I was introduced to the leaders of the Rivendell Institute in the summer after my sophomore year at Stanford. I was, by then, majoring in philosophy and religious studies, and working in both departments with men and women who had devoted decades of their lives to justifying intellectually their agnosticism or atheism — or, at best, a kind of habitual faith that ran on the fumes of childhood memory and sentimentalism. It seemed to me, naive as I was, that the criticisms of orthodox Christian faith they put forward were novel, were unknown to most people who remained Christians, and stood unrefuted by thoughtful believers.
All three of these assumptions proved false, and my conversations with Greg Ganssle and the other Rivendell teachers showed me very quickly how foolish it was to think that no eyes had seen and no ears had heard these criticisms before within the church. Not only were these men thoroughly familiar with all the arguments against orthodox Christian faith and in favor of agnosticism or even atheism, but they did not fear those arguments, they listened to them, and they were aware of equally powerful responses. It was partly through them that I learned there really were answers out there, because Christians had been responding to these kinds of criticisms for (in most cases) centuries. I was introduced to a whole genre of philosophical and theological literature my skeptic professors at Stanford had no interest in telling me about.
And, to some extent, the answers themselves were the icing on the cake. What was enormously encouraging, what was liberating and exhilarating for me, was the simple knowledge that a great many intelligent Christians had gone before me, had wrestled with the same problems, and had arrived at satisfying answers.
So when I received this note from Greg Ganssle and the Rivendell Institute crew, I knew I wanted to share the news with our readers. If you are a top-notch evangelical student looking to approach your faith and your academic setting more thoughtfully — or if you know such a student — then you should pay attention. Here’s the note from Greg:
I wish to send you some information about an exciting opportunity that might be right for some of your students. The Rivendell Institute at Yale is hosting a two week summer seminar, from June 2- June 15, 2013. The theme of the Seminar is Cultivating a Faithful Presence: the Richness of the Gospel in the Life of the Academy
We are looking for graduate students or strong undergraduates who anticipate a career in the University, and who aim to integrate their Christian faith with their lives and their work as scholars. As a result, we want to find the most academically gifted and ministry motivated students in the country. In order to maximize our learning environment, participation in the seminar will be limited to twenty students.
You can find information and an application at our website: www.rivendellinstitute.org/
You might want to watch our five minute video from last year! It helps you get a good sense of what we do!
If you know of students that meet these criteria, we would ask you to pass on the information about the Seminar.