At its essence, Westmont College is an evangelical Christian, liberal arts community. We are committed to "serving God's kingdom by cultivating thoughtful scholars, grateful servants and faithful leaders for global engagement with the academy, church and world." This is evident in the following core college documents, which have been approved by the Board of Trustees and which clarify the institution's mission, articles of faith, and community life expectations.
"Westmont College is an undergraduate, residential, Christian, liberal arts community serving God's kingdom by cultivating thoughtful scholars, grateful servants and faithful leaders for global engagement with the academy, church and world."
College Seal and Motto
The symbols on the Westmont College seal relate to the faith and the ideals of a liberal arts college in the evangelical Christian tradition.
|The open Bible shows the source of our authority in faith and practice.|
|The three crosses symbolize our Trinitarian faith.|
|The star and crown represent the incarnation and Lordship of Christ.|
|The burning lamp reflects knowledge lighting both the mind and the spirit.|
The motto, Christus Primatum Tenens, Christ holding first place, comes from Colossians 1:18 --
"That in all things He might have the preeminence."
Statement of Faith
Westmont College is a liberal arts college committed to Jesus Christ and belonging to the worldwide evangelical Protestant tradition. In that tradition, the college's trustees, administrators, and faculty participate in many different churches and with them confess such historic statements of the church as the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. In faithfulness to God, who is the source of truth, and under the authority of Scripture, we joyfully and humbly affirm the following articles of faith, which guide our learning, teaching, and living.
Articles of Faith
We believe in God
The Lord our God alone is God, holy and loving, revealing in creation and in Jesus Christ God's own power and glory, grace and mercy. The Lord our God alone is God, just and true, perfect in being and trustworthy in action.
The Lord our God is infinite and beyond imagination; our minds can never fully know God nor our hearts completely grasp his ways. The Lord our God is faithful and steadfast, unfailing in word and deed.
The Lord our God is Triune-one being in three persons-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in co-equal, co-eternal communion. The Lord our God, Creator and Sustainer of all that is, redeems the world from its fallenness and consummates his saving work in a new heaven and a new earth.
. . . the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
God the Father is the source of all that is good. He is Father to his eternal Son, Jesus Christ, and to all who are adopted as his sons and daughters through faith in Jesus Christ. He has sovereignty over us, affection toward us, and glory for us.
God the Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ-one person in two natures, fully human and fully divine-who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. In his life and in his death on the cross he conquered the powers of darkness, paid the penalty for our sin, and demonstrated God's love for the world. In his bodily resurrection his life and death are vindicated, and he is revealed to be the only judge and redeemer of the world. He intercedes for us now before the Father and will return in glory.
God the Holy Spirit is Lord and Life-Giver, the one who empowered Jesus Christ and who empowers his people to continue God's work today. God the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, brings us to faith in Jesus Christ, and conforms us to the image of Christ. The Spirit inspired the authors of Scripture and guides the church in faithful translation and interpretation. The Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, is God-breathed and true, without error in all that it teaches; it is the supreme authority and only infallible guide for Christian faith and conduct-teaching, rebuking, and training us in righteousness.
. . . the Author of our salvation
God created humankind for unbroken relationship with God, one another, and the rest of creation. Through Adam's disobedience, we fell into sin and now suffer alienation and brokenness. The effects of sin are so pervasive that apart from God's grace we are lost and dead. Only by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ are we saved and made alive.
In bringing us to faith in Jesus Christ, the Spirit incorporates us into the body of Christ, his church, the community of all believers in heaven and on earth. The church is called to bear witness to Christ among the nations by praising God, preaching the good news, discipling believers, healing the sick, serving the poor, setting free the oppressed, and caring for creation. The gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit empower the church for this mission.
Jesus Christ will return one day in his glorified body to judge the living and the dead. Those who do not believe in him will be raised to suffer forever a just punishment. Those who believe in him will be transformed, their bodies raised imperishable and incorruptible, to live and reign with him forever in a new heaven and a new earth in which there will be all that is good and true and beautiful, but no sorrow, no tears, and no evil thing.
And so we pray: Come, Lord Jesus.
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father!
There is no shadow of turning with thee;
Thou changest not, thy compassions,
They fail not: as thou has been thou forever wilt be.
|Great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness.|
|Morning by morning new mercies I see;|
|All I have needed thy hand hath provided --|
|Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!|
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their course above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow --
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Community Life Statement
Living in Community
When Jesus Christ summed up the way His followers were to treat each other, He said, “Love one another as I have loved you,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” On a college campus, this kind of love must take into consideration the relationship between learning and community.
