Here are all the details about our Practical Theology course offerings. Learn about their purpose, availability each semester, and any required prerequisites.

Practical Theology Courses
PT 013P English Bible Survey
Purpose:

  • To provide a thorough survey of the content of the English Bible
  • To equip future church leaders with skills for teaching the English Bible in their local church
  • To meet the requirement of passing the English Bible examination

Topics covered include the reading of the entire English Bible, written exercises, class discussion, and laboratory experience in study methods. 

Offered as an Independent Study course.

Spring semester, non-credit. Dr. Jue.

PT 021P, 021P-2 Mentored Ministry Integration Seminar
Purpose:

  • To discuss the integration of biblical and theological principles to ministry situations
  • To provide a workshop in which each student will present one case from an actual ministry experience
  • To learn to analyze problems, apply biblical principles, and propose appropriate solutions in the context of lively class discussions 

Students in the MDiv program are required to take this seminar twice.

Fall and spring semesters. Non-credit (class meets one hour per week). Dr. Hughes.

Prerequisites: PT 111 (MDiv Pastoral/General) or PTC 151 (MDiv Counseling).

Restrictions: Auditing not permitted.

PT 111 Ministerial Formation (formerly "Orientation to Ministerial Formation")
Purpose:

  • To introduce the comprehensive picture of preparation for kingdom ministry, including the Biblical qualifications for those who would serve as shepherds of God’s flock
  • To understand the powerful ministry dynamic of Spirit and Word to transform lives
  • To emphasize the central role of a vital walk with the Lord to effective ministry (spiritual formation)
  • To understand the steps necessary to achieve perceived ministry goals (professional formation)
  • To understand and analyze the “call” to ministry
  • To introduce the Mentored Ministry program
  • To introduce the design of the Practical Theology curriculum
  • To complete the Ministry Preparation Commitment designed to coordinate the resources of the seminary and the church with one’s comprehensive preparation for effective kingdom service

Topics covered include calling to ministry, the minister’s family life, and spiritual formation, using various approaches to learning, including readings, response papers, and interaction with “Ministry Panels” in which experienced leaders will interact with the class on important topics such as “Call to Ministry” and “Family Life.” 

This course is required for all first-year MDiv Pastoral and General students.

Fall semester, two hours. Faculty.

PT 123 Homiletic Foundations (formerly "Gospel Communication")
Purpose:

  • To impart a Bibliology essential to and necessary for biblical exposition
  • To introduce the student to Westminster’s core values in preaching
  • To expose the student to excellent homiletic literature and the thought of leading homileticians and preachers
  • To inculcate practical steps for moving from the exegesis of the original text to Biblical exposition
  • To instruct the student in the work of the Holy Spirit in sermon preparation and the preparation of the heart of the preacher
  • To provide the student a rigorous step-by-step process of writing an exposition

Topics covered include a biblical theology of preaching Christ, the spiritual principles of preaching the gospel, connecting the sermon’s horizons, identifying the unifying theme of the text, the form of the sermon and its structure, and the delivery of the sermon.

Spring semester, two hours. Dr. Hughes, Faculty.

PT 132 Gospel Prayer in Christian Ministry
Purpose:

  • To prepare students for the realities of prayer within Christian ministry, with particular attention given to pastoral ministry

This course will focus on the essential function of prayer in the Christian ministry in both theory and practice. Topics include an analysis of Scriptural prayers including The Lord’s Prayer, various types of praying in worship, teaching prayer to congregants, and the personal practice of keeping a prayer journal and prayer list.

Winter term, one hour. Mr. Hobaugh.

PT 141 Preaching and Apologetics
Purpose:

  • To help students “give a defense for the hope within them” through preaching
  • To know when and how to engage apologetics in the context of a preaching ministry
  • To discuss the implications of presuppositional apologetics in preaching

The course is a practicum that will include student sermons applying principles presented in lectures.

Spring semester, one hour. Faculty.

Prerequisites: AP 101 and PT 123.

PT 173 Biblical Interpretation
Purpose:

  • To gain an overall framework for interpreting/applying any passage of Scripture, a framework that is sensitive to the reader’s world, the author’s world, and the text itself
  • To gain experience in seeing the Christological/gospel-centered implications of any text as a prerequisite for meaningful personal application
  • To grow in ability to rivet Scriptural truth to real-life ministry situations
  • To practice biblical interpretation in the context of community

Topics covered include the problem of meaning, historical and contemporary models for the interpretation and application of Scripture, Bible translators, resources for Bible study, genre, and contemporary challenges in interpretation (including the role of the reader and the impact of culture in the process of interpretation).

Spring semester, three hours. Dr. Emlet.

