Our formal theological training is comprised of a series of modules that are broadly divided into two topic areas: biblical studies and integrative theology. In each of these topic areas, we offer a foundational module that is taught annually and that we encourage all of our members to take. All the other modules are offered at least once every three years so that students are able to complete our curriculum over the length of their UCT degree. Students are regarded as having completed the full academic programme if they attend twelve modules (five each from the biblical and integrative topic areas, plus two electives).
The following modules are in development and topics may be subject to change.
1. The gospel from Genesis to Revelation to You
This module introduces students to the Bible as a continuous narrative that tells the story of the gospel. It discusses the significance of the fact that God has chosen to speak to us through the medium of story, and it confronts students with the competing stories that consciously or unconsciously impact how we understand the world. It invites students to see themselves in continuity with the gospel story we have been given.
2. The Gospel in Genesis: Understanding the tools and strategies behind Old Testament narrative
Genesis is a foundational book for Christians, although it is often widely misunderstood. Far from being a collection of antiquated stories, it has a coherent central message about the nature of faith and divine blessing that is formative for our Christian understanding of life with God. Genesis is also a prime example of the sophisticated narrative and structural techniques employed in the Hebrew Bible.
3. Jesus and the Gospels
Jesus and the gospel are central to everything we are as Christians, but we often find it easier to speak about the gospel in neat theological categories than to deal with the Gospels themselves. Why are there four Gospels and why do they not exactly agree? What do we make of Jesus the man? How should we understand the parables? What does the life of Jesus imply about our own gospel living?
4. Wisdom, Success, and Suffering
The Bible’s wisdom literature seems straightforward enough, except when it comes to putting it into practice: are the Proverbs laws, or promises, or something else? Does Proverbs teach that prosperity is the result of godliness and poverty the result of wickedness? Does Job provide answers to human suffering or more confusion? How can Ecclesiastes be Christian Scripture while telling us everything is meaningless? Why is Song of Songs in there at all? And crucially, what role does it have in 21st century South Africa?
5. Philippians and the Lost Virtue of Humility
Paul’s letter to the Philippians is a book for the 21st century. In gentle and artful way, Paul aims to persuade a seemingly model church to set aside their national pride, to set aside their personal honour, and to contend humbly for the gospel rather than contending destructively against one another. Ours is certainly an age that needs to learn humility and constructive conflict!
1. Bringing Your Faith to University
A person wearing glasses does not see the glasses; they see because of the glasses. In the same way, we all wear “lenses” that colour the way that we see the world, but we’re usually unaware of what influences our view. In this module, we discuss the ways of seeing the world that dominate UCT and South Africa, and we try to examine our own personal story (and its influences) in comparison with the story that the Bible invites us to join.
2. Faith & Vocation
Work plays a crucial role in human life: we treat it variously as a means to the lifestyle we want, as a core part of our identity, and as a curse that causes us pain. In this module, we look at vocation (or “calling”) as God’s gift to us, an invitation to partner with Him in his plan for the wholeness of all creation. We offer practical steps to discerning one’s vocation, which does not rest on performance, but is simply an outworking of who God created each of us to be.
3. Christianity and Culture
Christians across history have adopted various stances towards the culture around them, whether it’s to adopt it, escape it, or to attempt to change or conquer it. We discuss the good and bad of the major approaches, develop skills to help us engage effectively with culture, and work on some key issues that we face in South Africa today.
4. Being Human
The questions of anthropology are not dead, dusty, and academic. They encompass some of the most foundational and controversial issues we ever face: What does it mean to be human? Are we body, soul, and spirit (or something else)? What role does race and sexuality play? Does technology enrich or damage our experience of being human? In this module, we enter into conversation with biblical anthropology and discuss the Bible’s vision for integration and human flourishing.
5. Christianity and the Public Square
Robust Christian thinking should not be limited to theoretical models of orthodoxy that are needed only in church. The gospel is good news for every aspect of life. It is integral to life in the world. It has everything to do with God’s purpose for his people on the earth, for the way in which God calls us to live, for how we engage in work and society. We discuss the Christian’s role in social justice, politics, and the marketplace.
Each year, we run at least one elective module focusing on a specialised topic or responding to a current issue. These may include topics such as decolonizing Christianity, a biblical understanding of economics, a theological perspective on artificial intelligence and technology, hermeneutics, holistic counselling, and so on.