Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)

Module TMMC3131: Mission and Apologetics in Contemporary Culture

Department: Theology, Ministry and Mission

TMMC3131: Mission and Apologetics in Contemporary Culture

Type Tied Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • L5-20 Mission and Apologetics in Contemporary Culture


  • To enable students to grasp what is involved in reading and analysing cultures and subcultures, including those that incorporate other faith groups. • To enable students to think missionally about the relationship between the gospel and contemporary Western cultures.
  • To equip students with sophisticated apologetic skills needed to engage with people in contemporary cultures.
  • To enable students to develop appropriate strategies for missionary engagement with contemporary cultures.
  • To help students discern the key missiological questions facing the church today.
  • To enable students to develop culturally appropriate and theologically coherent apologetic strategies.


  • A survey of the intellectual, social and religious trends that help to shape people’s thinking in the 21st century.
  • A study of a range of approaches to contemporary apologetics and an evaluation of their strengths and weaknesses.
  • A study of the interrelationship between Christianity and its social and cultural context in the West, examining the ways in which the Christian church shapes and is shaped by its physical, social and cultural environment.
  • A critical assessment of missionary engagement and apologetics in the light of contemporary cultural trends.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Offer a coherent and detailed analysis of key cultural and intellectual currents which have shaped Christianity and Christian witness in the West.
  • Describe, analyse and critically evaluate contemporary social contexts and their potential development and articulate the theological questions to which they give rise.
  • Compare and contrast a range of approaches to Christian apologetics in the West, interacting with methodologies and findings of recent research in the field.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Extend and apply their knowledge and understanding from the analysis of cultural trends to the mission of the church and the communication of the gospel in a range of contemporary contexts in and beyond the church, engaging with the questions raised.
  • Defend the Christian faith sensitively, creatively and rigorously in the contexts of today’s questions in a range of situations and to diverse audiences.
Key Skills:
  • Identify, gather, analyse and critically evaluate textual source materials, including material from primary sources and scholarly research, and communicate their findings with clarity and fairness to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Critically evaluate ideas, arguments and assumptions, using them to construct and communicate coherent and well-reasoned arguments, showing critical awareness of their own and others’ beliefs, commitments and prejudices, to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching methods to be specified by each TEI, selecting from the following:
  • Lectures provide content, a conceptual framework and a survey of approaches within a subject area that enable students to locate their learning in a wider context, to make connections with other disciplines, and to evaluate and apply their learning to different contexts.
  • Seminars offer students an opportunity to present, evaluate and apply their knowledge to specific contexts, and to engage with teaching staff and peers in debate and reflection. Guided reading in conjunction with lectures encourages independent learning and underpins the knowledge and understanding gained in lectures and seminars.
  • Small group learning creates an environment where students learn to articulate their knowledge and understanding effectively and in a way that is relevant to the group and its context.
  • Tutorials enhance learning by offering feedback and encouraging students to reflect on their own response to the knowledge and skills they have acquired.
  • Visits enable students to encounter the subject matter in a way that provokes formational as well as cognitive learning that demands critical reflection on the subject area and its implications.
  • Placements and/or work-based learning ensures that students make habitual connections between knowledge, understanding, skills, professional practice and the reality of a specific context, under the supervision of an experienced practitioner.
  • Programmed online learning materials guide students through knowledge content, its wider framework and different approaches to its application.
  • Virtual discussion forums offer students the opportunity to articulate the knowledge and understanding they have acquired to others and to engage in informed debate.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Assignment 1 Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written Assignment 2500 words 100%
Component: Written Assignment 2 Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written Assignment 2500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Students will be expected to demonstrate engagement with the subject matter and the learning outcomes throughout the module by suitable formative assessments that encourage integrative and reflective skills.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University