Prerequisites: OT 131.

Restrictions: Not available to MDiv or MAR students.

PT 221 Expository Skills and Evaluation
Purpose:

  • To create an appreciation for expository teaching
  • To enhance the student’s skill for choosing, understanding, and structuring a biblical text for the purpose of preaching
  • To provide an opportunity to practice those skills
  • To encourage critical reflection upon the student’s own preaching for continuing development

Topics covered include analyses of various sermon forms and structures; unity, movement, and purpose in sermon construction; and grace dynamics of Christian preaching. Two expository messages will be preached by each student and evaluated by the professor.

Fall semester, two hours. Faculty.

Prerequisites: PT 123.

Restrictions: Preference given to candidates for the MDiv (Pastoral Ministry).

PT 243 Preparing for Licensure and Ordination
Purpose: 

  • To prepare men for licensure and ordination within the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA), Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), and other theologically-similar denominations

Topics covered include theology, church government, Bible knowledge, and church history within the context of a denomination’s examination process.

Spring Semester, one hour. Mr. Hobaugh.

Restrictions: Limited to candidates for the MDiv (Pastoral Ministry). MDiv students in the general and counseling emphases who are under care of a NAPARC presbytery must request permission from the registrar’s office before registering for the class.

PT 311 Church Leadership and Pastoral Practice (formerly "Church Dynamics and Pastoral Practice")
Purpose: 

  • To introduce the biblical and theological concept of “shepherding” as a comprehensive matrix for pastoral ministry
  • To present practical models deploying the special offices of elder and deacon for the care and growth of the flock
  • To discuss the challenges in carrying out such a ministry in the contemporary cultural and ecclesiastical context

Topics covered include protection of the flock through the development of a proactive shepherding plan, biblical church discipline, dealing with conflict, and change in the local church.

Fall semester, two hours. Faculty.

PT 332 Seminar in Leadership
Purpose:

  • To examine biblical principles of leadership
  • To evaluate one’s leadership gifts, style, and strength
  • To discuss practical leadership models and methods within the local church

Topics covered include characteristics of godly leaders, how to develop a ministry model, the importance of planning, practical pointers for leading a session and a congregation, a resume primer, and factors in evaluating a pastoral call. The course includes a special lecture by Dr. Diane Langberg on how to avoid experiencing a moral shipwreck in your ministry.

Winter term, two hours. Faculty.

PT 343 The Church and Missions (formerly "Mission of the Church")
Purpose:

  • To instill a passion and commitment for the mission of Christ’s church in the world
  • To enable the articulation of how the mission of Christ is taught throughout the Scriptures
  • To equip with models for leading the church in its missions and educational programs
  • To enable leadership in a church’s evangelistic outreach

Topics covered include a biblical theory of mission, issues in world evangelization, building a missions program for the local church, contextualization, education and the church, curricula design, and building evangelistic outreach for the local church.

Spring semester, two hours. Dr. Leonard, Dr. McDowell.

PT 353 Sermon Delivery
Purpose: 

  • To increase awareness of delivery and language skills in preaching
  • To provide an opportunity to test these skills
  • To create critical reflection upon and means of continuing development of these skills in the student’s preaching style

Topics covered include elements of sermon delivery, use of imagery and metaphor, and language and speech-related skills. Two sermons will be preached by each student and evaluated by the professors.

Spring semester, two hours. Rev. Estes, Dr. Hughes.

Prerequisites: PT 123 and, ordinarily, PT 221.

Restrictions: Limited to candidates for the MDiv (Pastoral Ministry).

PT 372 Worship
Purpose: 

  • To deepen students' biblical and theological understanding of public worship
  • To familiarize students with historic patterns of Christian worship
  • To help students develop a vision for a worshipping congregation
  • To encourage students to be thoughtful, joyful worshippers of the triune God
  • To provide students with resources as they plan and lead public worship

Topics covered include biblical-theological foundations of worship, the directive principle of worship as outlined in the Westminster standards, the role of the means of grace in worship, contextualization and worship, music and worship, and contemporary issues with regard to worship.

Winter term, one hour. Dr. Scott Smith.

PT 421/PT 421P Theological Bibliography and Research Methods
Purpose:

  • To provide instruction on how to formulate a strategy for research
  • To identify resources that will aid in the composition of a research project
  • To explain the principles for solid research methods
  • To create a workable outline and prepare the foundation of a research project
  • To develop a sense of competency in the movement from planned research to completed project
  • To appreciate the importance of using each type of research tool effectively and properly
  • To develop skills in using the Westminster library and other libraries
  • To develop skills in using information resources on the internet

Topics covered include developing a research strategy; building bibliographies; using library catalogs, reference resources, periodical resources, and electronic resources on the internet; and critical thinking and writing.

PT 421: Fall semester, one credit, regular tuition charge (MDiv/MAR students only).

PT 421P: Fall semester, pass/fail, non-credit, no tuition charge (ThM/PhD students only). Mr. Finlayson.

PT 433 Introduction to Youth Ministry
Purpose:

  • To provide a theological foundation for youth ministry
  • To provide models of ministry that will help students do theological and missiological reflection
  • To provide students with skills in engaging youth in their context
  • To examine existing models of youth ministry in order to develop the students’ style and form of ministry

Topics covered are theological foundations of youth ministry, major issues in youth ministry, the church and the importance of youth ministry, reaching the second generation Korean, discipling youth, and the importance of parachurch organizations.

Spring semester, two hours. Faculty.

PT 451 Interseminary Seminar
Purpose:

  • To enable students to understand current expressions of other Christian traditions
  • To articulate the Reformed faith in an ecumenical setting that involves 5 seminaries in eastern Pennsylvania

Topics covered include the presentation and discussion of student papers on a theological topic. 

Class meetings are held on Fridays from 3-8 p.m. at the various seminaries, with supper provided by the host school. Limited to 4 Westminster students.

Fall semester, two hours. Faculty.

PT 462 Preaching from 1 and 2 Timothy
Purpose:

  • To understand the controlling themes, symmetries and homiletic divisions of 1 & 2 Timothy so as to enhance their exposition
  • To construct sermons that winsomely communicate the truth of the text 

Winter term, one hour. Dr. Hughes.

Restrictions: Limited to candidates for the MDiv (Pastoral Ministry). MDiv students in the general and counseling emphases who are under care of a NAPARC presbytery must request permission from the registrar’s office to register for the class.

PT 463 Preaching from the New Testament
Purpose:

  • To encourage students to preach confidently from the New Testament

This is part of a series of collaborative courses bringing together faculty from both the Practical Theology and New Testament departments. Each course focuses on preaching from a particular genre of the New Testament. This is a practicum course designed to introduce students to important homiletical principles whilst providing each student with the opportunity to preach in class.

Spring semester, one hour. Practical Theology and New Testament Faculty.

Restrictions: Limited to candidates for the MDiv (Pastoral Ministry). MDiv students in the general and counseling emphases who are under care of a NAPARC presbytery must request permission from the registrar’s office to register for the class.

PT 471 Illustrating Biblical Truth
Purpose:

  • To introduce the art of finding and using appropriate illustrative materials for preaching and teaching
  • To make the biblical case for the importance of using illustrations in preaching and teaching
  • To discuss the various sources of illustrative material
  • To practice seeing life through the lens of Scripture
  • To study and seek to apply the concept of sense appeal in the sermons of C. H. Spurgeon
  • To study and seek to apply the art of storytelling according to Jay Adams

As a practicum, students will practice finding and presenting illustrations in class.

Fall semester, one hour. Dr. Hughes.

PT 481 Preaching from the Old Testament
Purpose:

  • To encourage students to preach confidently from the Old Testament
  • To help students preach from a particular genre of Old Testament revelation
  • To have students prepare and present one sermon based on an Old Testament text

Topics covered include the particular hermeneutical and homiletical challenges facing the preacher working through the particular genre selected.

Spring semester, one hour. Practical Theology and Old Testament Faculty.

Restrictions: Limited to candidates for the MDiv (Pastoral Ministry). MDiv students in the general and counseling emphases who are under care of a NAPARC presbytery must request permission from the registrar’s office to register for the class.

PT 543 Special Preaching Situations
Purpose:

  • To equip students to be prepared to minister the Word of God in a variety of contexts, including weddings, funerals, and other occasional preaching opportunities that arise on the church calendar (Christmas, Easter, etc.)

Topics covered include special dynamics of these situations. Students will prepare a ministry notebook including both wedding and funeral services and will prepare and preach messages designed to meet these circumstances.

Spring semester, one hour. Faculty.

Restrictions: Limited to candidates for the MDiv (Pastoral Ministry). MDiv students in the general and counseling emphases who are under care of a NAPARC presbytery must request permission from the registrar’s office to register for the class.

PT 671 Ecclesiology, Women, and the Contemporary Church
Purpose:

  • To affirm women’s places and roles within the church
  • To explore the biblical teachings regarding women
  • To examine current trends regarding the teaching of women in the church
  • To help guide the student in ministering specifically to women in the church

Topics covered include an understanding of the hermeneutical issues, a biblical understanding of male and female, the New Testament teaching on women’s roles in the church, and practical consideration of how women can serve in the church.

Fall semester, two hours. Faculty.

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