Lay Institute for Theological Education
The HPPC Lay Institute for Theological Education (LITE) exists to equip and empower lay members to approach their life and ministry from a Biblical and Reformed appreciation of God and His Word. In so doing, it embraces the ancient and Reformation church conviction that theological education best flourishes within the worshipping community of the local church.
Schedule and Location
LITE courses are offered on Thursday nights from 7–8:30 pm in Alexander Hall. The core courses, each ten weeks long, are offered in the fall and spring semesters on a two-year rotation. Elective courses, ranging from 2-4 weeks in length, are offered periodically.
Old Testament History of Redemption
Thursdays, Feb. 11- April 21, Alexander Hall (Room 218), 7–8:30 pm
If Jesus is the key to human history, what is the shape of the lock? If all of God''s promises are fulfilled in Christ, then just what promises does Jesus fulfill? Join us for a 10-week class, as we unfold the great Old Testament drama of redemption that begins in Creation and climaxes in Jesus Christ. Teachers: Charlie Dunn and Jonathan Hicks (We will not be meeting on Thursday, 3/10.)
Though ongoing theological education occurs through several avenues including preaching, personal and communal Bible study, and various Christian classes, LITE aims to provide an intensive season of theological formation distinctive in its rigorous, historical, and comprehensive approach.
While LITE courses are open and accessible to all, they unapologetically seek to deeply study and apply God’s revealed Word in a way that will sharpen the understanding of all Christians – from new believers to long time elders. Moreover, because each class session builds upon the subject matter of the session prior, consistent attendance is extremely important.
As reflected in its core course titles, the LITE curriculum draws upon the accumulated wisdom of church tradition and benefits from the fresh viewpoint that history can offer upon our present context. In its exposition of the Scriptures, it operates from the redemptive historical perspective, viewing God’s Word as one grand narrative of redemption, which climaxes in Christ’s first advent and finds final resolution in his second.
In the exposition and application of its curriculum, LITE endeavors to set forth a Christian theology capable of providing a foundation and framework for all of life. Its courses aim to demonstrate how this foundation can sustain and inform all spheres of calling whether in the home, the workplace, the school, or society at large.
Goals of LITE
We hope that those who complete the LITE program will be able to:
- Understand and confidently articulate the essential doctrines of the Christian faith
- Recognize the Biblical foundation upon which these essential doctrines rest
- Gain a fundamental understanding of Christian history
- Comprehend the overarching narrative of redemption as unfolded in the Scriptures
- Grasp that each passage of Scripture points to Christ, the goal and focus of redemptive history
- Appreciate and attain familiarity with the various Christian practices that promote growth in godliness
- Entrust what they have learned to others and steer the church according to the revealed Word of God
Certificate in Theology
LITE offers a Certificate in Theology to members who complete the four core classes of the program and meet the following two requirements: 1) Attend at least 7 out of 10 weeks of each core course and 2) complete the required course reading (honor system). Members are also encouraged to take elective courses according to their interest and availability.
History of Christian Doctrine
This course surveys the essential doctrines of the Christian faith as they have been developed and articulated throughout church history. It aims to 1) promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of Christian doctrine 2) provide a fundamental sketch of church history, and 3) demonstrate the wisdom and perspective that the past can offer upon the present.
History of Redemption: Old Testament
This course will provide an overview of redemptive history from Creation to Christ. It aims to 1) foster an integrated and general understanding of the nature and content of the OT and 2) demonstrate how each passage of Scripture connects to the great narrative of redemption which climaxes in the Gospel, the story of Christ, and his people. In essence, it will cover “Acts” 1-3 of the redemptive drama.
History of Redemption: New Testament
This course will provide an overview of redemptive history from Christ to New Creation. It aims to 1) foster an integrated and general understanding of the nature and content of the NT and 2) demonstrate how each passage of Scripture connects to the great narrative of redemption which climaxes in Christ’s 1st coming and will consummate in Christ’s 2nd coming. In essence, it will cover “Acts” 4-6 of the redemptive drama.
