Christian Studies

The University of Dubuque Christian Studies major is designed to expose students to various aspects of the Bible, Church history, theology and philosophy, and practical leadership experience. This major equips students to apply a Christian perspective to their lives, their work, and to the world, and prepares them for leadership and service in the world and in the church. Although the focus is on Christian theology and spirituality, students in this major are also exposed to at least one other religious tradition.

In addition to knowledge of religious content, this major gives students skills in critical thinking, research, and communication. The major, by itself or along with another major provides a foundation for both lay leadership in the Church and for advanced theological study in a seminary or divinity school. A major (or minor) in Christian studies is also a way for students majoring in another field to think through how their Christian faith and calling relates to work in their other field of study.

What You Will Learn

  • Develop a foundation of understanding basic Christian doctrines, recognize and interpret representative passages in the Bible, and be able to read, analyze, and critique difficult writings.
  • Communicate ideas and arguments in writing and orally.
  • Gain experience in service and leadership and be able to reflect the applications of Christian thought to this experience.

Program of Study

The University of Dubuque degree in Christian Studies offers students an opportunity to study the Bible, church history, theology, philosophy, and to get practical leadership experience to prepare for Christian leadership in the church and other fields.


What Our Students Do

The University of Dubuque Christian Studies Program allows students to study the Bible together, support one another in Christian life, and learn to think Christianly through studying the riches of Christian theology and history. Every Christian studies major participates in at least one semester-long ministry internship or service experience. Many Christian studies majors are actively involved in ministry on campus and in local churches. - See more at: 

Where Our Graduates Go

University of Dubuque Christian studies graduates go on to attend graduate school in theology at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary and elsewhere. Our graduates serve in leadership positions in Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, and non-denominational churches across the country. Students who pursue Christian studies as a second major, or as an academic minor, integrate their faith and careers and serve God in a variety of fields.

News from the Department

Environmental Perspectives, 2nd edition, by Dr. Roger Ebertz was recently published by Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. Dr. Ebertz is currently working on a book on the Christian Story, an overview of the “big story” of the Bible. Dr. Paul Jensen’s book, Tools for Young Philosophers, was published in 2011 by WIPF and STOCK Publishers. Dr. Jensen is currently writing a book tentatively titled, Christianity for Skeptics. 

Christian Studies - Program of Study

The courses below are a program sample of what students may encounter. Students will meet with their advisers to develop a personal educational program to plan their elective course choices, internships, undergraduate research, and other educational opportunities and experiences.

Year One

Fall Semester
WVS 101: World View Seminar I (3)
REL 115: Christian Beliefs (3)
ENG 101: Composition and Rhetoric (3)
CIS 101/103: Introduction to Computers (3)
COM 101: Speech Communication (3)

J-Term
Required

Spring Semester
WVS 201: World View Seminar II (3)
REL 116: History of Christianity (3)
ENG 112/260: Literature (3)
RES 104: Research Writing (3)
BIO 110: Human Biology Lab (4) or other Science Lab Course


Year Two

Fall Semester
REL 220: Introduction to the Old Testament (3)
REL 251: Religions of the World (3), or REL 253: Islam (3), or REL 255: Buddhism (3)
PSY/SOC 111:  Introduction to Psychology/Sociology (3)
HWS 110: Physical Activity (1)
PHL 114: Logical Reasoning (3)

J-Term
Recommended

Spring Semester
REL 118: Religion at the Movies (3)
REL 221: Introduction to the New Testament(3)
ART 111: Survey of Western Art (3) or other Aesthetics B Course
REL 214: Environmental Perspectives (3) or other Stewardship Course

Religion elective or course for a minor or second major


Year Three

Fall Semester
REL Elective
REL Elective
REL Elective
CCS 101/UDLS 111: Cross-Cultural Study (1)/Elementary Spanish I (3) or other Global Awareness B Course

J-Term
Recommended

Spring Semester
REL 321: Philosophy of Religion
Elective or courses for a minor or second major


Year Four

Fall Semester
Religion or Theology Elective
Electives, or courses for minor or second major 

J-Term
Recommended

Spring Semester
Religion or Theology Elective
REL 495: Senior Seminar
Electives, or courses for minor or second major

Christine Darr
Christine Darr
Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics
Director of Scholar-Leader Honors Program

PhD, University of Iowa
BA, Northwestern College

Office Phone: 563.589.3305
E-mail: cdarr@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 330 Severance Hall

Bonnie Sue Lewis
Bonnie Sue Lewis
Professor of Mission and World Christianity

PhD, University of Washington
MA, Fuller Theological Seminary
BA, Whitworth College

Office Phone: 563.589.3648
E-mail: bslewis@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 212 Severance Hall
Fax: 563.589.3110
Biography - Click Here

Dr. Lewis first heard God’s call to mission through the Christian Service Corps where she served from 1976-1979 as a high school history teacher at the Inter-American School in Quezaltenango, Guatemala.  Continuing to see her role as that of teacher, she went on to Fuller Seminary and the University of Washington for a doctorate in U.S. Western History.  Her dissertation on Native American pastors (Creating Christian Indians: Native Clergy in the Presbyterian Church, University of Oklahoma Press, 2003) led to her call to UDTS with its commitment to preparing Native ministers. 

