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George Fox Evangelical Seminary

Pastoral Counseling and Advanced Pastoral Counseling taught by Rev. Ron Clark

George Fox Evangelical Seminary is a multi-denominational, evangelical, university- based seminary committed to equipping women and men academically, spiritually, emotionally, and theologically for ministry in the church and world. We are located in Portland, Oregon. We offer the opportunity to attend class one day per week on a full- or part-time basis or as a part of an Online Learning Community (OLC) for those interested in distance learning. Whether on campus or online our faculty and staff create an environment where students are educated, trained, and mentored for leadership service.

Pastoral Counseling, when taught by Ron Clark (author of Freeing the Oppressed: A Call to Christians Concerning Domestic Abuse, minister and founder of Agape Ministries, Church of Christ, Portland, Oregon) includes a large curricular component addressing abuse, assault, pornography, and misogyny. Clark’s book, Setting the Captives Free: A Christian Theology of Domestic Violence is used as one text.

Advanced Pastoral Counseling (see syllabus by scrolling down) is offered as a seminar course and focuses on sexual, intimate partner and child abuse.

You may contact Ron Clark via the George Fox Evangelical Seminary website.

Advanced Pastoral Counseling George Fox Evangelical Seminary

I. Introduction

This course provides further development to the pastoral counseling issues that pastors encounter in the local church. In the arranged class the focus is upon domestic, sexual, and other forms of gendered violence.

II. Rationale

The course is based on two assumptions. First, God has created all people as imago dei for community. Second, the faith community reflects imago dei by becoming a “functional family” that heals and develops Christians, pre-Christians, and the surrounding community. Students will be encouraged to lead and teach the congregation to become a healing and developing community for all people. Students will also be encouraged to become advocates in their faith and local communities and to confront the cultural views of masculinity and oppression of vulnerable others.


In this class I hope to provide you with resources so that you might:

  • Address, refer, and develop the congregation to understand gendered abuse issues to help victims and oppressors.
  • Understand the nature of abuse in the Christian home, community, and culture.
  • Develop skills to recognize abusive behavior and support victims, survivors, and abusers in their healing and/or repentance.
  • Help develop a greater ministry to males in order that they might reflect the nature of Jesus in their relationships with others and themselves.

Required Texts

  • Clark, Ronald R. Am I Sleeping With the Enemy: Males and Females in God’s Image. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2010.
  • Johnson, Michael P. A Typology of Domestic Violence. Hanover, MA: Northeastern University, 2008.
  • Livingston, David. Healing Violent Men: A Model for Christian Communities. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2002.
  • Poling, James Newton. Understanding Male Violence: Pastoral Care Issues. St. Louis: Chalice, 2003.

Recommended Texts

  • Groves, Betsy McAlister. Children Who See Too Much. Boston: Beacon, 2002.

Course Content

This course is an arranged special class that will continue the coursework from the previous PSTD 501, with a greater emphasis on domestic and sexual abuse, as well as misogyny and male oppression of vulnerable others. The student will be challenged through reading, reflection papers, and interaction with authors and abuse experts to strengthen their theology to confront and address abuse and oppression. The goal of this class is to prepare the student to effectively pastor in a church or community and help victims of abuse, male violence, and gendered oppression. The student will not only learn how to pastor as a counselor, but as an advocate, teacher, and minister.

Course Requirements and Grading

Requirements: The student will have the following assignments to complete for a grade:

Interaction/Meetings with Teacher (2) May, June
We will meet once per month before the final. The meeting at the end of June is simply to prepare for the Final.

Reading and reflection

The student will read the four text books and write a 3-5 page reflection paper for each book over viewing the text and offering criticisms or suggestions for the work. The student will submit each of these papers on the designated date.

The student will also read three theological articles and do the same as the reading exercises and answer one question by the article author.

Application Project

The student will be expected to apply their work through a combination of lessons, sermons, or attending a pastoral counseling session with an approved counselor/pastor. The student is encouraged to do one of each but in some cases, where preaching is difficult, they can do two of one of the applications (example: attend two counseling sessions and teach one lesson). No papers will be due but you will be expected to discuss this with your teacher.


In lieu of a final paper or test the student will engage with a panel of 4-5 experts and be prepared to answer questions from members (chosen by Dr. Clark) concerning ministry to those in abuse, males, and providing support in the community. The Panel Discussion will only carry a Pass (200pts)/Pass with More Work Needed (100pts)/Fail (0pts). The panel will be a very relaxed group in a coffee shop setting that will prove to be less threatening and more interactional. The panel will be held the first week in December. If the panel and Dr. Clark feel that the student is prepared no further work will be required. If they do not feel the student is prepared further work will be suggested for the student to do to improve, but a grade of Pass with More Work Needed will be assigned. If the Panel and Dr. Clark feel the student is not prepared a Fail grade will be assigned for the Final test. The Panel Discussion is the end of the process and the student is not required to do any more work, nor can they do make up work to enhance the final score.

The panel will consist of 4-5 of the following list: Patrick Lemmon (co- founder of Men Can Stop Rape, Washington DC); Don Voeks (Pastor and Batterer Intervention Group Leader); Stacey Womack (Director for Abuser Recovery Services and Ministry); Lori Clark, Minister for Agape Church of Christ; Dr. Patricia Warford (Therapist); Choya Adkinson (YWCA); Corinn DeWard (Speaking Out Against Sibling Sexual Abuse); Esther Nelson (Director for Sexual Assault Services).

Your grade will be the totals of the following:

  • Final Test/Panel Review (Pass/Fail)- 200 pts
  • Written Engagement with Literature and Authors- 200 pts
  • Texts (4)- 200 pts
  • Hands On Teaching and Ministry- 100 pts
  • Interaction With Advisor/Teacher (3)- 100 pts

  • Total– 600 pts

Course Schedule

(Classes Begin)

May 20:

Reflection Papers Due
Meet with Teacher (pick one of the days and we will meet) Reading: Clark and Livingston
Choose Application Projects by 9/15

June 10:
Reflection Papers Due
10/1-5 Meet with Teacher (pick one of the days and we will meet)
Reading: Livingston and Poling

July 2: Papers Due
11/5-9 Meet with Teacher (pick one of the days and we will meet)
Reading: Poling and Johnson
Short meeting and prep with Dr. Clark for Final

Final/Panel Discussion

Policy On Equality and Civility

George Fox Evangelical Seminary endeavors always to treat the members of its community with respect and communicate with civility. We honor one another’s differences, be they religious, cultural, gender-related, or political. Our belief that every person is created in God’s image extends to how we treat one another.

We wish to challenge patterns of language that may be doing harm even when harm is inflicted unconsciously and without intention. We expect every member of our community, both inside and outside the classroom, to avoid dehumanizing or exclusive language in conversations with one another. “Dehumanizing” means any language that diminishes another’s humanity; it includes not only insulting discourse, but also the refusal to pronounce someone’s name correctly, imposing nicknames on others without their consent, speaking of people using non-human terminology, failure to extend grace when one’s weaknesses become apparent, stereotyping and the presumption of attributes and roles based on race and/or gender, etc.

Inclusive language, images, and metaphors are to be used in both written and verbal communication, which extends to in-class presentations and the Bible translations we use.