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Our Ethos

Community Vision

We, the trustees, administration, faculty, staff, and students embrace this ethos as a Wesleyan community which stands within the tradition of Christian orthodoxy and whose life and work are committed to reflecting the truth, beauty, and goodness of God’s holiness.

We aspire to order our communal and personal life according to the truth and love revealed in Scripture and imparted by the Holy Spirit. We pledge ourselves to go on to the fullness of salvation, seeking through relationships of mutual accountability the maturity of faith, hope, and love that reflects the mind and likeness of Jesus Christ. By the Spirit’s power we will bear witness to God’s Kingdom, embodying a way of scriptural holiness that unites sound knowledge and vital piety in proclaiming the Gospel and participating in God’s mission.

We covenant together to embrace ways of living in keeping with the spirit and intent of the General Rules set forth by John Wesley:

  • By doing no harm and by avoiding evil of every kind.
  • By doing good of every possible sort as far as possible to all people.
  • By practicing the means of grace together.

We are committed to speaking the truth in love, sharing one another’s burdens, bearing with one another’s weaknesses, and serving one another by the mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation extended by God. We will practice and nurture speech that is just, charitable, encouraging, and respectful of the standards and policies of Asbury Seminary. Exercising discernment which is guided by the law of love, we will affirm the breadth of views that bear witness to the richness of the Gospel and the diversity of Christian communities it calls and creates.

With God’s help we will exercise the freedom of joyful obedience in being faithful stewards of our minds, bodies, time, gifts, abilities, possessions, and finances as expressions of God’s good creation. We will renounce those attitudes and actions that resist the work of the Spirit, divide Christian community, and impede human flourishing. In faithfulness to the Gospel, we will resist the pervasive influence of materialism and commit ourselves to ministry with the poor. We will reject utilitarian methods that commodify the faith and mission of the church according to the values of a consumerist culture. By God’s grace, we will nurture redemptive relationships that honor and uphold the dignity of creation, human life, the sanctity of embodied human sexuality, the equality of women and men, the covenant of Christian marriage between one man and one woman, and the importance of the family. Soli Deo Gloria!

Application of Community Vision

This covenantal ethos orients our community life toward the fullness of holy love as the end of God’s Law which has been fulfilled in the life and work of Jesus Christ. In light of the truth and goodness of God revealed by Christ, and as interpreted by our Wesleyan heritage, we acknowledge the Christian life cannot be reduced to either right doctrine or morality.  Because we have been created and redeemed through Christ in the power of the Spirit, the fullness of salvation consists of the restoration of the image of God and our life in communion with God and others. Intrinsic to our task as a theological seminary is the cultivation of knowledge, wisdom, and virtue for the practice of faithful obedience that bears fruit in love for God, our neighbors, and the whole creation.

For this reason, concerns related to particular expressions of thought and behavior will be assessed in light of the law of love which is the source, means, and goal of true freedom in Christ. To this end, we commit ourselves to seeking the Spirit’s wisdom and discernment through the study of Scripture and participation in the means of grace, common worship, and holy conversation.

For the common good of the Asbury Seminary community, the Seminary commits to the following guiding principles:

  • We believe God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as either male or female. Together these two distinct sexes reflect the creative nature and image of God.
  • We affirm celibacy as a valuable and honorable practice related to holy living. We honor and esteem the fidelity of deep holy friendships as being in the image of God.
  • We affirm marriage as sanctioned by God, which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union for life, as delineated in Scripture, and provides the sole context for sexual intimacy, helping to ensure the blessings of that relationship as God intended.
  • We affirm God’s design for holy living, and believe that Scripture clearly prohibits certain acts, including but not limited to drinking alcohol to excess, using pornography, stealing, speaking or writing profanely or slanderously, acting dishonestly, cheating, engaging in occult practice, and engaging in sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage (including but not limited to premarital sex, adultery, and same-sex sexual behavior).  Such actions have devastating personal, social, and global effects, especially upon society’s most vulnerable members.
  • Based on a Biblical view of creation, fall, and redemption, our goal is to come alongside as a loving community anyone who is experiencing gender identity discordant with their birth sex.  We do not affirm theologically the adoption of a psychological identity discordant with one’s birth sex as a result of the tension between one’s biological sex and one’s experience of gender.  Similarly, we do not affirm attempts to change one’s given biological birth sex via medical intervention in favor of the identity of the opposite sex or of an indeterminate identity.
  • We affirm the need for responsible care and stewardship of the human body through regular exercise when possible; practicing healthy eating habits; and properly balancing study, work, rest, and leisure.
  • We stand with all Christians, both past and present, against the misuse of all substances that abuse the body, foster addiction, and bring harm to others.
  • We covenant with each other to maintain an alcohol, tobacco, and drug free environment with respect to all Seminary facilities, events, and activities.
  • We condemn any form of harassment or abuse.

This Ethos assumes the practice of Christian hospitality within a seminary community that is dependent upon the gift of God’s grace and characterized by relationships of mutual trust and respect.  To this end, we acknowledge our constant need for keeping covenant with one another and diligence in speaking the truth in love. We encourage the practice of repentance, confession, pardon, correction, and redemptive discipline when breaches of this covenant may occur.  In witness to society, we commit ourselves to these guiding principles, and we disavow advocating, supporting, or condoning behavior contrary to this Ethos.  We will make institutional decisions in light of this policy.