500-1 Biblical Theology in an Urban Context Syllabus
1. TUL500 Biblical Theology in
an Urban Context
Syllabus and Description of the Course
Asyncronous Online Delivery
Dr Viv Grigg, 2021
2. I. Course Description
This course builds a Biblical theology overview
that connects the motif of the Kingdom of God
to issues of poverty, oppression, community
development and church growth in urban poor
3. II. Course Rationale
II. Relationship to Program Outcomes
This is the program’s “lead” course,
setting the stage for thinking
Christianly about interventions within
It features extensive reading,
community involvement, writing, and
presentation – all oriented toward the
acquisition of a theological “frame” for
4. II. Rationale
Theology: Foundational to applying the scriptures to the issues of the
urban poor is an understanding of the panorama of the scriptures, its
main books and themes. However, most Bible Surveys are written from
Western perspectives that deal with only the spiritual but ignore the
breadth of the relationship of the Kingdom of God to the social, economic
and political aspects of life. This course is designed to touch on most of
the books of the Bible, their themes and from them relate to themes the
urban poor deal with.
Development Theories and Issues: Parallel to this panorama the
theological themes (readings of the scriptures from the perspective of the
poor, urbanization, migration, oppression, community development, land
etc.) are applied to current international development philosophies.
This is the only course in the degree that focuses on the macro level
theories, laying a breadth for the community focus of other courses.
5. Story Telling Praxis
This whole degree is built around a concept of Transformational
Conversations – conversations that link the “God conversation”
and the “city conversation”. This course could anchor these at
upper level urban and development theories and city leadership
conversations, but instead seeks to engage the students mostly
with common people in the neighborhood.
Each week students will engage the local community seeking an
understanding from their stories, of their cultural perspective on
the week’s theme. They will seek to communicate the stories of
the scripture around that theme as part of a process of dialogical
communication into a pre- or post-Christian context.
Oral Cultures make up over half of the world. This degree will
make you a high functioning academic, but the trick is also to
learn how to communicate to those who function without literacy.
6. Oral Cultures
Why? One of the great difficulties for those raised in the West as they
enter Eastern, tribal or peasant cultures among the urban poor is the
lack of skills in holistic thinking and communication. Significant in this
loss is the loss of capacity to “swap” stories and recite history.
Regaining such skills is critical for culture entry and for effective
communication of the gospel story in a world where most people live in
Secondly the scriptures command us to “gossip” the gospel. In the
extremes of the American marketing culture - seen nowhere else on the
globe - this has been degraded to marketing a product concluded with a
sinner’s prayer and a cheap conversion. Evangelism, however, begins
in relationship around shared stories, the stories of the culture
intertwined with the stories of scripture. This is an important part of
preparation for those going to join learning networks in nations where
evangelism is a normal part of the lifestyle of Christians.
7. III. Credit Hour Policy & Mode of Delivery
Following the DEAC standards, to meet the identified course
learning outcomes of the course, the expectations are that this 3
unit course, delivered over a 14 week term will approximate 3
hours per week classroom or direct faculty instruction. In
addition, out-of-class student work will approximate 4-6
hours/week of reading, assignments and experiences.
Online asynchronous pracrical project work, review of readings
and videos combined with the social engagement of
synchronous face-to –face zoom classes provide an integrated
educational rhythm each week.
A learning community is built as people share the experiences
8. Student Learning Objective Program
IDEA Objective Measured by
Present an integrated but panoramic view of the
Scriptures, relating significant passages to themes
among the urban poor that may include: poverty,
oppression, social organization, urbanization,
modernization, ethnicity, justice, development,
transformation, worldview, globalization, debt, etc.
5 Learning fundamental principles,
generalizations, or theories
Gaining a broader understanding and
appreciation of intellectual/cultural
Identify the major themes in the field of community
development and be able to locate them to Biblical
models, and particularly to the theme of the Kingdom of
3 Gaining a basic understanding of the
subject (e.g., factual knowledge,
methods, principles, generalizations,
Have experienced deep level paradigm shifts about God-
related engagement with these moral and ethical issues
such that students may, if they choose, invoke a lifetime
of being God’s agents of change in a fallen world and
ambassadors for His kingdom.
Are skillful in analyzing a community’s culture through a
4 Developing knowledge and
understanding of diverse perspectives,
global awareness, or other cultures
Have demonstrated skills of engaging people in the pre-
or post- Christian urban community in storytelling
processes with a variety of themes from the Scriptures.
