School of Christian Thought
The School of Christian Thought offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in apologetics, biblical languages, theology, and classics. The mission of the School of Christian Thought is to serve and equip the Church; to provide students with foundational knowledge in philosophy, theology, and apologetics through reading and engagement with the ideas and languages of classic and biblical texts; to challenge students to display sound reasoning, to communicate clearly, and to demonstrate effective research skills; and to foster both intellectual and spiritual growth as students and faculty alike seek to glorify God in all things.
Department of Apologetics
The Department of Apologetics combines an emphasis on cultural, philosophical, missional, and biblical disciplines. Apologetics is the interdisciplinary practice of helping people to understand the truth, beauty, and goodness of the Christian faith. Students in the department of apologetics take classes that help them to understand Christian doctrine, philosophical argumentation, biblical studies, and the history of culture. Since apologetics is a practical discipline, special attention is given to written and oral communication aimed at popular and cross-cultural audiences. The Department of Apologetics includes degrees that are focused on apologetics, but also on missions and evangelism in an intercultural context.
Those wanting to develop their understanding of cultural, biblical, and philosophical apologetics will enjoy the Apologetics minor in the Department of Apologetics. This minor will help students to understand important challenges to the Christian faith and respond with truth and love. This minor is appropriate for a wide range of professional callings, as all Christians are called to be able to give reasons for the hope they have in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:15). Students will be able to customize the minor to apply apologetics to their particular fields, including literature, philosophy, theology, or popular culture.
Department of Classics and Biblical Languages
The Department of Classics and Biblical Languages combines two overlapping spheres of academic study. Classics focuses on the study of the languages, literature, history, philosophy, archaeology, and art of the Ancient Greek and Roman world. Biblical Languages equips students specifically to read and interpret the Christian Scriptures in their original languages and context. There is great overlap between the Classical and Biblical world and valuable insights can be gained from studying them together. The New Testament was written by Jews in the language of Greece to a world ruled by Rome. Studying Classics broadly can therefore provide valuable insights into the context of Christianity and the Bible.
The Biblical Languages major and minor are designed for students who desire to read and interpret the Christian Scriptures within their social, historical and linguistic contexts. The major or minor in Biblical Languages is appropriate for individuals preparing for vocational ministry and any serious student of the biblical traditions. The major includes advanced reading and syntax in both Hebrew and Greek, while the minor program requires at least two intermediate-level courses in Hebrew or Greek.
The Classics major is designed for students who wish to focus their studies on the Ancient Greek and Roman World. The core of the degree is learning the languages of Greek and Latin, also includes opportunity to pursue other aspects of Classical culture such as literature, history, philosophy, theology, archaeology, and art.
Latin is an integral part of the study of History, Government, Philosophy, and Christianity and enable students in these and other disciplines to develop their training, skill, and understanding in reading texts integral to their academic work. The course offerings in Latin are designed to enable students to develop proficiency in understanding the Latin language, in reading Latin literature, and in appreciating classical and medieval civilization.
Department of Theology
HBU is committed to providing liberal arts undergraduate education dedicated to the view that Christian ideals and principles provide the perspective, goals, and values most essential in higher education. The implementation of this view is the responsibility of the entire University staff, but it is the province of the Department of Theology to offer the specific courses that enable students to gain an intelligent and meaningful acquaintance with the Christian faith and with the writings of the Old and New Testaments.
Six (6) semester hours in Christianity are required for graduation in any major. These are basic courses designed for all College students and not for church vocations students alone. In addition to its support of the core curriculum, the Department of Theology offers several majors in Christian studies. We value our Baptist heritage, but our faculty and students are broadly evangelical, drawing from a variety of traditions and denominations. Thus, we welcome anyone who would wish to study with us.
