Details for Theology and Popular Culture

Quick Info

  • Currently offered by Alphacrucis: Yes
  • Unit code: THE304
  • Credit points: 15
  • Total workload hours per week: 150
  • Number of timetabled hours per week: 4 *

* Note: Units with reduced contact hours (such as those taught in Intensive format) will have an increased assessment component.↩


THE101 – Christian Worldview

The following courses are prerequisites:

Awards offering Theology and Popular Culture

This unit is offered as a part of the following awards:

Unit Content

Curriculum Objective

This paper is designed to explore the mediums of popular culture (film, television and music) with a view to understanding the values and meanings of life in a global context and to explore these in the light of contemporary Christian life and thought.


Students should be able to:

  1. Analyse the way in which the mediums of popular culture provide a window into the values and meanings that frame life in a globalized world
  2. Explain and apply hermeneutical tools for the purpose of understanding the meanings conveyed in film, television and contemporary music
  3. Discuss theological concepts, themes and issues expressed through the various mediums of pop culture
  4. Assess the potential and use film, television and music in the prophetic task of proclaiming the gospel for the contemporary church

Subject Content

  1. The interplay between culture and the mediums of popular culture
  2. Reading Pop-culture texts
  3. Jesus Christ movie star: cinematic portrayals of Christ
  4. Explorations of human identity and purpose
  5. Redemptive analogies
  6. Discernment: Making judgements about the “worthiness” of pop cultural texts 

This course may be offered in the following formats

Lectures, class presentations, discussion, tutorials, film, and web-based interaction.

Please consult your course prospectus or enquire about how and when this course will be offered next at Alphacrucis College.

Assessment Methods

Forum Postings (20%, 2500 words); Worksheet (30%, 1500 words); Multi-media Presentation (50%, 5 mins)

Prescribed Text

Lynch, G. Understanding Theology and Popular Culture. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005 

Representative References


Aichele, G. & Walsh, R. (eds). Screening Scripture: Intertextual Connections Between Scripture and Films. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press, 2002.

Beard, S. et al. Spiritual Journeys: How Faith Has Influenced 12 Music Icons. Lake Mary, FL: Relevant Books, 2003.

Christianson, E., Francis, P. and Telford, W. Cinéma Divinité: Religion, Theology and the Bible in Film. London: SCM, 2005.

Clark, A.J. & Fiddes, P.S. (eds). Flickering Images: Theology and Film in Dialogue. Oxford: Regents Park College, 2005.

Clifton, S. “Discernment and the Search for Beauty in the Cinema.” Society of Pentecostal Studies, 2009.

Davis Jr, Walter J., et al.  Watching What We Watch: Prime-Time Television Through the Lens of Faith.  Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001.

Deacy, C. Faith in Film. Hampshire, England: Ashgate, 2005.

________.Screen Christologies: Redemption and the Medium of Film, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2001.

Godawa, B.  Hollywood Worldviews—Watching Films with Wisdom & Discernment.  Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002.

Higgins, G. How the Movies Helped Save My Soul: Finding Spiritual Fingerprints in Culturally Significant Films. Lake Mary, FL: Relevant Books, 2003.

Johnston, R. Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000.

Light, A. Reel Arguments: Film, Philosophy and Social Criticism. Colorado, U.S.A: Westview Press, 2003.

Marsh, C. Cinema and Sentiment: Film’s Challenge to Theology. Milton Keynes, U.K: Paternoster, 2004.

Pinsky, M.I.  The Gospel According to the Simpsons.  Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001.

Romanowski, W.D. Pop Culture Wars: Religion  & the Role of Entertainment in American Life. Downers Grove, Il: IVP, 1996.

_______________.  Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2001.

Seay, C. The Gospel According to Tony Soprano. Lake Mary, Fl: Relevant Books, 2002.

Stockman, S. The Rock Cries Out: Discovering Eternal Truth in Unlikely Music. Lake Mary, FL: Relevant Books, 2004.

_____________. Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2. Lake Mary, FL: Relevant Books, 2003.

Tillich, P. Theology of Culture. Oxford University Press, 1959.

Turner, S. The Gospel According to the Beatles. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2006.



Cross Currents

Journal of Contemporary Religion

Modern Theology

Theology Today 

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