Our department emphasizes depth and breadth in history and the social sciences as the foundation for our understanding of the world. History as a contextual discipline sheds light on all world civilizations, and illuminates the human condition while at the same time providing insight into the present. The program, therefore, places emphasis on in-depth study of global geographical regions, themes, and eras.
We recognize that historical study is always from a particular perspective. A fuller, more complete understanding of any era or episode emerges when we bring together various accounts to give us a more accurate picture of what occurred. Hence, emphasis is on reading widely in the various kinds of historical literature: primary sources and secondary sources, including documentary and other evidence from myriad disciplines and perspectives. The importance of interpretation to the discipline of history should not lead to disillusionment about the possibility of finding truth, but it does demonstrate the finite nature of human knowledge and understanding and the selective nature of human interpretations. The nature of historical knowledge is marked by the recognition of the importance of perspective, and this makes the student cautious about judgments about the past. Our position is that while we may not see the entire truth we pursue it to the best of our ability, showing respect for evidence in the historian's craft.
The subjective nature of the discipline of history should not, however, be confused in any way with relativism that leads to a denial of the possibility of historical knowledge. Rather, philosophically we embrace metaphysical objectivism and an objective theory of value based on the recognition that God exists based upon a Judeo-Christian understanding of the universe. God is the creator ex nihilo and sustainer of the cosmos, who makes possible the reality of rational discourse as well as the human ability to experience and understand reflexively reality. However, knowing the finiteness of human understanding and human perceptions, our position embraces epistemological subjectivism and with it an attitude of humility.
We see purpose in the study of the past, knowing that God's providential rule also shapes the unfolding future. Mankind is not stranded on planet earth without meaning. God has not removed himself from history. The great "I AM" who made this universe is present. Indeed, He himself entered history so that man would not be left alone to experience all that life on earth entails. He who created us suffers along with us out of His great love for us, fallen though we are.
The mission of the Department of History, Government, and Social Science is to foster a community of learners, who, as lovers of truth study history, political science, and geography. In recognition of both the dignity and depravity of humankind, our aim is to develop insight into past and present civilizations based upon our acknowledgement of God's providence, the dependability of His promises, and His redemptive purpose on earth. Through the rigors of our disciplines, we prepare our students to influence and transform the world for Jesus Christ through their lives and vocations in obedience to the Greatest Commandment and the Great Commission.