7.6.1 Practical Theology Courses

PT 013P English Bible Survey

  • To provide a thorough survey of the content of the English Bible
  • To equip future church leaders with skills for teaching the English Bible in the local church 
  • To meet the requirement of passing the English Bible examination

Topics covered include the reading of the entire English Bible, written exercises, class discussion, and laboratory experience in study methods. Offered as an Independent Study. See tuition-other section for fee.
  Spring semester, non-credit. Mr. Jue.

PT 021P, 021P-2  Mentored Ministry Integration Seminar

  • To discuss the integration of biblical and theological principles to ministry situations
  • To provide a workshop in which each student will present one case from an actual ministry experience 
  • To learn to analyze problems, apply biblical principles, and propose appropriate solutions in the context of lively class discussions

Students in the M.Div. program are required to take this seminar twice. Auditing not permitted. Prerequisite, PT 111.
  Fall and spring semesters, non-credit (class meets one hour per week). Mr. Witmer.

PT 031P, 033P, 035P  Advanced Theological Writing I (on-campus and DE), II, III

  • To equip students to write their seminary course papers clearly and accurately

Topics covered include the thesis; overall organization and paragraph structure in theological writing; styles of writing apologetic, exegetical, and other course papers; summary, paraphrase, quotation, and documentation forms; vocabulary development; and advanced English grammar. Correction will be provided for papers, sermons, and presentations written by students for regular seminary courses while enrolled in Advanced Theological Writing (ATW). Distance education section available for PT 031P only.
Required of entering non-native English speakers in accordance with section 5.1.1.  One of the following grade designations will be given: PN (Pass, no credit) or CT (Continue in next ATW course in the series). Auditing not permitted. 
  Fall and spring semesters (summer term for D.Min. students), non-credit (class meets two hours per week). Ms. Altena.

PT 111 Orientation to Ministerial Formation

  • To receive an introduction to the comprehensive picture of  preparation for kingdom ministry, including the biblical qualifications for those who would serve as shepherds of God’s flock
  • To understand the powerful ministry dynamic of Spirit and Word to transform lives 
  • To remember the central role of a vital walk with the Lord to effective ministry (Spiritual Formation) 
  • To understand the steps necessary to achieve perceived ministry goals (Professional Formation) 
  • To understand and analyze the “call” to ministry 
  • To receive an introduction to the Mentored Ministry program 
  • To receive an introduction to the design of the Practical Theology curriculum 
  • To complete the Ministry Preparation Commitment designed to coordinate the resources of the Seminary and the church with one’s comprehensive preparation for effective kingdom service

Topics covered include calling to ministry, the minister’s family life, and spiritual formation, using various approaches to learning, including readings, response papers, and interaction with “Ministry Panels” in which experienced leaders will interact with the class on important topics such as “Call to Ministry” and “Family Life.” This course is required for all first-year M.Div. Pastoral and General students.
  Fall semester, two hours. Mr. Witmer.

PT 123 Gospel Communication

  • To provide students with the tools to prepare a message or study from the Scriptures
  • To introduce the student to Westminster’s core values in preaching 
  • To introduce the student to the basic elements of good sermon construction 
  • To initiate practice in the skills of preparing sermons 
  • To expose the student to various preaching models

Topics covered include a biblical theology of preaching and gospel communication; the spiritual principles of proclaiming the gospel; the form of the message; studies in text and theme selection, exegesis, structure, and delivery.
  Spring semester, two hours. Mr. Sallade.

PT 132 Gospel Prayer in Christian Ministry

  • To prepare students for the realities of prayer within Christian ministry, with particular attention given to pastoral ministry.

This course will focus on the essential function of prayer in the Christian ministry in both theory and practice. Topics include an analysis of Scriptural prayers including The Lord’s Prayer, various types of praying in worship, teaching prayer to congregants, and the personal practice of keeping a prayer journal and prayer list.
  Winter term, one hour. (Not given in 2014-2015). Mr. Hobaugh.

PT 141 Preaching and Apologetics

  • To help students to “give a defense for the hope within them” through preaching
  • To know when and how to engage apologetics in the context of a preaching ministry 
  • To discuss the implications of presuppositional apologetics in preaching

The course is a practicum which will include student sermons applying principles presented in lectures. Prerequisites, AP 101, and PT 123.
  Spring semester, one hour. (Not given in 2014-2015). Mr. Witmer.

