Degrees and Programs Religious Studies
Study with a group of committed scholars who are passionate about their work and their students and will invest in your education and spiritual growth.
Expand your view of faithful living as you witness the deep Christian faith of your professors and their varied denominational backgrounds. Be trained to think about and understand every area of the Christian faith so you can share your knowledge as it shapes your life. Prepare to answer a call to professional ministry or simply to live out your faith through your work and service in your church and community. Find your place in the millennia-old history of the Christian faith.
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A New Testament and Greek scholar who chose Old Testaments names for her children
Studying world religions and Christian mission takes him to Southeast Asia and the Pacific
Author of “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jesus: Reading the Gospels on the Ground” who leads programs in the Holy Land
An internationally known scholar who has written commentaries on Matthew, Mark and the entire New Testament
A Baptist pastor and retired Air National Guard chaplain who teaches Old Testament and Hebrew
A New Testament scholar who studies the family and violence in the Bible and biblical worlds
Church historian who examines early Christian attitudes and practices regarding wealth and poverty
Brings Old Testament characters to life by exploring their world
A theologian who trains students to think like Christians
A former Hindu who accepted Christ and brings a unique perspective to theology
- Business (especially international business)
- Christian counseling, clinical counseling, spiritual direction
- Foreign and domestic missions
- Journalism and the arts
- Marketing and management
- Medicine (including physical therapy), medical missions
- Music, sacred music, worship leadership
- Nonprofit organizations, NGOs, Peace Corps
- Pastoring, youth ministry
- Social work, occupational therapy
- Teaching (secondary school, undergraduate, postgraduate)
Key Skills Our Graduates Develop
They will employ close reading skills with regard to primary sources: observation; inquiry; attention to genre, context, intertextuality, and literary influence; awareness of their own assumptions and cultural biases; awareness of audience(s) and effect on readers.
They will display judicious use of scholarly resources (e.g., language tools, commentaries, monographs, journals, dictionaries, encyclopedias, electronic databases, library holdings, inter-library loan, web-based tools). They will acknowledge dependence and influence through appropriate notes and bibliography.
They will appropriate a range of critical methodologies (e.g., historical, literary, textual, rhetorical, socio-cultural), draw on insights across the range of relevant disciplines (e.g., linguistics; anthropology; sociology; philosophy; archaeology), and recognize the insights and pitfalls of various ideological approaches (e.g., post-colonial, feminist, Marxist).
Our graduates will understand the fundamental claims and logic of the Christian faith, appreciate the development of Christian theological traditions over time, and be able to think theologically.
They will faithfully interpret texts including the Bible and other primary sources in the worldwide Christian tradition.
They will fairly evaluate the theological claims of secondary sources and current voices within and outside the Christian tradition.
They will thoughtfully address intellectual and practical issues involving both narrowly theological matters and concerns in other disciplines.
They will be acquainted with, and increasingly formed in, the practices that Christian theology serves including worship, fellowship, mission, study (especially of the Bible), and ethical conduct.
They will increasingly recognize connections between personal faith, scholarly inquiry, and the shared life of God’s people in the world past and present.
They will sense no conflict between rigorous intellectual inquiry, faithful service, and passionate worship.
They will establish lifelong disciplines marked by theological reflection, Christ-like compassion, and robust engagement in the public square.
Fortress Press will release a new volume in May edited by Helen Rhee, Wealth and Poverty in Early Christianity. Based on recent research into patristics, the book features a collection of writings from early Christian thinkers—both from the East and the West—and offers a sampling of the multivalent voices from the early Christian movement. Helen has received a Residential Research Fellowship at Biola University’s Center for Christian Thought on “Suffering and the Good Life” for spring 2018. She presented “Wealth, Poverty, and Human Flourishing in Patristic Theology” at the consultation on Wealth and Poverty for the Theology of Joy and the Good Life series at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture.
Sameer Yadav contributed a chapter, “Doctrine as Ontological Commitment to a Narrative,” to an edited volume, The Task of Dogmatics. He also published a book review of Silvia Jonas’s Ineffability and its Metaphysics in The Journal of Analytic Theology and gave a talk at a colloquium for the philosophy club at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, “The Rationality of Closure to Transformative Religious Experiences: A Response to Laurie Paul.”
Religious Studies Alumni
- Sharon Koh ’00 joined the staff of Evergreen Baptist Church in Los Angeles in 2004, beginning as a senior associate pastor for college and young adults, then shifting to young adults and mission before spending eight years leading mission and community life. In 2016, she became executive director of American Baptist International Ministries. “This has long been God’s call on my life,” she says. “I’m excited to head an organization whose main goal is facilitating mission.” She earned a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Master of Arts in theology focused on global mission and hermeneutics. She is completing a Doctor of Ministry at Fuller in leading change.
- Amanda Mathisen Stylianou ’06 left Westmont for a semester to work full time at a domestic violence shelter and discovered her calling. After graduating with a double major in sociology and religious studies, she completed a Master of Social Work at Rutgers University in New Jersey. She became a licensed social worker in mental health counseling working with victims of abuse and trauma and earned a doctorate at Rutgers. She directs research and evaluation at Safe Horizon, a New York City organization that serves victims of domestic violence at shelters, centers and sites such as family courts and police precincts.
- Pablo Otaola ’06, an immigrant from Argentina, began his career with Young Life (YL) as an intern during college. Passionate about the poor Latino community he grew up with, he became an area director in Chicago. He developed a holistic vision for healthy urban families, seeking to support kids from sixth grade through age 30. He takes a community-development approach, preaching Christ and meeting immediate needs. He helps start businesses that employ kids, such as designing T-shirts, and builds partnerships with local churches. He now serves YL in southwest Denver, which is 91 percent Latino. He is completing both an MBA and a master’s in spiritual formation at North Park Seminary.