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Philosophy of Religion and Education

This is a philosophy statement, which should make the connection between Christian beliefs below, fundamental teaching, and learning theories. The religion statement should focus on: 1. We Are Historically Orthodox. We affirm the historic Christian faith, as attested in the divinely inspired and authoritative Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and as summarized, for example, in the Apostles and Nicene Creeds. We affirm that God is triune and that the three divine Persons the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are coequal, coessential, and coeternal. We affirm that by the grace and power of God the universe was brought into being, is continually sustained and governed, and will ultimately be brought to its promised consummation. We affirm, further, that we human beings are created by God in Gods own image to be stewards of creation, and that we are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love others as ourselves. In these divinely appointed tasks, we have failed so that we are now subject to judgment and death. Yet we rejoice that Gods grace is available to us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and that through faith in Christ we are delivered from sin and death and empowered by the Holy Spirit for lives of joyful obedience to the Father. Finally, we respond to the Spirits call to participate in Christs body, the church; to embrace Christs mission to the world, and to live in the hope and assurance that Christs return will bring to completion Gods saving work. 2. We Are Clearly Evangelical. We stand within the broad evangelical tradition of Christianity and, as such, we joyfully accept the task of proclaiming the evangel Gods good news to the world. We understand this to mean that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of the world and that he alone can liberate broken and fallen human beings from sin and death. We lift high the authority of holy scripture as divinely inspired, embraced by the church as central to our understanding and witness. We affirm that the Holy Spirit works in human hearts to kindle faith in Jesus Christ, to restore people to a right relationship with God and each other, and to begin transforming people into the likeness of Christ. And we believe the gospel promise that light, health, wholeness, and peace are abundantly available to everyone who asks. Yet we also believe that we are called to practice what we preach: first, by cultivating vital Christian piety; and second, by engaging the surrounding culture through public testimony and loving service. 3. We Are Distinctively Wesleyan. Standing within the Wesleyan holiness branch of historic and evangelical Christianity, and recognizing the Free Methodist Church as our founding denomination, Seattle Pacific University is informed by the theological legacy of John and Charles Wesley. We share their conviction that Gods saving purpose is the renewal of human hearts and lives in true holiness through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. We are shaped by their emphasis on the importance of the human response to the Spirits renewing work, including the vital role of the spiritual disciplines and practices such as prayer, meditation, worship, Scripture study, charitable giving, public witness to Christs saving love, and service to those in need all of which serve as means of Gods grace. Above all, we embrace the Wesleys hope that Gods transforming love is offered to all persons, addresses all areas of life, and will not rest content until it has redeemed the whole creation. 4. We Are Genuinely Ecumenical. As heirs of John Wesleys catholic-spirited Christianity, we seek to gather persons from many theological and ecclesial traditions who have experienced the transforming power of Jesus Christ. We believe that theological diversity, when grounded in historic orthodoxy and a common and vital faith in Christ, enriches learning and bears witness to our Lords call for unity within the church. We are also well aware of other dividing walls that separate people from one another, walls that Christ desires to break down walls of gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, and class. We believe that Christ calls us to value diversity and to seek ways for all persons in our university community to grow in their individual giftedness and to contribute in meaningful ways to our common life and work. Thus, in all of our diversity, we are centered in Christ, and called by him to shape, model, and participate together in the grace-filled community.