Dean: Greg A. King
Faculty: Stephen Bauer, Michael G. Hasel, Douglas Jacobs, Martin G. Klingbeil, Judson Lake, Donn W. Leatherman, Carlos G. Martin, John S. Nixon, Alan Parker, Edwin Reynolds, Philip G. Samaan, Barry J. Tryon
Research Professor of Systematic Theology: Norman R. Gulley
Adjunct Faculty: Gordon Bietz, Jack J. Blanco, Michael W. Campbell, David Cook, Fred Fuller, Kevin Kibble, Derek Morris, Douglas Tilstra
Adjunct Faculty for Evangelism: Ron E. M. Clouzet, Mark Finley, Robert Folkenberg Sr.
- Archaeology, Michael G. Hasel
- Biblical Studies, Donn W. Leatherman
- Missions, Carlos G. Martin
- Pastoral Care, Greg A. King
- Religious Education, Teacher Certification, Judson Lake
- Religious Studies, Greg A. King
- Theology, Greg A. King
- Religion A.A., Alan Parker
- Bible Worker Certification, Alan Parker
Evangelism Resource Center Coordinator:
Archaeological Museum Coordinator: Justo Morales
Soul-winning and Leadership Training Coordinator: Michelle Doucoumes
The School of Religion provides biblical, theological, and practical courses to help all university students experience a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, understand His teachings in the context of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and live ethical lives in harmony with the Scriptures. It also provides quality training in the fields of theology, pastoral care, religious education, religious studies, and archaeology, so its graduates, solidly grounded in Scripture and with a clear burden for others’ salvation, become instruments in God’s hands to impact the world.
Programs and Course Offerings
General Education Courses
- To provide instruction in the Scriptures that enhances an intelligent faith in Jesus Christ.
- To encourage development of a set of values that will provide a basis for moral decision-making in the Christian life.
- To acquaint the students with the teachings, history, and global mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
- To provide professional training that prepares graduates to serve the Seventh-day Adventist Church effectively in ministry.
- To provide an adequate pre-Seminary training in biblical backgrounds, languages, history, theology, and church ministries to meet entrance requirements to the M.Div. degree program offered by Andrews University.
- To provide instruction and practical experience in church ministries and public evangelism as outlined in the requirements of the Certification for Ministry.
- To provide instruction in the methodology and interpretation of archaeological data as it relates to the people, places, and events of the Bible.
- To provide the necessary tools and skills for linguistic/exegetical, historical, archaeological, and anthropological analyses.
- To qualify students to pursue graduate work in Classical or Near Eastern archaeology, museum studies, and to provide a major for students involved in pre-professional programs.
Biblical Studies Major
- To provide education in Biblical Studies which does not also require the professional training for pastoral ministry or religious education.
- To prepare students to pursue graduate work in Biblical Studies, to provide a major for students who are involved in pre-professional programs, and to provide a second major for students who are studying other disciplines.
- To prepare students to become well-informed leaders in local churches.
- To provide a biblical and theological foundation, as well as practical experience, in the area of missions.
- To provide training in missions to students who are involved in pre-professional programs.
- To prepare graduates to serve the church more effectively.
Pastoral Care Major
- To provide comprehensive, theological, pre-Seminary training for chaplaincy and pastoral care ministries.
- To supervise pre-Clinical Pastoral Education training for ministries requiring chaplaincy certification.
- To furnish instruction and practical experience in pastoral and other spiritual caring ministries as outlined in the requirements for the Certification for Pastoral Care and required cognates.
Religious Education Major
- To prepare the student for state and church certification (in cooperation with the School of Education and Psychology) on the elementary or secondary levels.
- To support candidates in meeting the requirements of the School of Education and Psychology and its certifying officer by offering a course in Curriculum and Content Methods/Bible and by supervising student teaching.
- To qualify students to pursue graduate work in biblical and religious studies.
Religious Studies Major
- To provide a basic education in biblical and religious studies without meeting the professional requirements of other majors.
- To provide a major for students who are involved in pre-professional programs or who elect a double major, one of which is Religion.
- To prepare students to become well-informed local church leaders.
Bible Instructor or Literature Evangelist (Associate Degree)
- To provide courses in biblical and theological studies that will give the student a foundational knowledge of Scripture.
- To provide instructional and practical experience in the student’s chosen emphasis.
- To prepare students to function within the context and structure of church organization.
The School of Religion is committed to developing an ongoing assessment and strategy to measure its effectiveness in harmony with the Mission Statement of Southern Adventist University, its own mission statement, and the recommendation of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The effectiveness of the School of Religion’s faculty and programs is directly or indirectly assessed by:
- Student evaluations of all classes administered regularly through the office of the vice president for academic administration.
- Majors in the final semester of their senior year.
- Periodic meetings of the faculty with the chair of the Board and the presidents of conferences within the Southern Union.
The following forms of assessment pertain to students taking a major in the School of Religion:
- The 16PF Test is required for all Theology and Pastoral Care majors in their sophomore and senior years. The results are compared with norms established from the performance of successful Adventist pastors on the same test. If a student’s scores differ greatly from these norms, the faculty member assigned to administer the test meets with the student to discuss the potential difficulties and to suggest strategies for improvement. This may involve referral to a professional for personal or career counseling.
- The 16PF Test is administered by the School of Education and Psychology to all Religious Education majors. If the student’s scores indicate potential difficulties, the School of Religion is asked to assist in strategies for improvement.
- A cumulative record of Religious Studies and Archaeology majors is kept as a source of information for recommendation purposes. This record includes academic data and other relevant information.
NOTE: A summary of the evaluations referred to above will be made available in the form of a check sheet to prospective employers who request it and will be signed by the School dean on behalf of the Religion faculty. The School itself cannot guarantee employment.
Admission to the Theology and Pastoral Care Programs
Students who are taking a major in either Theology or Pastoral Care are required to make formal application to the ministerial program to become a trainee, normally during the first semester of their sophomore year. Transfer students must have completed at least one semester in residence and have sophomore status before applying. The application process should be completed during the fall semester. In evaluating applications, the Religion faculty will consider the student’s spiritual and theological commitment, moral character, integrity, emotional stability, grade point average, and social and professional skills in order to determine the applicant’s fitness for the program and overall potential for success in ministry. Students will be notified of the faculty’s decision, and those whose applications are accepted will become ministerial trainees. If at any time after being admitted to the program, trainees give evidence of failure to maintain commitment to the criteria of the ministerial program, including its expectations about spiritual commitment, moral character, or grade point average, they forfeit their standing as trainees and the privilege of being recognized as ministerial candidates in their senior year. Those who have already been accepted as ministerial candidates and then manifest a lack of commitment to the aforementioned criteria of the program will have their candidacy rescinded. Acceptance into the ministerial program as a trainee and approval as a candidate are both required for the completion of either a Theology or a Pastoral Care major. Students not accepted into the program as trainees and/or candidates and those students whose trainee or candidate status is rescinded are not eligible to receive a Theology or Pastoral Care major. However, they may apply to the School of Religion faculty to be allowed to complete a major in Religious Studies.
Students may apply to the ministerial program for trainee status by mid-term of the first semester of their sophomore year. These applications will be considered during the last half of the first semester and announced by the start of the second semester.
- Successful completion of 40 hours of academic credit by the time of the trainee induction service, including ENGL 101 , ENGL 102 ; COMM 135 ; RELB 125 ; RELL 181 or RELL 191 ; RELT 138 ; RELP 150 ;
- An overall grade point average of at least 2.50 and a grade point average of 2.50 in all religion classes (including biblical languages) completed at the time of application.
- Completion of at least two semesters in residence at Southern.
- A record of regular attendance at required activities of the Southern School of Religion.
- Completion of the 16PF Test within six months prior to application.
- Completion of the Jackson Vocational Interest Survey (JVIS).
- Successful completion of the Southern School of Religion Test of Elementary Biblical Knowledge.
- Successful completion of the Southern School of Religion Test of Elementary Doctrinal Knowledge or RELT 255 - Christian Beliefs (R-2).
- Submission of four references, including at least one from each of the following:
- A local pastor.
- A local church elder or church leader.
- An employer OR work supervisor, OR supervisor of volunteer ministries.
- Completion of a prescribed semi-structured interview with the student’s adviser.
- Development and submission of a typewritten ministry experience portfolio, including the following:.
- A statement of call (similar, though not necessarily identical to the one written for RELP 150 - Introduction to Ministry).
- Description of church and ministry activity.
- Description of any volunteer or employment experience in any setting.
- A statement of personal goals and values.
- A growth plan based on self-evaluation, the results of standardized tests, and the interview with the adviser.
- Approval by the School of Religion Faculty Committee based on the following factors:
- Evaluation of the Ministry Experience Portfolio.
- Consideration of written recommendations and the recommendation of the adviser.
- Consideration of academic performance.
- Consideration of standardized test results.
Consideration of the student’s reputation in the university, church, and community.
The process of application and admission is as follows:
- Complete the 16PF during the first semester of the sophomore year. This test will typically be offered in early September.
- Complete the trainee application form (available from the resource secretary) during the Fall semester.
- Applications for admission as trainees will be considered by the faculty in December. This will allow time for evaluation and additional consultation with students, if necessary.
- Trainees will be officially inducted into the program at the time of the annual Trainee Induction weekend.
