Virtuous and Neighborly Citizens
Virtuous and Neighborly Citizens
The Apostle Peter writes in his first letter, “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when He judges the world.” (New Living Translation).
In our Capstone Community Covenant, our parents and faculty commit to supporting a civic education that embraces America’s virtues while also grappling with America’s vices. In America’s founding principles, we see reflections of ultimate truth. We declare that man is created by God and, therefore, subject to his laws. We affirm that every man and woman has dignity because each is made equally in God’s image. We recognize mankind’s propensities for both good and evil and subsequently must have accountability provided by a just society that codifies a definition of justice rooted in biblical commandments.
America is not the story of the perfect nation nor of a superior people, but rather the story of a nation founded as though man is made in the image of God and capable, by His grace, of noble self-governance and neighborly living. We are a flawed people in need of self-restraining virtue and law. As the old patriotic hymn, America the Beautiful, declares, “America! America! God mend thy every flaw. Confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.” The founders rightly understood man’s nature and by God’s common grace drafted the Constitution as perhaps the most enlightened, successful framework for civic government—that is, government where the role of the common citizen is paramount as the determining factor for national flourishing.
Because Capstone Classical Academy believes that the US Constitution is the most effective, best articulated framework for freedom and flourishing in a fallen world comprised of believers and unbelievers alike, we endeavor to cultivate citizens who will faithfully fulfill their role as stewards of the great treasures handed down to them by generations of Americans by the grace of God. This is why our learners study the Constitution and the historical path that led to its conception and why we impress upon them their responsibility to refer to it, promote it, and protect it. Still, no guarantee in the Constitution ensures that our nation will thrive. We agree with John Adams, who, in addressing the officers of the Massachusetts Militia in 1798, declared, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, and revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
First and foremost, we believe that a sovereign God determines the rise and fall of nations. Psalm 46 declares that though nations rage and war with one another for power, God controls the outcomes and interrupts our striving to say, “Be still and know that I am God.” Under this divine sovereignty, we labor to form virtuous and neighborly citizens who are committed first to Christ and his Kingdom and consequently to being virtuous contributing citizens of America. We are convinced that the good, true, and beautiful principles upon which our nation is founded will only be preserved and protected if our citizens possess the wisdom and virtue granted only by God through faith in Christ. Unbelieving and immoral citizens can use the freedom inherent in our republic to destroy its foundations, thereby bringing that same freedom down with the whole structure. While there is no guarantee that God will preserve or restore the best of America if its people are faithful to Him, we do know from Scripture that God brings low the proud, and we know that pride goes before a fall. Our nation must be virtuous if it is to be at all.
At Capstone, we labor to form citizens who will correct our nation’s course through exercising their duty to be virtuous and neighborly for God’s glory and and for the human flourishing that results from such citizenship. We understand that such an education requires teachers and students, particularly as they move into upper school grades, to discuss perennially difficult and contested issues, such as the nature of man and man’s obligations to his neighbor, his city, and his country, and what’s more, a Christian citizen’s obligations to Christ and his Kingdom and the implications of those obligations for citizenship in human kingdoms. We encourage our students to approach such discussions with charity and grace, and we endeavor to model charity and grace in our own discourse. Please join us in prayer that we will honor this commitment with fidelity. As always, we invite further conversation with you any time.