The current leaders of academia largely respond to the claims of a Judeo-Christian worldview one of two equally destructive ways. Believers are either attacked for affirming the basic beliefs of the faith or they are patronized by the purveyors of pluralism. If Christians are to be taken seriously in academia then they must be able to contend for the truths of scripture in winsome and rational terms.The Christian world does quite well at sending out its members to mission fields around the world. However, many of us within the church fail to realize that some of the darkest places for the gospel are much closer than we think. When you enter a secular campus as a believer you are instantly put on the defence. The politically correct professors will not show your beliefs the same deference that they show to other religions. How is a Christian to withstand attacks on that which they hold most dear? The answer lies in the commands of our Lord. We must apply our passion for Christ to understanding the reasons behind our beliefs.
I have been accepted to the Summit Oxford Institute this fall. I believe that the current level of Christian engagement with the academy is far below what it should be and what it can be. We often neglect Christ's command to "love God with all of our minds", Luke 10:27. I have a passion to see the transcendent power of God permeate, shape, and direct the intellectual pursuits of our colleges and universities. This cannot happen unless the next generation of Christians strive to achieve academic excellence. If we are to give a coherent and persuasive "reason for the hope that is within us" 1 Peter 3:15, then we have to understand the false ideologies that seek to dethrone Christ from the rule of our lives. Therefore, we must receive the most rigorous training possible so as to ensure that we develop the intellect to be able to represent Christ as he is. We must not lessen the persuasiveness of the gospel with our own ignorance of the ideas that direct the courses of nations and individuals.
Summit Oxford is a semester long institute at one of the oldest universities in the world. The culture shapers that have exited its halls to change the world, for good or ill, were able to do so partly because of the exceptional intellects that they cultivated. I desire to use the training available there to equip me to influence academia for the sake of The Kingdom.
This Institute consists of five weeks of intensive worldview study. We would explore the divisions and commonalities between systems of thought and how to use this knowledge to contend for the truth of Christianity. When we know the false ideas that lead people away from faith in Christ then we gain confidence in our evangelistic endeavors. The second half consists of Oxford tutorials in our subjects of choice. I will be studying Philosophy of Religion and political science. I hope to grow deeply in these disciplines while growing spiritually by living in community with the other Institute students. This once in a lifetime opportunity to grow in knowledge and understanding for Christ cannot be quantified. If you share my desire to see our colleges and universities be influenced by bold Christian intellectuals then I would have you consider supporting me in my attempt to bring the lordship of Christ into new hostile territory.
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