Students will be considered for approval as ministerial candidates at the beginning of the first semester of their senior year. These applications will be considered during the early part of the first semester and announced about the end of September.
Prior to admission to candidate status, the student should complete the following requirements:
- Be in the process of completing (within one academic year) the 34-hour major in Theology or the 33-hour major in Pastoral Care.
- Be in the process of completing (within one academic year) the 20-hour minor in Biblical Languages.
- Be in the process of completing (within one academic year) the 25 hours required for certification for ministry or the 19 hours required for certification for pastoral care, whichever may apply.
- Be in the process of completing (within one academic year) the General Education requirements and the required cognates for the B.A. in Theology or Pastoral Care.
- Maintain an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.50, and a GPA in Religion of 2.50.
- Complete the ministerial candidate requirements.
- Complete a second 16PF test within 12 months prior to application for candidate status.
- Maintain a record of regular attendance at required activities of the Southern School of Religion.
- Complete the first Ministerial Externship year with the assigned local congregation.
- Submit the student’s ministerial experience portfolio, including all items required for trainee status (updated to the time of the candidature interview), as well as the following:
- A current résumé
- A description of goals for ministry and plans for further education
- A recommendation by the mentoring pastor
- A recommendation by a member of the board from the mentoring church
- Go through the candidature interview.
- Be approved by the School of Religion Faculty Committee based on the following factors:
- Evaluation of the ministry experience portfolio.
- Consideration of the recommendations and the recommendation of the adviser.
- Consideration of the student’s performance in ministry activities.
- Consideration of academic performance.
- Consideration of the student’s reputation in the university, church, and community.
Theology students may apply to the School for variances from #2, #3, and #4 of the above qualifications, including exemptions from one biblical language (Hebrew or Greek), intermediate languages, HIST 364 and HIST 365 , and RELP 423 , provided they meet the following criteria:
- Must have attained the age of 35 years prior to applying for these variances.
- Must transfer in a minimum of 48 semester hours applicable to a degree in theology.
- Must have been active in church work and be recommended by their local pastor or conference for ministerial training on the basis of this work.
- Must have individualized study programs accepted by the faculty prior to being approved for the variances indicated above.
The process of admission is as follows:
- Complete the 16PF during the first semester of the senior year. This test will typically be administered in early September.
- Ministerial candidates will be considered by the faculty in September. This will allow time for evaluation and additional consultation with students, if necessary.
- A list of candidates approved in this program will be posted about the end of September. In addition, the individuals admitted as candidates will be notified by letter.
- Candidates will be considered officially approved at the time the list is posted and will be honored in the Ministerial Candidate Recognition service.
- Students will be eligible to sign up for conference interviews for graduating seniors only following their approval as candidates. If interviews for juniors are requested, students will be eligible only if they have been admitted as trainees.
The School of Religion requires field education of Theology and Pastoral Care majors. The Ministerial Externship Program is designed to enhance professional development by acquainting the student with the multi-faceted responsibilities of ministry. It provides a laboratory setting in membership care, evangelism, church leadership, worship, and preaching by working with experienced mentoring pastors and lay leaders in a local church. The education is necessary before the student can be recommended by the School of Religion for church employment. For students to be approved for participation in the Ministerial Externship Program, they must either be ministerial trainees or receive permission from the School of Religion.
Field School of Evangelism
Full-scale evangelistic meetings will be conducted for six weeks each summer, under the auspices of the Southern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. In addition, during some summers students may be permitted to participate in a three-week evangelistic series in a mission setting overseas. All Theology majors are required to participate in one such field school. Students planning to take the summer field school program must have earned 55 hours with a 2.50 cumulative grade point average, have taken RELP 321 , RELP 322 , RELP 361 , RELP 362 , and RELP 405 , and must be accepted as a ministerial trainee in order to be approved for participation in field school. Applications and scholarship information may be obtained from the field school coordinator.
Pastoral Care Practicum
All Pastoral Care majors are required to participate in a pre-approved ministry practicum, normally offered during the summer. Students planning to take the Pastoral Care practicum must have met all application requirements for consideration. Applications will be available to upper classmen and can be obtained from the School of Religion.
Admission to Archaeology
The Archaeology major is a liberal arts major for students interested in preparing for graduate studies in archaeology, museum studies, cultural resource management, or as preparation for a professional field such as medicine, dentistry, law, or education. Students choosing to major in Archaeology must consult with the director of the Institute of Archaeology to determine their area of interest in Near Eastern or Classical Studies and to lay plans for participation in the Middle East Study Tour and in the archaeological fieldwork. Archaeology majors are required to serve as museum docents for two hours per week during each semester in residence, for training purposes.
The four-year degree candidate may apply the required 12 hours of General Education courses in religion toward the hours for the major, thus reducing the number of extra courses needed to qualify.