4 Developing specific skills,
competencies and points of view
needed by professionals in the field
9. IV. Required Course Materials
Bellingham, G. R. (2012). A Biblical Approach to Social
Transformation. Revised manuscript. Philadelphia, Eastern
Baptist Seminary (available in the course site in Sakai).
Grigg, Viv. (2010). Companion to the Poor. Auckland, New
Zealand: Urban Leadership Foundation. ISBN: 978-0958201971.
[Amazon $19.80, Kindle $9.98]
Steffan, T. (2005). Reconnecting God's Story to Ministry.
Waynesborough, GA, Authentic Media. ISBN: 978-1-932805-06-
Glasser, Arthur F. (2003) Announcing the Kingdom. Grand
Rapids, MI. Baker Academic. ISBN: 978-0801026263. Book also
used in a previous course. (Kindle)
10. Recommended Materials
Access to 25 articles on the Sakai website for the course.
United Nations. (2003). Challenge of the Slums. Global Report on Human
Settlements. ISBN: 978-1-844070-37-4.
Glasser, A., Charles van Engen, et al. (2003). Announcing the Kingdom.
Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Academic. [$16.50 Kindle] ISBN: 0801026261.
Copyright Responsibilities: Materials used in connection with this course
may be subject to copyright protection. Students and faculty are both
authors and users of copyrighted materials. As a student you must know the
rights of both authors and users with respect to copyrighted works to ensure
compliance. It is equally important to be knowledgeable about legally
permitted uses of copyrighted materials. Information about copyright
compliance, fair use and websites for downloading information legally can be
11. Online Delivery
For those overseas, the teaching component of the course will utilize an
asynchronous weekly environment, with at times a virtual face to face class on Zoom
A story-telling process of learning, building from stories of lecturers and students to
develop a theology and strategy on poverty alleviation methodology among semi-
literate slum culture.
There are up to 3 hours of content in presentations online weekly that may be found in
Sakai, some of which we can cover during the Zoom times, the rest of which you
need to review independently.
We will also have students present readings to the class.
This will be supplemented with a weekly asynchronous forum in Populi, where you
are to respond to a prompt with an academic response and then respond to 2-3
responses by others.
Most of the course is dependent on your taking responsibility to do independent
research and writing, utilizing both experience and local/global literature in order to
accomplish the course learning outcomes. These will be submitted in the Populi
12. V. Course Calendar
The course is structured for 164 modules, total of 135 hours of
work, approximately broken 1/3 into action, 1/3 reflection on
theology and 1/3 reflection on development and church growth
Assignment Due Percent-
Readings: 2-3 book chapters per module. Summarize or outline them (not more
than 6 lines) ready to present to the class, identifying a key question and
contributing to discussions. Reading and summary of each chapter should take
no more than 20 minutes and demonstrate an understanding of the issues raised
by the author. (relates to Learning Objective 1).
Bible Readings: Read 2 assigned Bible chapters per day and check off on a Bible
Reading chart. (Relates to Learning Objective 1).
Pass in on 8th module
Pass in on 13th
Integrative Theology Paper: Integrate from your reading summaries, an analysis
of how the unfolding Biblical story impinges on one of the following: urban,
poverty, oppression, justice, societal structures, development and other cultural
issues. 7 page single spaced paper. (Learning Objective 1).
Course Evaluation: Do a one-page analysis of which paradigms in this course
have most impacted you and how this may affect your future directions.
(Learning Objective 2).
Module 15 2
Online Community Forum: Build community with the other students online,
contributing to the weekly online threaded discussions, utilizing the online
community building tools.
Weekly for first 12
Community Cultural Analysis: Engage in weekly conversations with people in
your community seeking to learn from them about the topic of the week and to
communicate to them the stories of the scripture with which you have been
engaging. Write up weekly and integrate these into a final analysis of the values,
aspirations, goals of your community, with a parallel pathway as to which
Biblical stories would best interface with these. (Learning Objective 3:1; 3:2)
Weekly report in
Final write up in 12th
Presentation of Community Conversation: Present your story-telling analysis to
the class using a 5 minute presentation delivered online using power point,
video, featuring artifacts of drama or artwork for critique. (Learning Objective
3:1; 3:2) .
Module 13,14 10
Development Tools: Practical assignments and readings to grasp development
tools section of the course.
