Credit points


Campus offering

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THCT500 Foundations of Christian Faith or THCT563 Introducing Theology

Teaching organisation

THCT601 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

This unit explores fundamental issues that require critical attention when doing theology. The unit examines the nature of divine revelation and Christian faith, and that faith's normative expression in Scripture and tradition. It considers theology's necessary focus on the diverse ways contemporary Christians understand and live out their faith in different contexts, as well as theology's relationship with the church's teaching authority (the magisterium). The unit also examines theology's relationship to other disciplines such as philosophy and sociology, and the diversity of theological methods employed by theologians today.

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 - analyse and appraise different models of revelation and faith and their significance for the critical evaluation of diverse models of theology (GA4, GA5)

LO2 - assess the relationship between theology and its interdisciplinary dialogue partners (philosophy, sociology, etc) (GA4, GA5)

LO3 - give a critical account of the significance of Scripture and tradition as norms of the faith in the ecclesial mediation of faith in history (GA4, GA5)

LO4 - identify, discriminate and interrelate the distinctive ecclesial roles of theology, the sensus fidelium, and the contemporary magisterium (GA4, GA5)

LO5 - explain and distinguish different approaches to theological method (GA4, GA5)

LO6 - use a variety of resources to research and present an effective and critical articulation of a fundamental issue in theology (GA8, GA9).

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:

  • revelation and faith
  • the ecclesial locus of theological reflection
  • the nature, sources and norms of theology
  • the relationship between theology, Scripture, tradition, contemporary sense of the faith (sensus fidelium) and ecclesial authority
  • the significance for theology of background theories (e.g., from philosophy, sociology) and contemporary praxis
  • issues of theological method.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Christian theology seeks to interpret the Christian faith for contemporary believers so that it is meaningful and transformative within their particular context. Beginning with an analysis of that context, theology seeks to interpret from that perspective the fundamental texts and practices of the Christian tradition. Those texts and practices 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 THCT601 has been designed to build students’ capacity and competency in reading, interpreting, teaching and preaching the significance of the Christian faith as leaders, teachers, pastoral assistants and/or ministers in faith-based organisations.

THCT601 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. THCT601 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 sometimes 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 THCT601, 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 understand the nature, sources, methods, and tasks of theology. Each of the three assessment tasks has been designed to test the students’ developed and developing capacity to understand the fundamentals of theology 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 nature of theology and its importance in the life of the church (LO 1,2,3 and 4) and communicate their results in an academic essay. Students will have the opportunity in subsequent weeks to develop, refine and improve their skills in researching the variety of theological methods being used today by theologians throughout the world church (LO 5 and 6), which will culminate in Assessment Task 2.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Essay on nature of theology and its role in the church today


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5

Essay on theological method as practised by contemporary theologians


LO5, LO6

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Bevans, Stephen B. Models of Contextual Theology. Rev. and Expanded ed. Faith and Cultures Series. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2002.

Boeve, L. God Interrupts History: Theology in a Time of Upheaval. New York; London: Continuum, 2007.

Dulles, A. Models of Revelation. 2nd ed. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1992.

Ford, David, and Rachel Muers, eds. The Modern Theologians: An Introduction to Christian Theology Since 1918. 3rd ed. Malden, Mass., Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005.

Gaillardetz, R.R. By What Authority? A Primer on Scripture, the Magisterium, and the Sense of the Faithful. Collegeville, MI: Liturgical Press, 2003.

Lane, D.A. The Experience of God: An Invitation to Do Theology. Rev. ed. New York: Paulist Press, 2005.

O'Collins, Gerald. Rethinking Fundamental Theology: Toward a New Fundamental Theology. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

O'Collins, Gerald. Revelation: Towards a Christian Interpretation of God's Self-revelation in Jesus Christ. First ed. 2016.

Rush, O. The Eyes of Faith: The Sense of the Faithful and the Church's Reception of Revelation. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2009.

Wicks, J. Doing Theology. New York: Paulist Press, 2009.

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