Affirming the qualities of this relationship is vital. As students, staff, and professors learn to live together, we recognize the dual manifestations of love in justice and mercy. We attempt to work out what it means to live justly and mercifully in common agreements such as this one. We understand that life in a college will give priority and honor to the wise development of the mind.
Given this focus, our social and intellectual growth needs freedom for exploration complemented by a commitment to good will and graciousness. Personal discipline is also required. For example, civility is basic to all types of community, while academic honesty and respect for education are fundamental to an instructional environment.
Learning depends on truth-centered attitudes. It thrives in an atmosphere of discriminating openness to ideas, a condition that is characterized by a measure of modesty toward one’s own views, the desire to affirm the true, and the courage to examine the unfamiliar. As convictions are expressed, one enters into the “great conversation” of collegiate life, a task best approached with a willingness to confront and be confronted with sound thinking.
Community is built upon other-centered practices. It flourishes in a place where love for God and neighbor is cultivated and nurtured. It grows strong when members practice integrity, confession, and forgiveness, attempt to live in reconciled relationships, accept responsibility for their actions and words, and submit to biblical instructions for communal life.
Scripture supports these attitudes and principles. It promotes relationships based on the ideals of trust, compassion, and forbearance, and praises actions that manifest sacrificial giving and sincere faith. Scripture also forbids attitudes such as pride and jealousy, and prohibits such actions as drunkenness, sexual promiscuity, and dishonesty. In keeping with these standards, the Westmont community has agreed to certain guidelines in the Student, Staff, and Faculty Handbooks.
Desiring to implement the teachings of Christ, Westmont encourages true fellowship, in the whole body of Christ, including the local church, for when we love each other we imitate Christ’s love for us. As we seek to follow God in truth, certain choices make for greater peace: a respect for others as they make decisions contrary to ours, a readiness to listen carefully to those who represent situations or cultures unfamiliar to us, and a concern for how our preferences affect the lives of those around us.
We are committed to inquiry as well as pronouncement, rigorous study as well as kindred friendship, challenging teaching as well as reflective learning. Sometimes these tensions will lead to conflict. To live in unity, we must set ourselves to the practical task of discerning daily how to love well, how to inflesh the biblical call to justice and mercy. As we do so, our life together at Westmont will begin to resemble the community God has envisioned for us.
The Westmont community chooses, freely and willingly, to impose upon itself rules for behavior which serve both the long range interests of the institution and the immediate good of its individual members. While we do not view these expectations as an index to maturity in Christ, we do regard violations as a serious breach of integrity within the community because each member has voluntarily chosen to associate with it and to accept its standards.
Consistent with Scripture, the college establishes the following specific expectations for the trustees, administration, faculty, staff, and students of the Westmont community1:
- The college does not condone practices that Scripture forbids. Such activities include but are not limited to occult practices, drunkenness, theft, profanity, and dishonesty. Such activities also include sexual relations outside of marriage and homosexual practice. Westmont further recognizes that Scripture condemns “sins of the spirit” such as covetousness, jealousy, pride, and lust. By their very nature, these sins are more difficult to discern. Because they lie at the heart of the relationship between the individual and God they are of central concern to the Westmont community.
- The college upholds integrity as a core value of the community. Members are expected to take responsibility for their own violations of all behavioral guidelines and demonstrate commitment to the value of integrity in word and deed.
- The college is committed to providing a learning and work environment free of harassment.
- The college upholds the laws of the local community, the nation, and the state of California that prohibit the possession or use of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia, against purchasing or consuming alcoholic beverages by persons under the age of 21, drunkenness, and driving under the influence of alcohol.
- The college expects our members who choose to marry to abide by the commitment to lifelong heterosexual marriage, and, whether single or married, to strive to maintain healthy family relationships.
- The college recognizes that the use of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages presents a danger to personal health. It condemns their abuse, and raises questions about the use of tobacco and alcohol. Under no circumstances shall any member of the community use or possess these products on campus or when attending a college-related student activity.
Westmont will establish other rules and regulations necessary for orderly community life and will list them in appropriate handbooks. You will find information which further explains the specifics of the Behavioral Expectations above in the section of the Student Handbook on Westmont policies.
1Westmont requires all of its guests during their time on campus to act in ways that are consistent with Westmont’s mission-based behavioral expectations for community life.
Statement of Key Terms and Identity
- What does Westmont mean by describing itself as an evangelical, liberal arts college committed to diversity?
Biblical and Theological Foundations of Diversity