Freshman Courses

Theology I

Fall Term – Creation

Answers in Genesis. The Foundations DVD Series.

This DVD series has twelve half-hour lectures by Ken Ham, the popular speaker and founder of Answers in Genesis.  These lectures were filmed recently, but resemble those filmed years ago at Cedarville University.  Students will choose four lectures to watch, either individually or with other classmates.  The twelve-set DVD package does not need to be purchased, but can be borrowed from the church library.

Ham, Ken, ed. The New Answers Book: Over 25 Questions on Creation/Evolution and the Bible. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2006.

This book is the first in a series from Answers in Genesis, which presents possible biblical answers for hard questions about creation and evolution.  The word “possible” is used purposefully, because we do not always know how the Bible and science square up; however, it is helpful to have possible solutions.  Students are not required to obtain all four books; but if parents are interested, they can purchase the entire set: The New Answers Book Boxed Set.

Haydn, Franz Joseph. The Creation.

This oratorio draws from Genesis, the Psalms, and Milton’s Paradise Lost to depict the Beginning.  Students may purchase this CD or view a performance online (e.g. YouTube).  The entire performance typically lasts about an hour and three quarters long.  Please note: Search for a performance sung in English, not in German.

Illustra Media. The Intelligent Design Collection.

This set of three videos, starring John Rhys-Davies, presents the origin of the universe from the perspective of Intelligent Design: Darwin’s Dilemma, The Privileged Planet, and Unlocking the Mystery of Life.  Students should be aware that the Intelligent Design approach often starts by presenting a strong case for evolution, before seeking a refutation on scientific grounds.  In using science and not the Bible to refute evolution, these videos give students a different experience than the Answers in Genesis material.  This set does not need to be purchased, but can be borrowed from the academy library.

Inherit the Wind. DVD

Based on a play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, this erroneous film caricatures the Scopes Trial of 1925.  As a very insidious attack on Christianity, it should be viewed along with a mature Christian and then discussed.  Students will learn of its historical errors by first reading the true history of the Scopes Trial in Summer for the Gods.  This video should not be purchased, but should be rented online or through some other video outlet.

Larson, Edward J. Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing Debate over Science and Religion. New York: Basic Books, 1997, 2006 [new afterword].

This book tells two stories—the Scopes Trial of 1925 and the twentieth-century debate over religion and science.  The author is even-handed and factual, providing students with a good platform for viewing the extremely biased film Inheriting the Wind.

Meyer, Stephen C. “Intelligent Design is not Creationism.”  The Daily Telegraph (London), 9 February 2006.

This short article introduces Meyer’s case for intelligent design as a scientific inference from biology.  Because intelligent design arguments do not invoke the authority of the Bible, they differ substantially from creationism.

Meyer, Stephen C. “A Scientific History—and Philosophical Defense—of the Theory of Intelligent Design.”

This lengthy and technical article summarizes the history of the intelligent design movement and offers an argument for its scientific basis.  Students will be challenged by its logic, but should listen firsthand to one the movement’s leading advocates.  The article is available free online through the Discovery Institute.

National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Science, Evolution, and Creationism. Washington DC: The National Academies Press, 2008.

This short book is a secular guide for public school teachers.  It guides them in teaching evolution and handling creationism.  Reading this book will give students an insider’s look at how evolutionists think and strategize.  (For a refutation of an earlier guide, see Jonathan Safarti, Refuting Evolution: A Response to the National Academy of Sciences’ Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science.)

Richardson, Don. Peace Child: An Unforgettable Story of Primitive Jungle Treachery in the 20th Century. 4th ed. Grand Rapids: Baker, Bethany House, 1976, 2005.

This groundbreaking missionary book shows that so-called Stone Age men are like us, in need of Christ, and can come to Christ for salvation.  This documented case of effective communication also shows that there is no evolutionary gap between modern man and his so-called ancestors.

Wells, Jonathan. “Survival of the Fakest.” The American Spectator, December 2000/January 2001.

This short article, written by a Berkeley Ph.D. in biology, describes how many of the popular “proofs” for evolution lack scientific rigor.

Winter Term – Bible

Bierle, Donald A. Surprised by Faith: A Skeptic Discovers More to Life Than What We Can See, Touch, and Measure. 3rd ed. Minnetonka, MN: FaithSearch International, 1992, 2003, 2012.