PT 173 Biblical Interpretation

  • To gain an overall framework for interpreting/applying any passage of Scripture, a framework that is sensitive to the reader’s world, the author’s world, and the text itself
  • To gain experience in seeing the Christological/Gospel-centered implications of any text as a prerequisite for meaningful personal application 
  • To grow in ability to rivet Scriptural truth to real-life ministry situations 
  • To practice biblical interpretation in the context of community

Topics covered include the problem of meaning, historical and contemporary models for the interpretation/application of Scripture, Bible translators, resources for Bible study, genre, and contemporary challenges in interpretation (including the role of the reader and the impact of culture in the process of interpretation). Not available to M.Div. or M.A.R. students. Prerequisites, OT 131.
  Spring semester, three hours. Mr. Emlet and Ms. Bernhardt

PT/ST 211 The Doctrine of the Church

  • To strengthen the student’s commitment to and service in the local church and to God
  • To articulate a clear understanding of the Reformed doctrine of the church 
  • To aid the student in building a philosophy of ministry for the twenty-first century

Topics covered include a biblical theology of the church; the marks, attributes, and mission of the church; form of government; women’s role in the church; gifts; and church discipline.
(Prior to 2013-2014: PT 211 The Doctrine of the Church, two hours.)
  Fall semester, four hours. Mr. Garner.

PT 221 Expository Skills and Evaluation

  • To create an appreciation for expository teaching
  • To enhance the student’s skill for choosing, understanding, and structuring a biblical text for the purpose of preaching 
  • To provide an opportunity to practice those skills 
  • To encourage critical reflection upon the student’s own preaching for continuing development

Topics covered include analysis of various sermon forms and structures; unity, movement, and purpose in sermon construction; and grace dynamics of Christian preaching. Two expository messages will be preached by each student and evaluated by the professors.
Preference given to M.Div. - Pastoral Ministry students. Prerequisite, PT 123.
  Fall semester, two hours. Staff.

PT 243 Preparing for Licensure and Ordination

  • To prepare men for licensure and ordination in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), and other theologically-similar denomination.

Topics covered include theology, church government, Bible knowledge, and church history within the context of a denomination’s examination process. This course is limited to students in the M.Div. Pastoral Ministry track. M.Div. students in the General, Counseling and Urban Mission emphases who are under care of a NAPARC presbytery must request permission from the Registrar’s Office to register for the class.
  Spring Semester, one hour. Mr. Hobaugh.

PT 311 Church Dynamics and Pastoral Practice

  • To introduce the biblical and theological concept of “shepherding” as a comprehensive matrix for pastoral ministry
  • To present practical models deploying the special offices of elder and deacon for the care and growth of the flock
  • To discuss the challenges in carrying out such a ministry in the contemporary cultural and ecclesiastical context

Topics covered include protection of the flock through the development of a proactive shepherding plan, biblical church discipline, dealing with conflict, and change in the local church.
  Fall semester, two hours. Mr. Witmer.

PT 332 Seminar in Leadership

  • To examine biblical principles of leadership
  • To evaluate one’s leadership gifts, style, and strength 
  • To discuss practical leadership models and methods within the local church

Topics covered include characteristics of godly leaders, how to develop a ministry model, the importance of planning, practical pointers on leading a session and a congregation, a resume primer, and factors in evaluating a pastoral call. The course includes a special lecture by Dr. Diane Langberg on how to avoid experiencing a moral shipwreck in your ministry.
  Winter term, two hours. Mr. Witmer.

PT 343 Mission of the Church

  • To instill a passion and commitment for the mission of Christ’s church in the world
  • To enable the articulation of how the mission of Christ is taught throughout the Scriptures 
  • To equip with models for leading the church in its missions program 
  • To equip with models for leading the church in its educational program
  • To enable the leadership in a church’s evangelistic outreach

Topics covered include a biblical theory of mission, issues in world evangelization, building a missions program for the local church, contextualization, education and the church, curriculum design, and building evangelistic outreach for the local church.
  Spring semester, two hours. Mr. Sarracino.

PT 353 Sermon Delivery

  • To increase awareness of delivery and language skills in preaching
  • To provide an opportunity to test these skills 
  • To create critical reflection upon and means of continuing development of these skills in the student’s preaching

Topics covered include elements of sermon delivery, use of image and metaphor, and language and speech-related skills. Two sermons will be preached by each student and evaluated by the professors. Prerequisites, PT 123 and, ordinarily, PT 221. Limited to candidates for the M.Div. degree in Pastoral Ministry track.
  Spring semester, two hours. Mr. Estes.

PT 372 Worship

  • To deepen the students’ biblical and theological understanding of public worship
  • To familiarize students with historic patterns of Christian worship 
  • To help students develop a vision for a worshiping congregation 
  • To encourage students to be thoughtful, joyful worshipers of the triune God 
  • To provide students with resources as they plan and lead public worship

Topics covered include biblical-theological foundations of worship, the directive principle of worship as outlined in the Westminster Standards, the role of the means of grace in worship, contextualization and worship, music and worship, and contemporary issues with regard to worship.
  Winter term, one hour. Mr. Scott Smith.

