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Christianity and Culture

Course Syllabus
Zion Bible College
SS 3232-01 - 2 Credits
Fall, 2009
Tuesday, 8:00 am – 8:50 am & 9:00 am – 9:50 am

Rev. Paul Conway, Associate Professor, MDiv., DMin. Candidate 2013

Office: Hasseltine 110 Haverhill, MA
Campus Phone: 978-478-3457
Office Hours: Wednesday, 9:00am - 10:50am
Thursday, 9:00-10:50 am
Email: Web:

Course Description:

Throughout Christianity believers and church leaders have struggled to put into practice the
Biblical instruction to be “in the world but not of the world.” This class will explore this tension
between Christianity and culture. Emphasis will be placed on historical patterns, biblical
examples, and how to live faithfully as Christian leaders in today’s society.


 The student will define culture and explore the relationship between Christianity and
 The student will identify the various methods (historical and present) of dealing with the
tension of “being in the world but not of it.”
 The student will study historical movements of culture and how they have been formative
in the Church’s dealing of culture today.
 The student will engage with biblical accounts describing ways of handing the tension of
being “in the world but not of it.”
 The student will examine how Christ dealt with this tension
 The student will research modern day churches and movements to identify the strengths
and weaknesses in their handling of this tension.
 The student will learn to analyze cultural indicators which are both descriptive and
formative of culture.
 The student will develop and discuss various ways of redeeming Christianity and Christ
in culture.
 The student will initiate research of subcultures with the intention of understanding
ministry in their context.

Required Textbooks:

The Holy Bible, (NIV, ESV or NASB versions)

D. A. Carson Christ & Culture Revisited ISBN: 978-0-8028-3174-3
Mark Driscoll The Radical Reformission ISBN: 978-0-310-25659-5

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Course Requirements

 Reading ………………………………….…………………………………………….. 15%

Students are required to complete the reading as indicated in the course outline below prior to
class time on the day it is due. Additionally, each student will write a 1-2 page personal
reflection on the reading including the students’ thoughts or emotions that are triggered upon
reading the texts. These reflections should not be simply a review the content of the readings.
These will serve to demonstrate that the student has truly engaged with the material that
he/she has read. Some prompts for beginning these reflections are the following phrases:

“The section on ______ reminded me of my…”

“When reading this chapter I realized my own…”
“I learned ______ about myself/my ministry when reading this book…”
“After reading this, my opinions and views on _____ have/haven’t changed…”

These short papers are due at the start of class on the deadline and are to be typed double-
spaced in 12-point Arial or Times New Roman font. Be sure to include your name and box
number as well. Reading Reflection 1 Due 9/22, Reading Reflection 2 Due 10/6, Reading
Reflection 3 Due 11/10.

 In Class Assignments ……………..….…………………………………………….. 15%

In an effort to keep the material fresh during the class sessions, short critical and creative
thinking assignments will be given each class. These assignments will be based on the topics
currently being covered in class and may include case studies and essays. These are to be
completed in less than one page of written or typed work and are due immediately upon
completion. (Note: if the student chooses to type this assignment, it must be emailed or
submitted immediately upon completion.)They will not be graded based on a right or wrong
answer, or based on grammar or spelling, but on creativity and the students’ ability to
concisely articulate a response.

 Quizzes …………………………………..…………………………………………….. 15%

Three quizzes will be given in class based upon the course outline below. Quizzes will be
multiple choice in format and based on objective information provided in the lectures as
indicated on the course outline.

 Creative Subculture Research Project…………………………...……………......15%

The purpose of this project is to encourage students to explore different subcultures to which
people from their target audience for ministry belong or identify. Some examples of
subcultures may include, but are not limited to:

 Goth  Skater  Straight Edge  Prostitute/Exotic Dancing

 Punk  Skinhead  Gang  Hardcore
 Emo  Hippie  Homeless  Blue Collar
 Homosexual\Trans-  Tree  Piercing/Tattoo
Gender Huggers

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There is no minimum length for this project. Students may take a variety of approaches to
this project, but regardless of the approach, true research (not wikipedia, though you may
start there and then go to the sources) must take place. The defining characteristics and
values must be discussed as well as unique information that is vital to preparing to minister
to this group. Sources must ALWAYS be cited and original thoughts and connection of the
data is essential. Some examples of creative approaches follow:

 Tell a story about a typical day in the life of someone in one of these subcultures
 Write a poem or an article about life and values in that subculture.
 Interview people who identify themselves within that subgroup
 Design and create an experiment that evaluates the values and identity of that group
 Plan a trip, or a series of trips to visit and get to know people in that group
 Provide hands-on examples of objects that are valuable to people in that subculture
 Create a PowerPoint presentation or a video that explains the subculture.
 Create a series of art pieces that demonstrate the values and identity of that group
 Discuss how the music associated with this subculture contributes to its identity
 Present a plan for creating a ministry targeting this unique subculture.
 Participate in a service project or ministry to people in that group and share your
 As you research, keep a journal that identifies what you learned about the group and
how it resonates with you or your future ministry
 Describe how the environment that this group exists in relates to their identity.