This apologetic work is a rational defense of the faith, including the Bible and the deity of Christ.  The facts presented in this book should convince sincere students about the historical reliability of the Bible.  The book also gives students the opportunity to reflect on where their faith is at this season of life.  Note: If a used copy is being considered (and it should be explored), please verify that it is the third edition.

Comfort, Philip Wesley, ed. The Origin of the Bible. Rev ed. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 1992, 2003.

This anthology is the basic textbook for this course, with articles written by leading evangelical scholars.  Note: In obtaining a used copy, please verify that it is the revised edition.

Edwards, Brian H. God’s Outlaw: The Story of William Tyndale and the English Bible. 2nd ed. A Welwyn Biography. Darlington, Co. Durham, England: Evangelical Press, 1976, 1988.

William Tyndale was the primary translator of the Bible into English.  By reading about his life and martyrdom, students should gain an appreciation for the gift of Scripture in our language.  Edwards’ biography is written in a popular style, with some imaginative details added to fill in the story.  Note: This book is currently out-of-print, but used copies are readily available.

Harris, Alex and Brett Harris. Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion against Low Expectations. Colorado Springs: Multnomah, 2008, 2013.

Written by two teenage twins, this book is an exhortation to other teens for ambitious initiative in the Lord.  This book works great as an introduction to the spring term on work, and provides excellent motivation for students to keep pushing ahead through the remaining school year.

M’Cheyne, Robert Murray. M’Cheyne’s Daily Bible Readings. Reprint [tract], Pensacola, FL: Chapel Library, n.d.

This tract simply contains a plan for reading the Bible in a year, and was written year ago by a godly Scottish minister.  Note: Students should receive this plan as a handout in class, right before the New Year, when a yearly systematic Bible reading would begin.

Spring Term – Work

Elliot, Elisabeth. Shadow of the Almighty: The Life & Testament of Jim Elliot. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958.

Elliot wrote this biography from the journal and letters of her martyred, missionary husband Jim Elliot.  The youthful and earnest Jim Elliot provides a model for young people, especially young men, to have faith and courage in Christ.  The fact that this book was written by his young wife adds a helpful woman’s perspective to this joint missionary endeavor.

Hummel, Charles E. The Tyranny of the Urgent. Rev. ed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1967, 1994.

This little booklet is a great call to prioritize the important tasks over the urgent tasks.  Because it uses the life of Jesus as its model, the booklet also serves a role in evangelism.  Note: Copies of this booklet may be obtainable through the church bookstore.

Piper, John. Risk Is Right: Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste It. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013.

This little book is a strong biblical challenge for all of us to risk our current safety for the eternal good of others and the glory of God.  As a book, it is a revised version of one chapter from Don’t Waste Your Life, with added material like the following excellent quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “To delay or fail to make decisions may be more sinful than to make wrong decisions out of faith and love.”

Ryle, J. C. Thoughts for Young Men. Reprint, Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2015 [1888].

Anglican bishop J. C. Ryle was the laboring man’s minister in the late 1800s, and his writings are still as engaging and blood-earnest as they were then.  Written especially for young men, the book will also challenge the heart of young women to follow the Lord wholeheartedly, and to value a man according to his godly character.

Schaeffer, Francis A. Art and the Bible: Two Essays. Foreword by Michael Card. IVP Classics. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006 [1973].

Francis Schaeffer and his wife Edith highly appreciated an artistic touch to real life.  In this little book, Schaeffer defends from the Bible the value and place of art in our lives, including music.

Strauch, Alexander. The Hospitality Commands: Building Loving Christian Community, Building Bridges to Friends and Neighbors. Littleton, CO: Lewis & Roth, 1993.

Pastor Strauch offers an encouraging perspective on hospitality and its role in the church and evangelism.  Teens should see that their gifts are for the benefit of others, both in the context of the gospel and the church.

Veith, Gene Edward, Jr. God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life. Focal Point Series. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2002.

In a way, this book frames the discussion for the next four years about practical matters in life.  Each practical matter should be seen as part of our vocations—our callings by God in life.  As such, practical matters are truly spiritual pursuits, holy to God and part of a life of worship.  Having and reading this book is a mental reminder to students of that larger context before God.

