Azusa Pacific University is significantly formed by the framework of the Wesleyan Holiness tradition.


The framework of the Wesleyan stream leans into the mission of bringing the hope of God’s salvation into the real circumstances of life.

Unity of the church is more important than unanimity or uniformity; as a result, integration, wholeness, curiosity, mission, justice, and hospitality flavor everything we do. These features find their way into our thinking and inform our practice.

Our Wesleyan theological roots provide both anchor to the historic church as well as nimble practicality. This is driven by a passion to bring the Kingdom into culture and make a difference now. The Good News is more than a future hope of being removed from a decaying world—it is the hope of the Kingdom in the present as well as the future to come. Salvation is more than the idea of eternity in heaven—it is the restoration of God’s image in people and a new creation, with Christ as the singular means to salvation. This hopeful emphasis is both intensely personal and social in nature. It balances a commitment to right thinking and right living, individually and collectively.

The Wesleyan framework is characterized by grace that compensates for our human inadequacies. It urges people toward wholeness in Christ, actively pursuing the restoration of God’s holy image that was imprinted when we were created. And so, holiness is the antidote to the selfishness that led to our separation and brokenness.


Our Holiness heritage is a Spirit-filled manifestation of the Wesleyan theological framework.

It emphasizes both personal transformation and social engagement. We are not set apart in isolation. The hope of God’s wholeness can restore each human heart, as well as influence the systems and structures of culture. Heart restoration compels us to confront collective and individual injustice, and to engage in the struggles of culture with compassion and advocacy.

At times, Holiness has been misunderstood to mean prescribed behaviors that ultimately resulted in legalism. In reality, holiness describes God’s very nature. It calls all people to fully surrender to God’s influence. The result is that God’s holy nature will be reflected in our lives, and God’s priority will become ours, reconciling and restoring people and systems.

This has led to historic activism in advocating for justice in the world. As cultural issues change, Holiness compels people to the forefront of championing the justice and love of God in practical ways. We get involved in the functions and issues of our day to reflect Christ and represent God’s holistic mission of restoring creation.

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