Foundational Beliefs of Our Community

Table of Contents

A Process of Discovery

During the college years, you will discover a broader range of people and ideas than you have ever encountered before. University life is an exciting world on its own, but it is small in comparison to the world of possibilities that await you after graduation.

At George Fox University, we believe education is more than learning theories, reading books, and writing essays and papers. We believe education consists of a variety of knowledge, ideas, experiences, and people that prepare you to step out with confidence as you realize your full potential. We encourage you to take risks in learning about yourself and others as members of this Christ-centered community.

At George Fox, we will help you engage in these critical questions:

The George Fox experience will help you become a person of commitment, character, and wisdom who can answer these questions with confidence.

A person of commitment is someone committed to love - love for God, love for others, and love for yourself.  Mark 12:30-31 says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself (NIV).'

A person of character is someone who maintains their standards and commitments in both public and private spheres.

A person of wisdom is someone who has more than knowledge. A person of wisdom is one who knows how to pursue knowledge and how to use it to benefit others. When you pursue knowledge with humility and generosity, you will become wise - and help others around you do the same.

As you grow in commitment, character, and wisdom, you will also grow in confidence - in yourself and in the Lord.  As Philippians 1:6 says, "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (NASB)

In all aspects of your student experience you will discover that George Fox University faculty, staff, and administrators are pursuing commitment, character, and wisdom right beside you. Not only will you build a foundation in your area of interest, you will also be challenged to be humble in spirit as you prepare to serve others with what you have learned within and outside of the classroom.

We hope you will consider this student handbook as a resource. Its content represents a guide to the essence of the university, our people, and mission.

Mission, vision, and values

Statement of Faith

Relationships

Living in daily fellowship with members of our Christ-centered community 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, and we acknowledge we are interdependent and accountable to one another.

The greatest expression for our relationships is love: the responsibility to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. This means that unselfish love should be the motive for our decisions, actions, and relationships. While there are many ways to express this type of love, we expect students to focus on the following:

Encouragement 

Each member of the community should strive to maintain relationships that support, encourage, and assist others.

Forgiveness

Because we are human, we can and will encounter difficulties in relationships. In such cases, we should respond with compassion, kindness, humility, and gentleness; being patient with others and forgiving them when necessary.

Support

We encourage our community to walk alongside those who are experiencing grief, discouragement, illness, tragedy, or other personal trials. We can do this by offering comfort, encouragement, consolation, and intercession.

Communicating Honestly with Love

We can strengthen our community and ourselves by being honest and loving in our interactions with others. Problems in relationships and behavior can be resolved constructively by approaching others in an appropriate spirit of humility and respect. If we act for the benefit of others and do so in a loving manner, such confrontation can help us all mature and grow to be more like Jesus.

Reconciliation and Restoration

For our community to be healthy, we must work to heal broken relationships. When relationships have been damaged, regardless of the reason, we are encouraged to reach out to one another and forgive in order to restore those relationships and to make restitution. Our commitment to celebrate diversity and educate people regarding cultural differences is another important reason to reconcile relationships that need repaired.

Practicing these and other expressions of love in our relationships requires continued effort and sensitivity to others. While strong, healthy relationships take work, they reward us by enriching our lives, honoring God, and helping us meet our personal goals and those of our university community.

The book of Colossians provides an excellent summary of the goals of 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 one 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 . . . And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God . . ." (Colossians 3:12-17 NIV)

Lordship of Jesus Christ

We believe the Bible establishes the basic principles that should guide the development of Christian character and govern all Christian behavior. This involves wholehearted obedience to the word of God as taught in the Old and New Testaments and exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ; the careful stewardship of mind, time, abilities, funds, and opportunities for intellectual, spiritual, and interpersonal growth; and the care of our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit.

Biblical Expectations

As members of this community, we must remember that our behavior reflects not only ourselves, but also other members of our community and our Lord Jesus. No matter where we are or who we are with, we represent Christ and the university in our words and actions.

