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Dr. Larry J.

Waters and Instructional Team BC-BE547OL Syllabus Dallas Theological Seminary
I. Catalog Description
A study of the biblical meanings and purposes of suffering with theological reflections and application to
various aspects of suffering and disability-related ministries (3 hours).
II. Course Objectives
Students will . . .
A. Cognitive
1. Recognize a variety of contexts in which effective biblical instruction on
suffering can/should occur in personal life and ministry.
2. Synthesize biblical and theological elements regarding suffering into a written
logical and biblically accurate position paper.
B. Affective
1. Develop a clarified sense of Gods calling to compassionately minister to
those who suffer within the broad scope of Christian evangelism, church
outreach, and church in-reach.
2. Deepen appreciation for the privilege and responsibility associated with
teaching the Word of God on suffering.
3. Identify with individuals who suffer with disablement in terms of the physical
and perceptual struggles that they face on a regular basis.
C. Behavioral
1. Understand the importance of suffering ministries in the church and be
able to devise methods to create them.
2. Be equipped to provide leadership in ministry opportunities that involve
"suffering through instructional design and accurate biblical teaching.
III. Course Textbooks
A. Required
Alcorn, Randy. If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil. Colorado Springs,
CO: Multnomah Books, 2009.
Tada, Joni E. and Steven Estes. When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the
Almighty. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, 1997.
Waters, Larry J. and Roy B. Zuck. Why, O God? Suffering and Disability in the Bible and
Church. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2011.
B. Suggested
Carter, Erik. Including People with Disabilities in Faith Communities. Brookes Pub. Co:
Fretheim, Terence E. The Suffering of God: An Old Testament Perspective. Fortress Press:
Dr. Larry J. Waters and Instructional Team BC-BE547OL Syllabus Dallas Theological Seminary
Hubach, Stephanie. Same Lake, Different Boat: Coming Alongside People Touched by
Disability. P and R Publishing: Phillipsburg, 2006.
Lewis, C.S. A Grief Observed. HarperOne Pub: 2001.
Leyshon, David. Sickness, Suffering, and Scripture. Banner of Truth: 2008.
Nouwen, Henri. Adam: Gods Beloved. Orbis Books: 1997.
__________. In the Name of Jesus. Crossroad: 1993.
Pierson, Jim. Exceptional Teaching: A Comprehensive Guide for Including Students with
Disabilities. Standard Pub. Co: 2002.
Piper, John and Justin Taylor. Suffering and the Sovereignty of God. Crossway: Wheaton,
Plantinga, Alvin. God, Freedom, and Evil. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company:
Rhodes, Ron. Why Do Bad Things Happen If God is Good? Harvest House: Eugene,
Solomon, Lon. Brokenness: How God Redeems Pain and Suffering. Red Door Press: 2005.
Tada, Joni E. and Steve Jensen. Barrier-Free Friendships: Bridging the Distance between You
and Families with Disabilities. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, 1997.
Tada, Joni E. and Nigel Cameron. How to Be a Christian in a Brave New World.
Zondervan: Grand Rapids, 2006.
Tada, Joni E. and Steve Miller. Through the Roof: A Manual to Assist Churches in
Developing an Effective Disability Ministry and Outreach. Joni and Friends Ministries:
Agoura Hills, 2006.
Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Lament for a Son. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company:
Yancey, Philip. Disappointment with God. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, 1988.
IV. Course Requirements
A. Videos
Attend all lecture videos. Report your attendance on the Video Report in the final
B. Reading Assignments
Complete the reading of all required texts and handouts by the last module. Report
the percentage of completed reading on the Reading Report in the last module.
C. Learning Activities
1. A Day in the Life Assignment and Paper
Rent or borrow a manual wheelchair. Choose one full day and use the
wheelchair during a normal days routine. Most students in the past have
attempted to mimic life with bilateral leg paralysis. Include mobility and
activities within your house and community.
Dr. Larry J. Waters and Instructional Team BC-BE547OL Syllabus Dallas Theological Seminary
You may allow two primary exceptions to being wheelchair-bound for this
assignment: (1) bathroom privileges and (2) in case a situation presents itself
(in the opinion of the student) where harm or injury could occur if one
proceeded with a particular activity. However, in light of the above
exceptions, reflect on these two issues as if you were wheelchair dependent.
Visit two or more public establishments.
Visit places not normally visited or known, e.g. restaurants, libraries, a
church, or some other public institution. Avoid your home church if you
choose Sunday to complete this assignment.
Whenever possible solicit a friend to accompany you to these public places
so that you have transportation and feedback on the experiences.
Avoid deception, of course; instead explore this opportunity to experience
life in a wheelchair. Note how others in public perceive you and look upon
you. If people ask you about your disability, honestly inform them about
the assignment and its purpose.
Consider purchasing or borrowing weightlifting gloves. Pushing a wheel
chair all day is hard on the hands.
For germ control, keep a bottle of hand sanitizer with you.
Avoid injury because of this exercise. Watch for inclines and declines. Losing
control is easy. In addition, resist the temptation to perform wheelies or to
enter wheelchair races!
After you complete the Day in the Life exercise, write a six- to eight-page
paper (plus title page) regarding your experience. Include a section on lessons
learned. Follow Turabian formatting.
Enjoy your day in the life! Reflect on this opportunity to wheel in someone
elses wheelchair for a day!
2. Church Disability Ministry Assessment and Paper
Schedule and perform at least two (2) of the following:
a. Visit, observe, and interact with a church Disability Ministry.
b. Evaluate and assess the interest and need for a Disability Ministry in
your home church if one does not exist.
c. Interview an individual who works in a Disability Ministry field.
d. Interview an individual with a disability or family who has a member
with a disablement. Listen graciously and learn from their perspective
regarding life with disability. Avoid counseling, judging, and
e. Visit, observe, and interact with a grief or disability-related support
group. Choose from Christian or secular groups, e.g. a Parkinsons
group, a Cancer Support group, hospice care, or a hospital chaplain.
Dr. Larry J. Waters and Instructional Team BC-BE547OL Syllabus Dallas Theological Seminary
f. Shadow a Home Health RN, Physical Therapist, or Occupational
Therapist for three (3) or more hours.
g. Attend and interact with attendees at a local Gospel Mission or
homeless center.
h. Present another idea for approval by the instructor.
Invest ten (10) or more contact hours.
Write a six- to eight-page paper. Report how you invested these hours.
Identify the type of ministry or group observed. Share your experiences and
lessons learned.
Cite to three (3) or more written sources that correspond to the ministries
observed. For example, if you visit a Parkinsons support group, consult
references related to Parkinsons disease and/or references related to support
groups themselves.
If you visit a Disability Ministry, then include your perceptions of their
strengths and weaknesses, as well as, thoughts and ideas for improvement
and growth.
3. Theology of Suffering Position Paper
Compose a fifteen (15) to twenty (20) page paper that defines and
summarizes your biblical theology of God and suffering.
Interact with the biblical text, reflect theologically, and consider the class
lectures and required texts.
Cite eight (8) or more references. You may cite your class notes from the
lectures; however, class notes are in addition to your eight (8) or more
references. You may cite the required textbooks.
Add title page, bibliography, and footnotes to your fifteen (15) to twenty (20)
pages of solid content.
Determine and distill the key components needed for a clear biblical position
on a theology of God and suffering. As you attend the lectures, complete
assignments, and read the texts, consider what you need to include in your
Apply these helpful tips for an effective paper:
a. Avoid procrastination! Work on your biblical theology of suffering
throughout the semester. To write a concise and clear theology of
suffering demands thought and time to process through all of the
issues. Prayerfully and thoughtfully, work through the paper as the
lectures progress. Your reward if you persist through the semester is
a product that will help your future ministry when your encounter
b. Compose a clearly worded position paper. State your thesis in the
introduction. Defend your thesis in the body. Clarify your thesis by
Dr. Larry J. Waters and Instructional Team BC-BE547OL Syllabus Dallas Theological Seminary
arguing for your position and against the opposing popular views.
Cite your supporting evidence.
D. Interactions
Some modules include class interaction. Interaction is a vital part of the online
experience. Meet your classmates, discuss the course material together, and develop a
sense of community.
Some interactions evoke a response to and discussion of an interaction question.
Other interactions are peer reviews between you and your classmates. For peer
reviews, open and read papers written by your classmates. Discuss their work.
V. Course Policies
A. Assignment Weights
Completed reading and videos as per schedule ................... 20%
A Day in the Life assignment and paper .......................... 15%
Church Disability Ministry assessment and paper .............. 15%
Theology of Suffering and Disability Position Paper ......... 35%
Interactions ............................................................................... 15%
B. DTS Grading Scheme
A+ 99-100 B+ 91-93 C+ 83-85 D+ 75-77 F 0-69
A 96-98 B 88-90 C 80-82 D 72-74
A- 94-95 B- 86-87 C- 78-79 D- 70-71
C. Late Assignments
Submit assignments on their due dates. The instructor will ONLY accept late
assignments under extraordinary circumstances. Set your profile to your locations
time zone for accurate time-date stamping.
D. Follow Turabian format, especially . . .
1. Identify your work using a title page.
2. Set your type font to 12-pt. Times New Roman.
3. Set margins to 1 inch.
4. Set paragraph line spacing to double-space.
5. Paginate the document.
VI. Course Supplemental Information
DTS does not discriminate because of disability in the operation of any of its programs and
activities. To avoid discrimination the student is responsible for informing the Coordinator
Dr. Larry J. Waters and Instructional Team BC-BE547OL Syllabus Dallas Theological Seminary
of Services for Students with Disabilities and the course instructor of any disabling condition
that will require modifications.
VII. Course Schedule
Module Topic Assignment Due
Part I: The Need for Disability Ministry
Course Introduction
Statistics and Disability Ministry Models
Daniel Thomson, PT, Th.M.

