Article Index

csbm courses


Biblical Studies

BS510/610  Exploring the Bible (15 credits)

[Compulsory for all students]

This course explores the historical, literary, and theological aspects of the Bible.  It will survey the central characters and events of the Bible, examine the variety of genres found in the Bible, and discuss key theological themes emphasized within the Bible.  Particular attention will be given to the colonial contexts of biblical texts.

BS611  Interpreting the Bible (15 credits)

[Compulsory for all DipCS students; Prerequisite: BS610]

What is interpretation? How does one go about doing it? Why and how should one read the Bible?  What is the goal of biblical interpretation?  This course introduces students to theories and methods of biblical interpretation and their applications.  The aim is to enable students to understand the task of interpretation, to use the tools of biblical studies, and to critically analyse biblical texts, and engage with the Bible in a transformative manner.

BS612  Reading the Bible in Oceania (15 credits)

Prerequisites: BS510/610, BS611 [Recommended for Biblical studies strand]

What do readers in Oceania find in the Bible? What do they avoid? What do they overlook? This course will engage these questions, provide opportunities for participants to name their interests and blind spots around some of the current concerns and struggles that agitate the people of Oceania--island space and ways, migration and labour, sexuality and spirituality, church and discrimination, diaspora and nativism. This course will draw upon resources written by and around natives of Oceania also.

BS620  Deciphering the Bible (15 credits)

This course offers a basic guide to Biblical Hebrew and New Testament Greek.   Each language will be delivered every other semester to enable students to read simple texts in the original languages of the Bible, and to use tools like lexicons and dictionaries for in-depth study of texts.

BS621  Decolonising the Bible (15 credits)

[Prerequisites – BS510/610, BS611]

This course explores the political impact of empires on the composition of biblical texts and on their subsequent interpretation. It analyses the ways that imperial interests are both embedded in and critiqued by biblical texts.  It then turns to the way the Bible was deployed in imperial adventures of the past centuries.  In colonial contexts, the Bible was used as both a mechanism of dominion and a resource for resistance to the unjust excesses of empire. This ambivalent legacy endures in our world today, because even though countries have achieved independence, the old colonial dynamics persist.  How do indigenous Christians in colonized contexts interpret a book that has been used to justify their oppression? Why would they even read it? How do women in these circumstances cope with being doubly colonized, disabled both by their national origins (and race, ethnicity) and also by their own (subjugated) men? And have biblical scholars unconsciously served the colonial enterprise by pursuing the “historical” meaning of texts and marginalizing readings that are too political and impassioned?

BS522/622  Women in/and the Bible (15 credits)

[Prerequisites – BS510/610]

This course involves a study of the place of women in biblical literature. We will investigate the historical contexts of specific biblical tests, building a picture of what life was like for women in ancient Israel and the ancient Mediterranean world. This class will also critically consider the influence of these tests on the lives of women and men in the church and will question their significance for life in the twenty-first century.  

BS530/630  Violence in/and Sacred Texts (15 credits)

[Elective; Prerequisites – BS510/610]

This course is an analysis of narratives and injunctions in sacred texts, specifically the Bible [and the Qur’an], dealing with violence, which will serve as the basis for an examination of how individuals and groups use these sacred texts and images found therein to ground or justify their actions.

BS631  The Bible and Public Life in Aotearoa (15 credits)

[Elective; Prerequisites – BS510/610, BS511/611]

This course looks at how the Bible is used in public discourses and engagements; in films, media, and arts, as well as the challenges posed by public issues like gender justice, neoliberalism, neo-colonialism, violence, human trafficking, and so forth.  Engagement with people in public settings will be part of the course so students can have some idea of the reality on the ground vis-à-vis social visions of the Bible.

BS531/632  Special Topic: Acclimatising the Bible (15 credits)

[Prerequisite – none]

This course follows two acclimatising lines: First, we will study biblical texts and their interpretations from the current contexts of climate change. Are the selected ancient biblical texts, and their latter day interpretations, relevant for the current climate changing context? How do those texts and interpretations help and/or hurt struggles for climate justice? Second, we will reflect on ways of acclimatising the bible, not just in terms of climate change but with respect to life struggles in general. Instead of seeking to make the text speak in our contexts, the second part of this course is about “talking back” to the bible – in order to acclimatise the bible, in different ways. This second aspect “pokes” at mainline contextual hermeneutics.

REBS650  Research Essay in Biblical Studies (30 credits)

[Prerequisites – BS610, BS611, BS612 and BS620]

This option is for those who have completed the core and required courses for a Biblical Studies strand with an average B grade or above.  The duration for the project is one full semester.  A research proposal has to be approved by the Ranston Lecturer in Biblical Studies prior conducting the research.  The research project is equal to two courses.

