How Important Is a University's Doctrinal Statement?
November 4, 2015
Like your local church, Christian colleges all have a statement of beliefs. As you research and visit different institutions with your student, how important is it to consider each college's doctrinal statement?
First, know that a doctrinal statement provides the general framework within which the university will be offering its education. It is a good idea to review the statements (most are posted online) to assure you are comfortable with the direction. Have questions about what you read? This is a great opportunity to involve your pastor to provide insights.
Second, ask Christian universities if their faculty sign the doctrinal statement as a condition of employment. Not all do. Knowing that faculty will be teaching in line with the institution's stated beliefs provides a point of accountability to you as a parent. Are you comfortable that the faculty at the university will uphold the beliefs that are most important to your family?
A few years ago we conducted a study related to parents' use of the Cedarville University website. We made an interesting — and candidly, unexpected — finding. Parents were more likely to search terms related to the University's doctrinal commitments and focus on spiritual growth than any other topics. Today, guest contributor Dr. Jason K. Lee, Dean of the School of Biblical and Theological Studies, provides insight about the importance of Cedarville's Doctrinal Statement and how it informs our approach to Christ-centered higher education.
At Cedarville University, we are very intentional about mentoring our students in the Christian faith, drawing on the clear teachings of the Scriptures. In the broader life of the University, we have daily chapels that encourage students to be active in the worship of our God and in listening to the teaching of the Scriptures. In addition to these vibrant worship times, students can be involved in campus discipleship groups and ministry activities.
In our curriculum, our students gain vital biblical and theological knowledge from our Bible minor. This sequence of five courses allows every undergraduate student to be grounded in the Word of God and lets the teachings of the Bible serve as the basis for students' thinking Christianly about their academic discipline or vocation. Furthermore, the students are then prepared to integrate that biblical and theological knowledge into their everyday lives, jobs, communities, and families.
All of this terrific curriculum design can be wasted if the professors fail in their vital role of mentoring students in the Christian faith. Cedarville's commitment to our Doctrinal Statement is essential to making the most of our opportunity to train our students. Our professors affirm their belief in the Doctrinal Statement annually as a means of renewing our partnership with churches and with parents to teach according to these stated beliefs. Since parents are entrusting their children to the faculty to serve as academic, professional, and spiritual mentors, the Doctrinal Statement provides the clear parameters of our instruction and also expresses our theological hopes for our students' beliefs. All of our faculty are open to your questions on our Doctrinal Statement. We love for you to know where we are theologically and how our beliefs will be communicated to your students.
To find out how students can apply to Cedarville, visit our Admissions website! Come discover the impact that Cedarville can have on the life of both you and your student.
Jason K. Lee (B.A., University of Mobile; M.Div., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; Ph.D., University of Aberdeen) is the Dean of the School of Biblical and Theological Studies at Cedarville University since 2013. He has previously served as a professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (NC) and also at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (TX). He has served in pastoral ministry in Louisiana and Scotland. He has published a book and essays in his fields of historical theology and theological interpretation. He preaches regularly and has served local churches as an interim pastor.
Jason and his wife, Kimberly have been married for more than 20 years and have five children: McKayla, Hayden, Graham, Jackson, and McKenzie. Outside of university life, Jason loves being involved in church activities, youth sports, and spending time with his family. He is a lifelong fan of Alabama football and so he is "living large" after a run of national championships.
Be sure to friend him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @DrJasonKLee.
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