Description: 

This course introduces the historical setting, purpose, and central theme of the letters of James, Peter, John, and Jude and the book of Revelation. Emphasis is on the use of critical, historical, archaeological, and cultural analysis. Upon completion, students should be able to use analysis tools to read, understand, explain, and expound on these biblical writings.

Overview: 

The general epistles (also called the Catholic Epistles) are a set of seven letters in the New Testament anciently placed between Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of Paul. "Epistle" simply means a formal letter. The General Epistles are technically part of the historical writings (Acts of the Apostles and the General Epistles) as preserved anciently in a single scroll. Before the writing of the book of Revelation, the New Testament consisted of three rolls—the memoirs of the apostles (the Gospels), the historical writings (Acts and the General Epistles), and the Epistles of Paul (fourteen epistles addressed in three parts, that is letters to seven specific congregations, a letter to the church-at-large, and letters to the ministry).

Revelation (a single roll and the final book in the New Testament) deals with the events of the Day of the Lord, the time of God’s judgments and plagues upon sin at the end of the age, climaxing in the Second Coming of Christ.

In this course you will encounter information concerning the New Testament and some issues and matters not dealt with elsewhere in the New Testament. The General Epistles tell of an apostasy occurring in the late first century leading to a great false form of Christianity we know of as GrecoRoman Orthodox Christianity in Greek and Latin forms. In Revelation we are told the impact of this false church on the people of God and its actions and fruits through its ultimate demise and destruction at the end of the age.

Moreover, here you should find opportunity to hone your critical thinking skills and aptitudes in discerning and understanding the teachings of God’s Word. This course should provide you with a deeper comprehension of the historical and prophetic content of the New Testament through scholarly information and presentations.

Prerequisites: 
Completion of THL 136 or consent of instructor
Instructor: 

Frank, Jr., Kenneth L.

Registrar and Director of Admissions
Full Time
Degrees: 
B.A. (1973), Ambassador University; M.A. (2014), Grand Canyon University.
Subject Matter: 
Theology

Mr. Frank was born and raised in New Jersey, USA where he attended Monmouth College (now Monmouth University) for one year, majoring in history and government. Following that, he attended the three campuses of Ambassador College (later Ambassador University) in Big Sandy, Texas, USA; Bricket Wood, England; and Pasadena, California, USA.

In the summer of 1971 he participated in an archaeological project jointly sponsored by Ambassador College and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Upon graduation from Ambassador College with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology, he trained for the ministry in Canada and was ordained an elder in 1975. He pastored Canadian congregations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario for twenty-six years before returning to the United States where he served as a Living Church of God pastor in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. He is married, father of four children (one of whom is Living University faculty member, Annette Triplett) and grandfather of seven. In 2014, he earned a Master of Arts degree in Christian Studies with an emphasis in Pastoral Ministry at Grand Canyon University. Presently, he serves at the Living University campus as instructor, Registrar and Director of Admissions. 

Course Credit: 
Three (3) semester hours
Instructional Objectives: 

On completion of this course, a student should be able to:

  1. Describe the character of Christianity in Asia Minor late in the first century C.E.;
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the author, background, theme and content of each of the General Epistles and the book of Revelation, and discuss key points subject to textual criticism;
  3. Discuss concepts contained in the book of Revelation and each epistle that relate to understanding the history and development of the NT Church of God and its doctrines;
  4. State and demonstrate each author’s teaching, including his views on Christian living, on various doctrines and themes contained in the book of Revelation and each of his epistles;
  5. Show a basic understanding of the book of Revelation, within the framework of biblical prophecy as it relates to other passages in the Old and New Testaments, and discuss the events leading to the Day of the Lord, the establishment of the Kingdom of God, and Final Judgment;
  6. Apply the above in a coherent understanding of the relevance and challenge of John’s vision for the 21st century; and
  7. State the definition of basic terms.
Required Texts: 

Students may order their books through the University Bookstore. Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble also are excellent sources of new and used books. The books used or referred to in this course are commercial publications. They represent the views and ideas of their authors, editors, and publishers. Living University does not endorse these texts nor vouch for their accuracy. We simply employ them in helping you master the content of the course.