Theological Studies

TS510/610  Introduction to Theological Studies (15 credits)

[Compulsory for all students]

This course will survey the landscape of theological studies to give students an overall understanding of the field, and its development over the years; to introduce students to basic beliefs of the Christian tradition, and to enable them to do critical theological thinking and reflection on public and contextual issues.

TS511/611  Introduction to Ethics (15 credits)

[Compulsory for all students]

This course offers an orientation to Christian ethics. It will explore the moral implications of the Christian commitment, the formulation and development of the principles of Christian ethics for persons and within communities, and their application to areas of contemporary life. Because Christian ethics is a form of reflection which arises out of moral conflict, the course utilizes specific moral problems as a way of exploring these themes.

TS612   Doing Theology in Aotearoa (15 credits)

Prerequisites: TS510/610 and TS511/611 [Required for Theological studies strand]

This course engages critically with the shifts in hermeneutics and theological discourses, and reassess the significant move towards contextual and cross-cultural theology.  Various modes of contextual theology will be scrutinised in class, with particular reference to theologies from Oceania and Aotearoa.  Students also trace the emergence of a range of contextual approaches that are current within contemporary theology leading to the undertaking of a major contextual project.

TS520/620B Re-storying Christianity I/II (15 credits each semester)

Prerequisites: TS520/620A [Recommended for Theological studies strand]

This course will run in two semesters (A & B).

TS620A retells the story of Christianity from the first century CE to the Reformation era, and pays close attention the development of the Christian tradition, key theological debates, schisms, and issues that shattered the unity of the movement.

TS620B retells the story of Christianity from the Reformation period to the present, and pays close attention the story of Christianity in Oceania and Aotearoa. Contemporary challenges that confront Christian churches, and the emergence of new groups will be given due examination and critical scrutiny. This story of Christianity will be shared alongside its historical counterpart, colonisation.


TS621  Re-thinking God (15 credits)

Prerequisites: TS510/610, TS511/611 and TS520/620

This course reconsiders the basic theological tenets of Christianity, especially the Christian doctrine of Trinity, from a 21st century, multi-faith and multi-cultural perspective.  It gives students an opportunity to re-think, from their own standpoints, the idea of God, and to re-examine the development of the theology of God, the Christ, and the Spirit.  What does it mean to believe in a God?  Who really is this person called the Christ?  What exactly is the Holy Spirit?  What has God got to do with humans and earth? Questions such as these and more will be discussed and debated.

TS522/622  Being Human (15 credits)

Prerequisites: TS510/610 and TS511/611

What does it mean to be human?  This course takes as its focus the key theological question of what can be said about the nature of being human. The course will examine a variety of theological responses from traditional Christian understandings, which understand humanity as created in God's image, to more contemporary perceptions of what it means to be human. Theological aropology can be the driver of other doctrines in a systematic theology; it also underpins work not necessarily seen as theological, such as ethics, development, and human rights. A rich understanding of this antropology will be helpful in assisting students in addressing key spiritual, ethical, and material challenges facing humanity in our current contexts.

TS630   Moana Eco-Theology (15 credits)

No prerequisite

This course briefly traces the origin and development of eco-theology, the current trend in eco-theological debates, and the relevance of those debates to the current ecological climate and realities in the context of Oceania, and Aotearoa in particular.  The purpose of the course is to raise awareness amongst those who are training for ministry to the reality of climate change, and to set a platform for appropriate church and/or faith community responses.

TS631  Revisioning Church (15 credits)*

No prerequisite [Compulsory for all ministry candidates]

What does it mean to be a church in the 21st century? Does the church need to reinvent itself to be relevant? What challenges does it face? How much does it need to change? Is its traditional mission viable? If not, what is the new mission and vision? These, and many other, questions will be the focus of this course.  Participants will be encouraged to engage critically with the theologies and practices of the church past and present in order to find what is best for the church going forward.  Is there a place for the church in the future?

TS531/632  Special Topic: Religious Fundamentalism (15 credits)

No prerequisite

This course aims at understanding and comparing fundamentalist movements in Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism. Participants will examine the term "fundamentalism" as it has evolved from describing an American Protestant form of religiosity to signifying a global phenomenon spanning different religions and cultures.  The goal is to understand religious fundamentalism and its impact on public life.

RETS650  Research Essay in Theological Studies (30 credits)

Prerequisites: TS510/610, TS511/611, TS512/612 and TS520/620

This option is for those who have completed the core and required courses for a Theological Studies strand with an average B grade or above.  The duration for the project is one full semester.  A research proposal has to be approved by the Lecturer in Theological Studies prior to conducting the research.  The research project is equal to two 15-credit courses.