PT 421/PT 421P  Theological Research Methods

  • To provide instruction on how to formulate a strategy for research
  • To identify resources that will aid in the composition of a research project 
  • To explain the principles for solid research methods 
  • To create a workable outline and prepare the foundation of a research project 
  • To develop a sense of competency in the movement from planned research to a completed project 
  • To appreciate the importance of using each type of research tool effectively and properly 
  • To develop skills in using the Westminster library and other libraries 
  • To develop skills in using information resources on the internet

Topics covered include developing a research strategy; building bibliographies; using library catalogs, reference resources, periodical resources, electronic resources on the internet; and critical thinking and writing.
  Fall semester and winter term, one hour. Mr. Finlayson.

PT 433 Introduction to Youth Ministry

  • To provide a theological foundation for youth ministry
  • To provide models of ministry that will help students do theological and missiological reflection 
  • To provide students with skills in engaging youth in their context 
  • To examine existing models of youth ministry in order to develop the students’ style and form of ministry

Topics covered are theological foundations of youth ministry, major issues in youth ministry, the church and the importance of youth ministry, reaching the second generation Korean, discipling youth, and the importance of para-church organizations.
  Spring semester, two hours. (Not given in 2014-2015). Staff.

PT 451 Interseminary Seminar

  • To enable students to understand current expressions of other Christian traditions
  • To articulate the Reformed faith in an ecumenical setting that involves five seminaries in Eastern Pennsylvania

Topics covered include the presentation and discussion of student papers on a theological topic. Class meetings are held on Fridays from 3-8 p.m. at the various seminaries, with supper provided by the host school. Limited to four Westminster students.
  Fall semester, two hours. (Not given in 2014-2015). Staff.

PT 463 Preaching from the New Testament

  • To encourage students to preach confidently from the New Testament

This is part of a series of collaborative courses, bringing together faculty from both the Practical Theology and New Testament departments. Each course focuses on preaching from a particular genre of the New Testament. This is a practicum course designed to introduce students to important homiletical principles while providing each student with the opportunity to preach in class.
  Spring semester, one hour. (Not given in 2014-2015). Mr. Witmer and NT Faculty.

PT 471 Illustrating Biblical Truth

  • To introduce the art of finding and using appropriate illustrative materials for preaching and teaching
  • To make the biblical case for the importance of using illustrations in preaching and teaching
  • To discuss the various sources of illustrative material 
  • To practice seeing life through the lens of Scripture 
  • To study and seek to apply the concept of sense appeal in the sermons of C. H. Spurgeon 
  • To study and seek to apply the art of storytelling according to Jay Adams

As a practicum, students will practice finding and presenting illustrations in class.
  Fall semester, one hour. Mr. Witmer.

PT 481 Preaching from the Old Testament

  • To encourage students to preach confidently from the Old Testament
  • To help students preach from a particular genre of Old Testament revelation 
  • To have students prepare and present one sermon based on an Old Testament text

Topics covered include the particular hermeneutical and homiletical challenges facing the preacher working through the particular genre selected.
  Spring semester, one hour. (Not given in 2014-2015). Mr. Kelly and Mr. Witmer.

PT 543  Special Preaching Situations

  • To equip students to be prepared to minister the Word of God in a variety of contexts including weddings, funerals, and other occasional preaching opportunities that arise on the church calendar (Christmas, Easter, etc.)

Topics covered include special dynamics of these situations. Students will prepare a ministry notebook including both wedding and funeral services and will prepare and preach messages designed to meet these circumstances.
  Spring semester, one hour. (Not given in 2014-2015). Mr. Witmer.

PT 601  Congregational Polity: A Historical-Theological Approach

  • This course is required for students seeking ordination in the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference.

Topics covered include the formation of New England Congregationalism in seventeenth-century New England and its applicability to life today. The course develops the emergence of a theology which viewed all of life as covenantal with special application to church government. Specific attention will be paid to the Cambridge Platform of 1648 and the Savoy Declaration of 1658.
  Fall semester, two hours. (Not given in 2014-2015). Mr. Hall.

PT 671  Ecclesiology, Women, and the Contemporary Church

  • To affirm women’s place and role in the church
  • To explore the biblical teaching on women 
  • To examine current trends on the teaching of women in the church 
  • To help guide the student in ministering to women in the church

Topics covered include an understanding of the hermeneutical issues, a biblical understanding of male and female, the New Testament teaching on women’s role in the church, and practical consideration of how women can serve in the church.
  Fall semester, two hours. (Not given in 2014-2015). Staff.