Classical Christian Higher Education
Post-secondary education at the undergraduate and graduate levels is historically rooted in the classical liberal arts tradition. Reflective of the Hebraic vision and articulated by ancient Greek and Roman educators, the classical liberal arts curriculum and pedagogy were later refined by medieval church leaders, Reformation and Christian humanist scholars, and Christian university faculties from the Early Modern era until the late nineteenth century. The classical, Christian paradigm for higher learning emphasizes wisdom and truth more than pragmatism, integration and beauty more than specialization, and service and goodness more than power. The college honors this classical, Christian heritage and stresses truth, beauty, and goodness. In its classical Christian approach to higher learning, the college stresses the integrated nature of knowledge (all things cohere in Christ) and the servant-leader nature of every calling before God (Christ is Lord of all) at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Jesus described his disciples as the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” Christian leadership and responsibility in the world is inescapable; the question is whether Christians will lead well or poorly, faithfully or unfaithfully. The college seeks to equip its students with biblical wisdom, integrative knowledge, creative insight, and humility to lead our culture faithfully as the servants of all through excellence in the arts, letters, sciences, business, government, the church, and all lawful vocations.
A vocation entails much more than a “job” or “career.” Vocations include all our lawful callings, responsibilities, and labors before God in our different stations and stages of life as sons and daughters, spouses, parents, providers, citizens, and church members. The college seeks to prepare students for faithful servant leadership in all their God-given callings through all stages of life for the glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom.
The Classical and Christian Approach to Education
In the fullness of time, during the reign of Caesar Augustus, Jesus Christ was born in Palestine. He ministered to a people saturated in Hebrew traditions, who spoke Greek and embraced Greek thinking, who lived under the dominion of Rome and its law. He was crucified on a Roman cross outside Jerusalem, David’s city, and He rose on the third day according to the Scriptures.
New Saint Andrews College teaches and emphasizes, above all else, a right understanding of Christ’s lordship over every area of human endeavor. Christianity was established in this setting, and in the providence of God, it grew to maturity in the West. For this reason, New Saint Andrews College teaches and emphasizes the languages, history, and culture of classical antiquity.
The gospel was introduced into the world of classical antiquity and transformed it into what we call Western civilization. That gospel is part of our culture’s heritage, along with the Western forms of rebellion that vainly strive against it. This cultural war—between what Augustine described as the City of God and the City of Man—continues down to our own day. Consequently, New Saint Andrews College teaches and emphasizes the history, philosophy, literature, and culture of Western civilization. Jesus Christ is Lord over this cultural war; He is the Lord of the West, and Lord of the whole world. He is the Word of God; the One in whom dwell all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Every thought, including every academic thought, must be taken captive to Him.
For the above reasons, New Saint Andrews College teaches and emphasizes, above all else, a right understanding of Christ’s lordship over every area of human endeavor. This understanding demands careful instruction in discerning the antithesis between truth and falsehood, between the City of God and the City of Man. Cultivating such discernment calls for focused hard work. It requires exposure to influential ideas, watershed arguments, and primary texts in history, philosophy, literature, and especially, theology. To accomplish this type of education, New Saint Andrews College employs a rigorous pedagogy centered on reading and on student-instructor interaction with what is read.
New Saint Andrews understands this confessional and educational commitment as a foundation for academic freedom, not a restriction on it. The college’s commitment to the promotion and protection of liberty of thought and freedom of expression is not only consistent with the college’s Christian worldview, but cannot be consistently maintained without it. Further, the college does not see itself as distinct from other academic institutions in possessing such a faith commitment; every coherent institution has a body of ultimate commitments. The question is not whether New Saint Andrews defines academic freedom in line with an orthodoxy, but rather which orthodoxy will serve this foundational role. We believe that true liberal learning is encouraged, and academic freedom is advanced when an institution declares its faith openly and honestly rather than by trying to keep it simultaneously operative and hidden.
At New Saint Andrews, the Triune God revealed in the Bible is our ultimate source and standard of truth, beauty, goodness, liberty, and freedom. Without Him, truth and freedom dissolve into relativism and chaos. We believe historic, biblical Christianity, as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, to be the only basis on which the search for truth and the exercise of liberty are meaningful or possible. Liberty is not the absence of the rule of law, but it is found in the presence of the letter and spirit of the Law of God: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17). Therefore, the college encourages genuine liberal education and protects an environment of genuine liberty of thought and expression, within the parameters of the College’s Statement of Faith (for faculty and administrators) and the Student Code of Conduct (for students).
Our Objectives for Students
The college’s primary objective for its students is to educate young Christian men and women broadly and deeply in the liberal arts from a distinctively Christian, Reformed perspective, to equip them for lives of faithful service to the Triune God and His kingdom, and to encourage the use of their gifts for the growth of Christian culture. The college expects its students to conduct themselves with all holiness and reverence in word, deed, and attitude; to maintain sound doctrine; to nurture a reformational Christian culture; to submit to the Lordship of Christ and to His Word in all areas of life; and to practice and preserve the highest standards of academic integrity.
Our Objectives for the College Faculty
The college’s primary objective for its faculty is to provide excellent classroom instruction that broadens and deepens the students’ understanding of the liberal arts, to offer a godly example of spiritual maturity, intellectual rigor, wise judgment, and personal integrity, and to engage in scholarly inquiry and creative activities applicable to the classroom and beyond. The college expects its faculty to teach and to engage in scholarly inquiry and creative work from a Reformed perspective in their respective fields of expertise, submitting all to the Lordship of Christ and to His Word, to practice and preserve the highest standards of academic integrity, and to disseminate the fruit of their studies and creative work in appropriate scholarly and publicly accessible venues.
Our Objectives for the College Administration
The college’s primary objective for its administration is to provide academic leadership for the faculty, students, and administration, and to nurture godly personal relationships characterized by mutual submission, respect, and honor with and between the faculty and students. The college expects its administration to encourage an academic culture more familial than institutional, more personal than bureaucratic, more reformational than conformist, and more biblically faithful than submissive to the dominant secular academic paradigms.
For more information, visit nsa.edu.