Pastoral Studies

PS510/610  Introduction to Pastoral Studies (15 credits)

This paper will introduce students to some practical tools and models for engaging in critical theological reflection in order to develop the skills and practices in pastoral ministry of relating life to theology and theology to life. The paper will also assist in the development of a growing competence in the practice of pastoral care across varying contexts and life situations in the context of ministry in Aotearoa New Zealand.

PS511/611  Engaging Communities (15 credits)

This paper gives students some basic knowledge and skills in community engagement and development. It encourages them to think beyond the church and take account of the interests of people in the wider community irrespective of who they are. This aims at enhancing student’s ministry skills to enable ministry with awareness about the social, political, cultural, religious and economic circumstances of the people they minister with/to.  

PS512/612  Methodism in Aotearoa (15 credits)

This course is an exploration of the development of Te Haahi Weteriana o Aotearoa, The Methodist Church of New Zealand; with a particular focus on the establishment of the Bi-cultural journey, Connexionalism and Agents of Change.

PS520/620  Preaching: Theology & Practice (15 credits)

This course offers an introduction to the theology and practice of Christian preaching, especially in a Methodist context in New Zealand. It takes account of the art of public speaking and the rhetorical requirements of the task.

PS521/621  Liturgy: Theology & Practice (15 credits)

This course provides an orientation to liturgy, its theological basis, and the practice of designing a liturgy within a particular situation or occasion.  The aim is to give students a thorough knowledge of the subject and some practical skills.

PS522  Spirituality and Pastoral Care (15 credits)

This course explores the relationship between spirituality and pastoral care with a particular emphasis on understanding a range of perspectives on the nature of spirituality and attending to issues of spiritual care and formation.

PS622/722  Spirituality and Wellbeing (15 credits) 

This course takes a critical look at a range of contemporary and contextual understandings of spirituality alongside an in-depth appreciation of and relationship with human wellbeing, and healing. The course will look at key research on how positive emotions foster human flourishing and shift our states of being.

PS530/630  Understanding Self and Others (15 credits)

This course will address a variety of theoretical and theological frameworks for understanding how familial, social and cultural context and identity impact on the practice of pastoral care and ministry leadership.

PS531/631  Models of Leadership & Ministry (15 credits)

To be successful in church ministry requires a certain amount of leadership skills.  This course provides an overview of various types of ministry, especially with the Methodist Church of New Zealand, and equips students with skills relevant to each type.

PS532/632  Special Topic in Pastoral Studies: Gender and Sexuality (15 credits)

This course will look at the relationship between understandings and formations of gender and sexuality across different historical, cultural and theological contexts. In particular, it will explore ways in which ideas about gender and sexuality shape social roles and identities especially in relation to the exercise of Christian ministry and leadership. 

REPS650  Research Essay in Pastoral Studies (30 credits)

This option is for those who have completed the core and required courses for a Pastoral Studies strand with an average B grade or above.  The duration for the project is one full semester.  A research proposal has to be approved by the Lecturer in Theological Studies prior to conducting the research.  The research project is equal to two 15-credit courses.

Maori Studies

MS510 Te Ao Tawhito (See the World through a Māori Lens) (15 credits)

This course investigates a distinctive Māori world view and highlights the significance of Māori mythology and oral tradition in the development of Mātauranga Māori. This course also examines the impacts of European contact on Māori society and the manifestation of Māori prophetic movements of the nineteenth-century.

MS610 Te Ao Tūroa (15 credits)

From the Noble Savage to Cheeky Darkies and Tūhoe Terrorists!
The paper examines and analyses the impacts of te Tiriti o Waitangi on the social and political development of contemporary Māori society. The paper will investigate the Māori prophetic and protest movements of the twentieth century, as catalysts for radical change in race relations and Māori policy. Students will also examine the influential role of the media in creating and perpetuating common public perceptions of Māori and explore the disempowerment and misrepresentation of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

MS511/611 Te Ao Whakaari

Hallelujah and Haka Boogie!!

This paper explores and examines the development of contemporary Māori music and dance as a tool for ministry and a mechanism for the expression of faith. The paper introduces students to the theoretical and practical application of Kapa Haka in a church context. Students will explore the history of the early Māori Methodist Singers, Orators and Musicians of 1930 and their contribution to the Methodist Church. Students will also be challenged to consider the place of Haka as a form of Māori expression, in modern-day church and worship. 

