Biblical and Theological Studies
These courses are focused on either biblical content, the process of interpreting Scripture, Theological concepts, or the history of Christianity, viewed through the lens of its key theological epochs and most influential personalities.
BI 201: Biblical Interpretation (3)
This course is designed to introduce students to foundational issues for the accurate and responsible interpretation and application of Scripture. Students will be challenged to apprehend and evaluate principles and methods of interpretation, in order to improve their study and understanding of the Bible’s message. Attention will be given to three primary aspects of the interpretive process: (1) understanding the biblical writings according to their genres, (2) establishing appropriate principles of interpretation for the diverse types of literature found within Scripture, and (3) developing strategies for the application of Scripture to one’s personal life and congregational context.
CH 101: The Jesus Movement 1: Jesus to the Reformation (3)
This is a unique study in the history of the Church from the life of Jesus through the Reformation. We will process and evaluate the work of God and its impact through people, events, and different periods of church history. This course is the first part of broadening your understanding of the Jesus Movement from Jesus onward and deepening your appreciation for the faith you hold.
CH 102: The Jesus Movement 2: Reformation to the Present (3)
This is a unique study in the history of the Church from the Reformation to present day. We will process and evaluate the work of God and its impact through people, events, and different periods of church history. Special emphasis will be placed upon the more significant revival movements that have flourished across the globe in recent centuries. This course is the second part of broadening your understanding of the Jesus movement from Jesus onward and deepening your appreciation for the faith you hold.
NT 101: The Gospels and Acts (3)
The New Testament is the foundation of our knowledge of Jesus Christ, and the clearest and fullest guide to our understanding of God’s master plan for all of creation and history. To study it is to position ourselves to know wisdom, discern truth, and experience the reality of God in our lives as a people. This course is designed to walk students through the first five books of the New Testament and provide insight into their historical, literary and theological character. Students will gain a deeper understanding of these writings, and gain crucial skill in the ability to interpret and apply them to their lives, and to the broader concerns of Christ’s international Church. In addition, students will be invited to experience the grace and power of the Gospel as they open their hearts to the Spirit’s illuminating and transforming work.
NT 102: Romans through Revelation (3)
The New Testament is the foundation of our knowledge of Jesus Christ, and the clearest and fullest guide to our understanding of God’s master plan for all of creation and history. To study it is to position ourselves to know wisdom, discern truth, and experience the reality of God in our lives as a people. This course is designed to walk students from Romans through Revelation and provide insight into the historical, literary and theological character of these books. Students will gain a deeper understanding of these writings, and gain crucial skill in the ability to interpret and apply them to their lives, and to the broader concerns of Christ’s international Church. In addition, students will be invited to experience the grace and power of the Gospel as they open their hearts to the Spirit’s illuminating and transforming work.
OT 101: Pentateuch and Former Prophets (3)
This course consists of a survey of the contents of the Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy) and the Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, Ruth 1-2 Samuel, and 1-2 Kings) with an emphasis on better understanding the character of God and the redemptive historical history of His dealings with His people and His creation.
OT 102: Latter Prophets and Writings (3)
This course consists of a survey of the contents of the Latter Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and “The Twelve”) and the Writings, completing the second half of the students’ introduction to the Old Testament. This course will focus on the historical, literary and theological features of these texts by highlighting the activity of God in and through His people, and will encourage students to consider the implications of God’s past activities for His people today. Students will gain a deeper understanding of these writings, and gain crucial skill in the ability to interpret and apply them to their lives, and to the broader concerns of Christ’s international Church.
TH 101: Theological Foundations (3)
Whether we know it or not, all of us are theologians. Among other things, our theology underlies our practices, influences our morality, and even shapes the way we interpret our lives and the events in our lives. It is not a question, then, of whether or not we should do theology; we already do. The only question is whether or not we will be intentional in thinking about the theological assumptions already operating in our lives. This introductory-level course seeks to help us do so by scrutinizing some of the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith, including the cardinal doctrines of God, Christ, the Spirit, Creation, Humanity, Sin, Salvation, and Redemption.
TH 201: The Holy Spirit (2)
The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity – the Lord and Giver of life – who along with the Father and Son is to be known, worshiped and glorified. This course is designed to facilitate a study of the Holy Spirit that is biblical, theological and practical in its orientation. Students will focus especially on the unique identity of the Spirit, His role as a member of the Godhead, and the practical and strategic ways He moves in and among God’s people to accomplish God’s purposes. Special attention will be given to the variety of manifestations, gifts and workings of the Holy Spirit, and their role in the proclamation of the Gospel and building of the church.
NT 131: The Beatitudes (2)
In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ’s Kingdom Manifesto, we find a lifestyle so deeply rooted in Christ-like character that it exposes our modern day substitute of Christianity. From the handful of followers who first heard his message to the 2.2 billion Christians alive today, the followers of Jesus were to be the salt of the earth, the city on a hill, the force that would heal and transform the world. Christians now form 33 percent of the world's population, but beyond the impressive numbers, how successful has this faith been? What are its prospects for the future? And if Jesus were to return to Earth today, would he recognize his teachings? After two millennia, would Jesus recognize what is done in his name today? The Sermon on the Mount is not a code of ethics, it is a description of Kingdom living. The Beatitudes are nothing less than the essential characteristics of the Christian person. This is the person who is truly happy, for he or she has earned God’s smile upon his or her life.
NT 232: The Gospel of Matthew (3)
This course is an exposition of Matthew in a discussion-styled, Spirit-led setting. We will focus on the overall purpose of Jesus’ life and ministry as establishing God’s Kingdom on earth. From that center, our teaching and discussion will explore the Gospel’s meaning in its original context, as well as the way it informs us today for Kingdom-centered discipleship, life, relationships, and ministry.
NT 235: Exegesis of Galatians (2)
In this course, students will learn to read Galatians as a first-century letter that reflects the conventions, language and social dynamics of Paul’s era. Special attention will be given to the major contours of Paul’s argument, and students will be invited to think Paul’s thoughts along with him through careful exegetical analysis. They will also investigate the most pressing literary, theological and historical questions raised by scholarly study of these letters, and begin to define their own approaches to answering them. And, finally, they will be challenged to consider the implications this letters raises for their own lives and ministries.
OT 121: Daniel (2)
In this study, students will be oriented to the identity, context and message of Daniel. Special emphasis is placed on the prophetic paradigm of this book, and application of critical Kingdom insights to contemporary society.
Mission and Ministry
These courses share a common connection to the nature of the Church and its mission in the world. They are both theological and practical in their orientation, and provide a holistic foundation for an understanding of Christian ministry in its various forms.
MM 101: The Gospel of the Kingdom: Repentance, Faith and Discipleship (2)
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the hope of the world. But what exactly is it? Anyone who studies the New Testament realizes quickly that the heart of Jesus’ ministry was an announcement about something he called “the Kingdom of God.” And, though it appears less frequently outside of the gospels, this foundational idea of God’s Kingdom was shared by the Apostles, who sought to explain it, demonstrate its presence, and otherwise live out the realities that characterize it. This course will illumine the nature and implications of Jesus’ Kingdom Gospel for his hearers, both ancient and modern. We will locate his proclamation in light of its ancient contexts, describe its surprising and revolutionary character, and discuss how this must inform our own speaking, preaching and teaching about Jesus today. In short, we will seek to define exactly what the Gospel was, and is, as the unique, powerful, and transforming message about what God is at work to do in and through Jesus.
MM 102: The Culture of the Kingdom: Values, Priorities and Ethics (2)
This course builds on the foundation laid in The Gospel of the Kingdom by focusing on the core values and chief characteristics of the new community that is born as a result of the proclamation of the Gospel. It is an attempt to define some of the most foundational elements that must be true of God’s people as they embrace, and then embody, the reality of God’s eschatological reign in Jesus, by the Spirit. In that sense, this course is an attempt to outline the most important components of the new society that is created wherever the Gospel of Jesus is announced and believed, and its truths cultivated in order to produce the fruit of the Kingdom’s presence.
MM 103: The Mission of the Kingdom: Proclamation, Compassion and Power (1)
This course builds on MM 101 and MM 102 by using our previous work on the Kingdom of God as foundation for constructing an understanding of what the Kingdom requires of us in the present time, as the people of God. Our aim, then, is to describe the identity, purpose and responsibilities that belong to the Church, as a result of the Kingdom’s Gospel and prevailing culture. Special emphasis will be placed on the idea of revival as an urgent need and essential way forward for the Church in its American context.
MM 111: Foundations of Revival (2)
Revival is a glorious time of God’s presence in the midst of His people. Unfortunately revivals come and go, sometimes transforming entire nations, sometimes smaller communities. This course will seek to discover what Revival is, and what we can do to experience Revival in our generation. This course is divided into two sections: (1) A concentrated study on Revivals recorded in the Bible, largely focused on 2 Chronicles and the New Testament; and (2) significant Revivals through church history.
MM 121: New Jesus People (2) - One of FIRE Chicago’s main goals is to mold its students more precisely into the image of Jesus Christ. This course describes the scriptural basis and prophetic revelation that provided some of the school’s direction and helped define our program. From a historical standpoint, we will discuss the vision and prophecy that called for a “New Jesus People” 40 years after the original ‘Jesus People’ began. From a scriptural standpoint, we will explore Jesus as the Son of God and our spiritual prototype, our call to Christ-likeness, and the Church’s corporate expression of Christ’s image.
