Pastors' Academy
Master of Theology THM

THM Courses

2024 Courses

Church History / Systematic Theology
9 – 12 January 2024 • Dr Matthew Mason • Documents, Doctrines, and Eras: Theological Anthropology

The main areas covered in this course will be:

  1. The doctrine of the image of God.
  2. Consideration and evaluation of the major historical and contemporary options for understanding human constitution, including varieties of Platonist and Cartesian substance dualism, hylomorphism, idealism, and materialism, with particular reference to Scripture’s teaching on the significance and relation of soul and body.
  3. Exposition and exploration of historic Reformed understandings of the soul, and faculty psychology, with reference to its pastoral and spiritual significance.
  4. Consideration of the effects of the fall on human nature, with particular reference to exegetical, doctrinal and practical aspects of Reformed teaching on concupiscence in relation to historical and contemporary alternatives.
  5. The vision of God as man’s end, including the scriptural basis of the doctrine, attention to varieties of historic Reformed understanding of the beatific vision, engagement with and evaluation of eschatologies that focus on the renewal of creation at the expense of the beatific vision, and ethical implications for the relationship of contemplation and action in this life.
Biblical Studies
25-28 June 2024 • Dr Robbie Booth • Readings in New Testament Studies: the Gospel of Matthew
  • Objectives of this course include the following:
    Understand the background of the Gospel of Matthew (SLO 1).
  • Understand the primary theological themes of the Gospel of Matthew (SLO 1, 2)
  • Practically apply this knowledge to contemporary ministry contexts (SLO 1, 3, 4)
  • Perform a comparative analysis of pericopes in Matthew to a) understand literary relationships between the Gospels and b) discover the theological emphases of the individual Evangelists (SLO 1, 3, 4).
  • Examine quotations and allusions to the OT in Matthew and decipher the hermeneutical principles that provide the basis for the quotation or allusion (SLO 1, 3).
  • Summarize and evaluate critically recent scholarly contributions to Matthean studies (SLO 2, 3, 4).
  • Apply this knowledge of background, state of the text, comparative analysis, intertextuality, and recent research to the study of Matthew’s Gospel (SLO 1, 3, 4).

Previous Courses

Concentration: Biblical Studies
7 – 11 January 2019 • Dr Daniel Timmer • Wisdom and Poetry (Job)

This course explores various facets of the OT wisdom and poetic books in light of recent research and Scripture. Topics covered include similarities and differences vis-à-vis other ancient Near Eastern poetic and sapiential literature, the relation of the wisdom literature to redemptive history and its place in biblical theology, and the interrelation of wisdom and other OT literary genres. Significant attention will be given to issues that arise in the interpretation of the Book of Job, particularly those bearing on its literary and theological coherence, its contribution to theodicy and to an understanding of suffering, and its relation to other OT wisdom literature. Exegesis of primary sources and extensive reading and critical evaluation of secondary literature, coupled with an emphasis on the integration of theological, methodological, and practical components promotes the student’s advanced competence in theological reflection, research, writing, and teaching as well as his spiritual transformation in relationship with the Triune God. Hebrew-based course.

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Concentration: Historical Theology
4–7 March 2019 • Dr Greg Salazar • English Puritan History and Theology

The course will explore the historical, ecclesiastical, theological, political, and pietistic contexts of the English Puritanism from (c.1560-1700). It will introduce students to some of the major primary and secondary sources, as well as the major historiographical themes that have shaped our understanding of puritanism. It will guide students in navigating through this vast landscape to determine a research project that might make a fruitful contribution to the field. In particular, it will contribute to student developement by guiding students in how to think like a researcher—i.e. the kinds of questions, instincts, and procedures that produce fruitful scholarship and practical application. With this, it will teach students how to access and utilize the most important primary and secondary research resource tools—including introducing students to the joy (and challenge!) of identifying and reading 16th and 17th century handwritten manuscript sources.

This course also seeks to preparing students to serve Christ and His Church through biblical, experiential, and practical ministy. The course will instruct students in how to ‘do historical theology and history’ as a Christian historian-theologian, looking at some of the primary assumptions that tend to drive secular approaches to history and alternatives to these views. In particular, this course aims to contribute to the spiritual formation of the students by not only imparting a scholarly historical knowledge of English Puritanism to them, but applying this knowledge in pastoral ministry context. Thus, this course will be structured to shape not only our minds, but our hearts. Particular attention will be given to how the themes of this period are experientially applied to our hearts, especially so might gain encouragement, be challenged, and thrive in ministry (and especially suffering).