MS512/612 Te Ao Hurihuri (15 credits)

The paper is aimed at developing cultural competency and understanding of tīkanga Māori to enable respectful and effective interaction. Students will examine Māori spirituality and tīkanga Māori as it is applied to gender, age and leadership-specific roles within both traditional and contemporary contexts. The paper will also encourage the development of skills and knowledge of tikanga Māori in an Aotearoa, Methodist ministry context.

MS620 Te Kete Tuauri (15 credits)

Tohunga: traditional and contemporary
This paper examines the leadership role of Tohunga in traditional Māori society and explores the implications for modern-day forms of Tohungatanga (Tohungaism). This paper will also consider the place of spirituality, ritual and tikanga within the practice of a Tohunga. Students will study the effects of the Tohunga Suppression Act 1907 on healing practices and the retention of mātauranga Māori. The paper investigates the knowledge and work of contemporary practitioners including Tohunga Tā Moko, Whakairo, Rongoa and the potential for Tohunga in digitised media.

MS621 Te Kete Tuatea (15 credits)

Whakapono ki te Atua: Māori faith and religion
This paper is designed to develop student’s knowledge of Māori religion and faith that arose out of colonial oppression and the introduction of Christianity. Students will study the history of Pai Marire, Ratana and Ringatu as exemplars of syncretic movements derived from Māori and Christian teachings and ideologies. The paper will explore the theological and biblical interpretations of selected Māori faiths and examine the charismatic leaders who founded the movements and their contemporary successors. The students will also explore and compare the development of other indigenous and syncretic faiths. The paper will focus on faiths originating from West Africa which developed as a response to slavery and stem from oral traditions and Catholicism.

MS522/622 Te Kete Aronui (15 credits)

Te Whare Pora: Mahi Raranga
This paper will introduce students to traditional and contemporary forms of Māori fibre art. The paper explores the Māori tradition of mahi raranga (weaving), including the spiritual and ceremonial aspects of the craft. The paper familiarises Students with the importance and relevance of ritual and prayer in the practice of harvesting, preparing and weaving flax. The aim of this paper is to give students a comprehensive knowledge of Māori fibre art, customs and beliefs applied to the art form and some practical experience.

MS530/630 Te Reo Kauwhau (15 credits)

Ko te kai ā te rangatira he kōrero (The sustenance of a chief is oratory)
This is an introduction to oral and written Te Reo Māori. Students will focus on basic grammar and structure of the language, and conversational Māori. The paper aims to develop key competencies in Māori oral literature including karakia, waiata and himene, for application in practical ministry.

MS631 Te Reo Pātikitiki (15 credits)

This paper is intended to develop skills in the structure and grammar of written Te Reo Māori. The paper will incorporate components of tikanga Māori, as well as transcription of oral and written Māori language texts, with a particular focus on biblical texts. Students will study Māori language manuscripts that reveal and exhibit early Māori theological understandings and the practice of the sacraments.

MS532/632 He Kaupapa Hou: Te Haahi Pukamata (Facebook Church) (15 credits)

The paper investigates the influence of social media and online mechanisms on ministry and church participation. This paper examines the theological and cultural implications of using social media to inform, communicate and articulate our faith.

REMS650 Research Essay in Maori Studies (30 credits)

This option is for those who have completed the core and required courses for a Maori Studies strand with an average B grade or above.  The duration for the project is one full semester.  A research proposal has to be approved by the Lecturer in Theological Studies prior to conducting the research.  The research project is equal to two 15-credit courses.


Religious Studies

RS710  Understanding Religious Studies (20 credits)

This course provides an intense introduction to the discipline of religious studies, explores the key areas of the field, and focuses on the key questions religious studies seeks to answer.  Students will also be introduced to the theoretical precursors of the field and discuss some of the key paradigms for research and analysis. 

RS711  Religion in Aotearoa (20 credits)

Explore and examine the religious landscape of Aotearoa and the challenges it poses to Christian ministry.  The focus will be on the intersection between religious pluralism and democracy, exploring both the historical and contemporary relationship between church and state in Aotearoa and the ways in which religious thought and practice have influenced, and been influenced by, the development of democracy. Participants have an opportunity to share their perspectives on the study of religion and to investigate the history and sociology of religion and the many religious majority and minority groups in the country. Participants visit local places of worship and examine films to provide context to classroom discussion. In addition, participants work with college faculty to develop, conduct, and present a related research project.  This is a semester-long course.

