
... survey the major doctrines of the orthodox Christian faith, the terms by which they are expressed, and their impact in the life and worship of the church.
... read and apply the insights of Bo Giertz’s The Hammer of God as an expression of Lutheran Christocentricity and Luther’s “theology of the cross.”
Please note: registration for the Fall 2020 class is closed.
Thank you for your interest.
Introduction to Theology
Copyright © 2020 Rev. Dr. Charles L. Cortright. All rights reserved.
Introduction to Theology: Units
Units I, II - Biblical Theology
Contents of the unit
Introduction to Holy Scripture, canon, biblical interpretation principles (hermeneutics), and an introduction to the books of the Old and New Testaments.
Students enrolling on a trial basis will be asked to commit to completing Unit I.
Unit III - Historical Theology
Contents of the unit
Overview and introduction to the history of the western Church from beginnings through the Enlightenment.
Unit IV - Lutheran Dogmatics
Contents of the unit
Overview and introduction to confessional Lutheran dogmatics. Topics surveyed include the formal and confessional principles, theology proper,
theological anthropology, sin and grace, Christology, conversion and justification,
means of grace, ecclesiology and ministry, vocation, and others.
Unit V - Capstone reading: The Hammer of God
The final unit of Introduction to Theology is a reading of Bo Giertz's The Hammer of God as an expression of Lutheran Christocentricity and Luther’s “theology of the cross.”