Religion is about the ultimate issues of life, dealing with three essential concerns: 1) our faith relationship to God; 2) our desire to discover meaning based on that faith relationship; and 3) our effort to live a life that glorifies and enjoys God forever. For this to happen, we need to take the study of religion seriously, and thus scholarly examination is appropriate.
The Religion department grounds students in the academic study of the Christian faith tradition for the purpose of promoting and nurturing reflective Christian life, service, and mission in the world.
- By grounding students we intend to guide them to base their lives and service on the authority of the Christian scriptures and through theological reflection on the Christian faith from a Reformed, evangelical and ecumenical perspective.
- By promoting and nurturing reflection we intend to train students to critically engage the best in the academic study of religion in the areas of biblical studies, theology, church history and missions.
- By Christian life and service we mean to train and equip students to serve God’s people, the church and the world by cultivating deeper growth in personal spirituality which is expressed in the inseparable combination of proclaiming and living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In order to meet these goals, the religion department offers several program options for students.
- The religion major includes courses in Bible, theology, church history and other practical areas related to service, such as missions. It is designed for students who plan to pursue advanced degrees in seminary or graduate school.
- The religion minor is an excellent option for students majoring in other disciplines. It allows students to deepen their understanding of the Christian faith and to integrate their faith into their field of study.
- Religion courses constitute a central component of several other academic programs including the Christian education and ministry major, the mission service career concentration and the youth ministry and adolescent studies minor.
- Students interested in exploring a variety of disciplines in the humanities yet concentrating in religion can complete a humanities major with religion as their primary discipline.
All students at Northwestern are required to take the Core Religion courses as part of their Integrative General Education requirement. These courses are REL150 Christian Story I: Biblical Tradition and REL250 Christian Story II: Theological Tradition. These courses do not count toward the religion major or minor.