Presbyterian & Reformed Christianity

Through six modules, this paper shall explore the history and theology of the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition, with a particular focus on how these have and continue to shape New Zealand Presbyterianism and Reformed identity and mission in the twenty-first century.

    1. Reformed Identity
    2. Reformations in Europe: John Calvin
    3. The Scottish Reformation
    4. Three Centuries of Presbyterianism – 17th and 18th Centuries: Confessions and Covenants, Revival and Mission in an Age of Reason; and, 19th Century: Confessional Conflicts, Modernity’s Challenges, Heroes and ‘Heretics’
    5. At home: Presbyterianism in Aotearoa New Zealand
    6. Reformed Theology in the Twentieth Century and Beyond

The set texts for this paper are:

  • Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Reformation: A History (New York: Penguin Books, 2005).
  • Thomas F. Torrance, Scottish Theology: From John Knox to John McLeod Campbell (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996).

Further recommended texts:

  • Wallace M. Alston, and Michael Welker, eds. Reformed Theology: Identity and Ecumenicity (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2003).
  • –––––. Reformed Theology: Identity and Ecumenicity II, Biblical Interpretation in the Reformed Tradition (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2007).
  • John W. de Gruchy, Liberating Reformed Theology: A South African Contribution to an Ecumenical Debate (Grand Rapids/Cape Town: Wm .B. Eerdmans/David Philip Publishers, 1991).
  • Dennis McEldowney, ed., Presbyterians in Aotearoa, 18401990 (Wellington: Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, 1990).
  • John H. Leith, An Introduction to the Reformed Tradition: A Way of Being the Christian Community (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1977).
  • David R. Peel, Reforming Theology: Explorations in the Theological Traditions of the United Reformed Church (London: The United Reformed Church, 2002).
  • Glenn S. Sunshine, The Reformation for Armchair Theologians (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005).
  • David Willis and Michael Welker, eds. Toward the Future of Reformed Theology: Tasks, Topics, Traditions. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1999).

Course Schedule

November 2013

Reformed Identity (new interns)

Reformed Theology in the Twentieth Century and Beyond

February 2014

The Book of Order

July 2014

Reformations in Europe: John Calvin

November 2014

Reformed Identity (new interns)

The Scottish Reformation



Assignment 1

Discuss the context, content and significance of a theological conviction, document, person or organisation important for Presbyterian/Reformed identity. (2,000 words; 35%)

[NB. You may also be invited to share your paper with the class]

Assignment 2

What are the distinctive characteristics of Reformed faith and identity? (2,000 words; 35%)

[NB. You may also be invited to share your paper with the class]


A 24-hour ‘take home’ examination will take place during the final semester of your studies. (30%)