Essence Statement

At Azusa Pacific University, we strive to create an atmosphere that embraces our history and the work of those who helped to build what we enjoy today. Part of this legacy is found in the Essence Statement. Drafted in 1980, under the leadership of President Paul Sago, the statement was created by faculty members and reflects the collegial atmosphere that pervades the campus to this day. It is a philosophical description of the institution and its people—students, staff, faculty, trustees, administration, and alumni—who we are and who we are becoming.

While acknowledging that as individuals we are at different points along the way, we are all nevertheless journeying toward the ideals described in the four perspectives that follow: Christian, Academic, Developmental, and Service.


We are Christians who:

  • believe that God is the origin of all things and the source of the values made known to us in His creation, in human experience, and finally and fully, in Jesus Christ.
  • hold the Bible as the Word of God, the basis of our faith, and the primary record by which these values are made known.
  • rely on the Holy Spirit to help us discover these values, understand them, and live a life consistent with them.
  • live as citizens of the Kingdom of God, who model its values and thereby call into question the values of the world.
  • confess Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, our university, and our world, and as the final authority for our faith and life.
  • recognize that redemption by Jesus Christ and personal acceptance of His forgiveness are necessary for human wholeness.
  • show love toward God (holiness of heart) and a love toward each other (holiness of life) which express themselves in worship, self-denial, and a special concern for the oppressed, and which encourage us to abandon those distinctions that divide us.
  • practice community among ourselves as members of the one Body of Christ and maintain a nonsectarian openness toward all Christians.


We are scholars who:

  • believe that all truth is of God; therefore, we recognize the importance of each field of study both for its own significance and for its interrelationship with other areas of knowledge.
  • believe that God desires that we pursue excellence according to the standard of His will for us.
  • exhibit intellectual curiosity, flexibility, and critical openmindedness.
  • are able to deal with complexity and ambiguity, and to communicate effectively, weigh evidence and make decisions.
  • recognize that a knowledge of history is key to understanding ourselves, our world, and our future.
  • have a basic understanding of Christianity, the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences.
  • know the language, art, and customs of at least one other culture or know the cross-cultural issues within one’s own discipline in order to develop understanding of, respect for, and cooperation with those of all other cultures.
  • promote and expand the body of knowledge related to our profession or discipline.
  • have a thorough command of the primary courses, methodology and research skills, major issues, vocabulary, and facts in at least one academic field of study, and understand how the skills acquired in this way may be adapted to other fields of endeavor.
  • encourage and make provision for any person to learn at any period of life.


We are persons who:

  • seek to develop a creative Christian lifestyle whose purpose flows from a commitment to God through Jesus Christ.
  • honor our commitments and take responsibility for our personal behavior, decisions, and continuing growth.
  • know from experience that self-discipline, struggle, risk, and confrontation are necessary for growth, and recognize that because of the grace of God we grow even through our failures.
  • have experiences in self-assessment in every dimension of our lives, in values-clarification based on biblical truths, and in planning for continuous individual growth and renewal.
  • understand the capabilities of our physical bodies and are committed to the lifelong nurturing of our physical selves.


We are servants who:

  • are able to follow joyfully Jesus’ example of service in the world and pour out our individual and corporate lives for others because of God’s love in Christ for us.
  • share our faith unashamedly, disciple other Christians, participate in missionary endeavors, minister to the needs of all persons regardless of their agreement with our beliefs, and affirm the unique worth of every individual as one created by God, as one for whom Christ died, and as one who has been given individual gifts and talents to be discovered, developed, and directed toward service.
  • are faithful stewards of our time, talents, and resources, and who welcome and seek opportunities for service as a means to clarify and practice our faith and knowledge.
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