Church-Based Disability Ministry
& Disability Outreach/In-reach
Jessica Baldridge, M.Ed.
Mike Justice, Th.M.

Part II: The Biblical Foundation of Suffering
Suffering in the Pentateuch & the Prophets
Dr. Stephen Bramer

Suffering in the Psalms & Wisdom Literature
Dr. Ron Allen
Suffering in Job
Dr. Larry Waters

Suffering in the Gospels
Dr. Mark Bailey

Suffering in the Pauline Epistles
Dr. Stan Toussaint

Suffering in non-Pauline Epistles
Dr. Jim Allman
Suffering in Revelation
Dr. Tom Constable
A Day in the Life Paper
Part III: The Theology of Suffering and Disability
Dr. Larry J. Waters and Instructional Team BC-BE547OL Syllabus Dallas Theological Seminary
Module Topic Assignment Due
Theology of Suffering & Disability
Dr. Doug Blount

Theology of Suffering and Disability
Dr. Doug Blount
Suffering and the Global View
Dr. Jim Neathery
Disability Ministry
Part IV: The Ministry of Suffering and Disability
Pastoral Care Regarding Disability
Dr. Vic Anderson
Counseling & Family Dynamics
Steve Fischer, MA/BC
Counseling and Support Groups
Dr. C. Gary Barnes
Death and Dying
Dr. Linda Marten

11 Common Disablements: Pediatric and Adult
Dr. Richard Voet
Position Paper
Joni and Friends
Joni Eareckson Tada
Question & Answer Panel
Reading & Video Report