Required Textbooks

  • Elwell, Walter A., and Robert W. Yarbrough. Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013. ISBN 9780801039645.
  • The Bible - preferably a New King James version (also consult other translations).
Additional Readings: 

Optional/Supplemental

The Book of Revelation for Dummies - Helyer & Wagner (ISBN 9780470045213)

Lectures: 

This course includes lectures by faculty and guests. Links to lectures are located within the lessons.

Course Calendar: 
Lesson Topics
Lesson 1 Introduction 

Topic 1 Background
Topic 2 Apostolic Writings
Topic 3 Gnosticism
Topic 4 New Testament Exegesis
Icebreaker
Lesson 1 Discussion
Writing Assignment 1
Quiz 1

Lesson 2 James

Topic 1 Background
Topic 2 Word Study
Topic 3 Enduring Trials and Faith
Topic 4 Living Faith at Work

Lesson 2 Discussion
Writing Assignment 2
Quiz 2

Lesson 3 1 Peter

Topic 1 Background
Topic 2 The Apostle Peter and Simon Magus
Topic 3 Peter's Death and Burial
Topic 4 Peter Chapters 1-5

Lesson 3 iscussion
Writing Assignment 3
Quiz 3

Lesson 4 2 Peter

Topic 1 Background
Topic 2 Virtues 2 Peter 1:5-7
Topic 3 Apostasy & Destructive Heresies
Topic 4 Paul's Epistles are Scripture

Lesson 4 Discussion
Writing Assignment 4
Quiz 4

EXAM 1 (Lessons 1-4)

Lesson 5 1, 2 & 3 John

Topic 1 Background
Topic 2 1, 2 & 3 John

Lesson 5 Discussion
Writing Assignment 5
Quiz 5

Lesson 6 Jude 

Topic 1 Background
Topic 2 Jude
Topic 3 Canonical Issues

Lesson 6 Discussion
Writing Assignment 6
Quiz 6

Lesson 7 Revelation

Topic 1 Background and Introduction
Topic 2 The True and False Churches
Topic 3 The Day of the Lord
Topic 4 The Second Coming, Millennium, and Thereafter

Lesson 7 Discussion
Writing Assignment 7
Quiz 7

Exam 2 (Lessons 5-7)

Lesson 8 Epilog (Dec 6-22)

Closing Comments

Writing Assignment 8
Research Paper
Course Evaluation

Exam 3 (Final - Lessons 1-8) PROCTORED

Course Requirements: 

Icebreaker assignment
For credit students must complete an icebreaker assignment. For credit, you will need to post at least three comments, consisting of your short autobiography and two comments on the autobiographies of other students. The purposes of this icebreaker assignment are for you to introduce yourself to your classmates, to verify your enrollment in this course, and to promote student interaction.

Simply tell the class about yourself and your goals and comment on two other students' Icebreaker postings. This is not the place for a profession of faith, or the details of your conversion experience, or problems you have had with previous fellowships, as that information is more of a private nature. Here you inform your classmates what you would like them to know about you. As we have people from all over the world enrolled in this course, each autobiography will help us know, understand and appreciate each other.

The icebreaker assignment is due by the eighth day of the semester (check the Assignments page for date). By getting your icebreaker assignment posted on time you can earn points. These points could make the difference between an A or a B, or passing or not passing. Post your autobiography as a reply to the "Icebreaker" topic on the course discussion forum. On this assignment there is no credit granted for postings made after the deadline. Students who do not post their autobiography before the end of the Late Registration (Drop/Add) period officially become "No Show" students and they forfeit their registration in this course.

Terms and phrases
Each lesson includes a set of terms and phrases for you to learn. This exercise is to help you develop and expand your biblical and theological vocabulary as you proceed through the seven core lessons, and to help you focus on the context of the content you are reading. Examinations will specifically test your mastery of the basic terminology of this course. Many students find looking over vocabulary words just as they go to bed at night and as they arise in the morning helps commit them to memory. Be sure to review your definitions before an examination. For some terms and phrases, we have given a scriptural link. We selected the NKJ, the New King James Version, as our default for scriptural text. When alternate scriptures appear we provide the appropriate link as NASB, KJV, RSV, NIV, and the like.

Due dates
Be sure to submit your assignments by the posted due dates to avoid grade penalties. Students must complete the course by the last official day of instruction as set forth in the academic calendar.

Reading assignments
Reading assigments are integrated into the eight lesson webpages of the course in the Populi system.

Viewing Assignments
This course includes lectures by faculty and guests. Links to lectures will be placed within the lessons.

