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Home > Strasbourg, France Beckons PHC Students for Apologetics Study

Student Study Apologetics Overseas

December 12th, 2008

By Kaitlyn Czajkowski

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 338-8727

Rachel Blum and Kyndra Jamison in Strasbourg

Strasbourg, France is a beautiful city for sightseeing—complete with ancient stone buildings and churches, historic landmarks, and delicious gelato ice cream. But three students from Patrick Henry College enjoyed more than the sightseeing in France this past summer.

Students James Barta, Rachel Blum, and Kyndra Jamison, all juniors, spent two weeks this past July at PHC professor Dr. John Warwick Montgomery’s International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism, and Human Rights, an Institute dedicated to defending historic Biblical faith in a secular age.

According to Montgomery, this program is an excellent opportunity for students to distinguish themselves, especially if they plan to apply for graduate or law school. In addition, Montgomery encourages students to attend so they can become the best possible witnesses and defenders of the faith. 

Students prepared intensely before arriving in France for classes. The class required about 90 hours of reading, or about 20 to 30 books, before classes began. After completing so much reading material, the lectures were the “final push that solidified [the information] in our minds,” Blum said.

In France, classes lasted about six hours each day, and were taught by Dr. Montgomery, Dr. Wilder-Smith, and Dr. Ross Clifford. “Overall, this was one of the most challenging courses I have taken, but well worth it,” said Barta.

Rachel Blum (L), James Barta (center), and Kyndra Jamison (R) receive Institute certificates from Dr. John Warwick Montgomery (2nd from L)

While the class focused primarily on apologetics, and not human rights, the instructors sought to “validate the Christian justification for human rights from an apologetics basis,” Barta said.

My “favorite part of the lectures was learning something I wouldn’t have sought out,” Blum said.

But students did more in Strasbourg than study apologetics for several hours a day. On Bastille Day, July 14, the group took a trip through the Alsace and visited a number of towns. “The countryside was beautiful,” Barta said. In the towns, shopkeepers even handed out free bonbons and macaroons in celebration, Blum said.

The group also visited Isenheim Altarpiece and the Humanist Library in Selestat, and took a walk across the Rhine River and into Germany.

"Although one can hear Dr. Montgomery teach at PHC, there were several benefits I found in going," Barta said. He noted the skill and perspective of the Academy's other instructors, and the interaction with the other classmates. "I would recommend the course to others who are seeking an extensive grounding in defending the faith," he said.

The Academy plans to hold its thirteenth session this summer, from July 7-19, in Strasbourg. Twenty registrants—ranging from college and university students, lawyers, clergy, lecturers and researchers—are accepted into the program each summer. The deadline to register is February 1, 2009. To learn more, please visit the Academy’s website.