As an institution, University of Northwestern – St. Paul is Christ-centered, Bible-based, and mission-driven. As an institution whose work is informed by a biblical worldview, the Strategic Diversity Framework is built on a strong biblical foundation. This theological foundation guides the work outlined in this Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Framework as we consider how we might encourage, uplift, and support our colleagues and our students in the intellectual work that is our calling, as well as our calling to reach the world for Christ.
Believing in imago Dei, that God created all people in his image (Genesis 1: 27) and they are worthy of dignity, provides impetus for our work. The human race, male and female (Genesis 1:27), is not only unified by the image of God, but has a common ancestry: “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands” (Acts 17:26). We have a cultural mandate to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). As humans, we were appointed to be God’s viceroys, extending his rule throughout creation. We are God’s representatives in this world, created for good works that we might walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).
As a result of the Fall, sin and corruption were introduced into God’s creation (Genesis 3: 1-24). We are currently a fallen people living on a cursed earth (Romans 8:20-22). Our relationship with God, each other, and creation has been disrupted.
Redemption includes not only the forgiveness of sins but the restoration of relationships. This restoration will be completed with Christ’s return and the renewal of all things. Until then, we are to be “ministers of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21), confident that the walls of social separation have been torn down (Ephesians 2:14-16; Galatians 3:28).
In the context of Galatians chapter 3, verse 28 makes it clear that the Jews no longer enjoy a privileged position in their access to God. Neither circumcision nor the Law provide any advantage in the New Covenant. Everyone, regardless of their social status, is a prisoner of sin and in need of God’s grace through faith in Christ. And everyone who believes in Christ is adopted equally into the family of God. In spite of the variety in our social positions, we are completely equal before God. In Christ, we can truly experience unity in the midst of our diversity.
As a result of God’s redeeming work in our lives, we desire equality of opportunity and respect that results from true Christian community where unity is present in diversity and where there is mutual support as evidence of God’s presence, by His Spirit, in us. We recognize God always intended for diversity in the human race and uses it to more completely reflect His glorious image (Ephesians 3:6; Ephesians 3:10; Genesis 1:27-28, 11:1-9; Acts 2:1-12; Revelation 7:9).
The relationship established in the body of Christ with interdependent parts extends also to the relationships among us. We humbly serve others and serve with others. We work to equip those in our body for “works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13). We echo Paul’s words in saying, “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well” (1 Thessalonians 2:8).
Because of God’s compelling love, we will teach wisdom and understanding to reach all nations for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14, Proverbs 1:7, Matthew 28:19).