Guiding Principles on Race and Culture
Rockbridge Academy is a Classical Christian community of learners, committed to living out Christ's call to the Great Commission, following the biblical mandate to be ministers of reconciliation, and growing with one another in unity, peace, and righteousness. This calling is higher than just tolerance, superficial compliance, or obligation—our goal is to build a true Christian community around the transforming image of Christ.
Recognizing that unity is not uniformity and based on the diversity that we have in the body of Christ, we believe that Christian diversity at Rockbridge Academy enhances the educational experience by providing a better context for demonstrating the unifying power of the Gospel and equipping all our students for success in the increasingly interconnected and diverse world.
Rockbridge Academy desires to attract and serve a diverse group of Christian employees and students in an environment that reflects our core values of the authority of God’s Word, unity in the Body of Christ, the pursuit of excellence in all things, and compassionate service and outreach.
Word Centric: Everything that we say and do with respect to race, culture, and ethnicity will be grounded in God’s word and reflect our commitment to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Tim 3:16, Heb 4:12, Eph 2:19-22).
Imago Dei: We recognize all persons are uniquely created by God (Psalm 139), bear the image of God (Gen 1:26), and are endowed with specific gifts and abilities that are fostered in a well-rounded learning environment. As image bearers of the living God our mandate is to treat all people, regardless of belief, with dignity and respect.
Broken: We acknowledge the brokenness of sin in the world, our nation, history, and our own souls, only ultimately addressed by the Gospel and work of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:1-10, 2 Chr 7:14). Our teaching will openly and honestly address the source and history of this brokenness.
Unity in the Gospel of Christ: We believe the church is unified in the primary doctrines of the person and nature of Jesus Christ and His gospel of salvation which defines the essentials of true, orthodox Christianity. (ref. Rockbridge Academy Statement of Faith) We understand that under this umbrella of the faithful church exist many differing beliefs and opinions concerning secondary and tertiary doctrine that may be firmly held by faithful, believing Christians in disagreement with one another. (Romans 14) We seek to foster a spirit of unity and fellowship in our Rockbridge community with all who adhere to the primary doctrines of our faith, and to demonstrate grace, charity, and humility in our interactions with those who hold differing opinions concerning secondary and tertiary doctrine, allowing for each person to hold fast to his own conscience, and to the teachings of his own particular denomination as to what Christ has commanded in these areas (Ephesians 4:1-16; 1 Corinthians 8; Philippians 2:3).
Grace-filled: As Christians, we are set free by Christ’s redeeming grace to love God fully and love our neighbors as ourselves, regardless of our differences (Eph. 4:32). As God’s love and grace works their way in our hearts our community is strengthened to walk together in humility and sacrificial love (Romans 12:10). We are able to humbly walk together in the spirit of love and grace, celebrating our successes, acknowledging we are still growing as a community of Christ-followers, and collectively accept responsibility for our failures as a story of sanctification and grace, not perfection (Daniel 9, Eph. 4:3-6, Romans 3:23).
Diverse Called by God: God is in the process of calling people from every tribe, tongue, and nation unified in Christ (Acts 1:8, Rev 7:9-10, Gal 3:28, James 2:1-9) and does not show favoritism or segregation based on race, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic level. There is no hierarchy of value within the Body of Christ based upon these areas of difference (Acts 10:34-35, Col 3:11) - we will live this out by humbly seeking to model Christ in the school’s policy, process, and purpose (Philippians 2:5-8, 2 Corinthians 5:11-21).
Defined by Love: Our calling is to collectively love our neighbors as ourselves, love our enemies, greet strangers, help those in need, and treat others as we would like to be treated. Obedience to Christ requires that we intentionally live according to this ethic (Lk 10:25–37, Mark 12:28-31, John 13:35). We will intentionally facilitate an environment to love one another, assuming the best possible motives when engaging in all communication (1 Corinthians 13:7, John 13:35).
Commissioned: We will teach and practice the great commission and the calling to prepare students for service and engagement with cultures and broader world (Micah 6:8, Eph 2:13-17, Mt 28:18-20) until we celebrate the diversity of those called in Christ forever (Rev 7:9-10).