Pro Christo et Patria: The Mission of Geneva College

A certain corner house in the College Hill neighborhood of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, would catch your eye nearly every Sunday evening in the fall. The small dwelling is swarmed with college students. Barbecues and bonfires in the fall yield to bubbling vats of soup and steaming trays of ham buns in the winter. Almost every week of the school year, a horde of young adults pack the house to standing room only. But these are not frat parties. Geneva College is no party school! (See Michael Kearney’s article on the intellectual chaos and moral decline in American higher education.) Instead, the Lord’s Day is a feast day at Geneva—we do our work in six days and enjoy worship, rest, and fellowship on the seventh day.

As Reformed Christians, we envision a path for our covenant children through higher education that will build knowledge and deepen confessional commitments they have to the authority and veracity of God’s Word. We want academic rigor based on faithfulness but have a hard time seeing anything but godlessness in higher education today. When people drive by the campus, Geneva College may appear to be a typical school in the American liberal arts college tradition. But Geneva College is a compelling option for people who believe in the truth of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation as the only rule for faith and life—including our educational lives.

Geneva’s continuing commitment to Reformed Christianity stands in stark contrast to mainstream higher education. Our educational project is rooted in the Scriptures, as understood in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Reformed Presbyterian Testimony. We seek to cultivate in the lives of our students, faculty, and staff the values of gracious service, godly wisdom, academic strength, and love for one another. We do not pursue these goals perfectly; we seek greater faithfulness and growth. Nevertheless, Geneva College is working to support the broader mission of the church. Today, Geneva College wants Reformed Christians who share in its vision to inspire students to integrate faith in Christ into all aspects of life in the real world and to serve faithfully within their callings for Christ and country.

Geneva College seeks students with a knowledge of their sin, a wholehearted trust in Christ for salvation, and a desire to lead lives of grateful service to him. As a ministry of education, your presence and participation in the life of the college advances our mission. We need Reformed students at Geneva who understand our work as a longterm commitment for the good of Christ’s kingdom. Many people come to know Jesus Christ at Geneva College. People who already know Christ grow in their love for him, their knowledge of God’s Word, and their desire to build Christ’s church. The Lord accomplishes much of this ministry through relationships people develop working and living together at Geneva. Come and join us!

Geneva College seeks students, faculty, and staff committed to extending the godly heritage of Reformed Christian education. The Dutch Reformed tradition helped to pioneer a vision for distinctively Christian schools in the increasingly secular learning environment of nineteenth- and twentieth-century America. During his tenure at Geneva, Reformed theologian Dr. J. G. Vos assisted in the formation of a document that continues to anchor the college’s day-to-day educational ministry: the Foundational Concepts of Christian Education. Adopted in 1967, these key statements announce the biblical presuppositions that undergird all wisdom, explicate the coherence of all knowledge in Christ, and establish a college-wide focus on the integration of faith in Christ and learning—calling all students to a coherent Christian vocation in the home, the church, and the community.

Geneva College seeks supporters who affirm the authority of the Scriptures. Where Christian colleges are concerned, one needs to carefully consider a school’s stance regarding the Scriptures, the work of Christ, marriage, human sexuality, and creation. Geneva’s faculty members and staff profess Christ publicly and affirm the absolute truth of his Word. Our core curriculum begins with grounding in required Bible courses; continues through a demanding humanities sequence examining the worldviews revealed in history, philosophy, literature, and art; and presents the mediatorial kingship of Christ as the fulcrum of political philosophy. And in a world of higher education dominated by liberal academics, Geneva’s faculty is theologically conservative. We engage the challenging issues of our day trusting the continuing reliability and eternal relevance of the Bible as the authoritative standard for faith and life.

The small house on the corner in College Hill belonged to Rev. and Mrs. Titus Martin. Rev. Martin pastors College Hill Reformed Presbyterian Church, an RPCNA congregation on Geneva’s campus; he and his wife, Alyssa, frequently open their home to Geneva students after Lord’s Day evening worship. Students arrive early to prepare food, set up chairs, and help with the kids. They stay late to sing psalms together. Not a party, but a feast. My daughters attended the Martins’ fellowship gatherings throughout their Geneva years and gained longterm friendships born of shared commitments to Jesus Christ.

Rev. Martin and his growing family recently moved to a larger home a few blocks away, where they continue to host students on a regular basis. But the kind of hospitality they fostered in that smaller house on the corner remains a vivid example of Geneva’s purpose in the twenty-first century. I welcome you to visit Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, to learn more about Geneva’s vision and work in Christian higher education. On the outside, you will see a small liberal arts college. On the inside, you will see a fellowship of students, faculty, staff, and alumni faithfully engaging in a biblically based ministry of education designed to support the work of Christ church, to establish solid Christian households and to serving faithfully and fruitfully in their communities. Please pray for us as we press on in our mission for Christ and country—pro Christo et patria.

Dr. Calvin L. Troup is the president of Geneva College and a ruling elder in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA).