Systematic Theology (ST) Courses

Doctrinal Synthesis – Introduction

In each of DTS’s ST courses, students write a 3–4 page single-spaced “Doctrinal Synthesis” paper summarizing the area(s) of theology addressed in the class. In the final course, ST5106, students assemble these into a comprehensive “Capstone Doctrinal Synthesis” paper.

This means that if you receive transfer credit or earn advanced standing credit for an ST course (ST5102, ST5103, ST5104, or ST5105), you will need to write a “Doctrinal Synthesis” assignment for each course before you take ST5106. Students in the Accelerated advance standing program (AS5105-AS5106) should ideally complete these papers during their AS courses, but they can do so any time before ST5106.

The doctrinal statements for each course should cover the following subjects:

  • ST5102 – The Doctrine of the Trinity and the Two Natures of Christ
  • ST5103 – Creation, Angelology, Anthropology, and Hamartiology
  • ST5104 – Soteriology
  • ST5105 – Sanctification and Ecclesiology

Doctrinal Synthesis – General Content

1) The Brief Statement (100–150 words or one-fourth to one-third of a page). This first section will summarize the area(s) of doctrine in non-technical (but biblically and theologically accurate) language similar to an article in a church’s or ministry’s doctrinal statement. It will include parenthetical key Scripture references and will reflect the orthodox, protestant, evangelical faith. (See sample doctrinal synthesis paper provided.)

2) The Detailed Exposition (400–600 words or two-thirds to three-fourths of a page). This second section will provide a succinct but thorough elucidation of the area(s) of doctrine using technical, traditional language and covering the major issues related to the area(s) of doctrine. This exposition should read like a paper one would submit as part of an ordination or interviewing process.

Substantiating your detailed exposition, include three to five single-spaced pages of endnotes (not footnotes) that provide biblical-exegetical, historical-theological, and scientific-philosophical evidences, arguments, and explanations of the doctrinal assertions. These endnotes will include not only key biblical references but also interpretive notes that incorporate commentaries, theological works, or historical citations. Biblical citations should be without quotation, except when an exegetical point is not obvious. Justify interpretations of ambiguous passages with clarifying notes. Exegetical, theological, and historical sources, references, and observations should explain the student’s reasons for the affirmations in the main detailed exposition. In these notes, incorporate insights gained from your previous theological training that qualified you to receive graduate level advanced standing credit. Bibliographic references should use Turabian formatting. E.g., Glenn R. Kreider, “Wise Unto Salvation: Gospel, Atonement, and Saving Grace,” in Nathan D. Holsteen and Michael J. Svigel, eds., Exploring Christian Theology, vol. 2, Creation, Fall, and Salvation (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2015), 127.

3) The Practical Implications Reflection (500–750 words). This is not required for students receiving Advanced Standing or Transfer Credit.

Your Assignment(s)

The format of these doctrinal synthesis papers is the same as the paper prepared for ST5101 Theological Method and Bibliology. Students who have received advanced standing or transfer credit are encouraged to begin completing their required outstanding doctrinal synthesis papers after taking ST5101.