MMin 296 Where is God when I need to embrace my enemy and overcome evil?

Course Level:

South East Asian Theological Schools, Inc. MMin 296 Where is God when I need to embrace my enemy and overcome evil?
Saul Samante, D.Min. 6 Units [9 hours online class]
Classes will be held June 9, 11, & 23, 25, 2020, 8:00-10:30AM Manila Time

Course Description:

This course explores the viable outlook, attitude, and response of the church to pressing issues of today - specifically the COVID 19 pandemic leading to the deterioration of human structures. Informed by Miroslav Volf’s concept of Exclusion and Embrace, we grapple with dehumanization, alienation, and hopelessness and the role of building humanity as Volf envisions it. Also, this seeks to facilitate the leadership transition to the new normal as the church continues to stay faithful in her Biblical heritage and reimagine itself as the embodiment of eschatological community in Stanley Grenz’s parlance.

Learning Outcomes:

After successfully completing this module, the students will:

1. Familiarize, interact and critique Miroslav Volf’s framework of peace and reconciliation and its implications to the life and mission of the church.
2. Get acquainted with Stanley Gren’z notion of Christian community’s mission and interactions with the world; its nature as a reflection of God’s life and the dynamics of the church mirroring the eschatological community of God.
3. Create a viable and vigorous framework on healthy theodicy in the church to address religious and societal issues concerning conflicts and the pursuit of peace and reconciliation. This framework must be biblically rooted and uniquely Filipino.

Learning Tasks (Assignments):

1. Attendance and Participation.
2. Daily Reading Assignment
3. Three-page (MA level) five-page (D.min level) proposed framework to address church’s and societal issues on peacemaking that can readily be applied in your church.
4. Standard research format: single spaced, 12 font size, Times New Roman font face.
Learning Activities:

As time permits, we will seek to investigate some or all of the following:

As appropriate, class sessions will include some or all of the following:

Learning Resources:

Required Readings: (To be distributed by the professor)

Rodrigues, Alex. Miroslav Volf’s Thoughts of COVID 19. (Online article, podcast).

Santrac, Aleksandar. The Art of Reconciliation: Forgiving and Remembering Rightly. (online article).

Smedes, Lewis. Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve (A Book review by Frederick and Mary Ann Brussat; online article).

Spencer, Archie. Culture, community and commitments: Stanley J. Grenz on theological method. (Article in PDF form).

Volf, Miroslav and James K.A. Smith. The Justice of Memory, The Grace of Forgetting: A Conversation with Miroslav Volf. (Online article).

Woods, Mark. Miroslav Volf: How I Learned to Forgive my Interrogator. Christianity Today. October 29, 2014. (Online article).

Yevgen, Shatalov. Stanley J. Grenz's communitarian ecclesiology. (Article in PDF form).


Abernethy, Bob. “Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.” April 2, 2004. accessed 19 May 2020.

Abubakar, Carmen A. “Beyond Forgetting: The Moros During and After Martial Law.”
In Memory, Truth-telling, and the Pursuit of Justice: A Conference on the Legacies of the Marcos Dictatorship. Loyola Heights, Quezon City: Office of Research and Publications, Ateneo de Manila University, 2001.

De Morais Solano Lopes, Humberto. “A Missional Embrace: Embracive Initiatives as a
Source for Relational Engagement in Christ.” ThM thesis, Wycliffe College,
Toronto Canada, 2012.

Erickson, Millard. Christian Theology. 2nd edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books,

Grenz, Stanley. Theology for the Community of God. Grand Rapids, MI: William B.
Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000.

___________ and Roger Olson. 20th Century Theology: God and the World in a
Transitional Age. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992.

Lawler, Michael. What is and What Ought to Be: The Dialectic of Experience, Theology,
and Church. New York, NY: The Continuum Publishing Group, Ltd., 2005.

Mercado, Leonardo N. Inculturation and Filipino Theology. Manila, Philippines: Divine
Word Publications, 1992.

Montiel, Cristina J. “Filipino Culture, Religious Symbols and Liberation Politics.” In
Values in Philippine Culture and Education: Philippine Philosophical Studies, I.
Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change, Series III: Asia. Volume 7, edited by Manuel B. Dy Jr. Washington, DC: The Council for Research in Values and
Philosophy, 1994.

Oppenheimer, Mark. “Miroslav Volf: Spans Conflicting Worlds.” accessed 30 January 2019.

