History Philosophy Statement

History is the record of God's gracious rule over the affairs of men and nations (Ephesians 1:11). God is the actual author and creator of all human history, overseeing it for the fulfillment of his glorious purposes, from eternity past to eternity future. "Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, 'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all my good pleasure'" (Isaiah 46:9-10). According to Scripture, which we treasure as our ultimate authority, God's plans in all of human history center on the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:15-20).  It is through this biblical lens that we train our students to view history.

We seek to teach students history in such a way that acknowledges God's complete sovereignty over all. God forms the boundaries of continents and nations (Acts 17:26); he controls civilizations and territories (Daniel 4:34-35); he raises up kings and deposes them (Luke 1:52; Romans 1:13) - and yet he is intimately overseeing the course of each individual life (Matthew 10:29-31). Though God's hand may not always be visible, we seek to identify His fingerprints in the details of history. Other aspects of God's character also come to light through the study of history. God's holiness and wisdom, his mercy and justice, are revealed against the dark backdrop of man's rebellion and sin. Studied biblically, history provokes Christian students to grow in their love for and fear of God.

While studying and valuing God's work in each culture, we emphasize the accomplishments of western civilization in particular. Every continent and every race testifies to the purpose and power of God (Psalm 105:1). Yet because of the historical roots of our faith and our nation, we survey all of world history while intentionally concentrating on America's unique heritage. As Christian Americans, we eagerly explore the history of the Church and her impact throughout the world.

Our goals for our students are distinctly Christian and academically rigorous. We look to impart gratitude for the providence of God and inspiration from the sacrifices of men and women on which history is built. We desire students to apply what they learn from the past in order to make wise decisions in the present and future. We challenge our students to be responsible for their actions, knowing they can dramatically change the direction of history (Esther 4:13-14). We are not content to have students who merely memorize names and dates; we urge our students to be active learners who master the appropriate tools of learning at each stage of their development. We seek to refine their ability to discern biblical truth from bias. Closely related to this is the conviction that our students be historically literate in order to persuasively reason amidst the present-day dialogue in the marketplace of ideas.

Christianity is fundamentally rooted in the historic life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  J.Gresham Machen has stated that our salvation depends squarely upon an accurate historical record.1 And finally, as intrinsically rewarding as the study of history may be, ultimately we study history in obedience to God's direct command: "Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised...One generation shall commend your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts."  (Psalm 145:3.4)
1. J. Gresham Machen, The Virgin Birth of Christ, New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1930, p.385