Midwestern Seminary announced the addition of two new courses to its growing catalog of free theology courses via the For the Church Institute—an online training platform designed for local churches.
The spring course additions include “The Trinity” with Matthew Barrett and “Old Testament I” with Jason DeRouchie.
Nathan Harris, director of institutional relations initiatives at Midwestern, sees the new online courses as one-of-a-kind opportunities for Institute participants. “We are excited to have Dr. Barrett and Dr. DeRouchie participating in For the Church Institute. Both men bring unparalleled knowledge, experience, and passion to the task of teaching.
“Through these courses, students will not only learn more about Scripture and doctrine but will also grow in their love and thankfulness for the goodness and grace of God.”
Based on his forthcoming book publication, Simply Trinity, releasing March 21 with Baker Books, Barrett’s “Trinity” course covers various points of historic Trinitarian doctrine. Barrett hopes the course and book project will encourage serious study and deep reflection on an important Christian doctrine.
“We have drifted away from the orthodox Trinity of the Bible and we have manipulated the Trinity, recreating the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in our own image. It is my hope that these 10 lectures and the accompanying study content will encourage those who participate to lean into what the scriptures and church history tell us concerning this fundamental doctrine.”
The 10 sessions of the Trinity course cover different facets of Trinitarian doctrine including ways in which the doctrine has been modified according to modern definitions and the recovery of important doctrinal positions from leading theologians in the early Church.
DeRouchie’s Old Testament I course frames the Old Testament narrative as “Israel’s story in Jesus’s Bible.” In the course, DeRouchie argues the Old Testament was written for Christians and that Israel’s story of promise and failure anticipates Jesus at every step.
“This new course will help people grasp the overall flow of the Old Testament storyline,” DeRouchie said. “I hope it helps participants gain interest in digging deeper into individual books and see and savor Jesus Christ as the hoped-for savior king who would deliver the world.”
The 10 sessions of the Old Testament I course cover the first 14 books of the Old Testament, Genesis-Daniel, and guide participants in grappling with parts of the Old Testament story, including creation, the exodus, and the protection and preservation of God’s chosen people.
The For the Church Institute launched in the summer of 2020 as a free resource from the seminary for use by individuals and groups in local church contexts. The Institute’s original slate of courses included: Being a Christian with Jason K. Allen, The Story of Everything with Jared Wilson, Theology I with Owen Strachan, and Church History I with John Mark Yeats.
The initial course offerings were well-received, with over 2,400 individuals registering for classes in the first six months following the Institute’s launch.
“The response to the Institute has been overwhelming in the best way imaginable,” said Jordan Wilbanks, who serves as director of church partnerships at Midwestern. “Pastors, church groups, and many wishing to study on their own have all taken part. Many have shared with us about fruitful conversations that have arisen from time studying within FTC Institute courses. We are thankful to hear the resource is fostering real discipleship amongst local church members.”
Wilbanks added the opportunity to provide free theology courses through the Institute flows naturally from the day-to-day work of Midwestern Seminary.
“The resource is a natural extension of Midwestern’s mentality and vision. If we are for the church, then we are not only for training church leaders, but we are also for helping strengthen churches for the long-haul. This resource aims at true biblical literacy and at helping Christians grow in knowing God. Offering these free courses is one way we aim to use the resources entrusted to us for the sake of the health, maturity, and growth of local churches.”
Commenting on future plans for the Institute, Harris and Wilbanks noted more course additions are in the works. The Institute aims to provide a full library, beginning with courses comprising a “base theological education” for the average Christian. Follow-up portions to existing courses are planned, including Theology II, Old Testament II, and Church History II. The Institute will also add courses covering the New Testament and courses in Christian leadership, interpreting the Bible, and more.
To learn more about the For the Church Institute and for more information on how to register as an individual or group, visit ftcinstitute.com.