The mission of the Department of Theology is to provide students with a foundation in the classical theological disciplines, facilitate intellectual and spiritual growth, and equip individuals in skills essential to Christian ministry. To accomplish this mission, the Department of Theology offers four majors and four minors: Christianity, Biblical Studies, Practical Theology, and Theological Studies. These courses of study help students achieve an intelligent and meaningful understanding of the Christian faith, its history and its practices. They are appropriate for men and women who plan to enter a vocation in Christian ministry. They are also appropriate for individuals who desire to serve in active lay ministry. Many students who complete one of our majors may wish to continue their studies either in our Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS), Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (MATS), Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Arts in Biblical Languages (MABL) Master of Arts in Apologetics (MAA), or Master of Arts in Classics and Early Christianity (MACEC).
BA-to-M.Div. (five-year program)
For students entering vocational ministry, the innovative BA-to-MDiv program allows students to accomplish their undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years. This integrated course plan builds on HBU’s liberal arts core curriculum, which provides students with a broad foundation for lifelong learning. From this solid grounding, students pursue a rigorous curriculum for ministry preparation that includes in-depth biblical and theological studies in the context of practical hands-on training. What traditionally takes students seven years to complete is accomplished in five years by allowing undergraduate elective hours to be used to complete graduate coursework. This streamlined process allows students to save time and money without compromising ministry preparation. Because our program integrates academic coursework with hands-on internships, students learn from accomplished pastoral leaders and graduate prepared with the education and experience needed for faithful service to God.
Anyone wanting to understand God’s work in the world will enjoy pursuing a Christianity major or minor in the Department of Theology. The Christianity major is the broadest of our four undergraduate majors. This degree is especially appropriate for those wanting to serve the body of Christ as a minister in a church, a missionary, someone in parachurch ministry, or whatever setting God calls you.
Those wanting to focus on studying and communicating the truth of the Bible in its original context will enjoy the Biblical Studies major or minor in the Department of Theology. You will gain in-depth knowledge about the Bible as well the skills to interpret the Bible responsibly and to communicate the nature of God’s Word to others. This degree is especially appropriate for those wanting to serve the body of Christ in a teaching and preaching role as a minister in a church, a missionary, someone in parachurch ministry, or whatever setting God calls you
Those wanting to develop and hone their skills in the practice of ministry in a local church context will enjoy the Practical Theology major or minor in the Department of Theology. Building on the core elements of biblical and theological knowledge these programs emphasize the practice of ministry to embody this truth to a broken world. This degree is especially appropriate for those wanting to serve the body of Christ in a teaching and preaching role as a minister in a church, a missionary, someone in parachurch ministry, or whatever setting God calls you.
Those wanting to explore the depth of the Christian theological tradition will enjoy the Theological Studies major or minor in the Department of Theology. Building on the core elements of biblical and theological knowledge these programs emphasize the depth and breadth of Christian theology historically and in the contemporary world. In learning how other Christians have responded to their own cultural issues, those with this degree will be well prepared to continue in that tradition of theologically robust engagement with the world. This degree is especially appropriate for those wanting to serve the body of Christ in a teaching and preaching role as a minister in a church, a missionary, someone in parachurch ministry, or whatever setting God calls you.
Master of Arts in Apologetics (MAA)
The Master of Arts in Apologetics (MAA) trains defenders of the faith who are culturally engaged and intellectually robust. The degree provides an interdisciplinary education from a ‘mere Christian’ approach, in the Great Books style. Seminar-style classes emphasize the reading of primary texts, extensive writing, and thoughtful discussion.
The MAA’s curriculum comprises 36 hours of coursework, including a core of apologetics issues in Scripture, theology, and philosophy, as well as in graduate-level writing and communication. Students complete their coursework with required classes in either the Cultural or the Philosophical track of the MAA, plus electives, with the option of a thesis. The Cultural track focuses on the integration of rational and imaginative approaches to apologetics, with a series of courses on worldview and culture, and on imaginative apologetics, including courses on C. S. Lewis and apologetics in literature and film. The Philosophical track focuses on the exploration of key issues in apologetics, such as the existence of God, the problem of evil, and science and faith, in the style of analytic philosophy. Students are prepared to transform the world for Christ in a variety of ways: through teaching and academic work, ministry service, writing and speaking, and discipleship in the family and local church. Students have the option to take electives that allow for creative expression, and to do a thesis.
Master of Arts in Biblical Languages (MABL)
The Master of Arts in Biblical Languages (MABL) offers a concentrated and intensive program of study in biblical languages. The program is designed to give students facility with the Bible and biblical translation through direct engagement in the original languages – Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. No previous language work is necessary, but the program can be tailored to help those who already have biblical language study as an undergraduate.
Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies (MAIS)
The Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies is for students who want to effectively communicate the gospel to their church, local community, and the world. The MAIS builds on biblical and theological training, the degree focuses on intercultural evangelism and missional training applicable to a wide range of contexts, including multicultural ministry. Graduates from the MAIS would be prepared for positions in the local church and the mission field.
The 36-hour MAIS program is built on a 15-hour core in Bible, Theology, and Practical Theology. Students will take an additional 15 hours of practical classes focused on Evangelism and Missions, along with 6 hours of electives that can include Apologetics, Biblical languages, or other areas of interest. Students have the option to pursue ministry internships (Mentored Ministry) in an area of their own choosing in their local communities.
Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS)
The Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS) is designed to meet the needs of those preparing for vocational or lay ministry, as well as those who desire to pursue further graduate study or who just want to further their own personal development.
Students will study intensively in the four major areas of theological studies: biblical, historical, theological, and practical studies. In completing the 36 hour program, all students will take a minimum of six hours of biblical studies and six hours of history and theology.
The MATS program is a seminar based program. The professor/instructor who leads the seminar will expect students to participate in extensive reading, writing, and discussion concerning the subject matter of a course. Consequently, courses are not solely lecture based but the professor/instructor will give input as needed to enhance the instructive force of the seminar approach to the course subject matter.
Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (MACL)
The Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (MACL) is designed to meet the needs of those preparing for vocational or lay ministry or who just want to further their own personal development.
In addition to a foundation in theological studies: biblical, historical, and systematic theological studies, students will focus on the practice of Christian leadership. In completing the 36-hour program, students will take a minimum of twelve hours in practical theology courses.
Master of Arts in Classics and Early Christianity (MACEC)
The Master of Arts in Classics and Early Christianity (MACEC) is an interdisciplinary program focusing on the world in which Early Christianity and the New Testament emerged. Coursework emphasizes the roles Second Temple Judaism and Graeco-Roman Culture played in shaping Early Christianity. The program is intended for students with training in either Christianity or Classics to be able to deepen their understanding of this critical period.
Master of Divinity
The Master of Divinity (MDiv) is an integrated approach to Christian theological graduate education designed to prepare students for ministry in their churches. Accordingly, the degree program is highly focused personal formation and practical experience in ministry settings in addition to more traditional classes in order to prepare you for serving in a church or para-church ministry.
As a preparation for vocational ministry, our MDiv classes focus on giving you the core skills needed to understand and apply the Bible in your particular cultural context. So, whether your specific classes focus on biblical, systematic, or practical theology, our goal is to help you integrate these so that your ministry is holistic–faithful to God’s word and relevant to our culture.
Our 72-hour program is built upon study in core areas (Practical Theology, Biblical Studies, and Systematic Theology), but you have a large amount of electives within each of these areas as well as further general electives, which can be in one of the areas above or in our other MA program areas: biblical languages, apologetics, classics, and philosophy.
School of Christian Thought Graduate Certificates
The School of Christian Thought Graduate Certificates aim to provide the opportunity for increased knowledge at the graduate level in an area of interest. Each certificate is comprised of four 3 hr-credit courses in an area of interest, totaling 12 credit hours. The following Graduate Certificates are offered by the School of Christian Thought:
Certificate in Literary and Imaginative Apologetics
Certificate in Worldview
Certificate in Philosophical Apologetics
Certificate in Apologetics Communication
Certificate in Biblical Apologetics
Certificate in Apologetics
Certificate in Missions and Evangelism
Certificate in New Testament
Certificate in Greek
Certificate in Classical Languages