they’re questions we’ve been asked quite a bit lately. for the past year and a half or so. since we first starting sharing this crazy idea with friends and family.

i applied to oxford in the fall of 2009. along with many others. from all over the world. to study theology. a complete change from what i was doing at the time (working in pr and management at a marketing firm).

but that’s what i wanted to do. that was my dream. and jen was willing to walk down this path with me, if God decided to open that door for us. and so here’s me explaining that to oxford university’s admissions folks.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

A dream has gripped my heart with unrelenting conviction in the past year: to teach and write in a way that unveils seemingly difficult theological truths and inspires others. This conviction recently inspired me to travel from my home here in the Pacific Northwest region of the US to your campus, as I believe studying Theology at Oxford will help prepare me to achieve this dream.

Since reading C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity for the first time seven years ago, I have been fascinated by his approach to Theology. I was intrigued by his use of logic to consider Biblical claims in the Mad, Bad or Good argument (“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic-on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg-or else he would be the Devil of Hell… Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse…”). This passage brought about one of the greatest realizations I have ever experienced: that one need not sacrifice their intellect to consider Biblical claims, forever changing the way I considered Theology. It was shortly thereafter that I began my informal theological studies.

Following my undergraduate studies, I began spending what free time I had (in addition to balancing a full-time career in Public Relations and several volunteer activities) reading and listening to Lewis, J.I. Packer, John Piper and Alistair Beg, among others. My desire was to pair what I was learning in my informal studies with critical reasoning, insightful analogies and situations from my life to help others better understand seemingly difficult theological assertions. Ultimately, my goal is to help others come to the same realization Lewis helped me achieve. It is for this reason that I began writing at my blog,, nearly two years ago. It is here, in my writings, where I feel I am doing precisely what I am meant to do. It is the intersection of my natural talents, the passions of my heart and the area in which I desire to apply my intellectual energies. This realization recently brought me to your campus, as Oxford graduates have a long history of making significant impacts in the area of Theology, and I am confident that proper training at your school will allow me to do the same.

Stepping onto Oxford’s grounds this summer was an incredibly moving experience. Not just because of the school’s grandeur and rich history, but it served as personal confirmation for the path I have chosen. It was an honor to stroll down the same footpaths of men like Lewis and Packer, men whose works have so greatly impacted my life. Similarly, it is an honor to now submit my application in pursuit of following in the footsteps of those who have made such a difference in my life. This moving experience affirmed and fueled my desire to use an Oxford education in Theology to contribute to the area of Christian Doctrine academia, as well as to write in a way that touches the lives of those around the world, both to inspire and to educate.

Throughout my life, teachers, professors and acquaintances have told me I would find success at whatever I put my mind to. However, the encouragement they intended was overshadowed by the frustration of not knowing my desired area of focus. Now that I have realized my passion is Theology, and applying it in a way that speaks to and inspires others, I am confident the road I am on is leading directly to achieving great things in this area. I am looking forward to the opportunity for consideration to study at Oxford, and for the help I believe your school can provide in reaching this goal.

It is with great appreciation that I thank you for your time and consideration of my application.

Kind regards,

Ryan J. Pemberton