Dr. Barbara Helmkamp
about the teacher
Barbara S. Helmkamp has a Ph.D. in physics from Louisiana State University (1995) and an engineering degree in physics from Colorado School of Mines (1986). Between undergraduate and graduate studies she worked in petroleum engineering (petrophysics) for the Shell Companies in New Orleans. This is where she met her husband, Bob.
Barbara’s goal in obtaining her doctorate in physics was to teach at the college level, preferably at a Christian school, or to return to Shell Oil Company and work in a research capacity. However, being home with and for her children won out over working full-time, and she has since found much joy in secondary education. In 2007, having been asked to teach “Integrated Physics and Chemistry” at her daughters’ church school (St Mark, Houston), she also completed a course of study in theology through Concordia University Texas including studies in Old Testament, New Testament, Church History, and the Lutheran Confessions. Barbara especially enjoys speaking the gospel of Jesus Christ to students in a teaching context while bringing Scriptures and theology to bear on the subject matter. Now, for various reasons, she prefers teaching at a classical Christian high school or college via distance learning; that is, online.
Barbara and Bob are members at Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church (LC‒MS) in Elizabeth, Colorado. Bob does engineering-consulting out of the home, having retired from Shell Oil Company in 2008 when the family moved from Houston to Denver. Their daughters were schooled from home for their high school years with their mother teaching them all of their mathematics (geometry through calculus and statistics) and physical sciences (physics and chemistry). Both now grown, the older (married) daughter works as a hospital nurse in Iowa and the younger soon-to-graduate daughter has an engineering position lined up in Idaho. Most importantly, both are faithful Christians in both confession and life.
Besides teaching physics/chemistry and mathematics, Barbara’s interests include creation science apologetics, classical and sacred music (as her church pianist/organist), and various sports (tennis, skiing, hiking). Notably, she has presented numerous lectures relating science and Scripture in Sunday Bible classes and other venues ranging from Vacation Bible School to talk-radio.
My philosophy of education is that content is of primary importance, being normed by the Scriptures as God’s word, the only infallible words of truth. For example, the books and articles that are read by students, including those used to teach reading, are of greater important than reading for the sake of being able to read. The same idea certainly carries over into the sciences (natural philosophy). Teaching that which is good, beautiful, and true, in all subject areas and at all academic levels (trivium, quadrivium), is unquestionably the goal of a classical Christian education.
A faithful, confessing Christian teacher is of co-prime importance, being essential because education necessarily encompasses works (including textbooks) that fall short of these virtues to varying degrees and need norming. In fact, teaching that which is good, beautiful, and true must also include works depicting the opposite characteristics, by way of helping students distinguish good from evil, ugliness from beauty, and lies from truth in this fallen world where Satan, the father of lies, disguises himself as an angel of light (John 8:44; 2 Cor. 11:14), though such studies should generally wait until students are past the grammar stage in the literary sense as well as in age/maturity.
Thus, the teacher himself must be normed by God’s word, having a worldview founded on the Triune God as Creator and Redeemer – which necessarily means he understands the Creation and Redemption accounts in Genesis and the Gospels to be truthful (factual, historical) – as he facilitates critical engagement in any given topic. That is, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Prov. 9:10)
Importantly, this science teacher acknowledges the historicity of the Genesis account as does the Lord Himself (Matt. 24: 37-39; Mark 10:6; Luke 3:38, 11:50-1, 17:26-7) and his apostles (Acts 17:24-7; Rom. 1:18-20, 5:12, 8:19-20; I Cor. 15: 21-2; 1 Pet. 3:20; 2 Pet. 2:5, 3:3-6), albeit implicitly. That is, Genesis chapter one is God’s own account (penned by Moses) of His Creation Ex Nihilo in six natural days some 6000 years ago (Gen. 5, 11; Luke 3) and Genesis chapters 6-9 describe a catastrophic global flood that profoundly impacted the earth's geology and in which all land animals and mankind perished save those on the ark.
Statement of Faith
Barbara and her husband Bob are members at Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church (LC‒MS) in Elizabeth, Colorado (Rev. Geoffrey Wagner).
I (Barbara) confess the Faith using the Apostles' Creed and related portions of Luther's Small Catechism, as follows:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. What does this mean? I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason, and all my senses, and still takes care of them, he also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals and all that I have; He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life, protects me from all danger, and guards me and defends me from all evil; and all this he does out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me; for all this it is my duty to thank, praise, serve and obey him.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. What does this mean? I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, in order that I may be [wholly] His own, and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; one holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen. What does this mean? I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.