By Emilee Webb, Staff Writer
November 11, 2022
The Chesley and Elizabeth Pruet School of Christian Studies at Ouachita Baptist University is now offering a new major, Christian Foundations. This major was designed to be a secondary major, meaning that it must be accompanied with another major. It may be paired with a traditional major in Philosophy, as well as any major outside of the School of Christian Studies This major provides a foundation for students interested in the Christian faith and practice of ministry but whose primary major makes a major in Christian Studies unmanageable.
A Christian Studies major requires a set of core classes along with an emphasis in either Biblical Studies and Theology, Christian Ministries, Christian Missions or Philosophy, totaling up to 47 hours of classes. The new Christian Foundations major is a total of 30 hours, and no internship component is required for this major.
Dr. Scott Duvall, Fuller Professor of Biblical Studies at Ouachita, explains the idea behind the new major and why it will be beneficial for many students at OBU.
“For my whole time at Pruett since 1989, we’ve had a lot of students who are really interested in Christian Studies, but they also feel like their main commitment needs to be to another major. That is completely understandable. Our regular major is long, so we wanted a major that would specifically be for second majors. We’ve reduced it while trying to keep the key essentials. Students know that they’ve come to OBU, a place that has a really good school of Christian Studies, and they want to be able to study here. Now, they can take advantage of that by studying the kind of thing that is going to be with them their whole life, in their personal walk with the Lord and in church. I think a lot of people are going to want to take advantage of it,” Duvall said.
The classes for the Christian Foundations major were hand-picked. Like Duvall mentioned, the purpose of the major is to provide students with a foundation, so the classes required for the major were chosen to do specifically that. The required classes are Spiritual Formation, Biblical Exegesis, Intro to Christian Ministry, Intro to Christian Missions, History of Christianity and Christian Theology. Students will also choose a course that studies the Old Testament, a course that studies the New Testament, a course in Ethics and one more course that fits their interest. Dr. Duvall elaborates on the required courses.
“Spiritual Formation is a really good first experience course. It helps people understand themselves and their faith and how to grow. Then, we wanted students to know how to read the Bible well, so we included Biblical Exegesis. We included Intro to Christian Ministry and Intro to Christian Missions because those will be the classes that will introduce students to the outreach side of things. If Spiritual Form is helping students understand themselves, and Biblical Exegesis is helping students understand Scripture, then Ministry and Missions is helping students think about what they are going to give. We have one Old Testament elective and one New Testament elective as well. Then, we have a choice between Intro to Philosophy, The Good Life, and Christian Ethics, which cover the ethical side of the major, History of Christianity and one more elective. Christian Theology is the ‘capstone’ for the major. The required courses ground you in the Scripture, help you understand yourself and how you walk with the Lord, and then help you think about how you want to live your faith out in the world,” stated Duvall.
This major is not just for students that wish to attend seminary in the future. It is the perfect fit for any student that is interested in the discipline of Christian Studies but does not have time to include the traditional major. Dr. Duvall explains more about this fact.
“Students probably did not study more about their faith in high school. They may have gone to a Christian school where they had a course or two, but they did not study about it extensively. There’s a lot of stuff that people don’t learn in church, too, sadly. This semester I have had students say, ‘why don’t they teach that in church,’ ten times at least. If you’re a follower of Jesus, you’re going to want to understand your faith, and if you haven’t gotten the chance to learn more about it and you’re not going to get that chance, then this is the ideal place to go deeper in your faith and learn.”
Students interested in a major in Christian foundations can email Dr. Jeremy Greer, the Dean of the School of Christian Studies, at email@example.com