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Concentration: Systematic Theology
24–28 June 2019 • Dr Lane Tipton (GTI course) • Topics in the Holy Spirit

The course will explore some of the structural differences between Thomism, Barthianism, and confessional Reformed theology on topics that touch on nature, covenant, grace and sin.
The course will also deal with key biblical texts that develop a reformed confessional view of the person and eschatological agency of the Holy Spirit.

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Concentration: Biblical Studies
2–6 September 2019 • Dr Mark Garcia (GTI course) • Topics in New Testament Theology

This module begins with an exploration of the difference between Scripture as “law code” and “law collection”, and proceeds to a series of exegetical case studies of Matthew’s teaching on the law. We shall then bring Matthew’s teaching on Torah into conversation with the fourfold Gospel and the Pauline letter collection (as collections), the intra-biblical rule of faith, the theological significance of the period between Christ and the New Testament texts, and the question of the nature of the necessity of the New Testament given the abiding witness of the Old Testament for the Church and Gospel. By way of these themes, this module covers the nature, function, and proper use of Holy Scripture in biblical theology and ethics, and explores the concepts and hermeneutical consequences of the canonical entities called the fourfold Gospel and the Pauline letter collection.

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Concentration: Historical Theology
21–25 October 2019 • Dr Adriaan Neele Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) • Text, Context, and Interpretation

This course offers an introduction to Jonathan Edwards’ understanding and articulation of spirituality in the context of his time. Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) is rightly called one of the most influential theologians of his time and beyond. In the course we will explore Edwards’ understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit, spiritual awakenings and renewal, spiritual discernment and fruits of the Spirit. Trajectories and texts of intellectual history will be considered related to Edwards’ articulation of spirituality together with his treatises such as A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections. Furthermore, we will examine sermons such as, A History of the Work of Redemption, Distinguishing Marks of a Work of a Spirit of God and Charity and Its Fruits, and other writings. Finally, attention with be given to historical theological trajectories appropriated by Edwards, as proposed in Before Jonathan Edwards: Sources of New England Theology (Oxford University Press, 2019).

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Concentration: Systematic Theology
6–10 January 2020 • Dr Mark Garcia (GTI course) • Reformed Catholicity

What is the center, and what are the outer limits, of the Christian Faith? How does the confessional Reformed tradition relate to the Christian tradition as a whole? How does the ontology of Scripture as the Church’s divinely inspired canon affect the work of theology? Does the story of Scripture’s formation illuminate the relationship of Scripture to tradition and confession? These and other questions are explored in this course. “Catholicity” is an often-misunderstood term, and “Reformed Catholicity” sounds to others like a contradiction, but in fact the early and formative voices of Reformed Protestantism were persuaded the life and health of the Church depends on its catholicity in Protestant, not Roman Catholic terms.

In recent decades, developments in the “theological interpretation of Scripture”, “canonical hermeneutics/theology”, and advanced research into the texts and figures of post-Reformation Reformed theologians and confessions have returned the question of Reformed catholicity to the attention of the Church. New efforts include a considered zeal:

  • to retrieve the best of the patristic and medieval traditions on which the Reformation depended;
  • to reconsider the Reformed catholic efforts of bodies such as the Regensburg Colloquy and Westminster Assembly as well as figures such as Martin Bucer, William Perkins, John Williamson Nevin, and Herman Bavinck;
  • and to renew the Church’s practical commitment to the Bible as Holy Scripture rather than mere historical artifact or source material.

Advances in responsible models and commendations of catholicity in theology are plentiful and varied, and some of the most promising ideas proceed not only from scholarly voices across the disciplines in our own day but also through distinctive 20th century Reformed contributions on the unity of theology, on canon and Christology, on Scripture and tradition, and on recovering the distinctly Christian “theo-logical” nature of theology. These and other shifts in scholarship—especially work on canon, the rule of faith, the nature of history, and pneumatology—place us in an enviable position of great opportunity. This course argues for the nature and the importance of Reformed catholicity, and charts the way forward for further development.

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Concentration: Historical Theology
2 – 6 March 2020 • Historical Figures and Thought: Petrus van Mastricht (1630-1706)

This course is an introduction to the period of the church of ca. 1625-1700, and explores the relationship of Post-Reformation Reformed theology and Medieval, Reformation, and the early modern era, development and codification of Christian doctrine in the Protestant tradition.