MM 201: History Makers (2)
This course is an overview the lives of specific men and women who have made an impact in church history and their respective generations for the glory of God. We hope to gain a greater perspective on God and the way He works out His purposes in the Earth through the saints. These saints will be presented as the leaders and heroes that they were, as well as human and imperfect vessels often riddled by hardships and disappointments. We will study their lives as within their historical contexts, the divine moments and works of transformation that made them who they were, their labors and successes in the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom, their failures and weaknesses, and lastly the enduring message of their lives to the Church, both then and now.
MM 211: Cross-Cultural Communication (2)
This course focuses on the theory and practice of intercultural and interpersonal communication. It gives the student insight into human culture and the implications of cultural differences. As the student develops the knowledge and practice of intercultural-communication they will be better prepared to minister cross-culturally.
MM 221: Making Disciples (2) - In this course we will look at disciple making in its various facets. Making Disciples will be presented as the mandate of the Church, and the Church will be shown to consist of none other than disciples. We will study both the theological aspects of disciple-making, and practical tools by which disciples are made. This will be done by looking at what we believe to be the three major building blocks of disciple-making: (1) pursuing holistic personal transformation, (2) facilitating development and leadership, and (3) establishing mentoring relationships as the basis for the soil in which disciples are grown. Students will learn from classroom instruction, along with class participation and special projects, including a simulated discipleship experience.
MM 231: World Missions (2)
In this course we will introduce the Mission of the Church, the evangelization of the whole world that Jesus died for. We will determine where we are in our assignment and what still must be accomplished in the future. Students will be introduced to the recent history of world missions, and will be given practical insights and skills critical for the ultimate completion of the task of proclaiming the Gospel in the entire world.
MM 251: Fivefold Ministry: Kingdom Leadership (4)
This course is about leadership in the Kingdom of God. It is an attempt to look carefully and thoroughly about what the New Testament has to say about how the Christian church – both universal and local – is to be led, constructed and governed. There are dozens of leadership ‘structures,’ countless definitions of ‘offices,’ and even more descriptions of how ‘authority’ is embodied within them, or conveyed from them. One of the foundational purposes for this class is to step into the world of the earliest churches, and discover with fresh eyes how the New Testament authors conceived of the roles of leaders and their relationships to one another. Our interest lies, therefore, not only in the “fivefold” breakdown in Ephesians 4, but also in appreciating and understanding the larger spectrum of giftings and responsibilities reflected in other kinds of leaders, like elders/overseers, deacons and the like. As a part of this course, students will benefit from lecturers who can be identified with each of the five groups in Ephesians 4:11. And, finally, each student will be invited to consider his/her own identity through this lens, and the broader witness of the New Testament about congregational leadership.
MM 112: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith (1)
This course is designed as a historical, theological and spiritual exploration of God’s eternal purposes for Israel, the Jewish roots of the New Testament faith, and how Gentile believers become spiritual partakers in God’s covenant with Israel. The course also engages the reasons for and nature of Anti-Semitism, questions about the modern State of Israel, and developing a witness to and love for the Jewish people.
MM 113: Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament (2)
In this course, students are introduced to the history and theology of the Jewish people as it developed and was expressed through the literature of the Intertestamental period. Special emphasis is placed on how this historical era both shapes and informs the interpretation of the New Testament.
MM 123: Church as Kingdom Society (2)
One of the main expressions of God’s Kingdom on Earth is a distinct people. In the New Testament, that people is called the ekklesia – God’s peculiar “gathering,” “community” or “congregation” in Messiah Jesus. This class is a theoretical and practical study of what the ekklesia is and how it is meant to function from a uniquely biblical point of view. It will weave Old Testament background and New Testament teaching with some ‘lab’-style practice New Testament-based meetings.
MM 124: Contemporary Doctrinal Errors (2)
This class will analyze some of the most prevalent gospel distortions and deceptions circulating in the Body today, at the same time reinforcing the biblical truths that have been lost or misunderstood in the process. Topics will include: Does God See Our Sins? Is God Always in a Good Mood? Is Holiness Legalism? Is the Old Testament Still Relevant? Does God Still Judge in the Age of Grace?
MM 131: Evangelism (1)
In this course we will explore Evangelism. We will approach this by looking at soul-winning as the responsibility of all believers. Evangelism will be presented as a movement: the spirit of zeal for the eternal Gospel. It will also be presented in a real-life, practical way in reaching our world for Jesus. Emphasis will be put on the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit, in regards to both the substance and success in the cause of Evangelism. There will also be lab-work included in the curriculum in order to give the student a better grasp of the class content.
