Fascinating New Course: Exploring Hell with Seth Carey

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened. ” 
― C.S. LewisThe Great Divorce

seth careyExploring Hell with Seth Carey is the latest ChurchNext course, and it tackles a subject everyone has wondered about but very few have pondered in depth.  The Rev. Seth Carey has. He’s a minister at First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, IL where he specializes in teaching on occult religions, theodicy, and Judeo-Christian mythology. In this class Seth teaches us about the origins of our conception of hell, how this notion has changed and developed over time, and what the Bible has to say about it.  He explores demons and the devil and their cultural and religious significance, and he closes by offering a few thought-provoking modern theories about hell as a chosen state of being. This course will have you thinking for days, whether you are new to the subject or you are a seasoned student of theology.  Click here for more information or to register.

New Course: How to Pray with Christopher Martin

Here are just a few of the beautiful insights from this course on How to Pray, taught by the Reverend Christopher Martin:

Our spirits expand — and our capacity for happiness increases — through prayer.”

“Prayer reorients us to the fact that we are not alone.”c martin

“Set love in order in me,” says the bride to the bridegroom in Song of Songs.  Prayer is our way of asking, “O Lord, make me love the things that you would have me love.”  It sets our disordered loves — and lives — in order.

Episcopal priest, author, and teacher Christopher Martin has taught hundreds of people to pray through his ministry as a pastor as well as his work with The Restoration Project, an intentional discipleship program aimed at bringing people to deeper places of knowing God.

This course is sponsored by Forward Movement and is a good companion to Christopher’s book called The Restoration Project: A Benedictine Path to Wisdom, Strength and Love

In this class, Christopher offers some advice on how, when, and where to pray; how to make daily solitary prayer a habit; and why prayer matters.  The four lessons are

  • What is Prayer?
  • Varieties of Prayer
  • What Does Prayer Do?
  • Benefits of Prayer

We invite you to consider this fantastic new course, both as an introduction to an intentional, healthy prayer life and as a thought-provoking reminder for those who already have an active prayer life.  Click here for more information or to register!

Great New Course: Introducing Islam with Mustapha Elturk

What do Muslims believe and how can this rich faith tradition help us know more about God?  Our latest course, Introducing Islam with Imam Mustapha Elturk, is a great place to start answering these questions.elturk

As the last of the three great Abrahamic faiths–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam–Islam brings unique gifts to the religious landscape.  Imam Mustapha Elturk knows this well. A former engineer and now scholar, author, and Imam of the Islamic Organization of North America in Warren, MI, he is a sought-after speaker and well-known teacher of Islamic principles.

In this course, there are five lessons:

Origins of Islam
Islamic Beliefs
Five Pillars of Islam
Islamic Diversity
“Why I’m a Muslim”

This course provides a basic introduction to Islam and is suitable for adults, teens, and anyone who would like to know more about one of the world’s great faith traditions.  Click here for more information or to register.

Now Available: Reimagining Children’s and Youth Ministry with Faith Forward

Last week’s Big Class, Reimagining Children’s and Youth Ministry with Faith Forward, was a smashing success and inspired great discussion about our churches’ theologies of children, how we minister to young people, and how they can minister to us.  Now this course is available to take or to add to your church’s online school.  Check it out:    FF Title Pic

Where are all the young people in church?

The folks at Faith Forward suggest: Something is happening in the church. A new kind of Christianity is taking root and growing across the globe. New forms of ministry, worship, and community are emerging. Questions are being asked. And change is happening.

But amidst these changes and shifts, children and youth are being left behind. Innovative approaches to ministry with adults are emerging around the world, but little critical reflection and attention has been given to how to nurture young people within a new kind of Christianity.

In this class, 4 keynote speakers who will be appearing at the 2014 Faith Forward conference, ‘Reimagining Children’s and Youth Ministry,’ share their insights into what this reimagining should look like. Lessons include:

  • Where Are We? with Dave Csinos
  • Reimagining: Theology with Ivy Beckwith
  • Reimagining: Story with Marvin Bray
  • Reimagining: Rhythm with Danielle Shroyer

Click here to register.  Click here for more information and to register for the Faith Forward Conference.

New Course: Introducing the Psalms with Isaac Everett

We’re excited to announce our latest course, a thoughtful and engaging Introduction to the Book of Psalms.  After all, the Psalms are woven into the very fabric of our church’s history and contain some of the most powerful and poignant words we may ever encounter.
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Musician and composer Isaac Everett argues that there is no more human book in the Bible than the Psalms, which means that these poems have a way of touching us like no other. Everett has been immersed in the psalms for years, and has even written a psalter of his own.

