Clarks Summit University’s Biblical Diversity Statement
The Context of Diversity
At Clarks Summit University, we believe ethnic diversity is defined first and foremost by our biblical and theological understanding of who God is, God’s purposes for humanity, and how that understanding flows out to the creation. The unity in the Godhead and the diversity of the persons of the Trinity are revealed in the creation, in marriage and family, in God’s plan of redemption for all the families of the earth, in the good news that is to be preached to all nations, in the Church through spiritual gifts, in the earthly Messianic Kingdom, and in the Eternal Kingdom.
Diversity Defined in Who God Is
The central and defining reality of the universe is the mystery of who God is. God is, at the same time, both one and three, both unity and diversity. In creation, God intends for the complex interplay of unity and diversity to result in beauty in the creation. This is what it means for the creation to reveal its Creator.
Creation Reveals its Creator
God created human beings as image-bearers to reveal the unity and diversity in the Godhead. This means humans were created for the express purpose of revealing God’s character and nature as one “race.” The human race is from “one blood” (Acts 17:26–28), all descended from the one man (Adam), and yet also as diverse ethnic groups referred to in Scripture as nations, cultures, languages, tribes and families.
God’s Redemptive Plan is for All the Families of the Earth to be Blessed
As God’s plan unfolded, it was revealed that through Abraham, all the families of the earth would be blessed. It is this aspect of God’s covenant relationship with Abraham that God promises “the blessings” of being brought into a right relationship with God, a relationship available to everyone who puts their faith in God (and His Son Jesus Christ) as Abraham did (Gen 15:6; Rom 4; Acts 15:16–17).
Unity and Diversity in the Body of Christ
In the Church, the reality of unity and diversity is revealed in the body of Christ metaphor. There is one Lord, one Faith and one Baptism (of the Holy Spirit), which places us all equally into the one body of Christ. At the same time, we have diversity in roles and gifts that differ according to God’s sovereign choice and enablement (Eph 4:1–3, 11–16; 1 Cor 12; Rom 12:3–8).
Unity and Diversity in Human Relationships
Likewise in human society and relationships, diversity is defined as that which constitutes differences between people while also recognizing the essential unity we all have as human beings. We all are sinners descended from Adam, and we all need the salvation provided by the sacrificial death of Second Adam—the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 5:15–21; I Cor 15:45).
Differences Used as an Opportunity to Sin Against Others
Diversity finds its expression in the differences between human beings. Sadly, people have used these differences as an opportunity to sin against others and therefore against God. These differences have been used by various groups and nations repeatedly throughout human history to claim superiority for one group of people and inferiority for others. This has been true of human beings ever since the fall of humanity and had its first manifestation in the murder of Abel by his brother Cain (Gen 4). The propensity for this kind of sin is why a statement like this one is important.
Identity Found in Our Diverse Unity in Christ
Humans often place their identity apart from and in defiance of God’s purposes (e.g., Gen 11:1-9). Biblically, we must, first and most importantly, find our identity in who we are as (humans) image-bearers. Secondly, we must find our identity in who we are as (Christians) redeemed image-bearers. This is our true unity. Finding our identity elsewhere results in various sins against Christ and His body (1 Cor 3:1-3; Gal 5:19-21; Jas 3:13-18).
God’s Purpose for Humanity: A Unity of Diverse People Redeemed by Christ
The Scriptures do not make the pursuit of ethnic diversity an end in itself. Instead, ethnic diversity is revealed in God’s plan throughout biblical history and communicated by Jesus Christ in the Great Commission and in the Church through the gifts in the body of Christ (Matt 28:18-20; Eph 4:16; I Cor 12). The disciples were commanded to make disciples of all nations (literally “ethnay” in Greek) or ethnic groups. We know that in the future God will also preserve national differences in eternity (Rev 5:9-10).
Our Need of Grace for Repentance and the Fulfillment of God’s Purpose
We recognize our need for God’s grace to bring about personal repentance and to bring the transformative light the Church alone brings to society (Titus 2:11-14).
Diverse People United by Relational Love
As God’s people, we are called to love God, which includes loving our neighbors as ourselves (Matt 22:37- 40; Rom 12:14-21). This defines our obligation to all people.
Rejection of Sinful Attitudes and Behaviors
The Clarks Summit University Doctrinal Statement says, “All forms of abuse, slander, dehumanization, or oppression towards fellow humans is an affront to God’s likeness.” Since this is true, any attitudes or behaviors which intentionally deny the dignity of any person or any group of people, which demean or degrade them, which treat them unjustly, or which fail to seek their good as defined by Scripture, is sin, and all who call on the name of Christ must reject them (I Pet 2:12).
Speaking Truth in The Face of Lies
As the Church, the pillar and ground of the truth, we also must speak up against lies and practices that disobey Jesus’ commandment to “love one another as I have loved you” (I John 3:11,18).
Unity and Diversity Requires the Loving Embrace of All Peoples
The unity of the Body of Christ should reflect a loving embrace of all followers of Christ, recognizing their freedom to participate fully as members of the family of God regardless of ethnicity, culture, language, national origin and ability. (Gal 3:28; Col 3:11).
We Must Repent and Seek Forgiveness When We Fail to Love All People
Where we have failed to love all people in the past or the future, we recognize that the only proper biblical response is to repent and to seek and receive forgiveness from God and those we have sinned against (2 Cor 7:10; Col 3:12-15; Jas 5:16; 1 John 1:5-10).
Acknowledgement of Sin, Grief and Lament as Appropriate Responses to Sin
Further, it is appropriate for God’s people to both acknowledge and lament the injustice and hatred that we see in our world and sometimes also in the Church (Prov 29:27; Eccl 4:1-3; 1 Cor 13:6).
God Also Calls us to be Peacemakers as Ambassadors of Christ
All peace in relationships was made a reality because of Christ’s sacrificial death and new-life-giving resurrection. “He Himself is our peace who has broken down every wall…” (Eph 2:14). We are to intervene as peacemakers on Christ’s behalf and as His ambassadors when contrary teaching and practices occur.
The Challenges to Unity and Diversity that Lie Ahead
We must acknowledge significant challenges to us in our politically polarized society and think biblically about these issues. As a university, we acknowledge past failures in the area of ethnic diversity as well as the many examples of men and women who have loved their neighbors as they ought.
Examples of Obeying the Lord in Spite of Circumstances
We have examples of alumni who have obeyed the Lord in spite of being sinned against. Baptist Bible College and Clarks Summit University have also shown what it means to walk the path of repentance as a university. With God’s help, CSU seeks to convey His image through a vibrant and ethnically diverse and welcoming community of believers, unified in faith and obedience to Christ and His Great Commission.
Unity and Ethnic Diversity on Our Board
In light of a biblical perspective on diversity, 25 percent of Clarks Summit University’s Board of Trustees in 2022 are pastors, educators, businessmen and businesswomen from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
Our Diverse Future
Clarks Summit University is also committed to ethnic diversity in its student recruitment and hiring practices. We are seeking to create and maintain a more welcoming campus culture that more closely reflects our local community and our region.
Therefore, ethnic diversity is a consideration at the strategic planning level as we consider future goals for our institution.
Unity, Diversity and the CSU Mission
CSU seeks to prepare diverse students (from all nations and to all nations) for lives of significant service for the cause of Jesus Christ in a variety of ministries and careers.