Theological Statement of the University
Fresno Pacific University is sponsored by the Pacific District Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. The school is deeply and intentionally rooted in the Anabaptist Mennonite movement. As such, it is committed to Anabaptist and evangelical ideals, including the reconciling power of God's Spirit, an emphasis on voluntary discipleship, obedience to Jesus as Lord, the global mission of the church, the church as the community of the new covenant, mutual care and holistic concern for members of Christ's body and the call to address, in pastoral and prophetic fashion, the peace and justice concerns of the world. The theological position of the university is represented in the following tenets, compiled from the Confession of Faith of the General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. Whereas Fresno Pacific University enthusiastically embraces this theological tradition, it seeks to do so with charity and humility. In keeping with an expressed desire of its sponsoring body in the early 1980s to "broaden the base" of the institution, the university has deliberately chosen to include students, faculty, staff, administrators and board members from diverse Christian traditions, who at the same time are supportive of its distinctives and goals. This represents an attempt to embody the New Testament notion of ecumenicity, rooted in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and marked by a fervent commitment to a particular core of beliefs and behaviors by people from greatly diverse races, ethnicities and nationalities. Accordingly, Fresno Pacific University stresses the following convictions in guiding and shaping the educational community.
We believe in the one true God, the source of all life, who reigns over all things as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and who lovingly cares for all creation. God the Father planned the redemption of humanity and sent Jesus Christ the Son to be the Savior of the world. Jesus proclaimed the reign of God, bringing good news to the poor and triumphing over sin through His obedient life, death and resurrection. God the Holy Spirit empowers believers with new life, indwells them and unites them in one body.
Revelation of God
We believe God has made Himself known to all people. Beginning with creation and culminating in Jesus Christ, God has revealed Himself in the Old and New Testaments. All Scripture is inspired by God, and is the authoritative guide for faith and practice. We interpret the Scripture in the church community as guided by the Holy Spirit.
Creation and Humanity
We believe God created the heavens and the earth, and they were good. Humans, God's crowning act, were created in the image of God. Sin has alienated humanity from the Creator and creation, but God offers redemption and reconciliation through Jesus Christ.
Sin and Evil
We believe sin is individual and corporate opposition to God's good purposes and leads to physical and spiritual death.
We believe God saves all people who put their faith in Jesus Christ. By His obedient life, sacrificial death and victorious resurrection, Christ delivers people from the tyranny of sin and death and redeems them for eternal life in the age to come. All creation eagerly awaits its liberation from bondage into the freedom of the glory of God's children.
Nature of the Church
We believe the church is the covenant community called by God through Jesus Christ to live a life of discipleship and witness as empowered by the Holy Spirit. The local church gathers regularly for worship, fellowship and accountability and to discern, develop and exercise gifts for ministry.
Mission of the Church
We believe the mission of the church is to make disciples of all nations by calling people to repent, to be baptized and to love God and neighbor by sharing the good news and doing acts of love and compassion.
We believe baptism by water is a public sign that a person has repented of sin, received forgiveness, died with Christ and been raised to new life through the power of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is also a public declaration of a believer's incorporation into the body of Christ as expressed in the local church.
We believe that in obedience to Christ, the church observes the Lord's Supper as a remembrance of His atoning death and to celebrate forgiveness, new life and the fellowship and unity of all believers.
We believe Jesus calls people who have experienced the new birth to follow Him in a costly life of service to God. The power of the Holy Spirit transforms believers from the unrighteous pattern of the present age into a life of joyful obedience with God's people.
Marriage, Singleness and Family
We believe that singleness and marriage are honored by God and should be blessed by the church. God instituted marriage as a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman for the purpose of companionship, encouragement, sexual intimacy and procreation. Children are a gift from God and should be nurtured by parents in the ways of God.
Society and State
We believe that God instituted the state to promote justice and to maintain law and order. Christians' primary allegiance is to Christ's Kingdom. Believers are called to witness against injustice, exercise social responsibility and obey all laws that do not conflict with the Word of God.
Love and Nonresistance
We believe that God in Christ reconciles people to Himself and to one another, making peace through the cross. We seek to be agents of reconciliation, to practice love of enemies and to express Christ's love by alleviating suffering, reducing strife and promoting justice. Because violence and warfare are contrary to the gospel of Christ, we believe that we are called to give alternative service in times of war.
The Sanctity of Human Life
We believe that God is creator and giver of life, and highly values each person. Procedures designed to take human life are wrong. We oppose all attitudes that devalue human life, especially the defenseless lives of the unborn, disabled, poor, aging and dying.
We believe the universe and everything in it belong to God the Creator and that we have been entrusted by God to manage its resources. All God's gifts, including money, time, abilities and influence, are to be received with thanksgiving, used responsibly and shared generously.
The Lord's Day, Work and Rest
We believe God's act of creation provides the model for work and rest. In work, we use our abilities to glorify God and serve others. In rest, we express thanks for God's provision and trust in God's sustaining grace. In worship, we gather to commemorate the resurrection through worship, instruction, fellowship and service.
Christianity and Other Faiths
We believe God's atoning work in Jesus is the only means of reconciling people with God. God has not left any without a witness to the Creator's goodness and power. Christians treat people of other faiths with respect, but urgently proclaim Christ as the only way of salvation.
Christ's Final Triumph
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will return triumphantly at the end of this age to destroy all evil powers, condemn all who have rejected Christ to eternal punishment and unite believers with Christ to reign forever with God in glory.