Students may choose to use one or many of these approaches. Should there be multiple
students in the class who desire to study the same subculture, they may do a combined effort,
if they get prior approval from the instructor. Students working in groups should be able to
address even more areas than those students working alone. The basic concept for the project
will be submitted on 9/22. The professor is available in the weeks prior to the presentations
to review notes and provide guidance and recommendations to the student or group. Call or
email for an appointment. This project is due on 10/20.

 Presentation of Subculture Project……………….…………………………..........5%

Students will briefly present their findings from the above project to the class. These
presentations should be no more than 5 minutes long. Presentations will take place on 10/20.

 Church Research Project …….……………………….…………………………......15%

Each student will do research on a church based on the list provided. Students will work
individually on this assignment, evaluating how the church handles their relationship to
culture. This project can take a variety of forms, but the research should be thorough and can
be gathered by means of websites, phone calls, published works by the pastor(s) personal
interviews etc. The information must be thoroughly completed in an organized fashion. True
research must be found here. Sources must ALWAYS be cited and original thoughts and
connection of the data is essential. There is no minimum length for this project. Please be
sure that you write from an unbiased third person perspective. Do not pass judgment one way

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or the other on this church’s ministry in this project or the presentation. This assignment is
due on 11/17.

Bethlehem Baptist Church, MN Central Christian Church, NV

Community Christian Church, IL Community Church of Joy, AZ
Crossroads Community Church, Cincinnati, Ecclesia Church, TX
Evergreen Community Church, MN Fellowship Church, TX
Ginghamsburg Community Church, OH Grace Chapel, Lexington, MA
Granger Community Church, Granger, IN Heartland Community Church, IL
Hillsong Church, Australia Jubilee Christian Church, Boston, MA
Lakewood Church, Houston, TX Mariners Church, CA
Mars Hill Church, WA Mars Hill Bible Church, Grandville, MI
McLean Bible Church, VA Mecklenburg Community Church. NC
New Hope Christian Fellowship, HI North Coast Church, CA
North Point Community Church. GA Pantego Bible Church, TX
Park Street Church, Boston, MA Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NY
Saddleback Valley Community Church, CA Seacoast Christian Community Church, SC
Southeast Christian Church, KY Willow Creek Community Church, IL
Windsor Village Methodist Church, TX Wooddale Church, MN

 Church Research Presentations …….…………………………………..………......5%

Each student will present the church that they researched to the class. This project will be
graded based on the guidelines attached. This presentation will take place on 11/17.

 Radical Reformission Questions and Discussions………………………………….. 15%

Each student will be graded on class discussion and reflection questions for the book “The
Radical Reformission”. The course schedule outlines pre-class reading that will engage class
room discussion each week. It also outlines the week specific questions are due in typed
format. Students will come to class prepared with both the question and personal responses
to hand in the day it is due. Turabian cover page is required.

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Late Work

Late work is subject to point deductions per weekday it is late. For each weekday the work is not
handed in, 2 points will be deducted from the final grade for the assignment. Points are not
deducted on Saturdays and Sundays. Therefore, a paper that is handed in 2 days late will have 4
points deducted, 1 week late will have 10 points deducted; 2 weeks, 20 points, unless otherwise
arranged with the professor. After 4 weeks, students will have 40 points deducted from the total
grade from the assignment.

Guidelines for Grading Oral Presentations

The “C: The “B” Presentation The “A” Presentation

Central Idea Present . . . . plus accurate, reinforced . . . plus intriguing,
through repetition, restatement, memorable.
and illustration.
Content Conforms to . . . plus shows depth of research . . . plus keen insight;
requirements, and audience analysis; rivets involuntary
accurate exegesis interesting. attention; includes
(if appropriate). moving exhortation.
Organization Intro and . . . plus transitions are crystal . . . plus arrangement
conclusion clear through use of repetition (whether inductive or
present; transitions and restatement; main moves are deductive) is
present; drives logically linked; no “rabbit psychologically
home one central trails.” effective.
Language Clear. . . . plus appropriate to material . . . plus vivid and
and context. articulate.
Delivery Does not distract. . . . plus reinforces the verbal . . . plus displays
content. genuine passion.


1. Attendance: Students are expected to attend all class periods. Please refer to the Student
Handbook for information on absences.
2. Assignments/Tests: All assignments and tests must be completed in accordance with the
policies set forth in the “Assignments and Examinations” Section of the Handbook.
3. Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a serious problem not only in the world of academia, but in all
areas of business and communication. As a school intent on training men and women of
integrity for the ministry Zion takes plagiarism seriously. Plagiarism consists of:
a. Use of another’s ideas without giving credit.
b. Quoting material from published or unpublished works, or oral presentation, without
giving proper citation;
c. Paraphrasing material, whether published or unpublished, written or oral, without proper

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d. Allowing another student to copy one’s paper;

e. Having another student do one’s paper in whole or in part.