Humanities I

Fall Term – Greeks and Romans

Note: Several resources for the fall term were selected from the Hillsdale Academy 9-12 Reference Guide.  Used by permission, with gratitude.

Aesop’s Fables. Trans. Laura Gibbs. Oxford World’s Classics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

This ancient collection of fables comes complete with talking animals and a moral to each story.  Through these short stories, students learn how to connect the God-given language of the animal kingdom to the normal events in life, much like Proverbs chapter thirty.

Herodotus. The Histories. Trans. Aubrey de Sélincourt. Rev. ed., John Marincola, ed. Penguin Classics. New York: Penguin, 1954, 1972, 1996, 2003.

Known as the “father of historiography,” Herodotus wrote a lengthy history about the Persian Wars of the fifth century before Christ.  For Christians, this history is significant in two ways.  First, by describing both the customs of ancient peoples and the history of the Persians, Herodotus gives important historical background to the Old Testament.  Second, the defeat of the Persians—twice—is remarkable providence in itself, keeping the eastern world and its despotism at bay, and allowing for the western world to continue to grow until the time of Gospel expansion under the apostle Paul.  Students should become familiar with the events that spared the West—their earthly heritage.

Homer. The Odyssey of Homer. Trans. Richmond Lattimore. Perennial Classics. New York: Harper & Row, 1965, 1967.

The Greeks have two epic poems from Homer—the Iliad and the Odyssey—both of which influenced and represented their ancient cultural mindset.  The Iliad describes the battles at Troy, and is filled with gods and bloodshed and the glory of war.  The Odyssey also has gods, but offers a travel motif with another kind of glory, the glory of cunning stealth and final victory.  By reading the Odyssey, students will learn how much the Greeks represent our own culture in its vain pursuit of glory, and how critical the resurrection is to any true glory.

Livy. Stories of Rome. Trans. Roger Nichols. Translations from Greek and Roman Authors. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982.

This book is a neat collection of stories from the voluminous writing of Roman historian Livy.  Students will read about some of the events that form the backdrop to our own cultural heritage in America.

Plato. The Last Days of Socrates: Euthyphro; The Apology; Crito; and Phaedo. Trans. Hugh Tredennick. Ed. Harold Tarrant. Rev. ed. Penguin Classics. New York: Penguin, 1954, 1959, 1969, 1993, 2003.

Plato wrote philosophy in dramatic prose, almost as if it were a script.  This book retells the dialogues that several had with the philosopher Socrates—that gadfly of Athens—during the final days of his life.  In these dialogues, students are faced with the ultimate issues in life, especially how our innate sense of eternity is satisfied only in the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ, rather than in wishfully picturing Death as our friend.

Tacitus. The Annals of Imperial Rome. Trans. Michael Grant. Rev. ed. Penguin Classics. New York: Penguin, 1956, 1959, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1989.

Tacitus was a Roman senator, who learned well how to live with the Big Bad Wolf, the Roman emperor.  Writing from an insider’s perspective, Tacitus sheds light on Roman emperors from Tiberius to Nero—the emperors reigning during the ministries of Christ and His apostles.

Winter Term – Church Fathers

Athanasius. The Life of Antony and the Letter to Marcellinus. Trans. Robert C. Gregg. The Classics of Western Spirituality. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1980.

Antony of Egypt is the first world-famous monk, playing a pivotal role in future monasticism and in the life of Augustine of Hippo.  In many regards, Antony epitomizes the mindset of monasticism, glorifying self-denial as a living martyrdom, with perfectionistic notions of attaining glory in heaven.  Moreover, the sensational fighting against demonic forces and the miraculous healings demonstrate a mindset ready to overlook the mundane vocations of the home, to which the apostle of Christ calls us in the book of Titus.  It is important for students to have this epitome of monasticism in their imagination for future discussion.  Note: Please avoid the free copies online, which use archaic English (think “thou” and “thee”), and obtain this fresh translation.

Athanasisus. On the Incarnation: Greek Original and English Translation. Trans. John Behr. Popular Patristics Series Number 44a. Yonkers, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2011.

Athanasius is rightly regarded as the defender of the Nicene Creed, with its clear statement on the full divinity of Jesus Christ, “begotten, not made” and “consubstantial” with the Father.  In this book, Athanasius lays out his core theology of contemplation, showing that the divine Word (second Person of the Trinity) had to become man in order to undo the corruption of death and to restore the divine image of God in man.  Note: Please avoid the free copies online, which use archaic English (think “thou” and “thee”), and obtain this fresh translation.

Augustine. Confessions. Trans. Henry Chadwick. Oxford World’s Classics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

This book is a gem.  Augustine is so in tune with his own sinfulness, but so enamored with the glory of God in showing him grace throughout his life, slowly bringing him to personal faith in Jesus Christ.  Not simply to confess his sins, but more importantly to confess his God, Augustine used the language of the Psalms to offer his worship to God.  Students will receive a humble but beautiful picture of honest self-assessment and conversion.  Note: Please avoid the free copies online, which use archaic English (think “thou” and “thee”), and obtain this fresh translation.

Eusebius. The Church History. Trans. Paul L. Maier. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic & Professional, 1999, 2007.

This book is almost the sole primary source we have on the first two centuries of the church.  Students will read for themselves about the many martyrs and church discussions under the Roman Empire.  The translator Paul Maier is an accomplished author, having written many books of historical fiction, so the translation is a very good one.  Note: Please avoid the free copies online, which use archaic English (think “thou” and “thee”), and obtain this fresh translation.

Holmes, Michael W., ed. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1992, 1999, 2007.

This collection contains many of the earliest writings of Christianity after the New Testament.  Students will read about martyrs Ignatius and Polycarp.  The book itself is an updated version of the older collection begun by Anglican scholar J. B. Lightfoot.  Any edition of this work would be fine.  Alternative Edition: The Apostolic Fathers. Ed. Mark Galli. Moody Classics. Chicago: Moody, 2009.

Josephus. The Jewish War. Trans. G. A. Williamson. Ed. E. Mary Smallwood. New York: Penguin, 1959, 1970, 1981.

Jewish traitor and historian Josephus is our only substantial witness to the Roman invasion and destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.  Given the significance of this event in the prophecies of Jesus and the history of the church, students should read much on this event and have it sink deep into their imagination.  Note: Please avoid the free copies online and the older Whitson translation, which use archaic English (think “thou” and “thee”), and obtain this translation.

Maier, Paul L. First Easter: The True and Unfamiliar Story in Words and Pictures. New York: Harper & Row, 1973.

For many years, historian Paul Maier taught at Western Michigan University.  He has written many works of historical fiction, and students also read his translation of Eusebius.  This particular book gives the facts on the most important event in world history, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Spring Term – Middle Ages

Anselm of Canterbury. The Major Works. Eds. Brian Davies and G. R. Evans. Oxford World’s Classics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

This volume contains Cur Deus Homo (literally, “Why God Became Man”), a Christian classic.  Anselm wrote this book in the dialogue style of the philosophers.  (Interestingly, he converses with Boso!)  Regarding Christ, Anselm argues that the cross made satisfaction for our sins—it paid our debt.  Students should be able to compare the views of Anselm to Athanasius on the reasons for the incarnation.  Note: Please avoid the free copies online, which use archaic English (think “thou” and “thee”), and obtain this fresh translation.

Augustine. On Grace and Free Will.

This online resource encapsulates the argument of Augustine for the grace of God over human free will.  The encircling use of Scripture quotation makes for a fascinating progression of argument.

Bede. The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Eds. Judith McClure and Roger Collins. World’s Classics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1969.

This English counterpart to Eusebius of Caesarea recounts the early church history of Anglo-Saxon England, before the ninth century.  Through its recounting of the Easter controversy, students should gain a sense of the imperial encroachment of Roman Catholicism into England.  Note: Please avoid the free copies online, which use archaic English (think “thou” and “thee”), and obtain this fresh translation.

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Trans. Nevill Coghill. Penguin Classics. New York: Penguin, 2003.

This collection contains the translated poems of Chaucer, but not the poems in the original Middle English.  Through reading some of them, students should gain a better sense of medieval English culture and of poetic presentation of characters.  Note: Please avoid the free copies online, which use archaic English (think “thou” and “thee”), and obtain this fresh translation.

Chesterton, G. K. Saint Francis of Assisi. Reprint,, 2012 [1924].

Francis of Assisi was an extreme man, to say the least.  He took the poverty of monasticism to a whole new level, and left an indelible mark on Western history.  Students should enjoy this sympathetic and somewhat poetic presentation of Francis by Catholic novelist G. K. Chesteron.  Any edition is fine.

Einhard and Notker the Stammerer. Two Lives of Charlemagne. Trans. David Ganz. Penguin Classics. New York: Penguin, 2008.

This one volume gives two accounts of the famous first king of the so-called Holy Roman Empire, Charlemagne.  One account is quite factual, and the other account quite fanciful.  In reading both, students should gain a firsthand feel for the struggle of civilization in the Dark Ages.

Gilson, Etienne. Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages. Reprint, Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 1998.

This little book is a model of concision.  In three lectures, Gilson captures the flow of philosophy from early Christianity to Thomas Aquinas, who allegedly strikes the right balance between nature and grace.  (In philosophy, the academy favors Augustine over Aquinas.)  Note: This book is currently out-of-print, but used copies are readily available.  If not, do not buy a costly copy, but notify the teacher instead.

Patrick. Confession and Letter to Coroticus.  Trans. Pádraig McCarthy. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 2003.

Students simply must hear Patrick for himself, a godly missionary worthy of our respect and imitation.  In comparing Patrick’s own words to the legends about shamrocks and snakes, students will gain a sense of how hagiography distorts the truth.  Also, since Patrick wrote a personal confession, it makes an interesting contrast to Augustine’s more famous confession.

Heaney, Seamus, trans. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition). New York: W. W. Norton, 2000.

The poem Beowulf is the only epic poem from the Anglo-Saxon period of English history.  The translator Seamus Heaney is himself a poet, so the original poem comes across in excellent contemporary poetry.  As a bonus, the original Anglo-Saxon text is given opposite the translation, showing what English used to be.  Students really enjoy this book.

Langland, William. Piers the Ploughman. Trans. J. F. Goodridge. Rev. ed. Penguin Classics. New York: Penguin, 1959, 1966.

More homely than Chaucer, Langland’s poetic allegory presents the medieval confusion over salvation, and gives a picture of the inner life of everyday England in the Middle Ages.  Students will spend a lot of time studying the nature and meaning of the first part of this allegory.

RB 1980: The Rule of St. Benedict in English. Ed. Timothy Fry, et al. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1982.

Benedict was an early monastic leader in the West, who codified what it meant for a person to be a monk in community with other monks.  By reading this contemporary rulebook, students learn firsthand how monastic vows look in day-to-day life.  The New Testament reads extremely different than this religious rulebook.

Algebra I

Jacobs, Harold R. Elementary Algebra. New York: W. H. Freeman, 1979.

Jacobs is a master teacher.  His lessons are thoughtfully organized, with entertaining side notes and challenging problem patterns.  He starts out amazingly slow, with simple arithmetic, and then moves ahead in small, incremental steps, building concept onto concept.  He also spends a lot of time with negative numbers.  In doing so, he reveals an awareness that many students fail at algebra due to not having mastered arithmetic, especially fractions and keeping track of the negative sign.  All in all, this is great textbook, helpful for beginning algebra students.


Wile, Jay L., and Marilyn Durnell. Exploring Creation with Biology. 2nd ed. Anderson, IN: Apologia Educational Ministries, 2005.

This excellent textbook is actually written for homeschooling, with independent study in mind.  The authors combine a casual style of communication with a lot of technical information.  Note: In addition to the textbook, students must also purchase the text booklet.

Wile, Jay L. and Marilyn Durnell. Solutions and Tests for Exploring Creation with Biology. 2nd ed. Anderson, IN: Apologia Educational Ministries, 2005.

This is the test booklet that goes with the biology textbook.

Greek I

The Greek-English New Testament: Nestle-Aland 28th Edition, English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012; Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012.

This hardcover book displays the Greek text on one page and the English translation on the opposite page.  Note: Students are free to use any used copy of the Nestle-Aland 27th or 28th editions.

Mounce, William D. Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009.

This textbook on elementary, biblical Greek has now become the standard text for teaching Greek.  The author is quite user-friendly, perhaps to a fault.

Mounce, William D. Basics of Biblical Greek Workbook. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009.

Please purchase the accompanying workbook, one per student.