Summer Studies in Christian Thought: Gaining a Vision for the Christian Life

Imagine the possibility of devoting nine weeks this summer to studying the writings of leading Christian thinkers like Francis Schaeffer and H. R. Rookmaaker. Then, imagine sifting that thought through the writings of time tested reformed theologians like Arthur Pink and Robert Shaw. Then, imagine the enjoyment of experiencing those ideas come to life through the fiction of C. S. Lewis. Finally, imagine what it might be like to do all of that under the tutelage of men and women who have devoted their lives to Christian thought and its application to the Christian life.

Imagine how such an undertaking might elevate one’s concept of living the Christian Life.

This is the idea behind Summer Studies in Christian Thought offered by the Geneva Institute. We have gathered expertise from across the state to lead this new program for the purpose of mentoring young minds for living the Christian life. John Hodges (The Center for Western Studies) and Dr. Charlene Thomas (Associate Professor of Humanities/Art History, Milligan College) will help translate to life and culture the concepts from three foundational segments of study on being, knowing, and living. Students will be mentored through those segments by Dean Walker from the Institute, Pastor Patrick Hines (Bridwell Heights Presbyterian Church), Dr. Don Schanzenbach (Mission to Restore America), and Rev. Douglas Douma (Sola).  (See our informational flier, SSCT Info, for more detailed information about the program.)

The Institute is excited about the possibility of aiding young men and women to develop their knowledge of God and vision for living the Christian life. The program is ideal for upper high school and recent high school graduates (e.g. rising juniors/seniors, college students on summer break).  The Institute will recruit host family opportunities for housing out-of-town students.

We expect the cost of the program to be between $2400 and $2900 per student. This cost includes two trips: one to Staunton VA to see a Shakespeare play, and one to Washington D. C. to tour the art museums. It also includes tuition to BWSC (Biblical Worldview Student Conference) held at Milligan College June 4-8. We need six committed students to confirm the program this coming summer (2018). Please respond to with your interest indicating the following:

  • Please reserve a spot for me or my student(s).
  • I am very interested; please keep me updated about the program.
  • I would be interested given a $500 scholarship was available.
  • I would be interested given a $1000 scholarship was available.

Learn About Dual Enrollment Opportunities in Kingsport

An Informational meeting will be held in Kingsport on October 17th to talk about the dual enrollment classes offered by the Geneva Institute of Christian Thought. Learn how dual enrollment can give students a head start on college by making the most of the junior and senior high school years, how the Institute seeks to apply Christian principles to educational practice, and discover the upcoming spring semester classes offered by the Institute. Take the opportunity to meet the Director of the Institute and learn how the Institute’s classes can fit with your homeschooling style. The meeting will be held. 7:00 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church of Kingsport.

Education is for Life!

I hope not too many people are surprised that life continues on earth this morning. No rapture. No space aliens. No planets on collision with earth. Life goes on, work continues, and assignments are still due this week.

The good news is that we get to continue our educational journey and the great news is that it is for our good! Rom. 12:1-2 is one of my “go to” verses to highlight the important role that the mind plays in the Christian life. It reads,

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  (Rom. 12:1-2, NKJV)

The picture of life in Christ that these verses paint is truly inspiring. We can be holy, acceptable to God! We can overcome conformance to this world! We can live out the “good and acceptable and perfect will of God! None of this is accomplished on our own, of course, but rather through the grace of God. His mercy to us to forgive our rebellion against him and his grace to us to provide the way for reconciliation are foundational for our life in Him.  God has purposed our transformation to be like Him, however, to be a transformational process rather than a transforming moment. And, one of the means by which He accomplishes this transformation is by the renewing of our minds.

It is an ongoing process. We know Him in part, then we prove that knowledge out in our lives, and then we know Him more fully. Repeat. Learn. Grow. The Christian life is a journey that involves the mind. Think about that the next time you pick up your Bible, or your favorite theologian, or Victor Hugo. Think about it the next time you climb Flint Rock and view the beauty of Holston Lake. Think about it as you gather for worship next Sunday. God is renewing your mind. Take every learning opportunity to participate in that exciting journey!

Geneva Institute Spring Classes

The Geneva Institute of Christian Thought will offer classes in Psychology, Great Books, and New Testament this spring (info below). These classes are college level classes taught from a Christian worldview and can be taken for dual-enrollment, adult, non-degree status, or audit. Please contact for more information.

Application deadline: December 1, 2017
Course registration: October 16, 2017 – December 15, 2017

Spring Semester 2018

Introduction to the general field of psychology.  Emphasizes concepts helpful for understanding contemporary psychology and those basic for further study.
Tuesday and Thursday 10:00am-11:20am

The course will examine some of the influential works of Christendom.  Students will be encouraged to critically examine these works from a biblical perspective, discussing, debating, and evaluating the validity of the author’s ideas and ethics.
Wednesday 8:30am-11:20am

This course provides an analysis of the New Testament as the culmination of the whole Bible.  It focuses on the theological, literary, and historical dimensions of the New Testament text, and draws theological connections to major figures and themes of the Old Testament.
Tuesday and Thursday 8:30am-9:50am

For more information please contact Ginny Walker:

Is the classroom a level playing field for debate?

I found multiple points worth consideration in this article from R. C. Sproul on being prepared for the classroom in potentially “hostile” environments. He writes, “I try to communicate to them [students] that, as valiant as their attempts [at debate] may be, they are in most cases exercises in futility because the professor controls the discussion. The classroom is not a place where open debate is usually encouraged.”

This is both a sobering and a convicting point.

It is sobering because our fond imaginations of truth gaining the upper hand even in a hostile classroom environments which are designed to undermine it are mostly naive pipe dreams.  I know as a teacher that I am most often working from depth of study and experience that places me at an unfair advantage in debate. It is not a level playing field.

Because I am a teacher, however, the point is also convicting on account of the responsibility.  Ultimately, this responsibility is given for the purpose of encouraging others to grow in their knowledge of God. Even when the truth we are pursuing is the God’s Truth, there are virtuous and vicious methods for advancing that truth. I think vicious methods rarely result in the growth that we seek.

From the student’s perspective, Sproul encourages both parents and students to Be Prepared. Be prepared by knowing the convictions of the institutions and the faculty; and discerning when those convictions are in conflict with our own–even when those institutions might make Christian claims.

Dual Enrollment Day at Bryan College

The Geneva Institute is sponsoring a trip to Bryan College’s Dual Enrollment Day on Wednesday, September twenty seventh. Bryan College has invited students who are considering dual enrollment next year to visit the campus for a day. Students will be given a tour of the campus, have opportunity to meet professors and sit in on classes, meet with representatives from various area of study, and learn about the benefits of dual enrollment. The program will begin at 9 a.m. and end at approximately 3 p.m. Lunch is provided through the Bryan College cafeteria. For more information about registration and transportation please contact Ginny Walker at