From Carol Wakeman…
Before I found CTK I felt a bit isolated in my time as a Believer. Most around me fall into the categories of “I believe but my life is my testimony,”; “you shouldn’t judge,”; and “believing you’re right is arrogant.” A family crisis had me ready to walk away from my faith and left me struggling for a while. It was a few months later that I found Christian apologetics. As I studied apologetics and the foundation of my faith was repaired, I would talk about what I was learning. Most of the time I met with blank stares. No one I knew had heard of the scholars I was studying: Greg Koukl, J.P. Moreland, RC Sproul, Matt Chandler, J Warner Wallace, J.I. Packer, Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig, Norm Geisler, or Frank Turek. In fact, most of them didn’t even know who CS Lewis was besides being associated with ‘that Disney movie’.
One day when perusing Facebook, I saw a post that one of my favorite apologists was going to be speaking in Oklahoma. I couldn’t pass up a chance to see him in person. Following the link, I found that not only was it a very reasonable cost, but that it was in striking distance on the south side of Edmond at a place called the Credo House of Theology. House of Theology? What was this place and why had I not heard of it before?
The day of the event I loaded the address into my GPS and headed out. I was seriously thinking my GPS was way off as I passed the other industrial businesses that are on the street. I passed the turn twice, but when I finally took the advice of the persistent GPS program’s electronic voice I found the Credo House. I barely found a parking spot, but was thrilled to see how busy the place was.
I was surprised by what I found inside. In many ways it’s your typical coffee shop. Tables, chairs, sofas all around invite conversation. A pool table was a little surprising but a fun addition. Upon closer investigation I could tell it was very different from your run-of-the-mill coffee shop. The walls are lined with portraits of scholars, Biblical time lines, two doors with Luther’s 99 Theses in one corner and directly across from it is a Heretics Corner. Bookshelves filled with books in all sorts of theological categories. As I looked closer at the books I found myself pointing and saying “read it, got it, want it, got it, read it” like a kid with a pack of new baseball cards. These were the same books that elicited those blank stares from my family and friends, here on display for everyone to read and perhaps purchase. There were people all around me having the very conversations I had tried to have with family and friends. They knew the names of the great scholars I had been discovering and could recommend others that I should read! This was definitely a place I wanted to come back to.
After thoroughly enjoying the speaker and getting him to sign one of his books for me, Credo House founder, Michael Patton invited all guests to find out more about membership to the Credo House. I knew I had to get in on that! He explained how Credo House came to be and educated a few of us on The Theology Program. Theology classes? That was one of the things I was starting to focus my studies on and I had been researching taking such classes at a local Bible College just to get the education. I became a member that night so that I could start classes with the next session.
I started with Intro to Theology (a must for any other class you want to take) and stayed for the second session which was Humanity and Sin (class 4 of the 6). I was assured I could take them out of order and not be lost. I am now on my last class (Trinitarianism course #3) and most Monday nights I have left the Credo House challenged to think more than I ever did in my years in college or (sadly enough) most Sunday mornings leaving service compared to my early years as a Christian.
What makes The Theology Program so great? For me, it’s mostly that Michael isn’t out to give you all the answers. In fact, he tends to leave you with more questions. He says things like he did this week “If you leave here and the light goes on. If you say ‘I finally get it!’ then I’ve failed because heresy has just been adopted.” Have you ever had a teacher say that? He explores not just the typical Protestant viewpoint on the different subjects of Bibliology, Hermeneutics, Trinitarianism, Soteriology, and Ecclesiology & Eschatology but you also explore the main arguments from the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox perspective as well. I’ve also learned the heretical views and why they are heretical. I have stopped being surprised that in most classes it’s several sessions before you actually talk about the main subject of the class. In Trinitarianism this semester, we’ve just completed session 7 and it was the first class we actually talked about the Trinity. That’s not to say that the previous sessions were wasted. Not at all! They established the groundwork that is needed to understand the topic. More than anything it’s introduced me to people of all ages, many of whom aren’t formally employed in ministry but actually know that CS Lewis wrote more than a great series of kids novels, and that’s been worth every minute I’ve spent at the Credo House.
The Credo House has more than Coffee and The Theology Program available. Tuesday nights there is Coffee and Theology discussion that is open to anyone at Credo House and it is also streamed live on the web. Parchment and Pen is the official blog, and Coffee with Scholars brings in some of terrific speakers.
I have to disclose that I can’t give a review on the coffee at Credo House because I dislike coffee. They do have great Italian sodas, chai, and hot chocolate but from what I hear from my friends the coffee is well worth it.