ASC is excited to introduce our Certificate of Christian Thought program.
ASC’s Certificate of Christian Thought (CCT) is designed to provide the academic backdrop for the rest of what we do. We suspect that the world of Christian Thought is a bit foreign to most people—including many Christians—therefore, we expect that most people will dip their toes in the water via one of our shorter classes or events. Those shorter classes and events are, for the most part, the application of Christian Thought to various areas of life—medicine, education, film, literature, biblical studies, history, science, etc.
For those who would like to take a deep dive, we offer our four Core Courses that make up the heart of Alcuin’s two-year CCT program. In addition to these four courses, a CCT candidate needs to complete 20 approved hours of Alcuin Study Center shorter classes or events.
A few of questions act as through-lines for these courses: What does it mean to be human? Who is God? and What is human flourishing?
Core Course I
Ideas That Shape Us
Tuesdays Aug 30-Dec 13
(no class Oct 25)
David Foster Wallace’s anecdote about the two young fish is by now commonplace: An older fish swims by and asks them, “Well, boys, how’s the water?” and one of the younger fish looks at the other and says, “Water? What the hell is water?”
This simple illustration has been used in a variety of ways, but perhaps James K. A. Smith has gotten the most traction from it. In Smith’s iteration, the water we breathe is code for the ideas that compose our intellectual atmosphere. We do not think in a vacuum; centuries of thought have either polluted or filtered our epistemic environment, but we breathe it all in without a conscious thought, or worse, with the thought that this is just the way it has always been. But it isn’t.
This course will trace the major thought streams that have formed the water that we breathe today. We’ll wade through centuries of philosophy, theology, literature, art, and music in order to more objectively examine and critique our presuppositions and philosophical foundations.
Core Course II
Virtuous Thinking & Ordered Loves
People don’t seem to know how to have civil disagreements. To be certain, that is due, in part, to a lack of charity. But it is also due to complex fears and defense mechanisms that rise to the surface when we aren’t ourselves able to think clearly about issues that are important to us. Clear thinking allows for loving dialogue.
We are a culture, as Alisdair Macintyre has explained, that has replaced reason with emotion, and the result is fearful defensiveness, what-about-ism, and ad-hominem attacks. It would be helpful if students still learned logic in school, but alas, that is not the case.
“Logic!” said the Professor half to himself. “Why don’t they teach logic at these schools?”Professor Digory Kirke, The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Logic, however, is only part of the equation. Drawing on Augustine, Lewis, and others, we’ll discuss the importance of ordo amoris, that is, well ordered loves or desires.
This course focuses on the virtue of thinking well and the disciplining our affections. In doing so, we will reap the benefit of compassionate dialogue that such thinking and loving engenders.
Core Course III
Seeing God’s world through God’s Word
The Bible forms a single story, from the Garden of Eden to the New Jerusalem. This course will dig deep into that story and provide students with the tools to work through even the toughest passages of God’s Word.
“The fact that the Bible finds its meaning in the divine Word that becomes flesh, helps us to understand the nature of the Bible as a divine-human word.”Graeme Goldsworthy
This course will also dig into the implications of the biblical story—Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration—on real-world developments. What does it mean that human beings are culture-makers? What is culture and how can it either aid in or hinder human flourishing?
Core Course IV
Institutions & Authorities
The Family. The Church. The Government. These institutions form the backbone of society. What other institutions and authorities exert influence or even control over us? Algorithms? Neighborhoods? Corporations?
In our ultra-autonomous culture, many are skeptical of institutions, and yet we cannot escape them. What makes an institution or an authority legitimate? What constitutes abuse?
Using Abraham Kuyper’s concept of sphere sovereignty as a framework, we will explore the roles of various institutions and authorities in our lives and the influence they exert over our thought and actions.
Interested in taking the Core Courses and/or pursuing a Certificate of Christian Thought? Let us know below: