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Online · School of Divinity · Theological Studies

Public Theology

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 01/30/2020

Course Description

A study of the role and practice of Christian ministry in responding to ethical challenges presented by cultural developments in the contemporary world.



THEO 525 or THEO 530


Christian leaders today face ethical challenges and questions that could not have been imagined even a few years ago. Congregations look to their leadership for informed guidance on a host of ethical issues. It is important for ministers in every area of church life to be able to provide accurate, biblically sound, and informative answers on a variety of ethical matters, in their teaching and preaching, and in one-on-one situations.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Distinguish between different kinds of ethical decision making systems.
  2. Evaluate ethical systems in light of the Bible.
  3. Apply biblical ethical teachings to modern ethicial issues.
  4. Discuss ethical issues in ways that facilitate understanding of them.
  5. Identify practical steps for developing a Christian lifestyle based on a biblical understanding of ethics.

Course Resources

Required Resources

The resources below are provided in the course at no cost to the student.

Corbin-Reuschling, Wyndy. Reviving Evangelical Ethics. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2008.

McQuilkin, Robert, and Paul Copan. An Introduction to Biblical Ethics: Walking in the Way of Wisdom. Downer’s Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2013.

Platt, David. Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans and Pornography. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub. Inc., 2015.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Additional Materials for Learning

  1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
  2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
  3. Blackboard recommended browsers
  4. Microsoft Word
  5. School of Divinity Writing Guide:

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Discussion Board forums (4)

Students will participate in four discussion board forums. Topics will be drawn from the reading assignments. Students will post an original thread of 400 words or more. In their original thread, students are expected to use course material, scriptural references, and extra-course material to substantiate the thesis of their post. They must reply to at least two peers’ threads in 200 words or more. Threads should be submitted by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Thursday and replies by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Sunday of the assigned modules/weeks. (L/O C, D, E)

Book Critique

Students will review and critique Reviving Evangelical Ethics. The student should discuss the author’s goal and intended audience for the book, then briefly summarize the contents of each chapter, and the strengths and weaknesses of each. The review should include some reflection on how these three ethical systems fall short of a fully biblical ethic and on if and how the author helps professional ministers develop a more fully biblical approach to ethics. The review needs to be at least 1800 words but not more than 2200 words long. It must be in Turabian format, using the highest quality formal academic English and show evidence of careful revision, proofreading, and attention to detail. This assignment will be due at 11:59 PM (ET) on Sunday of Module/Week 5. (L/O A, B)


Students will write a research paper on a selected topic (choose from the topic list provided in Course Content, and narrow the topic down as necessary).  The paper must be 3500-5000 words  long,  and use the Bible appropriately,  along with at least 10 additional high quality sources.   Church websites are not appropriate for this assignment and Journal Articles must be used only sparingly (no more than two).  Websites of official organizations related to the topic, or government agencies and educational institutions, (such as abortion opponent groups,  and advocates) may be used for factual information and statistics. Sensational type advocacy sites, sites that polemicize on the matter, must be avoided). Course texts should not be used in this assignment. The paper must follow Turabian and School of Divinity guidelines as to formatting, style, grammar, and graduate quality of work.

The paper will be produced in three stages, the topic and thesis, then the full bibliography, the abstrack and the outline, and then the final paper (at least 10 sources used). Due the third, sixth, and seventh modules of the course. (L/O C, D, E).

Exams (4)

Each exam will consist of 30 true/false and multiple choice type questions and one essay type question. (The objective questions will be worth 1.5 points each and the essay question will be worth 5 points). Students will have two hours to finish each open-book/open-notes exam. On many questions students will have to choose the best answer from a series of possible answers. Exams will cover the reading assignments and presentations from the previous two weeks. Each exam is due by 11:59 PM (ET) on Sunday of the assigned module/week. (L/O A, B, C, D, E)

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist

Discussion Board forums (4 at 75 pts ea)



Book Critique



Part One

Part Two

Part Three (Final)





Exams (4 at 50 pts ea)





Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


THEO 650

Textbooks: Reuschling, Reviving Evangelical Ethics (2008).

McQuilkin, Robert, and Paul Copan. An Introduction to Biblical Ethics (2013).

Platt, David. Counter Culture (2015).


Reading & Study




McQuilken and Copan Introduction and Parts I, and II (Ch 1-4)

1 Presentation

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1





McQuilken and Copan

Parts III and IV (Ch. 5-9)

3 Presentations

Exam 1



McQuilken and Copan

Part V (Ch 10-11)

Reuschling, “Introduction” and Chapters 1-2

Paper topic, Thesis, and Preliminary Bibliography

DB Forum 2





McQuilken and Copan Part VI (Ch 12-13)

Platt Ch 1

Reuschling Chapters 3-4

Exam 2




McQuilken and Copan Part VII

Platt Ch 5-6

Reuschling, Chapter 5 and “Conclusion”

2 Presentations

Book Critique

DB Forum 3




McQuilken and Copan Part VIII

Platt Ch 3-4, 7, 8

3 Presentations

Articles: Family Obligationsafter a Couple are Married

Paper Outline, Abstract and Full Bibliography

Exam 3

DB Forum 4





McQuilken and Copan Part IX

Platt Ch. 2

Paper Final (Part Three)




McQuilken and Copan Parts X and XI

Platt 9-10

1 Presentation

Exam 4




DB = Discussion Board

NOTE: Each course week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.