Any material, whether published or unpublished, copied from another writer must be identified
by use of quotation marks and documentation with specific citation of the source. Paraphrased
material must likewise be attributed to the original author.

 Any Student found guilty of plagiarism as described in categories 1-3 above will face:
1. Faculty discipline on first offense along with a filed “Plagiarism Report”
2. Academic Affairs discipline on second offense. Such discipline will be:
(a) Receive an “F” for the course
(b) Dismissal for one year (three or more offenses)
 Any student who is found guilty of plagiarism as described in categories 4-5 will face:
1. Dorming/Campusing
2. Suspension
3. Dismissal
4. Cheating
A student who engages in dishonest behavior such as: using unauthorized notes or material
when taking an examination, copying answers to examination questions, or engaging in securing
unauthorized copies of examination questions (including aiding another person in doing so), is
subject to the action or penalty indicated above. Copying another person’s class work and/or
homework and submitting it as one’s own, or having another person perform an assignment and
submitting it as having originated from themselves personally is guilty of plagiarism, which is
cheating. Such students will therefore be subject to the above discipline.

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Tentative Course Outline

Date Topics to be covered Reading Due Assignments Due Quizzes/


9/1 Labor Day – NO CLASS

9/8  Introduction & Overview of Driscoll Intro
Syllabus 1-23
 Lecture 1: Defining Culture
9/15  Lecture 2: Paul on Mars Hill Driscoll p 27-44 Driscoll 2 page Quiz 1:
 Lecture 3: Introduction to summary of Intro for Defining
Cultural Indicators discussion. Culture
9/22  (Film to be analyzed) Driscoll p 45-64 Driscoll Questions
1-5 p 61

Deadline for Topic

for Subculture

9/29  Lecture 4: Thoughts on Carson p 1-65

Theilicke Driscoll p 65-87
 Lecture 5: Neibuhr’s Paradigms
10/6  Jesus Camp Carson p 67-228 Reading Reflection Quiz 2:
Driscoll p 91- 2: Carson Neibuhr’s
115 Paradigms
10/13 Fall Break – no class
10/20  Lecture 6: Carson Driscoll p 117- Creative Presentation of
138 Subculture Project Subculture
Driscol Questions
and Project p 131-
10/27  Lecture 7: Historical Movements Driscoll p 139- Driscoll Questions
– Middle Ages 157 p 153
 Lecture 8: Historical Movements
- Renaissance
11/3  Lecture 9: Historical Movements Driscoll p 159-
Enlightenment & The Modern 177
 Lecture 10: Introduction to
11/10  Lecture 11: Postmodernity and Driscoll p 181- Quiz 3:
the Emergent Church 191 Historical

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11/17  Discussion of Presentations Church Research Presentation of

Project Due Church
11/24 Thanksgiving Break – NO
12/1  Lecture 12: White
 Lecture 13: Jesus’ Example
12/8  Lecture 14: Some Practical Final
Points Presentations
12/15 Finals Week

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Borgmann, Albert. Power Failure: Christianity in the Culture of Technology. Grand Rapids:
Brazos Press, 2003.

Carson, D. A. Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement

and Its Implications. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005.

________. Christ & Culture Revisited Grand Rapids: Wm B Eerdmans. 2008.

Dyrness, William A. Visual Faith: Art, Theology, and Worship in Dialogue. Grand Rapids:
Baker Academic, 2001.

Driscoll, Mark The Great Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out. Grand Rapids, MI:
Zondervan, 2004.

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology second ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998.

Gay, Craig M. The Way of the (Modern) World Or, Why It’s Tempting to Live As If God Doesn’t
Exist. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998.

Grenz, Stanley J. A Primer on Postmodernism. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing

Company, 1996.

________. Theology For the Community of God. Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, 2000.

Groothuis, Douglas. Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of

Postmodernism. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2000.

Guinness, O. S. Fit Bodies Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don’t Think and What To Do About It.
Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994.

Kimball, Dan. The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations. Grand Rapids:
Zondervan, 2003.

Niebuhr, H. Richard. Christ & Culture. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1951.

Schrag, Calvin O. The Self after Postmodernity. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997.

Seay, Chris and Greg Garrett. The Gospel Reloaded. Colorado Springs: Pinon Press 2003.

Thielicke, Helmut. A Little Exercise for Young Theologians. Grand Rapids: William B.
Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1962.

Thiessen, Henry C. Lectures in Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans

Publishing Company, 1949.

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White, James Emery. Serious Times: Making Your Life Matter in an Urgent Day. Downers
Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2004.

________. Rethinking the Church. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1997.