RS712  Ecumenism in Aotearoa (20 credits)

This course critically investigates the development and impact of the ecumenical movement globally and locally in Aotearoa, and re-examines its relevance and/or irrelevance to Aotearoa’s 21st century context.   How much does the ecumenical values of oikoumene and koinonia mean to churches today? What is the future of the ecumenical movement in Aotearoa? Is there an alternative to ecumenism for Christian churches?  Participants will discuss questions such as these and will visit various churches.  This is a semester-long course.

RS720  Apocalyptic Imagination (20 credits)

This course will explore the origins and nature of apocalypticism. Beginning with apocalyptic thought in ancient Jewish writings (including the Books of Daniel and Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible), we will explore the socio-historical context for ancient Jewish visionary ascent texts, early Christian apocalypses (including the Book of Revelation) and later interpretations and use of ancient "prophecy" concerning the end of the world. This course includes a close reading of ancient texts and an analysis of the apocalyptic imagination through popular literature and movies.

RS721  Religious Fundamentalism (20 credits)

This course aims at understanding and comparing fundamentalist movements in Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism. Participants will examine the term "fundamentalism" as it has evolved from describing an American Protestant form of religiosity to signifying a global phenomenon spanning different religions and cultures. What is fundamentalism? How do religious fundamentalist describe themselves, how are they described by others? What are the grievances, ambitions and goals of “fundamentalists”? Can we differentiate between fundamentalist piety and religious extremism? In what ways have fundamentalist movements begun to intersect with ethnic, national and political identities? Do fundamentalists of different religious backgrounds share common world views? How do fundamentalists see humans interacting with divine commandments? What are the roles of men and women? Do fundamentalist principles legitimate new forms of religious violence?

RS722  Sex in/and the Bible (20 credits)

This course deals with the dynamic interplay between how Christians have read and interpreted their Bibles on the one hand, and how they have understood sex and human sexuality on the other. Thus the questions that will drive our inquiry are fundamentally questions about interpretation. What does it mean to make the claim that a particular perspective on human sexual experience is ‘biblical’? How are we to understand the sheer variety of ways that a fixed set of canonical scriptural texts have been used as an authoritative resource for discussing and regulating sexual ethics, identity and practice? How do changing notions of what ‘sexuality’ is (and why sexuality matters) impact the way that biblical texts have been interpreted? We will explore these questions through the study of key texts in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament and an examination of how these texts have been interpreted from antiquity to the present. Topics to be covered include marriage, gender identity, desire, same-sex relationships and sexual renunciation.

RS523/723 Let the Children Live!: Children, Youth and Church (20 credits)

Violence against children and youth is a global epidemic that every society, and churches in particular, must acknowledge and address.  Some of these acts of violence find justification in biblical stories or certain interpretations of those texts.  This course will critically examine texts concerning children and youth in the Bible and scrutinises the way they are positioned in relation to power and access to resources.  Seldom do we read texts from the perspectives of children and youth.  Likewise, we rarely consider the interests of children and youth when it comes to decision making and program designing in churches. This course will take that perspective seriously and look for ways of reading texts and doing theology that are transformative and liberating for children and youth in the church and the wider community.

RS730  Liberation Theologies (20 credits)

What is liberation theology? Who does it? Why is it important to the church? How do traditional theologians and critics respond to it? This introductory course will discuss the many strands of liberation theology from different global contexts. The focus will be on liberation theology’s methodologies, its relation to the social context, and its challenges to the theological discipline.  The course is designed to introduce some of the classical texts of liberation theologies from different parts of the world and the works of a few key new critical thinkers; analyse some of the newer challenges to liberation theologies: cultural hermeneutics, postcolonial criticism, and globalization; develop the skills of contextual theological thinking and critique of traditional theology of the church and one’s own faith; and to equip students to learn and reflect on theology from an anti-racist and multicultural perspectives through both course contents and pedagogy.

RS631/731  Research Methodology (20 credits)

[Required for all students who intend to do research essay or project]

This course is designed to equip students for research.  The focus will be on research methodologies (both quantitative & qualitative), and that includes Pacific and Maori approaches to research.  Research theorists and practitioners will be invited to share their research with special emphasis on methods employed.  This course is open to a students, but is required for those intending to do a research project.  Designing a research proposal is a key requirement for the course.

RS732  Special Topic: Voices at the Margins (20 credits)

This course intentionally engages in critical reflection and action as it critically analyses and formulates practical theological and ministry outcomes arising from a place of marginality in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand. The examples of marginality focused on could be socio-economic, disability, sexuality, or other key areas of concern.

RP750  Research Project in Religious Studies (40 credits)

This option is for those who have completed the requirements for with an average B grade or above.  The duration for the project is one full semester.  A research proposal has to be approved by the Principal prior to conducting the research.  The research project is equal to two 20-credit courses.