I am attempting to ease back into my (unwillingly) interrupted education via the Hillsdale online courses. Are you familiar with these, and, if so, are you aware of anything specific for which one needs to watch out? Given that it was founded by Baptists, its theological lectures I am approaching with caution, and will be referring back to WELS doctrine through such resources as the WLS Essay Files, to counteract the influence of false teaching. I would skip them altogether but for the fact that some of its alumni are amongst those influencing national life, and it is useful to know why they think what they think. But its theology understandably permeates its other courses, and there its influence is more difficult to detect. A liberal alternative, assuming one existed, would not suit my purposes. I wouldn't trust its accuracy, for one thing, and, last I looked, neither the WELS nor the ELS offer anything comparable. Any advice you can give me would be very much appreciated. Thank you!
I cannot say that I am familiar with that college’s offering of online theology courses. It looks like you have the right approach if you were to enroll in some of their courses: to be aware of the college’s historical, religious background, to view and read materials as one “testing the spirits” (1 John 4:1) and to utilize the resources available from your church and church body.
Another good resource from your church would be your pastor. He could be in a position to help you sort out biblical teaching from error.
On the college’s website, there is information like this: “As a nonsectarian Christian institution, Hillsdale College maintains ‘by precept and example’ the immemorial teachings and practices of the Christian faith.” “We don’t have mandatory chapel, faith statement, or an affiliation with a particular denomination.” With general statements like those, you would probably want to be on the lookout for items like decision theology, legalism, a denial of the sacraments and a watering down of biblical fellowship principles.
I do not know which theology courses are of interest you, but I do want to make you aware that Martin Luther College offers three Bible courses and three doctrine courses online. All courses are offered every summer. All courses are also offered during the academic school year on a rotational basis. This link will take you to the Continuing Education section of Martin Luther College’s website, where you can find more information about these courses.
I wish you well!