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).
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.”
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.
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 male and female and expressly blessed by God to be fruitful and multiply and to exercise dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26-28).
- 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).
- 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 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).
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.
- 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.”)
- 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).
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.