In the middle of the phrase “liberal arts education” is the important word “liberal”. But how are these arts liberal? Some say it is that these arts are liberating; they free men and women who study them.
Given that Rhetoric itself is a disputed term-variously defined by different practitioners, theorists, and philosophers in different time periods--adding the adjective Christian to the word Rhetoric only serves to further muddy the waters.
"In the Fullness of Time" (Gal. 4:4) describes how God prepared his world to grasp who Jesus is and to receive him as the divine savior. God used the Jewish Diaspora, hellenization spread by Alexander the Great, Roman roads, the pax Romana, and history, philosophy, and myth to prepare for Christ.
The study of history in classical Christian schools often mirrors the model taken by our non-classical counterparts. Students read a textbook filled with a variety of facts that attempt to condense the progression of history to a few "high points" and key facts.
Using Lundin as a guide, this workshop will 1) briefly trace some of the intellectual challenges of the modern age; 2) read some selections that highlight doubt and faith during this time; 3) and discuss how the idea of "believing again" can help us form Christians with sturdy souls in our own secular age.
Drawing upon Desiderius Erasmus's most important contributions to the Western canon, this workshop explores essential virtues and perspectives that college freshmen and sophomores are often lacking when they walk into his classroom.
John Milton had considerable sway in the political discourse of his day, often writing at the intersection of philosophy, theology, and public policy.
R. C. Sproul (1939-2017) was perhaps best known for his teaching on the holiness of God as exemplified in the publication of his classic text, The Holiness of God (1985). This workshop explores the broader context of R. C.’s education and training and the various threads that led to this particular emphasis in his teaching and writing. In addition to Scripture, R. C. drew from classical and Reformed theological sources, from classical and medieval philosophical sources, and from literary sources, such as Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. This exploration into the development of this idea demonstrates how much potential there is in a truly integrated and classical education. From the time of his bachelor’s thesis in college, R.C. labored to counter what he saw as “the shallow religious views” of both the American church and American culture. Instead, he taught in a compelling way who God is according to what God has revealed of himself. He stood squarely in the tradition of the classical philosophers, Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, and Edwards–and he did so at a time when few were paying attention to the richness of the classical tradition.
Stephen J. Nichols
Stephen J. Nichols is president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer at Ligonier Ministries. He holds a master's degrees in philosophy and theology and a Ph.D. from Westminster Theological Seminary. He has been teaching in higher education since 1997. Steve is the author of over twenty-five books, including his most recently published book, R. C. Sproul: A Life. He also coedits the theologians on the Christian life series for Crossway. He hosts the podcast 5 Minutes in Church History. Reformation Bible College, founded in 2011, offers theological higher education in the Reformed classical tradition, following a classical model of education that emphasizes theology, philosophy, languages, and a robust curriculum of Great Works courses. Since 2014, Dr. Nichols serves as the second president, after the founder and first president, R. C. Sproul.
Learn how to apply the literacy tools and seminar model (already honed in teaching other ancient texts) to the area of biblical studies.
Those who tend fig trees like the prophet Amos have a humble vocation. When Amos is told to stop prophesying, he responds, “I’m no prophet. I’m a common herdsman, a sheep breeder. I pick sycamore figs.” In our humble positions as teachers, administrators, and learners, we are also fig-pickers, perhaps even fig-piercers if we break through the tough skin to allow maturity to come in our students.