Mission-Driven Community

Shared values, mutual respect, and hospitality are cherished attributes that each member helps build and works hard to safeguard. We do not take this responsibility lightly and remain grateful to be part of the educational plurality of the great state of California. Faith integration, student care, service, diversity, and religious expression combine to form the essence of our mission-driven community.

Commitment to Faith, Life, and Learning

Los Angeles Pacific University teaches and serves from a Christian worldview through a holistic understanding and practice of promoting faith, life, and learning. We believe the entire LAPU community is called to contribute to cultivating hope through learning and we accomplish this through our core values of being Exemplary, Caring, and focused on Learning. We are committed to preparing individuals not only with the skills and attitudes to thrive in their community and workplace, but also to point the way to something bigger — to the ultimate hope that is in Jesus Christ.

As it relates to students, LAPU conceives the promotion of faith, life, and learning as engaging students in learning (through curriculum design, instruction, and student support) that reflects the Christian worldview of LAPU and culminates in the realization of hope in our students. As a result of this process (through their interactions and study at LAPU) our students will be able to:

  • apply a Christian worldview to their life and work in the world;
  • articulate how and in what ways their life journeys connect to God’s story;
  • engage with diverse faith perspectives within the learning community at LAPU; and,
  • recognize God’s work in the world through all academic disciplines.

Learn more about Faith, Life, and Learning at LAPU.

Religious Expression

The precious freedom to express our religious tenets is recognized by the United States and California Constitutions. Other federal and state laws likewise support the opportunity for Los Angeles Pacific University and other religious higher education institutions to weave religious beliefs into all aspects of university life. For example, exemptions in Title IX (20 U.S.C. section 1681(a)(3)) and the California Equity in Higher Education Act (Cal. Ed. Code section 66271) support Los Angeles Pacific’s efforts to operate consistently with its religious tenets by maintaining faith-based standards of behaviors that all community members voluntarily agree to follow as a condition of living and learning in our community. These laws provide Los Angeles Pacific and other religious institutions with the discretion to thoughtfully make policies and build community expectations around our mission to advance the work of God in the world through academic excellence and to help students develop a Christian perspective on truth and life.

Statement of Faith

As an educational institution with a Wesleyan tradition at its core, it seems natural to us to embrace a statement of faith that is common among many Christian traditions.

  • We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative word of God.
  • We believe that there is one God, creator of heaven and earth, eternally existent in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, and in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return to power and glory.
  • We believe in the fall and consequent total moral depravity of humanity, resulting in our exceeding sinfulness and lost estate, and necessitating our regeneration by the Holy Spirit.
  • We believe in the present and continuing ministry of sanctification by the Holy Spirit by whose infilling the believing Christian is cleansed and empowered for a life of holiness and service.
  • We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; those who are saved to the resurrection of life and those who are lost to the resurrection of damnation.
  • We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Positional Statement: Diversity

As an evangelical Christian community of disciples and scholars, Los Angeles Pacific 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).

Biblical Foundations

  1. Matthew 28:19-20 – The Great CommissionTherefore 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.
  2. Matthew 22:37-40 – The Two Greatest CommandmentsJesus 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.”

Positional Statement: Human Sexuality

As an evangelical community of disciples and scholars who embrace the historic Christian understanding of Scripture, Los Angeles Pacific 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.

Biblical Foundations

Foundational principles from the Bible on human sexual relationships are as follows:

  1. Humans, being created in the image of God, are inherently relational beings (Genesis 1:26).
  2. 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).
  3. Humans were created male and female and expressly blessed by God to be fruitful and multiply and to exercise dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26-28).
  4. Sexual union is intended by God to take place only within the marriage covenant between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:18, 21-24; Hebrews 13:4), which Jesus reaffirms (Matthew 19:4-6).
  5. 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).
  6. The sexual union within the marriage covenant between a man and a woman 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).

Positional Statement: Alcohol

As an evangelical Christian community of disciples and scholars, Los Angeles Pacific University seeks to model Christ-like behavior regarding the responsible and legal use of alcohol. We seek to cultivate a community in which members exercise freedom, responsibility, and discretion in responsiveness to the Holy Spirit. This is demonstrated by all members of the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, and staff aligning their actions and behaviors with university policies on alcohol. This identity statement reflects our commitment to creating a God-honoring environment that is safe and healthy for all community members.

