Commitment to Diversity
Cedarville University transforms lives through excellent education and intentional discipleship in submission to biblical authority. This diversity statement articulates the biblical view on diversity so that Cedarville University fulfills its mission by equipping its faculty, staff, and students to respond biblically to insufficient explanations of diversity as well as Gospel opportunities inherent in a diverse culture.
Biblical Foundations for Diversity
Cedarville University’s approach to diversity is built upon the following biblical themes:
God has directly created humans in His image. Because of this, no ethnicity possesses superior or inferior beginnings from birth. All humans must be considered equal because they all originate in the first humans who were created by the Divine Creator. (Gen. 1:26–27; Gen. 2:7; Gen. 2:21–22)
- Imago Dei
Imago Dei refers to the biblical doctrine that all people, regardless of race, gender, varying degrees of physical ability, or socioeconomic class are created in the image of God. Therefore, a biblical understanding of diversity celebrates the value of all human beings as image-bearers with God-given worth and dignity. Imago Dei extends to people of other faiths and to those whose viewpoints or beliefs are hostile to Christianity; therefore, all people are to be treated with respect and dignity. (Gen. 1:27; Gen. 9:6)
- The Fall
Sin had ruinous consequences for humankind, casting a shadow over the Imago Dei, introducing conflict, disunity, injustice, oppression, and a breakdown of the human community. Scripture gives abundant evidence that each person is born with an inclination to sin and that sin not only affects us personally but all of creation. We must resist the temptation to personal sin, and we must work for the benefit of the powerless and least of these in society. We must also recognize racism in any manner as sin and resist every temptation to exalt one human or class of humans over another. (Gen. 3; Eph. 2:1–3; Rom. 5:12–21)
- Redemption and Reconciliation
Sin separates all people from God and leaves all equally in need of redemption. God offers redemption to all who will repent of their sins and believe in Christ. The ground at the foot of the cross is even for all humanity. Furthermore, our Savior lived in His human life as a brown-skinned Jewish man who offered salvation to all equally, making no distinctions based on race, gender, ethnicity, ability, age, or socioeconomic level. Therefore, within the body of Christ there is no hierarchy of value based upon these areas of difference. This pattern of redemption, reconciliation and equality is evident in the work of Jesus Christ and the life of the early church. Believers share not only a common humanity but a shared bond in Christ, the true image of God, by means of the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:18–20; Luke 24:47; Acts 10:27–28, 34–35; Acts 15; Gal. 2:6–14; Eph. 2:13–19; 1 Cor. 12:12–20)
- Biblical Love
Biblical love is one of the defining marks of all true followers of Christ. This ethic calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves, love our enemies, greet strangers, help those in need, and treat others as we would like to be treated. This means no group of people, even those who completely disagree with our beliefs, should ever be hated, belittled, or experience a hostile environment. (Ps. 82:3; Matt. 5:43–48; Luke 10:25–37; John 13:34–35; Eph. 4:1–6)
- Gospel Community
The Gospel expects families with loving fathers and mothers that cherish their children. The Gospel anticipates communities marked by love seeking to serve others. The Gospel prescribes membership in local churches that should minister to the community, protect widows and orphans, and seek to make disciples of Christ. Gospel living and Gospel churches throughout our communities would reverse many of the injustices of racism and may be the best way Cedarville University can change our world to be a better place in the future. (Eph. 5; Heb. 10:25–31; James 1:27; James 2:1–13; Gal. 3:26–29)
The future family of God is described as containing people of every nation, tribe, people, and language, worshipping together, united in Jesus Christ. Not all racial and ethnic differences are erased in the new heavens and the new earth. Rather they remain intact as together we ascribe glory, honor and praise to Jesus Christ. The fact that heaven is repeatedly described in this manner is evidence of the importance that God places on unified worship among diverse people (Rev. 5:9–10). Personal redemption begins the process of restoring individuals and healing the communities in which we live. Until we reach heaven, we should work against corruption and injustice by pursuing the biblical values of love, gentleness, peace, kindness, self-sacrifice, and self-control.
Diversity and Unity at a Christ-centered Learning Community
Cedarville University is a community of followers of Christ. We function as an expression of the body of Christ. Within this context we strive to live with one another in unity and peace. Our ability to demonstrate these qualities of Christian community is limited by the extent to which we resemble the breadth of God’s family. Recognizing that unity is not uniformity, and based on the diversity that we witness in the body of Christ, we believe that greater diversity at Cedarville University enhances the educational experience by providing a better context for demonstrating the unifying power of the Gospel. It also better equips our students for success in the increasingly global and diverse workplace that awaits them.
As a University under biblical authority, Cedarville University has a calling that is higher than tolerance, superficial compliance, or obligation. Our goal is purposeful transformation to look more like Christ. Rather than settling for concepts like tolerance, we are called to build authentic, genuine community. Such a community should provide a glimpse of heaven, include the diverse people of God using varied gifts for God’s glory, and demonstrate genuine equality, unity, and love for all.