History of Christian Practice
This course will survey the various spiritual practices that have facilitated growth in Christ throughout the history of the church. Practices to be explored include worship, Scripture reading/meditation, prayer, confession, service, simplicity, giving, fasting, et al.
What is the Reformed Faith?
This 4-week course will explore the distinctive insights of the "Reformed Faith" and its God-centered vision for the reformation of our hearts and minds in Christ. It aims to 1) cultivate an appreciation for the central themes of the Reformed faith as our theological and spiritual inheritance, which will 2) provoke us to reflect on how God's grace in Christ is at work to reform, renovate, and renew our own lives and the life of our church, that we may fulfill our greatest purpose – to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Interpreting and Applying the Bible
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT LITE
“I used to think of the Old Testament and New Testament as separate parts of the Bible. I now understand that the Bible is the continuous story of God's grace and redemption of His people!” - Dr. Jackie Burke
"I really felt I was learning a lot each and every week. God's plan never fails throughout the Old Testament, despite the fact His people turn away from Him. Expect to be bowled over by a Majestic God!" - Judi Popkin
“These classes are a must for all. Whether a new or long-standing Christian, this program provides the background required to build and support a strong foundation. Church history should be a prerequisite for all other biblical studies.” -Dr. Paul Tarnasky
“I didn’t know what I didn’t know until I joined my first class!” - Frances Hawkins
“There is one word that will embody this program and that is enrichment. Even though you have had Bible studies, small groups or Elder training in my case, LITE brings everything into context. It brings the Reformed faith into focus.” - Dr. Jackie Burke
“It was encouraging to see the early leaders and their courage in expressing their faith. It gives me strength to stand firm in my faith and not to be swayed by what’s currently in fashion. Those fundamental truths stay firm through the ages.” - Cynthia Landen
“The class I took was outstanding. Seth and Charlie did a great job of walking us through the theological development of the Christian church from the death of Jesus to today. Their explanations and insights regarding the church’s evolving views of God, Christ and how salvation occurs were very helpful. Most importantly, this was not simply a history class. The study of the differing views of the theology and role of the church over the centuries, and its impact on society, have caused me to re-focus on the importance of the church today, its proper role in our individual lives, in this county and in the world at large.” - Neil Rambin
“Charlie and Seth did a wonderful job leading the first class that I took through the key historical events, and personalities, that have shaped our Christian beliefs and traditions. I highly recommend LITE classes to anyone seeking to gain a deeper knowledge of the history of our church and the foundations of our faith.” - Bill Warren
“Prior to taking History of Christian Doctrine with Seth and Charlie my knowledge of church history was severely lacking. Now I feel I can be a better, more confident witness for our Lord Jesus Christ. They led a great class which I hated to see end.” -John Van Amburgh
“It was a great opportunity for me to sit and learn and engage and join in conversations around the topics of history and theology – something I have been longing to do! To study doctrine and theology truly is to engage in worship.” - Ashley Crowder
“From the Canons to the period of Enlightenment, Seth and Charlie provided an experience in learning that dramatically increased my knowledge of the foundations of the early church. LITE classes are well laid and covers many topics that left me wanting to take a deeper dive into the Bible. I’m glad they are doing this study again so my wife will have a chance to participate.” - Shawn Howard
“I highly recommend the LITE program for those who seek to learn more about the history of Christian faith from the period of the disciples, through the crusades, the Reformation and the birth of our nation. The courses examine debates among prominent theologians, philosophers and atheists and provides a good understanding of the tenets of Presbyterianism and how and why our beliefs differ from other denominations.” - Bill Langhenry
“I thought that the course I took was great. I had never given much thought as to how our biblical beliefs have been preserved through the centuries. I liked the mix of history, philosophy and study of scripture. The fellowship was great and Seth and Charlie present it in a way that non-seminary types can understand the material and understand its relevance to our faith. Not much homework either!” - Dr. James Hayhurst