Biblical Foundations

  1. Scripture makes clear that Christianity at its core is about loving God foremost and loving other people as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40); it is not primarily about bodily habits of behavior. The apostle Paul explains that the kingdom of God is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” rather than “eating and drinking” (Romans 14:17). Only within the framework of fulfilling the law of love can the biblical warnings and instructions about drinking alcohol be rightly understood and applied. (See Romans 13:10, “Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law.”)
  2. Since believers find comfort and joy in the Holy Spirit, they do not take refuge in spirits of strong drink. The apostle Paul says, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).
  3. Unambiguously, the Bible condemns drunkenness. The prophet Isaiah, echoing the wisdom tradition, explains that drunkenness causes moral blindness (Isaiah 5:11-12; Proverbs 20:1). In the New Testament, drunkenness is associated with debauchery and deeds that oppose the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Peter 4:3).
    According to Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians, it is unacceptable to tolerate drunkenness in the Christian community. He exhorts members of the body of Christ “not to associate” with “any so-called” believer if he or she is an unrepentant drunkard (I Corinthians 5:11).
  4. The apostle Paul explains that “nothing is unclean in itself” (Romans 14:14). The psalmist praises God for creation, acknowledging wine as a gift that gladdens the heart (Psalm 104:15). In keeping with the praise of the psalmist, Jesus’ first miracle was to turn water into wine at a wedding (John 2:1-11).
  5. According to Paul, it was “for freedom that Christ set us free” (Galatians 5:1). Believers are free, therefore, either to choose abstinence or moderation in accordance with their liberty in Christ.
  6. The apostle Paul says that while it is wrong for believers to judge one another for drinking or not drinking (Romans 14:3-4), it is likewise wrong to put a “stumbling block” in another believer’s way (Romans 14:13). Explicitly, he says, “If because of food [or drink] your brother [or sister] is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love” (Romans 14:15). We are to be concerned for the welfare of others and not merely for our own personal interests (Philippians 2:4).
  7. Each believer is compelled by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and personal love for God to sanctify Christ as Lord in his or her heart (1 Peter 3:15) and to live the rest of the time on earth no longer for the lusts of humanity, but for the will of God (1 Peter 4:2).

In summary, the university acknowledges that biblical teaching, church history, and data showing the dangers of alcohol abuse provide sound foundations for clear community standards related to alcohol. Therefore, the university has established specific policies, which can be found in the employee handbook. Any deviation from these policies presents an opportunity for grace, repentance, and redemption in accordance with the university’s commitment to honor one another and glorify God.

Note: Scripture in the biblical foundations section on alcohol were adapted from the New American Standard Version. Expediency here prohibits a more thorough articulation of the way that biblical truth leads to these stated conclusions. Certainly, the Bible is to be read in context and handled accurately and responsibly. Thus, it is important to clarify from the beginning that citing the references throughout this document is meant not as proof-texting, but rather as an indicator that the theological grounding for the Los Angeles Pacific University Identity Statements is ultimately rooted in Scripture.

Statement of Academic Freedom

At Los Angeles Pacific University, we believe that all truth is God’s truth and that God has made it possible for humankind to access, discover, and understand truth. We also affirm that the knowledge of truth will always be incomplete and that people, including those with educational credentials, are fallible and may interpret data and ideas imperfectly.

Therefore, academic freedom from a Christ-centered perspective must be carried out with civility, mature judgment, and the awareness of the broad representation of Christian faith that exists within this institution. Accordingly, LAPU affirms its commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression in academic endeavors.

The university recognizes that academic freedom has historically been defined both by broadly accepted academic standards and by the mission and character of the institution in which it is practiced. LAPU seeks to maintain an academic community in which lecturers are free to engage in rigorous scholarly inquiry and expression within an intellectual context shaped by the evangelical Christian tradition. In addition to this freedom, LAPU seeks to pursue scholarly inquiry and expression in a way that extends and enriches the academic disciplines from the unique resources provided by the institution’s identity.

Thus, at LAPU, academic freedom is defined both by the commonly accepted standards of the academy and by those commitments articulated in the documents that are central to the university’s identity as a Christian university. These documents articulate the central commitments which shape the academic community, and thus the practice of academic freedom, at LAPU: a belief in God as the Creator of all things, in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, in the Holy Spirit as teacher and guide, in Scripture as God’s authoritative and infallible revelation, and in the Christian community as an expression and vehicle of God’s redemptive work in this world. The university follows these principles in its practice of academic freedom:

  • Lecturers are entitled to the rights and privileges and bear the obligations, of academic freedom in the performance of their duties. Specifically, lecturers are free to pursue truth and knowledge within their disciplines in the classroom, in their research and writings, and in other public statements in their field of professional competence. At all times lecturers should strive for accuracy, exercise appropriate restraint, and show respect for the opinions of others.
  • Lecturers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject. Lecturers should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to the subject.
  • While lecturers are members of the global community, as scholars and members of the LAPU community, lecturers should remain cognizant that the public will form perceptions of their profession and their institution by their utterances.
  • In the practice of the academic vocation, complaints against lecturers may be generated. Lecturers shall be protected from any request to retract or modify their research, publication, or teaching merely because a complaint has been received. Only complaints alleging lecturers’ violations of professional standards of the discipline or of advocating positions incompatible with the central commitments of LAPU as a Christian university shall be considered, and then only when the evidence supporting the allegation is more substantial than a rumor, inference, or hearsay.
  • In the event that a lecturer believes his or her academic freedom has been unduly restricted, he or she may pursue resolution of this issue through the existing lecturer grievance procedure as articulated in the Academic Handbook.
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