You have probably heard about PHC's "three commitments." You may have even read about our (1) High Academic Rigor, (2) Fidelity to the Spirit of the American Founding, and (3) Unwavering Biblical Worldview. We can see what kind of graduate benefits from commitments 1 and 2; High Academic Rigor and a firm grasp on the virtues of our American heritage.
But what kind of graduate does the Christian Worldview produce? To answer that question, there is a spiritual profile that a PHC graduate should meet upon receiving their diploma.
1. Embrace God’s authority in his life including the authority of the Word of God.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7
A proper fear recognizes that God is God and we are not. He has the right to rule in our lives because He is our Creator, He is good, He loves us, and He is sovereign. Being in a right relationship with God’s authority also implies a right relationship with other sources of authority in our lives.
2. Love God with all his heart, soul, and mind.
Those who love God keep His commandments. The soul that loves God wants to voluntarily spend daily time with God. This is done through Corporate and Wing Chapel, personal devotional time, and a biblical foundation in every class.
In a safe place, students are encouraged to grapple with difficult theological questions and discuss life’s biggest questions, all the while pursuing the common goal of being more Christ-like.
3. Love his neighbor as himself.
All people are our neighbors. We need to view each individual as God does—a soul of infinite value who is flawed by the deliberate choice to sin. God loves each fallen, immortal person. We should do so as well. Our love should be practical and purposeful, with the attitude of a humble servant to others.
By living in community, students have the opportunity to practice the second greatest commandment. What does this look like practically? It could be the junior class providing snacks for all the sophomores studying for Dr. Spinney’s U.S. History exam or a group of students standing in the hallway praying over a peer who is going through a difficult time.
4. Be humble, teachable, and willing to integrate God’s truth into every area of life.
He must be teachable. This is an attribute that is equally applicable to those who would lead the nation and shape the culture. A teachable person does not live a compartmentalized life, walling God off from certain domains, but embraces the application of God’s truth in every area of life. Being teachable requires a spirit of humility that demonstrates that we acknowledge that God is in control and He uses other people in our lives.
A teachable person not only desires to learn but is willing to go to talk with people who have the knowledge. Students are highly encouraged to meet with professors whenever they have questions – that is what they are there to do!
5. Understand and practice Christian liberty.
First and foremost, Christian liberty is freedom from the power of sin. It is also freedom from a legalistic approach to righteousness.
Students are encouraged to interact with others in this light. This can have various facets, from extending grace to each other, forgiving easily, and holding others accountable.
6. Be self-disciplined in body, mind, and spirit.
America’s self-government necessarily depends on people who will govern themselves in light of God’s rule. We should be fit—physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Being self-disciplined physically could mean daily trips to the gym, weekly dance practice with the Shall We Dance Society, or daily walks around campus. It can also mean getting enough sleep. Being self-disciplined mentally means managing one’s time well, completing assignments on time, and working efficiently. Being self-disciplined spiritually means taking time each day to read one’s Bible, pray, and recharge.
7. Demonstrate spiritual maturity and responsibility.
One of the key attributes of maturity is the ability to work toward long-range objectives, rather than demanding instant gratification. Spiritual maturity is demonstrated by living with the eternal perspective of God as our guide. It is also demonstrated in faithfully carrying out required tasks.
Through every class, faculty encourage students to keep the horizon always in their line of site. This means not focusing so much on the here and now, though those are important. Instead, it means taking each class, assignment, and interaction with others in the perspective of eternity.
8. Be active for God in the life of his family, his church, the nation, and the world.
It is an attribute of spirituality to be a doer of the Word in a manner that manifestly impacts all human relationships.
Through PHC's academic rigor, students learn how to balance life in such a way that their relationship with the Lord and responsibilities to their family and church are not neglected.
9. Be a person of integrity and honesty, which includes intellectual honesty.
A graduate’s word should be his bond. His character should be transparent, the same in private as in public.
Students are taught, as Jesus commanded, that their yes should be yes and their no be no (Matthew 5:37). PHC calls its students to honesty, both in their everyday life and in their academic life.
10. Have the humility to listen to others thoughtfully, and the conviction to stand unwaveringly for the principles of the Word of God.
In the tradition of thinking Christians like the Apostle Paul on Mars Hill and C.S. Lewis, the ability to engage the world in debate requires us to truly listen and consider the opinions of others, while never compromising our commitment to God and His Word.
While PHC is known for its debaters, good debaters only develop as far as their ability to listen and consider other people’s opinions. In the classroom, students are encouraged to voice their opinions and also allow their peers to share their differing opinions with respect. Yet, students are also taught to stand firm in their convictions and, as Peter wrote, always be prepared to give an answer for their faith (1 Peter 3:15).
Learn how PHC stands apart from other Christian liberal arts programs.
Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.