As an evangelical Christian community of disciples and scholars, Azusa Pacific Online University approaches diversity from a biblical perspective, affirming that diversity is an expression of God’s image, love, and boundless creativity.
We believe that all people, without exception, bear the image of God (Genesis 1:27; 9:6; James 3:9). We also believe that, because sin has marred each individual, Christ, in His great love, chose to die on the cross for the sake of every person (I John 2:2; John 3:16) so that all may receive forgiveness for sin and be reconciled to God. Our pursuit of diversity involves fulfilling Christ’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 19:19; Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27). We support a diverse university across lines of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, socioeconomic status, class, age, and ability. In submitting to the Lordship of Christ we seek to eliminate attitudes of superiority and failure to fulfill Christ’s charge to reach all peoples. Therefore, we must submit to Christ and love one another as we appreciate individual uniqueness while pursuing the unity for which Jesus prayed (John 17:21).
Matthew 28:19-20 – The Great Commission
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
Matthew 22:37-40 – The Two Greatest Commandments
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
We believe that diversity can only be properly understood in light of God’s revelation to humankind through the Bible (John 14:6; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
We advocate a behavior regarding diversity that is anchored in the prerogative of love—God’s love for all people (John 3:16) and His command to love Him and each other (Matthew 22:37-40).
- begins with God’s creation of humankind in His image (Genesis 1:27), which means that all people reflect something of God’s character, and therefore have inherent worth and dignity.
- transcends human differences without ignoring or denying them, nor using them as occasions for prejudice, exploitation, or injustice (John 4:9-10).
- is offered to all human beings, who by their very nature are inclined to sin and violate God’s desires (Romans 3:23).
- confronts the effects of sin within individuals, families, groups, cultures, and nations (1 Kings 8:46-50; Romans 6:23; I John 1:8-2:2).
- calls all to repentance, change, and holy living (Matthew 4:17; Acts 17:30, 26:20).
- offers hope for change through the power of forgiveness and reconciliation, with God and with each other (Ephesians 2:14-18; Romans 5:10-11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21).
- demonstrates special concern for the poor, oppressed, and powerless (Deuteronomy 15:4-11; Psalms 35:10, 140:12; Luke 4:18-19).
- extends the hope of heaven, where there will be no more suffering, injustice, or conflict (Isaiah 2:2-4; Revelation 7:16-17, 21:1-4), and where people representing the diversity of creation will join together in worshipping their Creator (Revelation 7:9).
In addition to those mentioned above, a Christian approach to diversity should be characterized by the following:
Matthew 17:20; John 14:12
Proverbs 3:34; Ephesians 4:2
1 Peter 2:17
Romans 12:13; 1 Peter 4:9
Psalm 86:1-5, Matthew 9:36; Colossians 3:12
Colossians 3:13; Ephesians 4:2
Acts 4:32; Ephesians 4:3; Philippians 2:1-4
- Appreciation of different Gifts/Roles
Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31
Romans 8:28, 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 3:18
- Servant Leadership
Mark 10:42-45; John 13:12-17; Philippians 2:5-11
To this end we are committed to the following goals:
- Encourage and provide opportunities for the exchange of Christ-centered redemptive insights in all circumstances.
- Create and expand opportunities for students, staff, faculty, administrators, and trustees to engage in intercultural learning both inside and outside of the classroom through partnerships between the curricular and cocurricular.
- Implement an intentional marketing, recruitment, and retention plan directed toward underrepresented Christ-centered communities at all levels of the university; investigate and initiate outreach programs to churches, ministries, community organizations, and/or K–12 schools.
- Intentionally include a broad representation of diverse speakers, performers, and musicians at APOU campus and public events.
- Expand and integrate diversity studies into the curriculum.
- Explore the development of ethnic and/or gender study programs.
- Recruit, support, and retain faculty who integrate intercultural perspectives and other diversity issues into their curriculum and research.
- Provide incentives for faculty to participate in intercultural experiences and training.
- Facilitate the transformation of a campus culture that promotes an environment of Christ-centered love to the community.
- Provide a safe environment for students in which they are accepted, empowered, and supported; create an environment where differences of perspective are sought and respected for the enrichment of the entire community.
- Develop and support students who are agents of reconciliation and who understand their responsibility to advance diversity.
- Develop students who are prepared to interact within a diverse and globally minded society; continue to develop and expand programs that challenge and encourage students to compassionately respond to diverse perspectives.
- Assess each university department’s involvement in promoting the institution’s mission on diversity.
- Strategically address ways to promote diversity.
As an evangelical community of disciples and scholars who embrace the historic Christian understanding of Scripture, Azusa Pacific Online University holds that sexuality is a gift from God and basic to human identity as well as a matter of behavioral expression. We hold that the full behavioral expression of sexuality is to take place within the context of a marriage covenant between a man and a woman and that individuals remain celibate outside of the bond of marriage. Therefore, we seek to cultivate a community in which sexuality is embraced as God-given and good and where biblical standards of sexual behavior are upheld.
Foundational principles from the Bible on human sexual relationships are as follows:
- Humans, being created in the image of God, are inherently relational beings (Genesis 1:26).
- The inherent relational nature of humankind is expressed in a variety of contexts including family, marriage, work, and for Christians, the body of Christ (Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Corinthians 12:14).
- Humans were created as gendered beings. They were expressly blessed by God to be fruitful and multiply and to exercise dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26-28).
- Heterosexuality is God’s design for sexually intimate relationships. Sexual union between a man and a woman is only to take place within the marriage covenant (Genesis 2:18, 21-24; Hebrews 13:4).
- Jesus reaffirms the marital covenant as existing between a man and a woman (Matthew 19:4-9).
- The New Testament teaches that followers of Christ are to remain celibate outside the bond of marriage. In sexual union, both body and soul are deeply impacted. A person who engages in sexual unions outside the bond of marriage sins against his or her own body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:13, 18-20).
- The sexual union between a husband and wife has been designed by God to bring them together as “one flesh,” creating a solid foundation on which to build a family (Genesis 2:18-24; Ephesians 5:31).
- In Scripture, several sexual behaviors are expressly forbidden, which include but are not limited to: fornication, adultery, incest, unnatural sexual intercourse, and homosexual acts (Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 18:7-23, 20:10-21; Matthew 5:27-28; Romans 1:20-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 4:17-19; Colossians 3:5).
Azusa Pacific Online University pledges to guide the university community toward understanding and embracing their God-given sexuality as reflected in this statement. Any deviation from a biblical standard of sexual behavior is sin and therefore is an opportunity for repentance, grace, and redemption, so that as a community we might honor one another and glorify God.