Intensive: Faith & Suffering (Theological & Pastoral Explorations)

Pandemics are a vivid reminder that life in a fallen world entails suffering. As health, life, livelihoods, retirement savings, travel plans and more collapse like dominoes, God’s people are left with challenges and opportunities. How do we make sense of suffering ourselves? How do we serve suffering people? How can we use suffering as an opportunity for conversation with non-Christians?

This intensive unit is designed to help participants dig behind the immediate issues of suffering and think about the underlying issues and responses to them. It has a particular focus on physical suffering but is rich in wider applications.

COVID-19 may pass, but suffering continues until the Lord returns. Present and intending pastoral leaders need a good understanding of suffering and awareness of useful pastoral responses as they shepherd God’s people and stand to gain much from this Unit.

About Kelly

Dr. Kelly M. Kapic is professor of theological studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. He is the author or editor of over fifteen books, including the unit text Embodied Hope (IVP Academic, 2017) which won the Christianity Today Book of the Year award for Theology and Ethics in 2018. Kapic is also part of a John Templeton Foundation grant studying “Christian Meaning-Making, Suffering, and the Flourishing Life.

In our fallen world, the question is not if people will suffer, but when and how. In many ways, this class is less about you learning the ‘answers’ and more about learning the ways of God, that you might know how to minister well and apply the truths of scripture to the concrete complexities of people’s lives, including your own.
Read more from our interview with Kelly about suffering

Click here to view Kelly’s full academic profile

About David

David Burke is an adjunct lecturer (church history, applied theology, pastoral practice) and research fellow (cross-cultural studies). He is the Unit Co-ordinator for this Intensive.

David was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1979 and has a long background in pastoral and educational work in Australia and S.E. Asia. He taught at Christ College part time from 1981-1999 and was on the full-time staff from 2011 to 2019. David is involved in several majority-world ministry training projects.

David is married to Glenda, with whom he has an adult family.

…In my experience, people in the midst of great suffering have little interest in logical arguments or theodicies. They want to cope with what they experience and find meaning in it before God.
Read more from our interview with David about suffering

Click here to view David’s full academic profile

Enrolment & Special Audit Discount Offer

The unit will be taught as a real-time online Zoom class from Monday August 3rd to the 7th, with a class space on-site available for student interaction. It will also involve some online and other tasks supplementary to class hours.

As a special offer, we are offering a discount for students wanting to audit the unit. This comes down to $400 for audit students.

Enrolments are now available for this Unit, but as places are limited, we encourage you to enrol early. If you have any questions, you can e-mail our Academic Registar via

Click here to head to our Enrolment page.

Where is Christ College?

1 Clarence St Burwood NSW

Parking and transport: Limited 2 hour ticketed parking is available in the surrounding streets. Free unlimited parking can be found a few blocks from the college. Please do not park at Burwood RSL Club as Club parking is for Club patrons only.

Burwood Train Station is about a 7 minute walk from the college.