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Assumptions and Principles

A. Basic Assumptions—Gordon College strives to maintain its identity as a Christian academic community of students, faculty and staff. The College expects that all members of the College community will:

  1. Call themselves Christian by virtue of the grace of God and their personal commitment to Jesus Christ.
     
  2. Recognize the Bible to be the Word of God and hence fully authoritative in matters of faith and conduct.
  3. Have a sincere desire for that commitment to mature both in insight and behavior.

B. Biblical Principles—The community recognizes that biblical principles are foundational for corporate life and individual behavior. Those principles which seem most pertinent are the following:

  1. Life within a Christian community must be lived to the glory of God, daily conforming ourselves to the image of Christ and recognizing the Lordship of Christ in every activity (Matthew 22:36–38, I Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:9, 10, 17).
     
  2. Love for and accountability to God should motivate Christian conduct (Deuteronomy 6:5, II Corinthians 5:10).
     
  3. Consistent with the example and command of Jesus Christ, love and justice must be the determinative factors in the relationships of Christians with others (John 15:12–17, I John 4:7–12).
     
  4. Christians bear responsibility for service to others. They are responsible to serve their neighbors and be involved in the process of alleviating such pressing worldwide problems as poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and racism (Matthew 7:12, 25:31–46, Galatians 5:14, 6:10).
     
  5. The actions of Christians within a community are not solely a private matter. Accordingly members of the Gordon community must hold their neighbors accountable for the implications of their conduct when it directly affects the welfare of community living (Matthew 18:15–17).
     
  6. The community collectively and members individually are responsible for the effective stewardship of abilities, opportunities and institutional resources (Luke 19:11–27, Corinthians 4:2).
     
  7. Attaining common goals and insuring orderly community life may necessitate the subordination of some individual prerogatives. Specifically, as servants of Christ we are called to practice forbearance. Christian freedom includes the option of not doing some things in order to contribute to the good of the larger community (I Corinthians 8:9–13, 9:19–23, 10:23–33).
     
  8. Certain actions are expressly prohibited in Scripture and are, therefore, wrong. Christians are responsible to avoid those practices which are called sinful in Scripture. Similarly, Scripture commends some actions which are, therefore, right. There are other actions which are matters of individual conviction based on the given situation. In this latter area care must be exercised so as not to judge one another or to cause another to stumble or ourselves to fall (Matthew 7:1, Romans 14:1–23).
     
  9. Christians are not asked to live the Christian life simply on the basis of their own moral character and strength. God has provided the authoritative Word of Holy Scripture, the guiding power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and the counsel of the Church—the body of believers both past and present. Christians are expected to study and obey the Scriptures, to cultivate a heart attitude which allows for the guidance of the indwelling Holy Spirit and to give serious consideration to the counsel of the people of God (II Timothy 3:16, II Peter 1:19–21, I John 2:27, I Peter 5:1–6).
     
  10. Important to an understanding of all behavioral standards is the obligation of Christians to separate themselves from worldliness (Romans 12:2, I John 2:15). Worldliness is a subtle issue involving uncritical conformity to the prevailing spirit of the age. One’s disposition concerning such matters as materialism, secularism, isolationism, security, success, injustice, hedonism and moral relativism must stand in perpetual review.

C. General Principles—We acknowledge that it is impossible to create a community whose behavioral norms will be totally acceptable to every Christian. Nonetheless, we believe it is imperative for us to specify certain behavioral patterns which must be sustained in order that the objectives of the College can be met. Therefore, it is assumed that individuals who have voluntarily joined the Christian academic community at Gordon College and are striving to exhibit the behavior characteristic of a mature person will:

  1. Understand that they have become part of an evangelical Christian tradition, which is to be respected and valued, but which is continuously subject to review and evaluation. They also have freedom to offer constructive criticism of this tradition.
  2. Explore the broad range of human opinion and ideas without necessarily engaging in the whole range of human behavior.
  3. Strive to exemplify those positive elements of Christian behavior that are taught in Scripture (Romans 12:6–21, Galatians 5:22, 23, Colossians 3:12–17, II Peter 1:5–9).
  4. Be concerned about the welfare of other individuals within the community and of the community as a whole.
  5. Assume responsibility for their own behavior as it reflects upon their Lord, their community and themselves, particularly in the area of personal freedom, where discretion, moderation and restraint must be practiced.
     
  6. Continually assess themselves, their personal growth and their place within the Gordon community.