Faith and Learning Integration Into Government Studies Programs

Young government students in a government building

At Grand Canyon University, the integration of faith and learning is not merely a concept — it is a cornerstone of the education experience. Our Christian worldview is the lens through which we view all areas of life, while Christ’s redeeming love allows us to see the world with precise clarity, filling us with hope. 

In This Article:

Integration of Faith and Learning at GCU

In the government programs at GCU, faith and learning integration is seamlessly woven into every course, fostering a well-rounded understanding of governance that incorporates both practical knowledge and spiritual understanding. From state to federal, local to global, political theory and the application of all doctrinal thought throughout history, each subject is presented in tandem with Christ’s expectations for mankind, and how each manmade concept has led to both suffering and joyous opportunity.

Exploring the Benefits and Flaws of Political Systems

Political theory delves into the philosophical underpinnings of governance, contrasting classical liberalism with modern conservatism, socialism, communism and anarchism. Amidst discussions on these centrally important economic systems and ideologies, student learners reflect on the ethical implications of each of them through a faith-based lens. 

With the faith and learning integration, students are further provided with an in-depth explanation of how Christianity played a role in the development of these structures, culminating with discussions comparing the American system of citizen governance, and such systems as Soviet and Chinese communism that intentionally excluded Christianity in their formation and implementation. 

Discussions and debates on the evils of government-controlled authoritarian governance and the virtues of self-governance coupled with free-market capitalism extend beyond political and economic analysis. Moral considerations of each of these theories are brought to the forefront, with arguments made highlighting both the benefits and flaws of each system. All told, student learners compare six globally impactful political ideologies, highlighting the imperative of the integration of faith in governance and each philosophy’s societal impact.

The Integration of Faith Into Each Government Course

Introduction to Comparative Government and International Politics examines the dichotomy between the modern idea of liberal idealism and the ancient perspective of realism in global affairs. In this course, student learners analyze not only political theories but also each theory’s ethical considerations, exploring how faith informs perspectives on modern-day international relations. By tracking their choice of two world nations throughout the course, student learners have the opportunity to apply their learned ideas to the outcomes of global interactions, recognizing where mankind has made mistakes, and where God has saved. 

As they study topics like the United Nations, European Union and NATO, discussions naturally gravitate toward principles of justice, cooperation and the pursuit of peace — all integral aspects of the Christian-centered value system. Furthermore, discussions on economic globalization and poverty prompt reflections on social responsibility and stewardship, embodying the integration of faith and learning in understanding global challenges. Student learners will leave this course with a foundational comprehension of how the application of ethically based goals and sacrificial leadership can benefit all mankind over every generation.

American Constitution

In American Constitution, student learners delve into the historical context for the creation of and Christian principles that underlie the U.S. Constitution. Discussions on the Bill of Rights and separation of powers illustrate their foundation as the revolutionary concepts at the heart of the American system, which protects individual rights and sets up a system of accountability — principles that resonate with Christ’s teachings on human dignity and responsibility. As student learners further explore important topics, such as separation of powers and the electoral college, they discern how these constitutional principles intersect with moral obligations, the convergence of faith, freedom and governance. 

American Government and Politics

In American Government and Politics, the juxtaposition of authoritarianism and democracy sparks discussions on fundamental values such as freedom and equality. Student learners’ understandings of concepts like religious freedom and direct democracy, and their application to America’s federal structure, encourage discussions on the role of faith in shaping societal norms and government structures.

As student learners explore the complexities of voting systems and legal justice, they are challenged to reconcile political theories with moral imperatives. This class illustrates how seemingly dichotomous ideas of a Christian worldview and government both can and should work together, exemplifying the need for the integration of faith into political discourse.

State and Local Government

State and Local Government explores the intricacies of federalism and the division of powers in the United States, exemplifying the Christian worldview that James Madison brought to the Constitutional Convention. As student learners examine the role of state constitutions and the lawmaking process, they grapple with questions of blind justice and fairness that are supposed to be inherent in the American governmental structures. Direct democracy and policy development processes inspire reflections on civic responsibility and the common good, collectively embodying the integration of faith in shaping governance at the local level.

Municipal Government and Administration

Municipal Government and Administration delves into the importance of governance at the local level. While learning about the range of services provided by governments, student learners also contemplate the ethical dimensions of public service guided by Christian-based principles. Understanding intergovernmental relations and budgeting priorities involves considerations of justice and equity, aligning with the integration of faith in decision-making processes. As student learners explore policies and programs, they are encouraged to discern how these initiatives can reflect principles of compassion and social justice inherent in Christ’s teachings. They are further shown how local governance is the level of political life that best places the elected official amongst their constituents. At no other point of government does a representative work so closely with the community, giving them the capability to most intrinsically apply their Christian ethics and individual concerns on an interpersonal level.

Special Topics in Federal-State-Local Government

Special Topics in Federal-State-Local Government is a platform to explore contemporary policy issues through a Christ-centered perspective. Discussions on education, healthcare, criminal justice, environmental and welfare policies challenge student learners to seek solutions grounded in compassion, justice and Christian fellowship. Student learners are given a deep historical explanation illustrating the evolution of these crucially important aspects of life in America, followed by the opportunity to apply this knowledge to a discussion on where each subject should go in the future. They do this by integrating Christian principles into policy analysis and development, cultivating a deeper understanding of governance as a means to promote human flourishing and social well-being.

Study Government and Politics at GCU

These classes, among others, form the basis for the government program at GCU, a program whose purpose is to illustrate how one’s Christian belief is not a hindrance to fair, moral and just governance, but is actually the key to unlocking mankind’s ability to flourish as individuals, as well as in diverse communities. Through these assorted courses and thematic discussions, student learners are equipped not only with practical knowledge but also with a deeper understanding of the ethical dimensions of governance guided by Christian principles. As future leaders and policymakers, GCU government graduates are poised to embody the integration of faith in government studies, promoting justice, compassion and the common good in society. 

To learn more about GCU’s government degree programs and our mission to integrate faith and learning into every classroom, complete the form on this page to connect with a university counselor.

Approved by author on March 31, 2024.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.