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SL 334 Contemporary Theologians:

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Course Description

This course will examine two theologicadevelopments that have had a revolutionary effect on the way we view and do theology over the last 75 years. The first is the development of the understanding that theologies are contextual—that they rise out of, and function to oppress or liberate in specific political, economic and social contexts.

In that regard we will examine two theologians from different eras and regions: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian and martyr well known for his writing during the Second World War; and Choan-Seng Song, a widely published Asian theologian, still alive and writing, whose Christian theology has been deeply shaped by Asian religious culture.

The second development is the growing awareness that theology must be done not only with God and humanity in mind, but must fully take into account the deep interconnection that human destiny has with the non-human world.

We will look at the writing of Canadian theologian Sallie McFague and American Larry Rasmussen as they tackle the difficult questions of faith in an era when humans have put the earth's biosphere in crisis.

About the Instructor

Rev. Dr. Cameron Harder is the Professor of Systematic Theology at LTS. He was a pastor for 15 years, in Calgary and Camrose, coming to LTS in 1997.

His research and teaching focus on contextual theology, particularly the way theology functions in circumstances of suffering, shame and struggle. His work examining how belief systems function in farm bankruptcy led to the formation of the Centre for Rural Community Leadership and Ministry ("CiRCLe M"), which is now working to build bridges between aboriginal and rural communities. In 2013 he published a book about the theology of community development, Discovering the Other: Asset-based Approaches to Building Communities Together.

Academic Credit

Academic Credit Participants who have completed Theology I or II (or who have special permission from the instructor) may take SL 344: Contemporary Theologians for academic credit. To do that, please submit the required registration form to the Registrar as soon as possible and no later than 11 November. Those who do not wish to take the course for credit may audit, with permission of the instructor.


Most of the research and reading you'll be doing will come out of these four books. You should own a copy of each. Ebooks are often the least expensive to purchase and are immediately downloadable.

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. A Testament to Freedom: The Essential Writings of
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
. Eds. Geoffrey B. Kelly & F. Burton Nelson.
New York: Harper Collins, 1995. (not available as ebook)

McFague, Sallie. Blessed are the Consumers: Climate Change and the
Practice of Restraint
. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2013.

Rasmussen, Larry. Earth-Honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key.
Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012.

Song, C. S. Jesus, the Crucified People. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996.

You should also plan do some additional research for assignments (e.g., through library databases), and Dr. Harder will post a few key articles/ excerpts in the online "Blackboard" course management system at where most of our learning will take place.


This course is mostly asynchronous, which means that for the most part, you can choose when during the week you wish to do your work. You should plan to spend about ten hours per week on the class. There will be limited videoconference work in small groups; your group will arrange for the times that suit you.

This course is limited to 25 students.


For credit: $906.50

Tuition: $675
Distance learning surcharge: $125
Student program fee: $90
Theological Student Union fee: $16.50

For audit: $475.00

Tuition: $350
Distance learning surcharge: $125