You might have heard of the idiom “can’t see the forest for the trees” before. It means that you cannot see the overall plan/purpose for something because you are too caught up in the details. Unfortunately, many followers of Jesus fall prey to this in the sense that we fail to grasp God’s grand plans and purposes for creation laid out in scripture because we are too busy fussing over the interpretation of the smaller details. This, in turn, often results in us becoming legalistic, frustrated, demotivated, hopeless and ultimately powerless in our attempts to be authentic apprentices of Jesus.
The objective of this course is to counteract this problem by helping you to clearly view the ‘forest’ (what is God’s purpose/plan for creation, and then your role in it?) before you attempt to understand the nature of individual ‘trees’ (how should you think, feel and act when facing ‘xyz’ situations?).
As is mentioned in the Drama of Scripture, our key focus areas will include:
- “The scope of God’s redemptive work in creation. The biblical story does not move toward the destruction of the world and our own rescue to heaven. Instead, it culminates in the restoration of the entire creation to its original goodness. The comprehensive scope of creation, sin, and redemption is evident throughout the biblical story and is central to a faithful biblical worldview.
- Emphasizing the believer’s own place within the biblical story. Some refer to four questions as foundational to a biblical worldview: ‘Who am I?’ ‘Where am I?’ ‘What’s wrong?’ ‘What’s the solution?’ N. T. Wright adds an important fifth question: ‘What time is it?’ He thus asks us, ‘Where do we belong in this story? How does it shape our lives in the present?’ As part of our telling of the Bible’s grand story, we will explore the biblical answers to these five questions.
- Highlighting the centrality of mission within the biblical story. The Bible narrates God’s mission to restore the creation. Israel’s mission flows from this: God chose a people to again embody God’s creational purposes for humanity and so be a light to the nations, and the Old Testament narrates the history of Israel’s response to their divine calling. Jesus comes on the scene and in his mission takes upon himself Israel’s missionary vocation. He embodies God’s purpose for humanity and accomplishes the victory over sin, opening the way to a new world. When his earthly ministry is over, he leaves his church with the mandate to continue in that same mission. In our own time, standing as we do between Pentecost and the return of Jesus, our central task as God’s people is to witness to the rule of Jesus Christ over all of life.”
 N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (London: SPCK, 1996), 443, 467–72.
 Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen, The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story, Second Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014), 14–15.
ACADEMIC LEVEL ASSIGNMENT
MINISTRY LEVEL REFLECTION
- Explain the biblical metanarrative of redemption as narrated in Scripture.
- Comprehend the major themes and images of the biblical story, such as creation, fall, redemption, kingdom of God, covenant, and mission.
- Understand an overview of the Bible using the metaphor of a multiple ‘Act’ Drama.
- Explain the authority of the biblical story for cultural and academic activity.
- Equip others with a deeper awareness of, and sensitivity towards, the biblical story and our place in that story.
- View all of the lecture videos or listen to the audio in conjunction with the Power Points
- Read the book and articles
- 2 “multiple-choice” tests (Ministry and Academic Levels)
- 250-500 word reflection (Ministry Level only)
- 1800-2000 word essay (Academic Level only)
- Attend all the group discussions
Basic Course Information
- Time: 10 weeks (1 Term)
- Lectures: 12 sessions of 25-30 minutes each
- Literature: Bible; The Drama of Scripture (course text); 12 lecture Powerpoints; additional articles
Bartholomew, C. and Goheen, M. The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story. 2nd ed. 2014.
Quinton Howitt (B.Ind.Psych; B.Th; M.Th; D.Th.) is the cofounder of the School of Leadership. Previously he served as a Professor of Theology and Education for Vineyard Institute in the USA and asAcademic Dean for Vineyard Bible Institute. He also assisted with the establishment and development of the South African Theological Seminary (SATS) for several of its formative years. His Masters and Doctorate degrees are in the field of Systematic Theology through the University of Zululand.
He has written four published works: Angels: A Systematic Study; Christianity and the Poor; In the Trenches at Corinth; Writing an Academic Essay: A Brief Overview and numerous unpublished manuscripts for educational and training purposes. He also studied in the field of Industrial Psychology at the Rand Afrikaans University (now the University of Johannesburg) before his theological studies. He is married to Trish and has two daughters, Hayley and Robyn and resides in Durban, South Africa.