Knowing Foundational Principles
August 31, 2022 by Jeffery Johnston
Every institution has a set of foundational beliefs.
This reality always shapes the actions, the attitudes, and the priorities of the institution. For example, a “for profit” commercial enterprise may have as its foundational principle “make a profit.” The business would then layer on that idea other foundational beliefs. You may find a coffee shop that wants to make a profit by selling “ethically sourced” coffee or “organically grown” coffee. These beliefs reveal the values of that institution. Chick-fil-A wants to make a profit selling chicken sandwiches. However, we should notice that they limit their own “profit making” by operating only six days a week. For that commercial enterprise, profit is not the ultimate or final value. It is necessary, but the belief in making the most profit is not its bedrock foundation. In other words, as they do business and attempt to make a profit, they will only do it a certain way. Consider that company’s vision statement: “Chick-Fil-A Vision: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”
Foundational beliefs are also the bedrock to non-profit organizations and especially educational institutions. Every school has a foundational set of guiding principles whether the school can articulate those principles is another question. Every parent who selects a school should know what the foundational principles are and how those principles are acted out in the life of the school.
You might buy a cup of coffee and not care where the beans were picked. You may have made the decision to buy the coffee simply because you like the taste or the shop was convenient. In that case you might be indifferent to the core values of the coffee shop. However, the foundational principles of a school must not be a matter of indifference because the product is not just a cup of coffee. The “product” is the education of the child. It is the shaping and formation of the minds of the rising generation.
As parents, we only get one shot at raising our child; therefore, it is extremely important that we put our children in a place that shares our own values and our own foundational principles. At Bradford Academy, we want to be upfront and honest with our families about what are our ultimate foundational or bedrock set of beliefs. We have written extensively about these principles in the PARENT HANDBOOK, and it is there for anyone to read.
On August 1st, we posted an updated Handbook (you can view it here). We have updated the handbook for the first time in three years. We did not diminish or remove any of the particulars in previous statements, but we did add clarity to some policies. For example, we have now stated with more clarity what we believe the Bible says about several contemporary social issues like gender, marriage, philosophical frameworks (e.g. Critical Theories), etc.
In short, our foundational beliefs still rest on the authority of the Bible. That has not changed. Our starting place is the Word of God, and everything we do rests on our commitment to the Word. In future posts I hope to unpack some specific principles. In the meantime, take a look at the Handbook. Our statement of faith can be found on page 8. The first statement is, “We believe the Bible to be the only inspired and inerrant Word of God. It is the only ultimate and infallible authority for faith and practice.” The Bible gives us a true, solid, and unchanging foundation.