- 1 What is Ratio Christi?
- 2 What is the Oxford Study Centre?
- 3 What is involved in the worldviews course?
- 4 What is the worldview intensive?
- 5 What is an Oxford tutorial?
- 6 What is the role of hospitality?
- 7 Where do your students come from?
- 8 What do you hope to achieve with your students?
- 9 How did you get involved in apologetics?
- 10 Will you tell us a bit about the Bywater family?
- 11 Learn More
- 12 Share:
- 13 Related
What is Ratio Christi?
Ratio Christi is a global movement that teaches students and academics the historical, philosophical, and scientific evidence for following Jesus Christ. Their goal is both to bolster allegiance to Jesus and to be equipped to present Christian convictions intelligently and respectfully to atheists, skeptics, and practitioners of other religions.
“Ratio Christi is humbled and privileged to join forces with the Oxford Study Centre in offering quality apologetics and worldview content in such an acclaimed academic setting,” says Tyler Geffeney, Direct of Ratio Christi International. “Kevin is a seasoned educator and we are confident in his ability to equip students to effectively engage in the marketplace of competing worldviews. The merger of our two organizations is a big step forward in Ratio Christi International’s quest to champion the Christian worldview as intellectually and academically viable.”
Ratio Christi supports apologetics groups at over 200 universities, colleges, and high schools, including a growing number of international chapters.
“I have watched Ratio Christi grow since its inception,” noted Mr. Bywater. “Being able to link up with Ratio Christi promises to be beneficial all around. It is an honor to be part of the Ratio Christi team!”
“The Oxford Study Centre puts students in a position for long-term success, helping them integrate academic and vocational pursuits with a spiritual depth in worldview and character. Kevin James Bywater has a proven track record of leading and mentoring. The new partnership with Ratio Christi is a perfect.”
~John Stonestreet, President, The Colson Center for Christian Worldview
What is the Oxford Study Centre?
The Oxford Study Centre fosters scholarly virtues and skills for the sake of church and culture, seeking to propel students forward as capable and significant Christian voices in their respective disciplines and professions.
Students who come to the U.K. from other countries study with world-class Oxford faculty, taking tutorials in literature, history, science, journalism, philosophy, politics, law, or other subjects. Students also study with a seasoned worldview scholar who now is part of the Ratio Christi team. The study abroad program takes place in England and is not offered online.
What makes the Oxford Study Centre unique among study abroad programs in Oxford or elsewhere is the advanced and distinctive worldviews course and personal mentoring with Kevin James Bywater, the Resident Scholar who directs the program.
“The Oxford Study Centre offers a first-rate, well-rounded Christian worldview curriculum. The centre is capably led by Kevin James Bywater and it is located in one of the most intellectually-stimulating, historically-rich cities in the world. The combination is unbeatable!”
~Paul Copan, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University
What is involved in the worldviews course?
“Our worldviews course is integrated, connecting the various topics together. We combine an initial study of biblical theology with a detailed exploration of biblical law and ethics. The canon and historicity of the New Testament occupy several sessions. We focus on many biblical passages and books throughout the term, discussing questions of history and science and the meaning of life.”
“Islam and Judaism are case studies. Our students read the entire Qur’an and a selection of Hadith, and we meet with an Oxford imam for an extended Q&A. We also explore the laws of Leviticus and the work of a contemporary rabbi. In addition, we often look into pseudo-Christian religions such as Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
“We venture into European Imperialism, America’s founding, church and state issues, and the nexus of race, justice, and sexuality, engaging each in light of critical thinking and biblical convictions. We explore societal injustice, noting that the term social justice too often is a cypher for Marxism.”
A sample list of texts for the term may be seen here.
We Are Currently Accepting Applications!
• our upcoming Summer Term runs from 6 June to 7 August •
• the Michaelmas Term runs from 29 August to 17 December •
• visit oxfordstudycentre.org to download your application •
Study with us and study abroad with purpose!
What is the worldview intensive?
“The intensive is so named for a reason. We meet weekdays from 10am to 5pm, with an hour for lunch. Our discussions commonly run two or three hours before a break. Students come to appreciate avoiding artificial breaks that disrupt our momentum.”
“This is our schedule for roughly four weeks of the term (before or after the normal Oxford term; three weeks for the summer term). Students also are engaged with their Oxford tutorials for another eight weeks and during those weeks we meet up on Friday afternoons from 1-5pm for our worldview colloquia. But when the seminar is finished on Fridays, we eat and play games or chat or watch films together.”
“Imagine studying for a term in the land of Lewis, Tolkien, and Churchill, being tutored by world-class scholars at Oxford’s top colleges. And imagine being mentored throughout by Kevin James Bywater, who I believe is one of today’s most gifted worldview scholars. If you are looking for an experience that you’ll cherish the rest of your life, one that will rocket you toward your academic and professional pursuits, there is nothing like the Oxford Study Centre!”
~Jeff Myers, President, Summit Ministries
What is an Oxford tutorial?
