As a community of believers, our first desire at VACU is to worship and engage with God, both corporately and individually for glory of Triune God. We believe that academic learning divorced from a life of biblical spirituality and holiness neither honors God nor serves His people. Working with the local church, our goal is to grow our faculties and students so that their experiential knowledge of God in Christ is evidenced in their character, outlook, conduct, relationships and involvement in society. With chapel, daily prayer times, spiritual retreats, on-campus community groups, overseas missions trips and ministry experiences in and around Virginia, the opportunities for spiritual growth abound. Consider how VACU can help faculties and students grow in their relationship with God as you seek to worship Him with your whole heart, soul and mind through of God the Holy Spirit. VACU is a community in which individuals join together to further their academic achievement, personal development, and spiritual growth. Together we seek to honor Christ by integrating faith and learning while our hearts and lives reflect mature Christian practice in our Lord Jesus Christ. This statement explains the principles and the expectations that help us live together and meet institutional objectives. We acknowledge that it is impossible to create expectations that fully satisfy every member. Nevertheless, certain expectations bring order to community life. When individuals join VACU, they freely and willingly choose to take upon themselves the responsibilities outlined in this statement.
AssumptionsLoving Triune God and being accountable to Him are the primary motivations for Christian relationships and behavior. The Scripture as word of God is our authority; it provides the essential teachings and principles for personal and community conduct. God, through the Holy Spirit, places in every believer the inner resources and attributes to minister to others through supportive relationships. Members of this community are either committed to Christ or are at least sympathetic with a Christian perspective. They also desire to achieve a liberal arts education in an evangelical Christian context. A well-trained faculty and a competent staff, equipped with facilities and materials necessary for effective work, stand ready to help you become a whole person.
Responsibilities for RelationshipsLiving in daily fellowship with others is a privilege and an expression of God’s grace. In recognition of this privilege, we place great value on the quality of relationships in our community. We acknowledge that we live in a fellowship where we depend on and are accountable to one another. The New Testament word for fellowship is κοινωνία (koinonia). It is translated as PARTAKER, COMMUNION, COMMUNICATION, CONTRIBUTION, DISTRIBUTION. Members, therefore, are encouraged to seek as many opportunities as possible to demonstrate KOINONIA. Within our community the greatest expression of fellowship and the highest principle for relationships is love. As Scripture states:
“We should love one another. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers…let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions as in truth. Since God so loved us, we ought to love one another. Whoever loves God must also love his brothers.” (1John 3:11-16, 18; 4:11, 21 NIV)In order for spiritual growth to occur, we have identified the following specific expressions of love among the most desirable in our relationships.
Serving One AnotherEach member of the community is expected to strive consciously to maintain relationships that support, encourage, and help others.
“We who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” (Romans 15:1-2, NIV)
Supporting One AnotherWe are responsible to support those experiencing grief, discouragement, illness, tragedy, and other personal trials. Expressions of bearing one another’s burdens include comfort, consolation, encouragement, and intercession. Difficulties in relationships can occur because of our humanness. In such cases we are to respond as Scripture states:
“…clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” (Colossians 3:12 NIV)
Resolving ProblemsSpeaking the truth to each other in love can strengthen our community. We can often resolve problems of relationships and behavior by constructively confronting one another in an appropriate spirit. If the welfare of the one confronted is paramount and if the confronter acts in love, growth can result.
Healing of RelationshipsHealing broken relationships is necessary for healthy community. When persons or groups have been hurt, regardless of the reason, we are expected to reach out to one another, to forgive one another, to restore relationships, and to make restitution.
“…and He (Christ) has given us the ministry of reconciliation…and He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (II Corinthians 5:18-19 NIV)Implementing the above expressions of love in relationships requires sensitivity to others and continual effort. It also requires that we love others as we love ourselves. Relationships of this quality enrich our lives and community, honor God, and assist in meeting the goals of VACU.
