BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
COURSE UNIT 162 - 8162


The unit begins by evaluating different understandings of the term ‘spirituality’ and seeks to establish a framework within which Christian spirituality can be analysed.  Foundational themes in Christian spirituality are considered such as the Bible, prayer, contemplation, the sacraments, holiness and the relationship between the inner and outer dimensions of the Christian spirituality.  The unit also offers an introduction to some of the main spiritual streams of the Christian faith: Evangelical, Eastern Orthodox, Black and Celtic spirituality are considered.  Specific experiences such as the dark night of the soul are also given attention, as are questions relating to personality and spiritual development.  Throughout the unit there is a focus on the practice of Christian spirituality.


To consider the different dimensions of Christian spirituality and to provide the means whereby students can further develop their own spiritual lives and the lives of others.


Category of outcome

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

Knowledge and understanding

·         Discuss the significance of different understandings of spirituality and have a framework for understanding specifically Christian spirituality

Intellectual skills

·         Demonstrate the aptitude to reflect appropriately on spiritual experience

Practical and Transferable skills; Personal qualities

·         Identify and implement approaches that will assist in their own spiritual growth

·         Write a reflective essay


Assessment task


Weighting within unit



400 words

2000 words




·         162:

·         8162:

Plan for reflective essay

A formative essay



1500 words

2000 words






·         162:

·         8162:

A summative reflective essay

A summative reflective 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.    Definitions of ‘spirituality’; the ‘spiritual journey’ in the Bible and in Christian history

2.    Approaches to engaging with the Bible, including lectio divina

3.    Approaches to prayer and contemplation; the work of Henri Nouwen; the place of art in spirituality

4.    The sacraments in Christian spirituality, with a special focus on the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist)

5.    Christian approaches to ‘holiness’

6.    The experience known as the ‘dark night of the soul’

7.    The place of Christian community in the development of Christian spirituality; Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together; the relationship between personally and spirituality

8.    The ‘Celtic Tradition’ of spirituality; the Northumbria Community

9.    Eastern Orthodoxy

10.  Black spirituality (guest lecturer)

11.  Application to contemporary discipleship and ministry

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

Clarke, Clifton, The Reason Why We Sing: Introducing Black Pentecostal Spirituality (Grove Spirituality Series [61]. Cambridge: Grove Books, 1997)

Foster, Richard, Streams of Living Water (London: HarperCollins, 1999)

McGrath, Alister E, Christian Spirituality (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999)

Morden, Peter J., ‘Communion with Christ and his People’: The Spirituality of C.H. Spurgeon (1834-92) (Centre for Baptist History and Heritage Studies 4; Oxford: Regent’s Park College, 2010 / Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2014)

Philip Sheldrake (ed.), New SCM Dictionary of Christian Spirituality (London: SCM, 2004-5)

Peterson, Eugene H., Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2005)

Peterson, Eugene H., Subversive Spirituality (Vancouver: Eerdmans/Regent College, 1997)

Shaw, Luci, Polishing the Petoskey Stone: New and Selected Poems (Wheaton, Illinois, 1990)

Tidball, Derek J., The Message of Holiness: Restoring God's Masterpiece (Leicester: IVP, 2010)

Smith, Karen E., Christian Spirituality (London: SCM, 2007)

Stackhouse, Ian, The Day is Yours: Slow Spirituality in a Fast Moving World (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2008)

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BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
Course Unit 162 - 8162





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Dr Peter J. Morden

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