“The Oxford tutorial tradition differs from most American styles of education. Students meet with their tutors each week to explore their subject material, present an essay, and defend their arguments. Imagine having weekly office hours with a world-class scholar who is committed to your personal scholarly development. There is a lot of reading, synthesizing, and writing. In fact, for the longer terms, the average student writes around 100 pages in essays. That is a lot of work, but the rewards are fantastically valuable.
“We’ve had students studying areas of the sciences, the arts, philosophy or politics or economics, journalism and creative writing, literature and languages, history and sociology and psychology. Really, just about anything offered in Oxford is available for a tutorial. An advantage of the tutorial system is how it trains you to communicate more clearly and effectively, both for their tutorials and for their own convictions.”
“Here in Oxford we usually use the term ‘convictions’
since far too many people assume that ‘faith’ means irrationality.”
What is the role of hospitality?
“My wife, Angela, and I invite the students into our home on Fridays, both for the worldview sessions and then for supper together. We have five children who range from 17 to 7, and they love having the students in the house. We typically will have up to 15 students (perhaps more in the summer).
“We want to provide something of a home away from home for them. They get to talk and play with our kids, which is great for everyone and helps us all value family and friendships. Many alumni visit us long after the term ends. Often they occupy our guest room.”
“We believe that habits of hospitality
are part of our case for Christ and his church.”
Where do your students come from?
“Most of our students are Americans, though we’ve had several Canadians, as well as Europeans and a couple from Australia. The youngest has been 18 and the oldest 57. We’ve had singles and couples, undergraduates and graduates. All find the term challenging and rewarding. A cross-cultural experience gained while studying abroad can really widen one’s perspective of the world in invaluable ways”
“Some of our alumni now are postgraduate students at Oxford. Others are completing their undergraduate studies, in graduate studies or internships, or starting businesses, teaching, pastoring, and, of course, parenting (perhaps the greatest profession of all!).”
“No one mentors young thinkers like Kevin James Bywater. I love this dear brother. Hanging around him means you learn to think deeply and passionately about fundamentals of culture. You learn to love God not only with your mind but with your heart as well. If you want to become a world-class ambassador for Jesus Christ in a skeptical world, you must consider at term with the Oxford Study Centre.”
~Scott Klusendorf, President, Life Training Institute
What do you hope to achieve with your students?
“We want to see an informed faithfulness in their futures.We want them to have a thoroughly biblical worldview, one in which they share God’s affections and aversions—that is, where we desire what God desires and we despise what he despises. We hope to see them find their voices and witness boldly to what is good and true and beautiful and just. Yes, I think that sums up what we’re aiming to achieve with our students.”
“We want our students to have a thoroughly biblical worldview,
one in which they share God’s affections and aversions—that is,
where we desire what God desires and we despise what he despises.”
How did you get involved in apologetics?
“Being a former-Mormon, my interest in apologetics and evangelism has been with me from the beginning. After completing my undergraduate degree in philosophy, I joined the staff of Summit Ministries in 1992.”
“I started in curriculum, began speaking at teachers’ conferences and churches and at retreats, then moved to research and writing, eventually directing Summit’s Curriculum and Research Departments for about a decade.”
“I’m so grateful for my 25 years with Summit. I learned so much, met many wonderful people, and have enjoyed the mentorship of several accomplished Christian scholars and apologists (many of whom now are friends I cherish and respect).”
“This, indeed, is probably one of the Enemy’s motives for creating a dangerous world — a world in which moral issues really come to the point. He sees as well as you do that courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality. A chastity or honesty, or mercy, which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful on conditions.”
Will you tell us a bit about the Bywater family?
Like Corey Miller, Ratio Christi‘s president, Kevin is a former Mormon. “I’m from Northern Utah. I grew up in a Mormon family but left Mormonism when I was 20 years-old and attending university,” he informed us. “That is when I came to love Jesus Christ. Shortly after that I changed my major from music to philosophy. I was the only Christian philosophy major on campus! I’ve also studied at Denver Seminary, New Geneva Theological Seminary, and Durham University, here in the U.K.”
“We moved to the U.K. in 2004 to work in New Testament and Related Studies and then started the Summit Oxford program in 2008. At the beginning of 2017 the Summit Oxford program became independent as the Oxford Study Centre and my time on Summit’s full-time staff concluded.”
Angela and Kevin have been married since 1993. Angela is a Latin tutor at a local school in the U.K. and schools their sons at home. She is also a gymnast and coaches youth gymnastics. Their daughters attend local schools with the eldest preparing to attend university after taking a gap year in the States to volunteer for pro-life ministries.
“Our children have taken dance lessons, as does my wife,” Kevin adds. “I keep wondering whether I should take up tap dancing as I’m a drummer at heart. Both of our boys are in gymnastics classes and scouting programs. All in all, I suppose we’re a fairly normal Christian family…except perhaps for thousands of books lining our walls and the constant flow of students through our home.”
⇰ find out more about ratiochristi.org
⇰ keep up with Kevin’s blog: kevinbywater.com