Module 5 and 10 10
Module Urban Biblical Theology Parallel Models of Urban & National
Development (CDS Chaps)
Genesis 1: The City in the
Transformational Conversations Model of
Doing Urban Theology
2 Exodus: Nation Building
The National Development Model (1.3)
The Urban –Rural Development Conundrum
Development as Freedom(1.7)
3 The Wisdom Literature: The
The Pond Model of Community
Development: Lets Go Fishing – Michael Mata
4 A Hermeneutic for
Understanding the City
Poverty Analysis and paradigms
5 The Prophets: Stratification &
Introduction to Development Theory (2.1)
Advocacy Model in Urban Oppression (5.5)
6 The Exile and Restoration:
Macro-Economic Models: The Phases of
Capitalism, Dualism and Dependency (2.4,
Gender & Development (Part 7)
7 Gospels Teaching: The Kingdom Kingdom of God Models
Module Urban Biblical Theology Parallel Models of Urban &
National Development (CDS
7 Gospels Teaching: The Kingdom
Kingdom of God Models
Social Capital Model (2.14)
8 Gospel Living: Incarnation
Church Movements Model
9 Tools: Introduction to Community
Tools: Community Organizing
Faith Rooted CO
10 Acts: Economic Community
Acts: Movement Models
Revival Movement Models
11 Tools: Appreciative Inquiry
12 Colossians & Ephesians:
Engaging the Powers
New Institutional Economics Model
(1.11) World Systems Theory (2.8)
13 The Pastoral Epistles: Diaconal
14 Revelations: The Garden in the
16. The Breadth of Global Development
Jesus Followers and Development
Communities of Faith and Community Development
Development and the Slums
Movements, Leaders and Development
Development and the Expansion of the Kingdom of God
17. Companion to Development Studies
Part 1. The Nature of Development and Development Studies 1.1 Development in a
Global-Historical Context 1.2 What’s in a Name? From Third World to Poor Countries 1.3
The Origins and Nature of Development Studies 1.4 The Impasse in Development Studies
1.5 Development and Economic Growth 1.6 Development and Social Welfare - Human
Rights 1.7 Development as Freedom 1.8 Race and Development 1.9 Culture and
Development 1.10 Ethics and Development 1.11 New Institutional Economics and
Development 1.12 Measuring Development: from GDP to HDI 1.13 Poverty and
Development: Definitions and Measures 1.14 The Millennium Development Goals 1.15
BRICs and Development
Part 2. Theories and Strategies of Development 2.1. Theories, Strategies and Ideologies
of Development 2.2. Smith, Ricardo and the World Marketplace 1776-2011 2.3. The
Enlightenment and the Era of Modernity 2.4. Dualistic and Unilinear Perspectives on
Development 2.5. Neoliberalism: Globalization’s Neoconservative Enforcer of Austerity 2.6.
Dependency Theories 2.7. New World Dependency Theory 2.8. World Systems Theory 2.9
Indigenous Knowledge and Development 2.10. Participatory Development 2.11 Post-
Colonialism and Development 2.12 Postmodernism and Development 2.13 Post-
development 2.14 Social Capital and Development
18. Companion to Development Studies (part 3-5)
Part 3. Globalisation, Employment and Development 3.1 Globalisation: an Overview 3.2
The ‘new’ International Division of Labour 3.3 Global Shift: Industrialization and
Development 3.4 Globalisation and Localisation 3.5 Trade and Industrial Policy in
Developing Countries 3.6 The Knowledge-based Economy and the Digital Divisions of
Labour 3.7 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Development 3.8 The Informal
Economy in Cities of the South 3.9 Child Labour 3.10 Pro-poor Globalisation 3.11 Migration
and Transnationalism 3.12 Diaspora and Development
Part 4. Rural Development 4.1 Rural Poverty 4.2 Rural Livelihoods 4.3 Food Security 4.4
Famines 4.5 Genetically Modified Crops and Development 4.6 Rural Co-operatives 4.7
Land Reform 4.8 Gender, Agriculture and Land Rights 4.9 The Sustainable Intensification of
Part 5. Urbanisation and Development 5.1 Urbanization in Low- and Middle-Income
Nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America 5.2 Urban Bias 5.3 Global Cities and the
Production of Uneven Development 5.4 Studies in Comparative Urbanism 5.5 Prosperity or
Poverty? Wealth, Inequality and Deprivation in Urban Areas 5.6 Housing the Urban Poor 5.7
Urbanisation and Environment in Low and Middle-income Countries 5.8 Transport and
Urban Development 5.9 Cities, Crime and Development
19. Companion to Development Studies (Part 6-8)
