Published on July 31, 2019 by Katherine Ladd  
Lay Academy Release

Beeson Divinity School’s Lay Academy of Theology at Samford University has announced new courses for fall 2019 and one course for January 2020. The theme, “Words of Life” taken from John 6:68, focuses on the Word of God and its relationship to the Christian life. 

Interested students will have the opportunity to study God’s Word under Beeson Divinity faculty. These courses meet once a week for six weeks.

"Beeson's Lay Academy is central to our outreach ministry to Birmingham. We are here not just for full-time students in pastoral ministry, but for all Christ followers in our region,” Beeson’s Dean Douglas A. Sweeney said. “Come and learn from our world-class theological faculty and grow in the knowledge and love of God and his world."

Evening classes will begin Sept. 30 with a course called “The Pentateuch” taught by Mark Gignilliat, professor of divinity. This course will wrestle with the larger themes and theological concerns of each book in the Pentateuch or Torah (the first five books of the Bible). Particular attention will be given to the Torah’s role in the Old Testament and Christian reception of it in light of our two-testament canon. 

Beginning Oct. 30, Michael Pasquarello, Beeson’s Methodist chair of divinity and director of the Robert Smith Jr. Preaching Institute, will teach an evening course called “Reading Ephesians with Eugene Peterson.” In this course, Pasquarello will use Peterson’s Practicing Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ as a guide for reading Ephesians.

Weekday courses will begin Oct. 2 with a course called Romans: The Good News of God’s Saving Power taught by Frank Thielman, Presbyterian chair of divinity. Thielman will explain the historical circumstances that prompted Paul to write Romans and why it remains such a significant and transformative part of God’s Word. 

Beginning Oct. 3, Doug Webster, professor of pastoral theology and preaching, will lead a study that explores the significance of the Psalms for Christian worship and spiritual formation called, The Psalms: Jesus’ Prayer Book. 

Beginning Oct. 4, Sydney Park, associate professor of divinity, will teach a course called The Gospel Of Mark, focusing on the identity of Jesus Christ: his teaching, suffering, death and resurrection. She also will look at the implications of Christ's atonement for his disciples today. 

The cost of each course is $89 if registered prior to the fourth week in September and $115 thereafter.

In addition to fall courses, Lay Academy is offering a course called Puritanism beginning Jan. 29, taught by research professor Gerald Bray. This class will cover the origins of Puritanism, its particular doctrinal and spiritual emphases and its early successes. It will then consider divisions within the Puritan movement, opposition to it and its eventual collapse at the end of the 17th century. The cost of this course is $89 if registered prior to Jan. 22 and $115 thereafter. 

Since 2001, Beeson’s Lay Academy offers noncredit courses for interested laity as well as ministers desiring continuing education. Visit Lay Academy’s webpage for more information and to register for a course.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.