Responsibility for Behavior in Jesus Christ
Biblical ExpectationsScripture teaches that certain attributes are available to all individuals through the Holy Spirit. These attributes include “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-24, NIV). This “fruit of the Spirit” is to be sought, nurtured, and demonstrated in our relationships. In contrast to encouraging these positive attributes, Scripture condemns such things as greed, jealousy, pride, lust, needless anger, an unforgiving spirit, harmful discrimination, and prejudice based on race, sex, or socioeconomic status. Scripture as word of God also prohibits certain behaviors and community members should avoid them. They include backbiting, cheating, dishonesty, drunkenness, gossip, immodesty of dress, lying, occult practices, profanity, sexual promiscuity (including adultery, homosexual behavior, pre-marital sex), theft, and vulgarity (including crude language). In keeping with Scriptural admonitions to bring ourselves under the authority of government, members of VACU community are expected to uphold the laws of the local community, the state of Virginia, and the nation, except for those rare occasions in which obedience to the civil authority would require behavior that conflicts with the teaching of Scripture. On such occasions, each individual would submit voluntarily to the civil penalty for his/her behavior. Behavior resulting in civil arrest on or off campus is subject to review within VACU’s disciplinary procedures.
College ExpectationsIn addition to Biblical expectations, members of VACU community voluntarily commit themselves to the following standards of behavior. This commitment results from the conviction that these standards serve the good of the individual as well as the total community. These standards are not presented as absolutes or as an index of Christian spirituality, but rather as expectations of community of VACU. Because of the importance of trust in and responsibility to one another, violations of these standards are seen as a serious breach of integrity within the community. The following standards apply to students, faculty, and administrators at VACU and all agree to uphold them: Corporate worship, community building, and learning are essential for our community. Therefore, students, faculty, and administrators are expected to attend chapel. Regular attendance signals a mature response to VACU goals. Because of our concern for the worth and dignity of persons, each member of the community is expected to respond to special needs existing in our society and on our campus. Therefore, discrimination against others on the basis of race, national origin, sex, disability, or socio-economic status is not acceptable. Members of the community are to observe the Lord’s Day (Sunday) as a day set apart primarily for worship, fellowship, ministry, and rest. While activities such as recreation may be a part of the day, “business as usual” that relates to VACU programs and services will not be sanctioned or encouraged except where absolutely necessary. Consideration of others and standards of respect and good taste are important to VACU; therefore, all activities should be guided by this principle. Hence, any kind of demeaning gesture, threat of violence, or physical attack directed toward another person will not be tolerated. Vandalism of property is also not acceptable. The pornography industry exploits people. Further, the use of the industry’s products is immoral. Therefore, pornographic materials are not to be used, possessed, or distributed on or away from campus. The community recognizes the danger to one’s physical and psychological well being in the use of certain products. Therefore, members of the community are to refrain from the use of tobacco in any form, alcoholic beverages, hallucinogenic drugs and substances (including marijuana), or narcotics not authorized by a physician. Under no circumstances are the above to be used, possessed, or distributed on or away from campus. Members are also expected not to abuse the use of legal substances. Gambling (exchange of money or goods by wagering or betting) is an unwise use of God-given resources, and therefore, is not acceptable in any form. There are aspects of our culture over which devout and sincere Christians disagree – for example, forms of entertainment such as television and movie viewing, dancing, listening to popular music, reading books, and playing video games. Rather than provide a list of proscriptions, VACU expects its members to apply Scriptural standards of discretion and discernment and to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. As individuals and as a community, we must uphold the ideal of purity when choosing whether or not to participate in an activity. Prudence tells us that environments and activities which diminish one’s moral sensitivity should be avoided. Members of VACU observe the demands of academic integrity such as honesty and giving credit to sources. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Compliance with day-to-day policies and procedures of the community is expected from all members. These routine items are listed in the Student Handbook and Catalog of VACU.
SummaryThe intent of this statement is to identify expectations and responsibilities that assist VACU to function as a Christian community and to achieve goals as an institution of higher learning. This statement addresses relationships and behavior. These emphases are parallel and vital to the quality of our lives together. The behavior part of the statement includes standards that are specific to VACU. These standards are important and must be consistently maintained to assure a proper climate for growing and learning. These standards need to be kept in perspective with the Biblical responsibilities for relationships and behavior. The book of Colossians provides an appropriate summary of the goals for our community:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom…with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father…” (Colossians 3:12-17, NIV)As long as you are a member of VACU, you are responsible for implementing these stated expectations. Your signature on the application attests that you understand and are willing to comply with the expectations and responsibilities.