Introduction to Christian Doctrine

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
COURSE UNIT 133 - 8133


Lectures focus on the task of theology as reflection on the Gospel narrative.  An exploration of the biblical foundation of doctrine, its historical development and cultural shaping is rooted in a sustained examination of the Apostles’ Creed.  This will facilitate an appreciation of the contemporary, practical implications of Christian belief.  A foundation is laid for later units which focus on the nature of theological thinking and the relationship between doctrine and ethics.


To introduce students to the study of Christian doctrine as articulated in the Apostles’ Creed and to some of its ethical consequences.


Category of outcome

By the end of this unit students should be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

·         Understand the nature of the theological task and appreciate the distinctive nature of Christian belief as articulated in the Apostles’ Creed

Intellectual skills

·         Identify and examine the ways in which the Church has formulated and expressed its beliefs in changing historical and cultural contexts

Practical and Transferable skills; Personal qualities

·         Identify, access and use relevant material from libraries and online resources

·         Apply the key theological concepts and/or ethical consequences of Christian belief and practice in the context of ministry and mission


Assessment task


Weighting within unit



300 words

2000 words




·         133:

·         8133:

An essay outline

An essay



1500 words

2000 words





·         133:

·         8133:

An essay

An essay

and a learning journal*


* Distance learning students are required to pass this element. So long as this element has been passed, they will be eligible for compensation if the overall unit mark is within the compensation zone (30-39%), and the compensatable credit allowance as set out in the Degree Regulations has not been exceeded.




Available on which programme(s)?

BA in Theology


1.    What is theology? ‘I believe….’ Introduction to the study of Doctrine

2.    The Doctrine of Revelation; ‘I believe in God…..’

3.    Exploring the Trinity; ‘I believe in God the Father….’

4.    The Good Creation; ‘maker of heaven and earth….’

5.    Humanity in the image of God

6.    The Person and Work of Christ (1); ‘And in Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son, our Lord…’

7.    The Person and Work of Christ (2); the story of Jesus and the gift of salvation

8.    Who is the Spirit?; ‘I believe in the Holy Spirit….’

9.    Living in Faith: Theism, Atheism and Christian belief

10.  Living in Hope; ‘The resurrection of the body….’

11.  Living the Christian Story: Christian Ethics as living Christian Theology

Teaching method

Interactive lectures

Additional eLearning content

Unit materials are available at Spurgeon’s Online to support student learning


Written feedback within 15 working days from submission

Date of approval (for office use)


Information updated on

December 2015

Indicative reading

Gunton, Colin, The Christian Faith: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002)

Gunton, Colin, Steve Holmes and Murray Rae, The Practice of Theology (London: SCM, 2001)

Hart, Trevor, Faith Thinking: The Dynamics of Christian Theology (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 1995)

McGrath, Alister, Theology: The Basics (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008)

McGrath, Alister, The Christian Theology Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995)

Migliore, D., Faith Seeking Understanding (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2nd edn 2004)

Olson, R., The Mosaic of Christian Belief (Leicester: IVP, 2002)

Spence, Alan, Christology: A Guide for the Perplexed (London: T&T Clark, 2008)

Tanner, K. Jesus, humanity and the Trinity: a brief systematic theology, Scottish Journal of Theology. Current issues in theology (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2001)

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Introduction to Christian Doctrine

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
Course Unit 133 - 8133





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Dr Graham J. Watts

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