Admission to Biblical Studies
The Biblical Studies major is a liberal arts major for students interested in preparing for graduate studies in Old or New Testament, as well as for those planning to enter a professional field such as medicine, dentistry, law, or education.
This major provides a thorough exposure to classes in biblical studies. The four-year degree candidate may apply the required 12 hours of General Education courses in religion toward the hours needed for the major.
Admission to Missions
The Missions major is a liberal arts major for students interested in preparing for medicine, law, development, education, and other graduate studies.
It aims to prepare students to serve as cross-cultural missionaries, as well as to engage in missional living in their local communities. It also helps prepare students for graduate studies in missiology, anthropology, and intercultural studies.
It provides the fundamentals of both biblical and theological studies and practical experience. The four-year degree candidate may apply the required 12 hours of general education courses in religion toward the hours for the major.
Admission to Religious Education
The Religious Education Program is coordinated with the School of Education and Psychology of the University. Planning for certification by the states and/or endorsement by the Seventh-day Adventist church for Bible teaching is made with the certifying officer of the School of Education and Psychology, both for admission to the Religious Education program in the sophomore year and to the professional semester before the senior year.
The student must apply for initial admission to the Teacher Education Program (usually by the end of the sophomore year) after completing all requirements as outlined under “ADMISSION PROCEDURES ” in the School of Education and Psychology section of the Catalog. Initial admission is required before the student can enroll in upper-division education courses.
The student must also complete an application and all other requirements for admission to Student Teaching. Prior to the professional semester, the student must take and pass the PRAXIS II licensure exam—both the appropriate section of the Principles of Learning and Teaching, and the particular specialty test(s) for the licensure area(s).
The criteria for admission to Religious Education, requirements for secondary Bible teaching, and policies and procedures related to student teaching may be found in the University Catalog under the School of Education and Psychology and obtained from the secretary of the School of Education and Psychology in Summerour Hall.
Teacher Certification and Endorsement
Those seeking Tennessee State Certification must fulfill requirements listed here .
Admission to Religious Studies
The Religious Studies major is a liberal arts major for students interested in preparing for professional fields such as medicine, dentistry, law, and other graduate studies.
It provides a balanced selection of both biblical studies and theology courses. The four-year degree candidate may apply the required 12 hours of General Education courses in religion toward the hours needed for the major, thus reducing the number of extra courses needed to qualify.
Admission to Bible Instructor or Literature Evangelist
The Bible Worker and Literature Evangelist Program is a 64-hour, two-year degree leading to an A.A. in Religion. Students wishing to be recommended for employment as Bible instructors or literature evangelists must be approved by the School of Religion. The School of Religion cannot recommend for employment anyone whose course of study has been inadequate or unapproved.
General Education Courses in Religion
The objective in all religion courses is to enhance knowledge of and appreciation for the Scriptures, and to assist the student in gaining and maintaining a vital involvement with Jesus Christ and a personal commitment to serve family, church, community, and the world. Six semester hours of religion are required of the two-year graduate, and 12 semester hours of the four-year graduate. This is equivalent to one three-hour course per year, which may be selected from any of the religion courses offered. Bachelor degree students must take at least three semester hours at the upper-division level. (Detailed information on General Education requirements are found in this Catalog.)
The candidates for graduation in the program for Theology or for Pastoral Care must have a grade point average (GPA) of 2.50 overall, (the same GPA required for entrance to the Seminary), along with a 2.50 aggregate GPA in all required religion classes, including biblical language classes. In addition to their major, they must take 20 hours for the Certification in Biblical Languages, 24/19 hours for the Certification in Ministry/Pastoral Care, and 12/17 hours in cognates to qualify for ministerial candidacy. Additionally, among all the classes required for certification, no more than two classes will be allowed with a grade below “C-“, and only in one area of certification. They must also give evidence of moral, physical, social, and intellectual fitness and demonstrate professional commitment in order to achieve and retain trainee and candidate status and for the School of Religion to recommend them as prospective ministerial employees. Students who are not accepted as trainees and/or candidates or who lose said status are not eligible to graduate with a Theology or Pastoral Care major. However, with the permission of the Religion faculty, these students may be allowed to complete a Religious Studies major. Archaeology graduation candidates must have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 and 2.75 in their major. Candidates for the Biblical Studies major must have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 and 2.75 in their major. Candidates for the Missions major must have a cumulative GPA of 2.50. Those students pursuing the Religious Education major must have a GPA of 2.75 overall, and a 2.75 in education and in the field of certification as outlined by the School of Education and Psychology. The Religious Studies, as well as the A.A. in Religion candidates for graduation, must have a GPA of 2.25 overall and a 2.25 in their major as outlined in this Catalog. Where exit examinations are required, the candidate must pass with a score of 75 percent or above prior to graduation.