Pantoja, Dann. “A Holistic Understanding of Peace: The Peace of the Creator is Central to the Good News.” (on-line article).

Sahayadoss, Santhosh J. “Martin Luther’s Theology of the Cross and Its Significance for Creating A Culture of Peace.” In Violence and Peace: Creating a Culture of Peace in the Contemporary Context of Violence, edited by Frampton F. Fox. Bangalore, India: Asian Trading Corporation, 2010.

Sande, Ken. The Peace Maker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict. Grand
Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2008.

Smedes, Lewis. Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve. New York, NY: Pocket Books, 1984.

Sunquist, Scott W. A Wide Embrace: The Heart of Christ and Mission Today. Madison,
CT: Pittsburg Theological Seminary, 2007. accessed 19 May 2020.

Swithinbank, Hannah. “Theological Framework: Peace-building.” accessed 20 May 2020.

Torres, Wilfredo Magno III. Rido: Clan Feuding and conflict Management in Mindanao.
Quezon City, Philippines: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2014.

Valdez, Violet B., and Isabel E. Kenny. “The Challenge of Diversity: Telling the
Christian-Muslim Story in Pictures.” In Agenda for Hope: Preserving and
Transforming Philippine Identity and Culture, edited by Pauline Paredes Sicam and Remmon E. Barbaza. Loyola Heights, Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila
University Press, 2009.

Volf, Miroslav. “Speaking Truth to the World.” Christianity Today, 8 February 1999.

________. “God at Work.” p. 381; accessed 30 January 2019.

________. Captive to the Word of God: Engaging the Scriptures for Contemporary
Theological Reflection. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010.

________. Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness,
and Reconciliation. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1996.

________. “Ambiguity and Grace.” Christian Century 115, no. 1-36 (1998).

________. “The Core of Faith” Christian Century 115, no. 1-36 (1998).

________. After Our Likeness: The Church in the Image of the Trinity. Grand Rapids,
MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998.

________. Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace. Grand
Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005.

________. Against the Tide: Love in the Times of Petty Dreams and Persisting Enmities.
Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010.

Willis, Bethan Sian. “Enlarging Justice: Miroslav Volf’s Theology of Embrace and the
Problem of Justice in the Post-Conflict Bosnia and Croatia.” PhD diss.,
University of Exeter, January 2013.

Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Seeking Justice in Hope in The Future of Hope: Christian
Tradition Amid Modernity and Postmodernity, edited by Miroslav Volf and William Katerberg. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2004.

Mutual Commitments:

Because this class is an M.Min. class, the primary responsibilities lie on you, the student, in learning. This class is also conducted in a modular format, which means that many of the activities will need to be done by you outside of class. Having said that, I am fully committed to helping you on your journey towards being the minister of the gospel that you would like to be! Here is what I am expecting from you and what you can expect from me as we journey together.

What I expect from you as an emerging leader in the service of Christ:

1. I expect you to be diligent in preparing thoroughly for each session.
2. I expect you to submit work on time, or, if this is not possible, to request an extension adequately in advance of the deadline.
3. I expect you to participate fully and constructively in all course activities and discussions.
4. I expect you to show respect towards other students, being sensitive to national, cultural, gender and other individual differences, and listening courteously when others speak in class.
5. I expect you to provide accurate and constructive feedback on the course content and methodology that will help me as I teach this course and when I teach this material again in the future.

My commitments to you are:

1. I will prepare carefully for each class session.
2. I will encourage reciprocity and cooperation among you as a class of emerging leaders.
3. I will emphasize time on task, making the best use of the available time to promote quality learning.
4. I will promote active learning, respecting diverse talents and learning styles.
5. I will provide adequate opportunity outside of the class session times for you to discuss the course material with me.
6. I will do my best to provide prompt feedback on your work.

Online Class Requirements:

Because this in an online class, students will have some extra steps to follow in completing the requirements.
• Zoom app. The zoom app can be downloaded for free from It is available for computers, tablets, and phones.
• Classes will be held June 9, 11, & 23, 25, 2020, 8:00-10:30AM Manila Time because this is the most convenient time for both the teacher and the students.
• Assignments must be submitted via email to [ASSIGNMENT EMAIL ADDRESS].

Contact Information:

I am available most times via email or social media to work with you. We can also set up an appointment to get together and discuss any issues or questions you may have. You can contact me via email at [PROFESSOR EMAIL ADDRESS ETC].

Course Instructions: