What is Thoughts Captive?
Thoughts Captive is a class about worldviews. It prepares young students for the challenges of college and university life by examining non-Christian worldviews and carefully developing in the student an opposing worldview that is Christ centered. Through our examination of literature, film, music, drama and art the student acquires the strong apologetic skills necessary for making an impact on the world in which we live. Careful consideration of works by C. S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer and others prepare the student for a lifetime of practical and constructive involvement in a world that desperately needs the Gospel.
How are Thoughts Captive classes conducted?
Even though the atmosphere of the class is relaxed, Thoughts Captive classes are intense and interactive. Students are required to do directed study outside of class preparing for interaction with the instructor and other students. Additionally, in class they will often hear music, see a play, view a film or read a short work of literature that requires their immediate consideration and discussion. Cambridge instructors begin with the concrete before seeking an understanding of the abstract. Practice comes before theory. Cambridge instructors call this approach Parabolic Method. It is the method Jesus used when teaching the disciples (Mark 4:34). We believe it is the best method for teaching our students.
Is Thoughts Captive practical?
It is practical and, we believe, the best preparation for life. Thoughts Captive goes beyond rote memorization, teaching critical thinking skills useful in any school or vocation. It prepares students for non-Christian worldviews they will encounter at college, on the job or in their neighborhood. And it equips them with a Christian worldview to help them live and speak Christ to an unbelieving world.
Is there some advantage to be gained by teaching a variety of subjects in one class?
Yes, good critical thinking includes the ability to cross reference other disciplines as well as the ability to apply scriptural absolutes to all disciplines. The interdisciplinary approach of Thoughts Captive provides ample opportunity for the student to develop these cross referencing skills.
Is there much reading for Thoughts Captive?
The student who wishes to take Thoughts Captive must be ready to do a significant amount of reading. The amount of time this takes depends on the ability of the student to read quickly and think critically about the material. The student’s ability to do this will improve with time.
Who supplies the reading materials for this class?
The student is responsible to purchase the books. To ensure that student books have the same pagination, book purchases for Thoughts Captive should be made through the Cambridge bookstore. Handouts will be distributed by the instructor.
What is the theological position of your instructors?
The instructors of Thoughts Captive are conservative, evangelical, and Reformed in their theology.
What does “Reformed” mean?
Reformed means that the priorities of the Reformation are emphasized, among them: 1) re-forming the church to be like the first century church; 2) the authority of scripture; 3) God’s sovereignty; 4) salvation by grace alone; 5) the sufficiency of Christ; and 6) an understanding that man is created in God’s image: rational, creative, with a conscience and free.
Is it worldly to spend time considering non-Christian worldviews?
Not only is it not “worldly,” the scriptures commend it. In I Chronicles 12:32 it is mentioned that the men of Issachar knew what Israel should do because they “understood the times.” Daniel 1:17 & 20 states that God gave Daniel and his friends knowledge of “all kinds of literature and learning” which contributed to make them the wisest of the king’s wise men. And in Acts 17 we see Paul using his carefully studied knowledge of a pagan culture to share the Gospel. We must not go into the world unprepared. If we are to be truly evangelical we must “understand the times.” This means we must know the scriptures, but we also must know the enemy who seeks to devour us (I Peter 5:8). Thoughts Captive is “boot camp” for college students and adults.
I have noticed that films are part of the curriculum. Aren’t movies part of what is wrong with our culture?
Yes, movies are a problem in our culture. They discourage us from reading, and they often teach worldviews that are non-Christian or anti-Christian. This is precisely the reason we study films. Whether we like it or not movies are a part of the world we live in, and our families, friends, and neighbors are influenced by them. If we do not understand movies, we do not understand our culture. Thoughts Captive instructors endeavor to equip each student with the critical skills necessary to understand film. One should also remember that film is a legitimate art form that deserves a place in any curriculum that studies the world in which we live.
Will my I find objectionable material in Thoughts Captive?
From time to time there will be crude language, violence and reference to sexual situations in the material covered. The instructor will edit a film that contains gratuitous, sexually explicit scenes. All other materials will be handled in a way which encourages the development of the maturity necessary for the informed and meaningful engagement of our fallen world. For more information, please reference the Cambridge Literature and Arts Policy.
Will every item in the Thoughts Captive curriculum outline be covered in class?
Our goal is to cover everything in the curriculum outline, however some classes move slower than others and some items in the curriculum may be passed over to keep the class on schedule.
Where do these classes meet?
We usually meet at the study center, however Thoughts Captive can be exported to other venues. Cambridge instructors will consider meeting anywhere that is convenient for the students.
What other opportunities does Cambridge offer students?
Cambridge offers film nights, reading groups, seminars, workshops, community seminars and year-long classes in the arts, worldview studies, languages and leadership skills. The study center also offers field trips twice a year for students who wish to participate.