In this class, Isaac gives us an engaging overview of the Psalms by touching on these areas:

  • Origins of the Psalms
  • Themes of the Psalms
  • Favorite Psalms
  • How to Read the Psalms

This class is an insightful overview suitable for newcomers to the Psalms as well as for veterans who are looking for a solid refresher course. Click here for more information or to register: Introducing the Psalms with Isaac Everett.

Isaac Everett is a sought-after worship leader, speaker and thinker who is minister of music for two faith communities, in Maine and Boston. He is also the author of The Emergent Psalter.

New Course: Making Sense of the Cross Part III: Theories of the Cross, with David Lose

davidloseWhatever we say about the cross, we are also saying about God. So what does the cross mean? What can it tell us about God? How can it help us approach, understand, and know God better? In Part III of this three-part series, David Lose introduces us to the three most popular theories, or ways of understanding the Cross, that Christians have turned to through the years.

This online course is based on the Augsburg Fortress DVD-based curriculum of the same name, so if you’ve experienced that teaching, this will be very familiar.

In this six-part class Dr. Lose walks us through:

  •  The Ancient Theory Explained
  • The Ancient Theory Evaluated
  • The Substitution Theory Explained
  • The Substitution Theory Evaluated
  • The Love Theory Explained
  • The Love Theory Evaluated

This is a pre-recorded online course that will take an average learner about an hour to work through. You can pause the class at any time and return to pick it up later.

This is the third of three courses in the the online learning version of Making Sense of the Cross series. Part One is called Experience and the Cross. Part Two is called The Bible and the Cross. None of these videos is downloadable, however there are text files included with the classes that you may download.

If you would rather purchase the 6-part Augsburg Fortress DVD-based series, click here.

For more information and to register, click here: Making Sense of the Cross III:  Theories of the Cross

 

Available Now: Making Sense of the Cross Part Two: The Cross and The Bible, with David Lose

Whatever we say about the Cross, we’re also saying about God.  And yet far more people are puzzled about the Cross than would claim to understand it. In this second of his three-part Church Next course called Making Sense of the Cross, author, theologian, and pastor David Lose helps us understand what the Bible can teach us about the Cross. For more information about Making Sense of the Cross Part II, click here.

davidloseThis online course is based on the Augsburg Fortress DVD-based curriculum of the same name, so if you’ve experienced that teaching, this will be very familiar.

This class includes six lessons:

  • A Man Hanging on a Tree
  • Why Four Gospels?
  • Matthew and the Cross
  • Mark and the Cross
  • Luke and the Cross
  • John and the Cross

This course helps us understand how each of the gospels can teach us something new about the Cross and about God; it is perfect for newcomers and lifelong Christians alike.

If you would rather purchase the 6-part Augsburg Fortress DVD-based series, click here.

Again, for more information and to register for Making Sense of the Cross Part II, click here.

Available Now: Making Sense of the Cross Part 1 with David Lose

davidloseThis course was a huge success as our Lenten “Big Class,” which ran for free from Ash Wednesday to March 12.   Over 1500 people from 23 countries took the course together; in the optional survey at the end, 94% were either “satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with the course!

Now, it’s available to add to your church’s online school or to take as an individual.  Click here for more information:  Making Sense of the Cross Part One

Making Sense of the Cross, Part One — with David Lose

The most profound event of human history is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Far more people are puzzled about the Cross than would claim to understand it. In this course author, theologian, and pastor David Lose inspires us to think deeply about what Jesus’ cross might mean to you and me. David says that the best way to make sense of the cross is not through theories but through experience. This course includes three lectures in which David talks about:

  • The Cross and Experience
  • The Cross and Forgiveness
  • The Cross and Atonement

This class is the online learning version of the Augsburg Fortress DVD-based curriculum of the same name so if you have used these fine materials before, this will be very familiar.

There are actually three parts to the online learning version of Making Sense of the Cross. This course is the first. Part II is called The Bible and the Cross and will be available March 23. Part III is called Theories of the Cross and will be available March 30. None of these videos is downloadable; however there are text and mp3 files included with the classes that you may download.

If you would prefer to purchase the 6-part Augsburg Fortress DVD-based series, click here.

New Course: Your Faith Can Make You Well with Scott Stoner

There’s a lot of talk about “wellness” these days, says author, speaker, and Episcopal priest Dr. Scott Stoner. But it’s not some new fad, as much as it is an extension of an ancient idea that finds its origins in God and our creation.
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In this course, Scott begins to unpack what faith and wellness look like, based on his work with the popular ministry called Living Compass. Here’s what we’ll explore:

– Connecting Faith and Wellness
– Four Dimensions of Wellness
– Wellness and Balance
– Gladness and Singleness of Heart

This 45-minute course is suitable for anyone looking to better understand the link between faith and wellness!

Find out more about Your Faith Can Make You Well here.