Discussion Forums
Each student will have the opportunity to post online comments to a forum question for each lesson. This will enable students to interact with each other and with the instructor.

Study tips
Distance learning emphasizes self-motivation. Your instructor functions as a facilitator with you as the driving force in mastering course content. Do not put off completing your readings and assignments. While there are many different learning styles the following strategy should serve the needs of most students.

  • Look over assigned readings.
  • Read the assigned readings making notes before viewing the assigned lecture.
  • Define terms in the assignment. The exams will specifically test basic terminology. Develop your biblical and theology vocabulary as you proceed assignment by assignment.
  • As you view lectures complete your notes.
  • Complete your answers for the writing assignment.
  • Each week review your notes, geographical terms and locations, and the words you defined.
  • If you have a question, ask. Questions should arise in the teaching-learning process. By bringing questions to our attention you not only acquire assistance but you also maintain the interaction necessary in higher education. Use the email feature in Populi to send questions.

Quizzes and examinations
Lessons 1-7 have an associated online quiz of several questions. They are open book quizzes. A quiz should help you master the material in the assignment. It also provides you with practice in test taking. There are three exams - Exam 3 is to be proctored.

The three exams discussed below draw heavily but not exclusively from the quizzes. Therefore, it is important for you to understand and commit the quiz material to memory. Exam 3 is to be proctored. Use the Proctor's Signature Form (PSF) located under the Files menu on the Exam 3 page. These exams have time limits and are closed book tests to be taken online. You have only one opportunity to complete an exam. As Living University students do not cheat, steal or lie, we rely on our students’ integrity during these examinations.

Writing assignments
Each lesson will include Writing Assignments that will involve writing essays. All writing assignments in this course should follow the MLA 8 format, common to many universities. Documents and links to learn this format are provided in the course. Please cite your sources and use quotation marks where needed. The Files feature on the Assignment Submission page lets you submit your work so your instructor can have it handy for download, review and grading. The way to post an assignment is by attachment so that its format will not be corrupted.

Research Paper
Your task is to write a doctrinal history of God's church from Paul's death in about AD 68 through John's death near the end of the first century, dealing primarily with the theological challenges the church faced in these years as described by the General Epistles and the first three chapters of Revelation. The paper should be 6-7 pages, not counting the Works Cited page. Most of your sources should be those other than our class textbooks and materials. Be sure to give credit to your sources with internal citations and by quotation marks as appropriate. Write your research paper using MLA 8 format and include a Works Cited page.

Always keep a copy of your work for this course.

Grading
Your course grade will be determined based on the number of points you have earned over the semester as follows:

Icebreaker Assignment (25 points)
Discussions (7 worth 30 points each, 210 points)
Quizzes (7 worth 30 points each, 210 points)
Writing Assignments (8 worth 25 points each, 200 points)
Exams (three, each worth 90 points, for a total of 270 points; proctored (Exam 3), online, closed book and closed-notes)
Research Paper (60 points)
Course Evaluation (25 points)
Total 1,000 points

By getting your icebreaker assignment posted on tim you earn points. These points could make the difference between an A or a B, or passing or not passing.


Grades are assigned in the traditional American style of an A, B, C, D, or F. In distance learning we believe that mastery of the subject matter is achieved when a student can demonstrate that they have achieved 80% of the objectives for a course. That means that we want you to earn at least 800 points in this course. If you do not do so then you have not developed the mastery we would like you to have. We want this course to be competency-based and so it is possible for the entire class to receive an A or a B. There is no artificial curving of scores in the assignment of grades. Also, don’t go on a guilt trip if you get a C. That is an honorable grade; but if you receive a D or below, then you might want to retake the course. Mastery of the material is what your goal should be.

Grades are assigned by points as follows:

  • A 900-1000 points
  • B 800-899 points
  • C 700-799 points
  • D 600-699 points
  • F Below 600 points

Proctored exams
Three online exams (Exam 3 is proctored) are required in this course. A proctored exam is one that is overseen by an impartial individual (called a proctor) who monitors or supervises a student while he or she is taking an exam. The proctor ensures the security and integrity of the exam process. The proctoring process helps assure that the student who takes a proctored examination in a course is the same person who enrolled in the course and that examination results reflect the student’s own knowledge and competency.