Attention will be given to primary sources, including, but not limited to, Mastricht, Theoretical-practical theology, vol. I, Prolegomena (RHB, 2018); Ibid., vol. II, Faith in the Triune God (RHB, 2019); Ibid., Treatise on Regeneration (Green, ca. 1770); Ibid., The Best Method of Preaching (RHB, 2013), and the transitional moments of continuity and discontinuity of intellectual thought of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century continental Europe, and considers the implications of biblical exegesis, doctrinal formulation and praxis of the Post-Reformation Reformed era in particular.

The life and work of Petrus van Mastricht (1630-1706) will be used as a case study. Mastricht was the successor of Gisbertus Voetius (1589-1676) at the University of Utrecht, the summit of 17th century Reformed orthodoxy and orthopraxis, and was a highly recommended theologian by Jonathan Edwards’ (1703-58), asserting, But take Mastricht for divinity in general, doctrine, practice, and controversy; or as an universal system of divinity and it is much better than Turretin or any other book in the world, excepting the Bible, in my opinion (Works of Jonathan Edwards 16:217).
The instructor, Dr. Adriaan C. Neele published the first doctoral study on Mastricht with Brill (Petrus van Mastricht 1630-1706): Method and Piety, 2009), various scholarly articles, as well as a most recent publication with Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (Petrus van Mastricht (1630-1706): Text, Context, and Interpretation, 2020), which is commended by Carl R. Trueman, “[This book] is not just a statement of the state of the art on Mastricht studies. It also points the way forward for further exploration of Mastricht’s thought and the history of Reformed Orthodoxy in general.”

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Concentration: Systematic Theology
29 June – 3 July 2020 • Mike Allen • John Webster Among the Theologians

This course involves a close study of the writings of the late John Webster. Students grow in their ability to read his texts directly and to appreciate the systematic framework of his thought more broadly. In viewing his work closely and broadly alike, its relationship to other theologians is examined, beginning with his early work on modern Protestant theology and moving through to his later, extended engagement of early fathers, medieval doctors, and post-Reformation Reformed scholastics. His practice of theology is examined with respect to various doctrines (e.g. God, covenant, church) as well as with respect to its underlying methodological approach to “theological theology” as an exercise in “biblical reasoning.

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Concentration: Biblical Studies
CANCELLED • 7 – 11 September 2020 • Maarten Kater • Practical Theology from the Perspective of the Letter to the Hebrews

In this course we drink from the fountain of this ‘canonical sermon’. There a lot of lessons in it especially for homiletics. ‘God speaks’, what does this Voice of God mean? What about so much rhetoric in the sermon, really a useful servant or always a bad master? Preaching Christ, but what about all those exempla (Hebrews 11)? Just a few questions amongst many others. Moreover, Hebrews shows us what the ultimate medicine is against spiritual diseases as the great danger of backsliding. There is much of pastoral care in this ‘word of exhortation’. Not to mention more, what does the so-called rule ‘lex orandi, lex credendi’ tells us in the 21th century, seen from the perspective of Hebrews? And, how do Christians see their ‘going to church’ in the light of Hebrews 12? Lessons for our liturgy and ecclesiology. This course is offered by Dr. Maarten J. Kater, Professor of Practical Theology and Biblical Studies at the Theological University Apeldoorn, The Netherlands—a partner of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary for research and doctoral studies.

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Concentration: Historical Theology
CANCELLED • 26–30 October 2020 • Jonathon Beeke • Historical Figures and Thought: Life and Theology of Francis Turretin

This course offers an in-depth survey of the life and thought of Francis Turretin (1623–1687), considered by many the quintessential representative of Reformed Orthodoxy. Primary attention will be given to Turretin’s magnum opus, his Institutes of Elenctic Theology (1679–1685). As even the title of this work demands that due diligence be given to contextual considerations, Turretin’s historical context within which he formulated his theology will be considered. Special attention will also be given to Turretin’s scholastic method, questions of prolegomena, his covenant theology, and Christology.

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Research Methods
15 - 19 August 2022 • PRTS Livestream

All ThM students have to take the ‘Research Methods’ class in their concentration. Where possible, it is best to take this as the first of your classes. The Research Methods class for each of the three concentrations is available via livestream from PRTS on 15–19 August, with Daniel Timmer (biblical studies), Adriaan Neele (historical theology), and Stephen Myers (systematic theology). Please book them directly with PRTS.

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Historical / Systematic Theology
3 - 6 January 2023 • Garry Williams • In person at Pastors' Academy • Adam and Christ


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