THL461 Being the Church (8)

This subject examines the scriptural, theological and sacramental bases for the identity and mission of the church in the twenty-first century. The emergence of the ecumenical movement will be discussed, as will contemporary critiques of the church related to the history of colonialism, the abuse of power and the end of Christendom.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 2 (60)
On Campus
Canberra Campus
United Theological College
Online *
Canberra Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: THL461. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Theology

Enrolment Restrictions

Not available to students who have completed THL113 Being the Church or THL212.

Assumed Knowledge

Students are recommended to have prior knowledge equivalent to or studied THL460.

Subject Relationships

THL113 Paired Subject

Incompatible Subjects

THL113, THL212

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to articulate and critically evaluate the scriptural, theological and sacramental foundations of the Christian church;
  • be able to discuss critically theological issues relating to the unity and diversity of the church across history;
  • be able to analyse critically the relation between the mission of the church and its varied contexts: cultural, political and geographical;
  • be able to demonstrate an advanced understanding of contemporary critiques of the church related to the history of colonialism, the abuse of power and the end of Christendom; and
  • be able to demonstrate self-guided learning, including advanced research, writing and communication skills.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • The church according to the New Testament
  • The relation between Israel, Jesus and the church
  • The church as sacramental community
  • The church as missionary community
  • The twentieth century ecumenical movement
  • Contemporary critiques of the church related to the history of colonialism, the abuse of power and the end of Christendom
  • The church in its cultural and national contexts

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of THL461 in Session 2 2021. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Reading summary and reflection
Short essay
Major essay

Residential School

This subject contains a 2 day Optional Residential School.

The residential school for this introductory subject provides an orientation to the subject matter, methodology, library resources, and research tools pertaining to the study of the Christian Church.

Activities include lectures, library orientation and group work.

Special Resources

Online students who choose to attend the optional residential school in Canberra will need to arrange and cover the costs of travel, accommodation and meals.

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: June 2022. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.