This week’s first thing is our statement of faith, the Nicene Creed:
I believe in one God, Father Almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not created, of one essence with the Father through Whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate and suffered and was buried; And He rose on the third day, according to the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father; And He will come again with glory to judge the living and dead. His kingdom shall have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Creator of life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke through the prophets.
In one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come.
Two weeks ago, we pondered our mission statement together, but that mission statement is rooted in an even more fundamental statement from which our mission is derived. The academy’s statement of faith, the Nicene Creed, expresses the essential, nonnegotiable beliefs shared by all Christians everywhere, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox. The founders of Capstone Classical Academy were convicted of a calling to establish an academy where those who profess faith in Jesus Christ and his Gospel according to the Scriptures could engage in a classical form of education for which the Bible is authoritative on all matters.
By establishing a school with a unifying historic creed to govern its policies, hiring, teaching, curriculum, and traditions, we invited a very diverse array of Christians to serve on our team. This brings with it the challenge of collectively preserving and fostering unity in our shared mission and vision while holding such a diverse array of convictions about so many matters of our faith. Is this even possible? It is certainly rare. Most Christian schools are denominational, Catholic, or broadly Evangelical. The Capstone vision is for a community where those of different Christian faiths who long to see unity and reconciliation of differences by the authority of Scripture and the work of the Spirit can strive for that in this and future generations. It is a vision for a school in which even those who do not believe our creed may be shown respect and treated with dignity as full members of our school community as well. Families are not required to sign the creed.
However, our faculty and staff must affirm the Nicene Creed and must also sign a commitment to fully support and to live by a biblical ethic for life in keeping with two millennia of traditional interpretation of biblical morality. Our faculty and staff include members of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox churches. Each was hired for their devotion to God expressed by faith in Jesus as the Son of God and for the works that such faith has produced and continues to produce in their lives. They produce fruit in keeping with repentance. They are all united in their common devotion to Christ and his Kingdom and their passion for cultivating wisdom and virtue in their students through a shared Christian worldview.
While we each worship in different kinds of churches, when we come together to teach and learn at Capstone, we all submit to the authority of Scripture and the Holy Spirit as they govern our thoughts, conduct, curriculum, and teaching methods. At times we enjoy lively discussion about our differences, and our prayer is that God will teach us His way more accurately as we practice the art of civil discourse and challenge each other to read and think more broadly and deeply about the matters of our faith in which we disagree. Such modeling will be a tremendous asset as we teach the students in our future upper school how to engage in debate with winsome rhetoric. At Capstone, we want our students to see their teachers pursuing goodness, truth, and beauty with an open mind, willing to discover what we do not yet know about God, His world, and ourselves.
There is a humble spirit in our community that believes that we cannot all be right when we hold divergent convictions about the same doctrine or interpretation of Scripture but that we can wait upon God to show us what we do not yet know. We seek to understand our fellow Capstone community members before seeking to be understood ourselves. And we pray that by listening well, we may come to better understand our own convictions. As the Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 3:15-16, “All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”
Capstone is a place of living up to what we have attained while looking up expectantly for God to help us to attain more together. We appreciate that, in our homes and in our local churches, we must honor our own conclusions about God and his Church. As an academy, we want to support and honor your role as the primary educators and spiritual mentors of your children. In the day-to-day learning and habits of the school day, we strive to call students, faculty, and staff to share in those things upon which we all agree. We will not get it right all of the time, and we ask you for your patience, forgiveness, and assistance as we seek to perfect the Capstone vision together. It will be sloppy sometimes, but our shared creed provides us all with the confidence that what we hold in common is sufficient to maintain unity and the common mission.