The “Inside the PTS Curriculum” series gives you an inside look at what students are learning in their courses at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Each article focuses on one class, its subject matter, what students can expect to learn, the required texts, and the kinds of assignments students can expect. We’ll let you know whether the course is required or available for the Master of Divinity (MDiv), the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), or Master of Theological Studies (MTS). Each article will include the professor’s bio.
This week’s course is: “Capitalism and Christian Witness.”
About Capitalism and Christian Witness
During this term, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary students will be learning about the relationship between economics and ministry with Dr. Scott Hagley in the class “Capitalism and Christian Witness.” This course is open to students in the Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), and Master of Theology (MTS) degree programs.
This course will explore U.S. capitalism and its consequences for church mission and ministry. Drawing from histories of capitalist development in the United States, students will gain critical tools for thinking about the ways economic structures and practices commodify our world, while also exploring different Christian responses to capitalist or consumerist production.
By the end of the course, students will be able to understand the particular challenges to Christian life and witness that our current economic system creates. They will do so by reading works in economics, history, and theology, as well as New History of Capitalism literature. They will begin to assess historical and present Christian responses to the commodification of land, bodies, and time in American public life.
This seminar-style course requires students to prepare for, participate in, and lead seminar discussions. They will also complete and present a book review, write a short self-reflective narrative, and write a final project. Required reading includes Walter Johnson’s River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom; W.E.B. DuBois’s Black Reconstruction in America: 1860-1880; Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s The Black Church; Kathryn Tanner’s Christianity and the New Spirit of Capitalism; and Luke Timothy Johnson’s Sharing Possessions: What Faith Demands, 2nd ed.
About the Instructor
Dr. Scott Hagley is professor of missiology and joined the Pittsburgh Seminary faculty in 2015. He received a B.A. in youth ministry and communication from Bethel University, an M.Div. from Regent College, and a Ph.D. (with distinction) in congregational mission and leadership from Luther Seminary. He has served as director of education at Forge Canada in Surrey, British Columbia, where he worked to develop curriculum for the formation of missional leaders in hubs across Canada. He also served as teaching pastor at Southside Community Church, a multi-site church in the Vancouver metro area organized around neighborhood-based missional communities. Dr. Hagley has taught courses at Augsburg College, Rochester College, Bethel University, and Luther Seminary, and previously he was a consultant and researcher with Church Innovations Institute. He has lectured at denominational meetings and retreats on topics such as missional communities, faith, and spiritual formation. His publications include the book Eat What is Set Before You: A Missiology of the Congregation in Context.