The twenty-first century has brought with it an increased need for understanding the role of faith and faith traditions in a rapidly shrinking world. Finding ways of articulating the complexities of religion and carrying on constructive dialogue, while both understanding and embracing one’s core beliefs, lies at the heart of a Greenville College education. The Philosophy and Religion Department seeks to meet these challenges and to prepare students for a life of intelligent service to God, the Christian community, and the world at large. The department embraces a holistic approach summed up in the phrase that, “All truth is God’s truth.” Believing that there is an essential unity in all knowledge, the department is at the center of the College’s understanding of the Christian liberal arts. Providing the setting in which students ask the most basic, fundamental, and important questions facing human beings, the department invites all students, majors and non-majors, to approach life thoughtfully, and thereby, to develop a habit of thinking beneath the surface, with a deep contextualized understanding of their faith.
Courses offered by the department seek to develop in the student a college level understanding of the Christian faith, the ability to look at life in depth rather than superficially, a Christian approach to the pressing problems of the day and skill in carrying one’s faith into the world. Courses in Greek are offered to aid the student in studying the New Testament.
Many students have chosen a vocation that lies in the pastoral ministry, college/university teaching, missionary work, Christian education, or socially oriented religious service. The Department offers a four-year curriculum for those who wish to pursue one of these goals and encourages these students to attend seminary for additional professional training. The pre-seminary student is advised to major in philosophy or religion with a strong emphasis in other academic areas in such fields as English, history, psychology, or sociology. Students who wish to obtain a double major will be assigned an advisor from both the Philosophy and Religion Department and from their second major.
Members of the Free Methodist Church who do not plan on graduate professional training for the ministry may qualify for annual conference membership and ordination through the Track II outlined in the Free Methodist Book of Discipline.
Majors & Minors
The ministry major is a strong pre-seminary program offered for students headed into the ministry, but who are unsure about moving on into seminary or graduate studies immediately upon graduation. The major allows one to select an emphasis in either pastoral ministries or urban/cross-cultural ministries. Students in this program are required to serve an internship, as well as take several specific courses in the field of ministry that prepare them for employment upon graduation. The ministry major requires a core of 29 credits and the selection of an emphasis of either pastoral ministries or urban/cross cultural that is an additional nine credits. Both emphases lead to a bachelor of arts degree.
Pastoral Ministry Emphasis:
Pastoral Ministry students participate in an internship which provides practical knowledge and prepares them for future endeavors. Upon graduating, students may enter seminary, pursue graduate studies, or begin work in the field.
Urban/Cross Cultural Emphasis:
The Urban/Cross Cultural emphasis will prepare you for ministry in churches, para-churches and community organizations in urban and cross-cultural settings. You’ll be introduced to the challenges and complexities of living and ministering in culturally diverse urban communities.
The philosophy major in liberal education is designed to help students form an interpretation of truth around an understanding of God, human nature, and the universe that sees an essential unity in all knowledge. Philosophy develops the habit of thinking reflectively and consistently. It trains students to consider critically their own and others’ assertions in writing and speaking. It observes the power of ideas in the rise and fall of movements in human history. The major requires the completion of 27 hours and leads to a bachelor of arts degree.
Psychology / Religion Major
The psychology/religion major is a 36 credit hour program with at least 12 credit hours required from the Department of Philosophy and Religion, and at least 15 credit hours required from the Psychology Department. Frequently students in this major complete five or more elective courses drawn from communication, music, art, ministry, and education in addition to those in psychology and religion. Students completing this major are eligible for a bachelor of arts degree.
The goal of the religion major is to provide students with a comprehensive study of the many fields that religion encompasses. This includes training in the history of the church, theological and philosophical studies as well as an acquaintance with the Bible. Students majoring in religion often pursue graduate studies in one of the many subject areas that religion includes. Often, students major in another discipline and believe that the religion major complements their other studies. The religion major requires completion of 27 credits and leads to a bachelor of arts degree.
Youth Ministries Major
The youth ministry major prepares individuals for non-traditional, full-time Christian service positions or for graduate work in Christian Education. It draws heavily from several disciplines and allows students to move directly into staff ministry in a church or para-church organization. All students are required to complete an internship working in a church or service agency. This major requires the completion of 44 credits, and leads to a bachelor of science degree.
For a Ministry minor you will be required to take 17 credit hours in the Religion Department.
The Philosophy minor is designed to help you form an interpretation of truth around an understanding of God, human nature, and the universe that sees and essential unity in all knowledge. For a minor you will be required to take at least 15 credit hours in the Philosophy Department.
The Religion minor provides a comprehensive background of the many fields pertaining to Religion. You will study the history of the church, theology, philosophy, and the Bible. For a minor you will be required to take at least 15 credit hours in the Religion Department.
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