A ministry of Addison’s Walk Institute for Christian Studies in partnership with Clarks Summit University, Rivendell Fellows Academy is an intensive Christian gap-year experience for high school graduates. Student fellows will live and learn in community where they will be studying some of life’s most important questions filtered through the lens of Biblical truth.

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Many college students begin their freshman year with a modicum of mental conditioning. The average eighteen-year-old has been subjected to a mental onslaught for most of their lives. At the core, what they have been handed is a worldview; a means of making sense of and processing reality. Every person on the planet filters reality through a certain set of lenses. The question is, “Are these lenses distorting or clarifying reality?” 

We need an aggressive, sustained, and serious means for students to explore the ideas that have not only shaped them, but have shaped the whole of western culture for the past 3,000 years. They need to be able to identify and defend the truths of Christianity over the saccharine half-truths and outright deceptions of a desperate world. Young men and women must be taught how to “tear down the arguments that set themselves up against the knowledge of God” (II Cor 10:5).

In Against the Flow, theologian and philosopher John Lennox writes about the lives and testimonies of four young Hebrews who were forced to enroll at the “University of Babylon” in 605 BC. Lennox makes a brilliant observation. The amazing thing about Daniel, Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah, is not they managed to maintain a private faith in God while they were living in the midst of abject idolatry. Anyone can maintain a private faith in anything as long as they stay silent. No, the amazing thing about these young men is that they maintained a high-profile, public witness for God, in a hostile environment!  They risked everything. They dared to engage.

Our goal is to have a hand in the training and teaching of a new generation of Daniels!

WISDOM

We want our fellows to fall desperately in love with Lady Wisdom. We wish for them to accept her invitation and live out her precepts as described in Proverbs 2 and 8. Our fellows will take this wisdom and apply it to every area of life. Dare to think!

WITNESS

We are calling students “out” for one year, in order to send them back “to.” This program is not intended to merely isolate and insulate. Our aim is to be able to hold out the word of life in a crooked and depraved generation (Philippians 2). We will dare you to think so that you can dare to engage.

FAITH

Our basic assumption is that faith and reason go hand in hand (Heb 11). They are not separate ideas that serve different purposes. We wish to instill in Rivendell fellows that our faith is anchored on solid facts rather than mere feelings. We will show that Jesus is the logos, the true center of all things, and that faith in him is both substantive and evidential.

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We want our fellows to fall desperately in love with Lady Wisdom. We wish for them to accept her invitation and live out her precepts as described in Proverbs 2 and 8. Our fellows will take this wisdom and apply it to every area of life. Dare to think!

We are calling students “out” for one year, in order to send them back “to.” This program is not intended to merely isolate and insulate. Our aim is to be able to hold out the word of life in a crooked and depraved generation (Philippians 2). 

WE WILL DARE YOU TO THINK SO YOU CAN DARE TO ENGAGE

Rivendell Fellows and Addison’s Walk Institute for Christian Studies will periodically host special events and retreats. We expect you to study hard and play hard. RFA students will take part in at least one major trip during the school year. We are planning an immersive, week-long trip to Montreal, Canada.

We encourage student fellows to develop meaningful relationships and be involved with activities outside the classroom. We especially encourage participants to be involved with ministry in a local church and work a part time job.

STAFF

Courses

A major component of the Rivendell Fellows Academy is academic. We want to develop strong minds that understand that faith and reason are on the same team! Student Fellows will be reading and discussing some of the most important books in western civilization – some of which have survived for nearly 3,000 years. We will process the “big questions” through the lens of scripture. You will have a classic open in one hand and your Bible in the other. Your professor will help you to understand why you believe what you believe.

You will participate in two kinds of classes. The first will be taught in a more traditional way, yet with a high level of participation and interaction. The second will be more along classical lines. Student Fellows will be reading texts and responding to written questions provided by the faculty. Your answers to these questions will provide the basis for your in-class discussions. You will definitely find yourself stretched and growing in wisdom and love for God!

Student Fellows will be their own “class”. You will not be taking any regular CSU classes during your gap year and there will not be any regular CSU students in your cohort. It will be a small and close setting.

The two-semester program is 36 credits. Credits are issued by CSU and are regionally accredited.

Here is a sample of some of the classes you will be taking:

  • Introduction to Christian Thinking
  • Church History
  • Bible
  • Ethics
  • Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
  • Introduction to Epic Literature

and other classes reading many other classics and important texts

Contact Andy Giessman for a complete list of courses and books.

Most of your books are covered in your tuition.

CSU

For more information on CSU please visit clarkssummitu.edu

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