Foundations of Christian Theology
Topic: The deity of Jesus of Nazareth.
Thesis Question: Is Jesus Christ the Almighty God?
I. The Significance of the Question.
A. “Who do you say that I am” (Matthew 16:15)?
B. “That all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not
honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him” (John 5:23).
C. “Unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).
II. The Historical Debate.
A. The position of Athanasius and the Trinitarians.
B. The position of Arius of Alexandria and the Arians.
C. The position of mediating parties.
III. Important Texts Cited by Trinitarians.
A. John 1:1; 14.
B. John 20:28.
C. Romans 9:5.
D. Titus 2:13.
IV. Important Texts Cited by Arians.
A. Proverbs 8:22-31.
B. John 14:28.
C. Colossians 1:15
D. Revelation 3:14.
V. Concluding Thoughts.
A. Trinitarianism and Monotheism.
B. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except
through me” (John 14:6).
Bowman, Robert M. Why You Should Believe in the Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah’s Witnesses
(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1989).
Bowman’s work is a near exhaustive treatment of the Jehovah’s Witness pamphlet Should You
Believe in the Trinity? Is Jesus Christ the Almighty God? He responds to the biblical and historical
Gaebelein, Frank E. Ed., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan
Publishing House, 1979-1981).
This commentary series will help in discerning the true meaning of the biblical texts in question. Its
investigation into contextual and linguistic matters will prove invaluable.
Kelly, J. N. D. Early Christian Doctrines (San Francisco, CA: Harper San Francisco, 1978).
Kelly is a scholar specializing in the early centuries of the Christian Church. His work will help me to
understand the growth of the Arian heresy and the various responses to it.
Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine: The Emergence
of the Catholic Tradition (100-600) (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1971).
Pelikan’s work is a history of Christian thought. His work will shed light on how the Christian
doctrine of the Trinity came to be regarded as the Orthodox point of view.
Rhodes, Ron. Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses (Eugene, OR: Harvest
House Publishers, 1993).
Rhodes’ book is a standard in the modern world of counter-cult apologetics. It will help me to
understand and evaluate the arguments of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in regard to specific texts of
Roberts, Alexander and James Donaldson. Eds. The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the
Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325, Vols. 1 and 3 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers,
Second Printing, 1995).
A set of translations of the works of ancient Christian authors. These volumes will give me insight
into the works of early Trinitarian theologians regarding their views of the deity of Christ.
Roberts, Alexander and Philip Schaff. Eds. The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Augustin: On the
Holy Trinity, Doctrinal Treatises, Moral Treatises (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Second
A set of translations of the works of ancient Christian authors. This volume will give me insight into
the works of Augustine and his view of the deity of Christ.
Should You Believe in the Trinity? Is Jesus Christ the Almighty God? (Brooklyn, New York:
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1989).
A concise pamphlet published by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This work will help me understand why
they hold to Arianism and why they reject Trinitarianism as unbiblical and unhistorical.
Williams, Rowan. Arius: Heresy and Tradition (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company,
A modern piece on the person and work of Arius of Alexandria by the former Archbishop of
Canterbury. This work will give me insight into what Arius really taught and what he sought to
Prof. Steven Parks
Introduction to Theological Thought (CTHL 200)
Term Paper Instructions
The CTHL 200 paper is meant to demonstrate an understanding of Christian Theology through
careful evaluation of a single doctrine. Students will select one of the chief doctrines discussed in
class (or previously approved by the instructor) and investigate the following questions: (1.)
What does the doctrine teach? (2.) Are there any popular misconceptions about the doctrine? If
so, how might these be addressed? (3.) Where is the doctrine found in the Bible? (4.) Which
significant theologian(s) have taught the doctrine and how did they apply it in their lifetime(s)?
(5.) Why should Christians today care about the significance of the doctrine?
For this paper, outline and organization are of primary importance. Its two parts are graded
1. Tutorial: Topic, thesis question, annotated bibliography, and detailed outline.
2. The Final Draft: there are no revisions available after this so be sure to work hard on the
Basic requirements (ask yourself whether you have covered these before submitting your
Did I use Chicago style and consult the writing handbook on all documentation formats?
Did I properly cite sources and avoid any semblance of plagiarism?
Did I refer to a Christian theologian at least once in a meaningful way?
Do I have a thesis to which the reader can respond “Yes” or “No?”
Do my supporting paragraphs contribute evidence for my main point?
Did I use appropriate sources (e.g., one book written in or before the nineteenth century,
one book written in the twentieth or twenty-first century, and one Bible commentary)?
Is my paper at least 5 pages long?
The paper must be uploaded in Word format. The body of the paper should be five to seven
pages long (not counting title page and/or the bibliography/works cited page). Use 12-point
Times or Times New Roman font with double spacing and 1” margins on all sides. Use left
justification (not full justification). Format the paper according to the Chicago Manual of Style
guidelines, and cite sources using the Chicago style. Consult and engage at least four substantive
(i.e., significant theological) sources. These must include:
A Bible commentary.
A scholarly theological work written in the nineteenth century or earlier.
A scholarly theological work written in the twentieth or twenty-first century.
A work considered to be a classical treatment of your chosen topic by a theologian of
No electronic or internet sources are permitted for use in this paper!
I will use the following rubric to grade the paper:
20% Mechanics, grammar, and academic style.
20% Outline and demonstration of an actual argument. Does the conclusion follow from
20% Sources. Did you use suitable sources and incorporate them appropriately?
20% Topic coverage. Did you provide appropriate depth and did you demonstrate
knowledge of your subject matter?
20% Engagement. Did you demonstrate your own critical thought related to this subject?
Did you avoid simply recounting the ideas of others and step out with some
demonstration that you have thought deeply about the subject?
The specific due dates are noted on your course syllabus. Submission must be received before
11:59 pm on that date.
Students have fourteen weeks to work on this paper. As a result, late papers will not be accepted
and will receive no credit.
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