Students should present valid government-issued photo identification to their proctor before taking an exam to confirm their identity unless the proctor presonally knows the student being tested. In order for a proctored exam grade to be recorded, a signed Proctor's Signature Form (PSF) must be sent to LU. The form is unnecessary in the case of ProctorU.

At LU students have several choices for completing proctored exams:

  • A student can come to campus for an exam. The instructor will establish a specific campus classroom, date and time for the student to come to LU and complete the exam with the instructor or his or her representative.
  • A student can utilize a Living Church of God church officer (i.e. elder, deacon or deaconess), or an appointed, minister-approved church leader. In the case of the latter, the minister should provide an email endorsing the appointed proctor.
  • A student can use ProctorU online. ProctorU is a service that LU faculty may utilize for proctoring online exams. ProctorU allows students to conveniently and securely complete assigned exams using almost any webcam. With a computer and approved webcam, a student can take online exams at home, at work, or almost anywhere they have Internet access. ProctorU connects students directly to their proctor via webcam so they both see and talk to one another. ProctorU can also monitor a student's computer while the student completes the exam. Students pay ProctorU directly for this service. LU does not reimburse students for proctoring fees incurred. To view a demo video on how this service works, or to sign up and schedule testing appointments, the Living University portal is located at www.proctoru.com/portal/livinguniv. For ProctorU no Proctor's Signature Form (PSF) is needed.
  • A student can use a college or university testing center. There is usually a fee for this service. LU does not reimburse students for proctoring fees incurred.
  • A student can have an approved proctor. This may be a school offical, such as a teacher or registrar, or a librarian who is not related to the student.
  • In a case of unusual hardship a student may request an alternate arrangement. To do so please contact Mrs. Michelle Broussard at 704-708-2294.

 

Academic Irregularity

Students have the responsibility for conducting themselves in such a manner as to avoid any suspicion that they are improperly giving or receiving aid on any assignment or examination. An academic irregularity not only includes cheating but also includes plagiarism (taking another's ideas and/or words and presenting them as if they were the writer's own) and the submitting of the same paper in separate courses without prior consent from the faculty members concerned. In cases of suspected academic irregularity, faculty members may refuse to grade such papers or examinations, completely or in part, and to record each of them as a failure. If an academic irregularity is sufficiently serious, the University may take one or more of, but not limited to, the following actions:

  1. Drop the student from the course with a grade of F
  2. Place the student on academic probation
  3. Dismiss the student from the University

 

Students With Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities have a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. Students having a disability requiring an accommodation should inform the instructor by email (on the “Course Info” page click on the instructor’s name and then select “Send Email”).

Technology Access
This course requires web access and the student has to have an established e-mail account. The Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary to view documents that are PDF files. One can download the reader free at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html.

Course Evaluation
Student input is welcome for improving this course. Making suggestions by e-mail is helpful. Our goal in this course is to facilitate the successful achievement of all instructional objectives by all students. At the end of the course students have the opportunity of assessing the course. We want to make e-learning courses as effective as we can. We may also ask some other questions concerning a student’s experience in distance learning to help us improve our program. We appreciate students letting us know how we can improve our products and services for them and other distance learners.

Withdrawing From or Dropping This Course
It is the responsibility of a student to drop a course if he or she cannot meet the requirements of the course. Any student who stops attending a course without officially withdrawing from it risks receiving a punitive grade for that course. Withdrawal requests may be conveyed in any manner to the course professor, Registrar, or Vice President of Academic Affairs. This action is sufficient for ensuring any refund owed you. Please note the following: If a student drops a course on or before the “Last day to withdraw from a course without a grade penalty” as published in the University Academic Calendar, even if his or her work is not of a passing grade, then a “W” is recorded. If a course is dropped after that date, but before the last 21 calendar days of the semester, then the instructor determines the grade. The faculty member will at this time record a grade of “W” if passing (not computed in GPA) or “WF” if failing (computed in GPA). Students who drop a course, yet remain in one or more other courses during the last 18 calendar days of the semester, will receive a grade of “WF.” Students who completely withdraw from the University at any time during the semester may be given a grade of “W” on all courses. If students do not initiate the withdrawal process, the instructor is required to initiate the administrative process and to record a grade of “W” or “WF” for the course depending on the date the faculty member drops the student from the course. Students who register for a course as an audit, but then withdraw will be assigned a grade of “W” for the course.