Part 6. Environment and Development 6.1 Sustainable Development 6.2 International
Regulation and the Environment 6.3 Climate Change and Development: An Overview 6.4
Changing Climate and African Development 6.5 Vulnerability & Disasters 6.6 Ecosystems Services
for Development 6.7 Natural Resource Management: A Critical Appraisal 6.8 Water and
Hydropolitics 6.9 Energy and Development 6.10 Tourism and Environment 6.11 Transport and
Sustainability: Developmental Pathways
Part 7. Gender and Development 7.1 Demographic Changes and Gender 7.2 Women and the
State 7.3 Gender, Families and Households 7.4 Feminism and Feminist Issues in the South 7.5
Rethinking Gender and Empowerment 7.6 Gender and Globalisation 7.7 Migrant Women in the
New Economy: Understanding the Gender-Migration-Care Nexus 7.8 Women and Political
Representation Shirin M. Rai 7.9 Sexualities and Development 7.10 Hegemonic Masculinities 7.11
Indigenous Fertility Control
Part 8. Health and Education 8.1 Nutritional Problems, Policies and Intervention Strategies in
Developing Economies 8.2 Motherhood and Child Health 8.3 The Development Impact of
HIV/AIDS 8.4 Ageing and Poverty 8.5 Health and Inequality 8.6 Disability 8.7 Social Protection in
Development Context 8.8 Female Participation in Education 8.9 The Challenge of Skill Formation
and Training 8.10 Development Education, Global Citizenship and International Volunteering
20. Companion to Development Studies (Part 9-10)
Part 9. Political Economy of Violence and Insecurity 9.1 Gender and Age-
Based Violence 9.2 Fragile States 9.3 Refugees 9.4 Humanitarian Aid 9.5 Rights
and Social Justice 9.6 Global War on Terror, Development and Civil Society 9.7
Peace-building Partnerships and Human Security 9.8 Nationalism 9.9 Ethnic
Conflict and the State 9.10 Religions and Development
Part 10. Governance and Development 10.1 Foreign Aid in a Changing World
10.2 The Rising Powers as Development Donors and Partners 10.3 Aid
Conditionality 10.4 Aid Effectiveness 10.5 Global Governance Issues and
Current Crisis 10.6 Change Agents: A History of Hope in NGOs, Civil Society,
and the 99% 10.7 Corruption and Development 10.8 Role of Non-Governmental
Organisations (NGOs) 10.9 Non-Governmental Public action Networks and
Global Policy Processes 10.10 Multilateral Institutions and the Financing of
Development 10.11 Challenges to the World Trade Organisation 10.12 Is there a
Legal Right to Development?
21. Writing Assignments
Writing Assignments: papers are due on assigned dates in Sakai (Sakai is the final arbiter if
there is a conflict of descriptions in the course somewhere). All assignments should be:
1 inch margins Times New Roman, single-spaced (as these are graded in Word, with the
reviewer tool, double spaced is not useful), 12 point. Unlike historical patterns of submitting
assignments for hand grading, don’t submit as pdf’s they are hard to edit online – we are now
a primarily web-based universe.
Title your assignments with InitialsCourseNumberAssignmentName.docx (e.g.
VGTUL500CultAnal.docx). Abbreviate these when you can. Titled, name and date in upper
right corner, (Do not use the APA Running Head – it is annoying. Set Page numbers in right
lower corner (whenever you start a word doc).
Use APA 6 and Endnote for formatting citations and Works Cited. Download Endnote or
Zoteiro free from APU.
You are preparing for a life of web-based documents along with classical book publication.
Thus each major assignment should be graphically formatted using a Word Stylesheet
that includes graphics. It has to look pleasing. In postmodern style, assignments may be
better with disjoint boxes per topic rather than as a flowing essay. The development of your
own website and submission on that is also acceptable (discuss with professor first).
Columns, text boxes and graphics assist in creating a readable document. Prepare for
a graphically oriented web-based society.
22. Assignment Options
Assignment Options: Students interested in proposing other means
(different from those outlined above) of demonstrating their
comprehension, inquiry, and skill relative to the purpose(s) of this
course may do so upon the instructor’s discretionary consent. Such
students are to submit thorough and well-reasoned proposals
(appropriate to graduate-caliber study) in sufficient time for both the
instructor to review and accept or modify the proposal and the student
to complete it prior to the end of the term.