Credit points


Campus offering

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THCT500 Foundations of Christian Faith or THCT563 Introducing Theology

Teaching organisation

THCT501 is taught in a variety of modes and involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks.

Unit rationale, description and aim

In this unit students will consider the significance of Jesus Christ for Christian faith. The unit begins with current research into the first century context in which Jesus lived and ministered. It then examines the disciples’ faith interpretations of him and the eventual New Testament witness to Jesus Christ, his work and mission, death and resurrection, and then investigates the emergence of Christological confessions and creeds in the early church. Some contemporary theological readings of these insights are then examined. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - give a critical account of the Church’s understanding of Jesus Christ (GA4; GA5);

LO2 - explain historical and cultural developments in the formation of the Church’s doctrine and teaching on Jesus Christ (GA5);

LO3 - work collaboratively to assess some contemporary issues and approaches in Christology (GA4; GA7);

LO4 - access primary and secondary theological sources through online databases and other   electronic resources (GA10).

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:

  • Jesus in the context of his own time and society;
  • The centrality of the Reign of God in his mission and ministry;
  • The significance of the incarnation, life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to Christian faith
  • An introduction to the Christologies of the New Testament;
  • The major Christological debates and early Church councils and creeds;
  • The significance of the Christian affirmation of Jesus Christ as Saviour
  • Some contemporary approaches to the person and work of Jesus Christ, e.g., transcendental theology, liberation theology, cosmic Christology, feminist theology, ecological Christology;
  • Some contemporary issues in Christology, e.g., the human self-awareness and knowledge of Jesus, the sinlessness of Jesus, the centrality and relationship of Christ to the world religions.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Interpreting the person and saving work of Jesus Christ requires engagement with the texts of Scripture and tradition, as well as the contemporary context in which Christians live out their faith in Jesus Christ. Those texts require interpretation via the application of specific historical knowledge and interpretive skills. For contemporary Christians, and especially for teachers, ministers and pastoral associates in faith-based organisations, the texts of Scripture and tradition remain central to their spiritual and professional lives. For this reason the curriculum for THCT501 has been designed to build students’ capacity and competency in reading, interpreting, teaching and preaching the person and significance of Jesus Christ as leaders, teachers, pastoral assistants and/or ministers in faith-based organisations. 

THCT501 is taught in a variety of modes and involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. THCT501 is shaped by the Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR) model of pedagogy – sometimes called “Scaffolded instruction” – and, hence, uses a mix of direct instruction and synchronous engagement, as well as asynchronous collaborative and cooperative learning opportunities.  Formally-structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials and workshops will be presented in an online environment using video-conferencing or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment, including contributions to cooperative learning in the form of online facilities, such as forums, reflective journals, wikis, blogs and interactive chat. The GRR model as used in THCT501 is designed to encourage students’ autonomy and facilitate students’ capacity in the development and application of the necessary knowledge and skills within the context of their personal and/or professional lives. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

In this unit, all activities, direct teaching, structured learning, assigned readings, and collaborative tasks build towards the assessment of students’ ability to apply the necessary knowledge and skills required to interpret effectively Christian beliefs in Jesus Christ. Each of the three assessment tasks has been designed to test the students’ developed and developing capacity to understand and interpret Christian beliefs in Jesus Christ in a meaningful and relevant way; each assessment item aligns with the achievement of each of unit’s learning outcomes.  


The first task requires students to focus on “the Reign of God” in Jesus’ ministry. (LO 1 and 4) and communicate their results in a short paper that demonstrates engagement with selected scholarly literature. Students will have the opportunity in subsequent weeks to develop, refine and improve their skills in researching the development of early Christian doctrines regarding Jesus Christ, particularly the debates surrounding the Council of Chalcedon regarding the full divinity and full humanity of Jesus Christ (LO 2 and 4), which will culminate in Assessment task 2. The final task will provide students with the opportunity to engagement with one contemporary methodology, such as feminist, liberation, or ecological Christology (LO 3 and 4). 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Short paper on “the Reign of God” in Jesus’ ministry


LO1; LO4

GA4; GA5; GA10

Essay on the issues surrounding the Council of Chalcedon regarding the divinity and humanity of Christ


LO2; LO4

GA4; GA5; GA10

Essay on a contemporary approach to Christology


LO3; LO4

GA4; GA7; GA10

Representative texts and references

Brown, R. E. An Introduction to New Testament Christology. New York: Paulist Press, 1994.

Herzog, W. Jesus, Justice and the Reign of God. A Ministry of Liberation. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1999.

Isherwood, L. Introducing Feminist Christologies. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 2001.

McDermott, Brian O. Word Become Flesh: Dimensions of Christology. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1993.

O’Collins, G. Christology. A Biblical, Historical and Systematic Study of Jesus Christ. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Ratzinger, J. Jesus of Nazareth: From His Transfiguration through His Death and Resurrection. 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2008.

Schwager, R. Jesus in the Drama of Salvation: Toward a Biblical Doctrine of Redemption. New York: Crossroad, 1999.

Schweitzer, D. Contemporary Christologies: A Fortress Introduction. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010.

Vermes, G. The Changing Faces of Jesus. London: Allen Lane Penguin, 2000.

Wright, N.T. The Resurrection of the Son of God. London: SPCK, 2003.

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