Following an influx of Muslims into Dubuque in 2010, she became engaged in interfaith conversations with Muslims, Christians and Jews that became the Children of Abraham (www.cofabraham.org).   As one of the founding members and now serving on the board, she is involved in monthly conversations, open to the public, on topics common to all three faiths, has been part of a weekly Qur’an study with the local imam for the last seven years, and continues to engage students, neighbors, and friends in building interfaith friendships in their own communities.  Believing that the love of God enables love of others and faithful witness to our lives in Christ, Dr. Lewis is an active member and a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and when not engaged in church, school, or with friends, enjoys a good mystery novel.


May Persaud
May Persaud
Adjunct Instructor of Religion

MAR, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary
BA, Grove City College

E-mail: mpersaud@aol.com 
Office Location: Severance Hall
Biography - Click Here

The daughter of a Presbyterian pastor, born in New Jersey, I grew up in Kansas, attended college at Grove City College, Grove City PA, as a Presbyterian National Scholar (1978), studied st St. Mary's College, St. Andrews University in St. Andrews, Scotland under a Rotary District Scholarship and finished graduate studies at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in 1980. I married Winston D. Persaud, a Lutheran pastor from Guyana, South America and worked with him from 1980-1984 in the Lutheran Church in Guyana. In 1984, we returned to Dubuque, as my husband was called to teach Systematic Theology at Wartburg Seminary. We have two sons: Winston Jr, who is studying at Harvard, and Alexander, who works in Princeton NJ. Since 1986, I have been the Instructor of Biblical Languages at Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque IA, teaching Greek and Hebrew. I have also served as the Dean of Wartburg's Summer Greek Program many times. I have also been involved in teaching Bible in the Youth and Family Certification School for the past 15 years, as well as TEEM most recently. In the past twenty years, I have also taught Greek and Hebrew at various points at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.


Kathleen Rupert
Kathleen Rupert
Adjunct Instructor of Religion

MDiv, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary
BA, University of Dubuque

E-mail: krupert@dbq.edu 

Dan D. Rusmisel
Dan D. Rusmisel
Adjunct Instructor of Religion

MDiv, Bethany Theological Seminary
BS, EL, ED, Ohio State University

Office Phone: 563.589.3265
E-mail: drusmise@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 324 Severance Hall
Fax: 563.589.3416
Biography - Click Here

Rusmisel and his wife have 4 children and 7 grandchildren. They live near Lanark, Illinois in a partially solar heated home designed and built, to reduce their use of and need for conflict or exploitatively acquired resources

He serves as a Anabaptist pastor in the Community Mennonite Fellowship gathering in Sterling, Illinois. Formerly served Blue Ridge (Virginia) Church of the Brethren and Lanark (Illinois) Church of the Brethren.

He was an elementary school teacher in Lima, Ohio for 5 years. Served with the Mennonite Central Committee in Swaziland teaching agriculture for three years. Worked at the University of Maryland in the Agronomy Department doing soil research to increase food production for the hungry.

Rusmisel was raised in Ohio with a large family on a dairy farm.


Jordan Ryan
Jordan Ryan
Assistant Professor of New Testament

PhD, McMaster University
MA, St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto
BA, University of Toronto

Office Phone: 563.589.3418
E-mail: jordanryan@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 224 Severance Hall
Biography - Click Here

Dr. Ryan was born in Toronto, Ontario, the most multicultural city in the world, to a couple working with street youth in the inner city. Prior to coming to UDTS, he was Visiting Assistant Professor of New Testament and Archaeology at Wheaton College in Illinois. Dr. Ryan's research focuses on Jesus, the Gospels, philosophy of history, ancient synagogues, and the archaeological background of the New Testament. He enjoys heavy music, playing guitar, and exploring ancient ruins in the summer heat.

Selected Recent Publications:

MONOGRAPHS 

Ryan, Jordan J. The Role of the Synagogue in the Aims of Jesus. Minneapolis: Fortress Press: 2017.

PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL ARTICLES

Ryan, Jordan J. “The Historian’s Craft and the Future of Historical Jesus Research: Engaging Brant Pitre’s Jesus and the Last Supper as a Work of History.” Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 15, no. 1 (2017):60-87.

Ryan, Jordan J. “Jesus and Synagogue Disputes: Recovering the Institutional Context of Luke 13:10-17.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 79, no. 1 (2017): 41-59.

Ryan, Jordan J. “Jesus at the Crossroads of Inference and Imagination: The Relevance of R.G. Collingwood’s Philosophy of History for Current Methodological Discussions in Historical Jesus Research.” Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 13 no. 1 (2015): 66-89.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO EDITED VOLUMES

Ryan, Jordan J. “‘He Said These Things While He Was Teaching in the Synagogue At Capernaum’: Capernaum in the Fourth Gospel in Light of Archaeology and Synagogue Studies.” In Archaeology and the Fourth Gospel. Edited by Paul N. Anderson. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans (forthcoming).

Ryan, Jordan J. “The Archaeology of the Hellenistic Period.” In Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament: Historical, Cultural, and Social Contexts of Ancient Israel. Edited by Jonathan S. Greer, John W. Hilber, and John H. Walton. Grand Rapids: Baker (forthcoming).

ENCYCLOPEDIA ENTRIES

Ryan, Jordan. “Magdala.” In T&T Clark Encyclopedia of Second Temple Judaism, edited by Loren T. Stuckenbruck and Daniel M. Gurtner. 2 vols. London and New York: T&T Clark, 2017 (forthcoming). 


Careers in Christian Studies

The Christian Studies Program prepares students for Christian life and leadership in today’s world. The major gives students a foundational understanding of the Bible, Christian theology, the history of Christianity, non-Christian thought, and Christian leadership. Students must participate in an internship with a church or agency. If desired, individual students can work with their advisor to shape their program to focus on youth ministry, worship leadership, or another area of Christian service and leadership. Graduates of the program obtain the necessary skills and knowledge for leadership in their communities and congregations. Pursuing Christian studies as a minor or second major is an excellent way for Christian students to prepare for Christian leadership or build a strong foundation for a career in another field.

BA Opportunities

A degree in Christian studies prepares students for non-ordained leadership positions in youth ministry, Christian education, worship leadership, and other forms of Christian leadership. Many entry-level positions in businesses and non-profit agencies require a bachelor’s degree, but do not require a particular major. Christian students who major in Christian Studies can grow in their Christian understanding while preparing for a variety of career opportunities. Combined with a second major in another field, Christian studies prepares students for Christian leadership in business, arts, education, and a variety of fields.

Post-graduate Opportunities

Christian studies is an excellent preparation for graduate theological education in preparation for ordained ministry. Graduates pursuing ordination often go on to attend seminary at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary or one of many other theological schools around the country. Students who major in Christian studies can also pursue graduate work in law, business, or communication. The University offers an accelerated degree program for students pursuing both a college and a seminary degree. Students can earn a bachelor’s degree and either a master of divinity degree or a master of arts in missional christianity degree. The University of Dubuque also offers a cooperative program through which a student can combine studies for a master’s degree in theology with a master of business administration. Some University of Dubuque Christian studies graduates have gone on to earn the doctor of philosophy degree in religious studies and teach at the college level.

Successful Outcomes

Bill Longmore BA, 2012 Christian Studies

I am a pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Galena, IL.  I take great pride in saying I graduated from the University of Dubuque with a major in religion, and am excited that my sister is getting ready to graduate from UD as well! At UD I was taught by amazing professors.  They showed me love and provided great academic preparation for my career.  Before going to UD, I had served in Iraq and was struggling with drug addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder. Thanks to the support I received at UD and from many others, my family is back on the path to what the Lord has in store for us!

Successful Outcomes

Rev. Dianne Grace BA, 2000 Christian Studies

I am an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ and a chaplain with Hospice of Dubuque. I graduated from the University of Dubuque in May 2000 and received my master of divinity degree from UDTS in May 2003. My UD/UDTS education prepared me for my work as a pastor and as a chaplain by teaching me the skills I would need in order to be an effective and compassionate pastor/chaplain. The knowledge I received from the professors was invaluable, but we were also taught how to apply what we learned from books and in the classrooms to our congregations and those we serve, all in the name of God. I often find myself referring back to my days as a college undergrad and as a seminarian to help me through some of the things I experienced as a congregational pastor and now as a chaplain. A call to ministry is a gift, and UD/UDTS helped me to nurture the skills I needed to serve the Lord as a pastor/chaplain. The University of Dubuque and UDTS were the perfect fit for me and I am proud and honored to be a graduate of both.