MM 132: Jesus Revolution (1)
This course is designed to cover the following subjects: Jesus the Revolutionary, Revolution in the Church, Principles of Revolution, God’s Counterculture Revolution, Strategies for the Jesus Revolution, the Role of Music in the Revolution, and Knowing the Times and Seasons.
MM 141: Foundations of Worship (2)
Worship is both an expression of the church gathered, as well as an approach to the whole of life. This course seeks to provide students with theological and experiential resources for living a life in the presence of God, as well as serving the local church through corporate expressions of adoration, praise, lament and intercession.
MM 241: Shepherding God’s Flock (1)
This course will provide a concentrated exposition of the elements involved in acquiring and attaining the heart and posture of a true pastor/shepherd within the flock of God’s people. This will be accomplished through (1) exploring the shepherding qualities and characteristics of the Great Shepherd, Jesus, (2) understanding the shepherd’s heart and how it must run through all types of ministry, and (3) identifying the unique calling of the shepherd in the context of Christian leadership.
These courses focus primarily on areas of individual discipleship - the cultivation of a worldview, mindset, character and way of life that springs forth from the Kingdom’s Gospel itself.
SF 100: FIRE Groups (1)
FIRE groups are small group mentoring opportunities that are built into the curriculum during each trimester. They require some reading and writing in addition to personal interaction and dialogue. FIRE groups are pass/fail courses that are based upon student participation, and are included in 5 of the 6 trimesters of full-time coursework (the exception being the trimester students are on internship).
SF 101: Identity in Christ (2)
In this course we will engage the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit to gain a richer and more complete understanding of the believer’s identity in Christ. We will take a panoramic view of the Scriptures, with a major emphasis on the epistles, to reveal a three-fold foundation upon which this identity is based. This foundation consists of (1) knowing the love and grace of God the Father, (2) understanding who we are as new creatures and heirs of Christ and His Kingdom, and (3) learning how to live in the righteousness that we have in Christ.
SF 111: Principles of Holiness (2)
This course is designed to orient the student to the biblical concept of holiness as an attribute of God, a state of being believers enter into as a result of the Cross, and as a growing quality of life that is a result of obedience and devotion to Christ. We will discuss the origins of the idea of holiness in Scripture and the various ways in which it is demonstrated by God and His people. The final section of the course will provide specific instruction in the mindset of the disciple with respect to holiness, and will offer practical ways to cultivate holiness in everyday life.
SF 131: Principles of Spiritual Leadership (1)
Spiritual leadership is a kind of leadership that is birthed in, defined by, empowered by and executed through the activity of the Holy Spirit. Leadership is present in every human context – from the family unit to international organizations. The church, too, must have leaders. But, those who would lead God’s people must have a very different conception of the nature, purpose and exercise of leadership than is readily available to them in the world system. This course, then, is designed to introduce the student to elements of Kingdom leadership that will provide a foundation for effective Christian service.
SF 231: Healing and Wholeness (1)
In this course we will seek to properly grasp the biblical reality and present-day ministry of Divine healing. Our foundation for this will be, first, the revelation of Scripture, and second, the testimony of church history. Divine healing and wholeness will be explained through the lens of the character and will of God, the finished work of the Cross, and the breaking in of the Kingdom of God. We will explore the causes behind sickness and disease and learn how to function in divine healing in the varying ways by which God has chosen to administer this gift.
SF 121: Principles of Personal and Corporate Prayer (1)
This course explores foundational principles and realities of personal and corporate prayer. Students will examine spiritual devotion and practical aspects of communication with the Divine, as well as both the pleasure and responsibility of God's presence. This class will enable students to understand and experience critical realities through intimacy with God on a personal level, effectiveness in prayer on a corporate level, and the freedom and consecration that accompany fasting.
SF 201: Intimacy with God: Spiritual Disciplines (2)
In this course we seek to establish both an understanding and experience of the deeper Spirit life. We will do so with a specific focus on developing an intimate relationship with Christ that is grounded in our newfound identity in Him. We will look at the different scriptural disciplines and methods of engagement with God that have been used throughout church history in order to bring one into a greater experience of God and growth in Christ.
SF 211: Walking Worthy (2)
In both Ephesians and Colossians, the apostle Paul summarizes the way believers are expected to respond to God’s grace in Christ by exhorting them to “walk worthy” of the Lord (Col. 1:10) and of their calling in the Gospel (Eph. 4:1). This course will help students to begin to answer the question: what does this look like in practice? Through a study of key biblical insights and time-tested disciplines (practices), students will be invited to discover the ways God works to conform their lives increasingly to the image of Jesus.