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Beliefs in the Crucible - 20 credits (RT5204)

Module Tutors: Rev Dr Trystan Owain Hughes and Dr Craig Gardiner

Summary of course content

The module has five main sections:

  1. Jesus: the historical person and the ways in which the idea of Jesus as human and divine have been expressed through church history.
  2. Trinity: an exploration of God as relational, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Why has this doctrine become central to much contemporary theology? What are the practical implications?
  3. Atonement: exploration of key understandings, down history to the present, of the rationale of salvation
  4. Holy Spirit: the origins of a Holy Spirit theology and their significance for Christian life and practice, explored and analyzed along with a study of such doctrinal themes as grace, forgiveness, faith, repentance, moral growth and spiritual development
  5. Eschatology (‘The Last Things’): an exploration of versions of Christian hope for human destiny.

Credits: 20

Availability of module: Every year

Necessary for: N/A


  1. Enhance critical and empathetic understanding of how Christian beliefs hold together by exploring some central beliefs in relation to historical and living contexts;
  2. Enable critical understanding of Christian life and practice by relating it to key Christian accounts of Jesus and of God as Trinity;
  3. Enable Christian understandings of a Christian life and practice by relating it to key Christian versions of ‘salvation’, the Holy Spirit and questions of human calling and destiny.

Learning outcomes

Students, typically, should be able to:

  1. Explain and critically analyze key notions in Christian thinking on the ‘special’ character of Jesus, God as Trinity, ‘salvation’, Holy Spirit and human and cosmic destiny;
  2. Relate and analyze explanations of Christian life, action and behaviour in the light of such key Christian ideas;
  3. Relate theological formulations like those above to their historical setting, to the context of thought today and to possible Christian aspirations in the modern world.

Teaching methods

Within the lectures are included power point presentations, audio-visual clips, written materials, question times, interaction in small groups, and plenary discussion sessions.


Two essays (50% each)

Suggested book purchases

1. Alister McGrath, Christian Theology: an Introduction Blackwell 2001
2. Alister McGrath, The Christian Theology Reader Blackwell 2001

Suggested preparatory reading

Alister McGrath, Theology: The Basics Blackwell 2004

Primary sources

Alister McGrath, The Christian Theology Reader Blackwell 2001