Scripture teaches us that we can exhibit certain attributes by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our behavior. These attributes include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-26) are to be sought, encouraged, and demonstrated in our relationships.

Scripture prohibits behaviors such as greed, jealousy, pride, lust, and hatred. Although these characteristics are sometimes difficult to discern - especially in ourselves - they can hinder our relationship with God and with others and lead to destructive or unacceptable behavior. Members of our community are expected to reject these attitudes so that each one of us can grow in grace and righteousness.

In keeping with scriptural teaching about the authority of government, members of the George Fox community are expected to uphold the laws of the local community, the state of Oregon, and the nation. The only exception would be the rare occasions in which obedience to civil authorities would require behavior that conflicts with the clear teaching of Scripture, in which case each individual would submit voluntarily to the civil penalty for disobeying the law. In every other case, behavior resulting in civil arrest on or off campus is subject to review and accountability.

The University also recognizes that while the Scriptures do not provide specific teaching regarding all social practices, they do advocate self-restraint in things that are harmful or offensive to others.  In light of this, there are numerous responsibilities set forth for members of our community.

Honesty and Integrity

Scripture teaches us that we can exhibit certain attributes by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our behavior. These attributes include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-26) are to be sought, encouraged, and demonstrated in our relationships.

Scripture prohibits behaviors such as greed, jealousy, pride, lust, and hatred. Although these characteristics are sometimes difficult to discern - especially in ourselves - they can hinder our relationship with God and with others and lead to destructive or unacceptable behavior. Members of our community are expected to reject these attitudes so that each one of us can grow in grace and righteousness.

In keeping with scriptural teaching about the authority of government, members of the George Fox community are expected to uphold the laws of the local community, the state of Oregon, and the nation. The only exception would be the rare occasions in which obedience to civil authorities would require behavior that conflicts with the clear teaching of Scripture, in which case each individual would submit voluntarily to the civil penalty for disobeying the law. In every other case, behavior resulting in civil arrest on or off campus is subject to review and accountability.

The University also recognizes that while the Scriptures do not provide specific teaching regarding all social practices, they do advocate self-restraint in things that are harmful or offensive to others.  In light of this, there are numerous responsibilities set forth for members of our community.

University Expectations

The University has created certain guidelines and expectations we believe contribute to our sense of Christian community and to its aims and goals. These high standards are not set forth as absolutes or an index of Christian spirituality, but rather as expectations for those who choose to be a part of our community.

We recognize that not all students are committed followers of Jesus, have the same standards for living ascribed to by the university, or necessarily agree with some facets of the university's lifestyle expectations. We want to welcome all our students and are so glad you are here! In the admissions process each student signed their application agreeing to respect and abide by the lifestyle standards and community expectations to be followed by all students of George Fox University for as long as you are enrolled as a student. 

Establishing community and lifestyle expectations is one way a community helps its members develop as individuals. While each person is an individual, individuals must share responsibility for the community. We believe that by describing the expectations that come along with being a member of the university community, students should be able to take a more active role in helping George Fox University function as a Christian community and in achieving our goals as an institution of higher learning.

Honor Statement

The following honor statement is what all students agreed to abide by in becoming a member of the George Fox community. All students signed this in the admissions application:

The university seeks to admit students who will best succeed and benefit from a distinctly Christ-centered education and environment. Members of the George Fox community demonstrate Christ-centered values and are committed to the integration of faith and learning. Chapel attendance and Bible/religion courses are required of all students.

Affirming the following honor statement is a condition of admission. Since signing it is a promise made to the university to maintain this standard for as long as a student is enrolled, only applicants who wholeheartedly support the lifestyle described therein should agree to it.

In accordance with Christ-centered convictions honoring the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, the George Fox University community expects its students to follow a lifestyle that excludes gambling, the use or possession of non-medicinal drugs, alcohol, tobacco, obscene or pornographic articles or literature, and forbids immoral sexual behavior.

In addition to the honor statement, the full lifestyle statement provides the expectations for all traditional undergraduate students in the George Fox community and it can be viewed in the next section.