Student Handbooks: Sweet Haven Christian Academy Edition

An SFL reader passed along this gem of a student handbook(PDF) from Sweethaven Christian Academy which includes lines such as:

“SCA reserves the right to dismiss any student if the administration feels that his or her attendance is not an asset to the school.”


“The administration will have the final decision as to the appropriateness of any dress or appearance.”

It goes on for pages and pages in that general vein. Good stuff.

103 thoughts on “Student Handbooks: Sweet Haven Christian Academy Edition”

  1. From their doctrinal statement:

    4. We believe that salvation is “by Grace” plus nothing and minus nothing. The conditions of salvation are repentance and faith.

    Now . . . I have seen this verbiage cropping up in a couple of places lately in fundyland. But doesn’t the second sentence sort of contradict the first??

        1. Fundy math is taught via a series of memorized rules. Not sound mathemtical problem-solving skills.

      1. Based on the wording of their statement of faith, that’s a conclusion that could logically follow; that, or repentance plus faith equals grace. Since they certainly don’t believe either of those things, they may want to think about rewriting that statement.

    1. If I remember correctly, this verbiage (actually items 1-7 in the handbook) were repeated every Monday morning at Tennessee Temple University. I remember picking up on the “plus nothing minus nothing…conditions” wording. As a college student, I remember thinking that those who pinned the statement of “faith” knew more than me and that I would eventually get it.

      1. You’re right! I remember those seven points….memorizing them, reciting them during chapel services, writing them from memory, looking up verses to support them for Bible class…good times…

    2. “We believe that men are justified by faith alone and are accounted righteous before God only through the merits of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

      Even though the Bible says “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24)?

  2. “Boys are limited to one ring.”

    Jewelry on fundy boys is forbidden. Unless it is a purity ring, of course.

    1. “Boys are limited to one ring”. It goes through the nose so they can be easily lead along the “Christian Path”

      1. I needed a handle when I started reading the old rulebook from my kids’ fundy “educational” establishment.

  3. They allow girls to wear pants. Clearly they are bitter compromisers, backsliding into a life of sin and CCM.

  4. In the technology use section they are not allowed to communicate over the internet including email (really?), instant messaging, or message boards. So I guess posting on SFL is out of the question?

      1. I see them treating technology and social media they same way they handle the topic of sex. We will forbid it. We will never talk about it. And if you are caught doing it, you will be expelled.
        Kids need to be taught what to do and what not to do on the internet. What information should be shared and what shouldn’t be shared.
        Another subpar Christian school not preparing students for real life.

        1. Technology allows the mind to be free of their restrictions. The believe only in freedom for the admin, but slavery and control for the students.

          Fundamentalism is ultimately a fear of the unknown, of taking a chance, of someone living life outside of your petty rules, making their own decisions for reasons you don’t get to pre-approve.

    1. I wonder if they realize that you can get on the Internet with the right phone.

      1. But this is what Romans 6 says. You were freed from one master so you could serve another master. Everyone has to have a master. Well except the MoG.

        The Orientals had no concept of freedom for a person to make his own choices in life. Someone else always had authority over you, could tell you what to do. Unless you were the King. Or God.

        Which is why “freedom of religion” for non-Christians makes fundamentalists so crazy.

    1. I heard a message once about how freedom in Christ means you have the freedom to stay inside the box of rules. That message was one of the things that started to lead me away from fundy land. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it because the opposite would have to be true, non Christians didn’t have the freedom to live inside the box but I knew lots of non Christians that lived morally upright lives.

      1. That’s also a favorite bit of “logic” they use on women by telling them that obeying/submitting to their husband’s every whim makes them free.

  5. 8. We believe in the freedom of religion and in the autonomy of the Baptist Church. Sweethaven Baptist Church is to be self-governed by the local body and is never to be dictated to or controlled by any
    outside persons or forces.

    This is a little concerning.

    1. Not by fire safety laws? Not by state and Federal laws regarding crimes? Not by child protection laws?

      1. Nor by the law against building an atom bomb or manufacturing nerve gas in your basement, presumably.

        1. I know someone who is a neurosurgeon. He has operated on many clever brains but has never seen a single thought.

        2. “We believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all that is, seen and unseen.”

          (Nicene Creed, which has been the standard of the Christian Church long before any IFB was established.)

        3. Sorry, that last link is bad.
          It was to a Chick Tract that says “What holds the universe from falling apart? (sic) IT’S JESUS! … Jesus is in complete control.

        4. Big Gary, Brian cox would say that what holds the universe together is the strong and weak nuclear forces, electromagnetism and gravity. And I trust him on the subject more than I do any MOG.

  6. Argh! The fonts! The formatting! The excessive verbiage!
    Having spent a number of years rewriting, simplifying, and streamlining our school’s handbooks, I can say the layout of this one is atrocious.

  7. Sweethaven Christian Academy is dedicated to the philosophy that Biblical education is the only true education. What an interesting epistemology. At least they have the limited self-awareness to realize that it is philosophy.

    1. What is “Biblical education?” How does one learn, say, chemistry from the Bible, or American history?

      1. It’s a paradigm, a world view so to say. Poorly worded, but in reality everyone views the world through some sort of lens. Their lens is the Christian God laid out in the ancient text of the Bible.

        1. Yeah, no. Not only is that not what they wrote, it is also incorrect. There is a reason the significant majority of philosophy departments have moved beyond the language of worldview philosophy. It just doesn’t work unless one is essentially a post-modern, in which case the entire discussion is moot. To claim that “everyone” views the world through “some sort of lens” is self defeating, because that might just be your particular lens. In the end it is intellectual suicide, which is why you typically only hear blah blah worldview blah blah from pseudo-intellectuals like Al Mohler. The rest of the thinking world grew up.

        2. Are we not influenced by a guiding set of principles that we act on during the course our life? Are we not learning what to do and what not to do by observing the behavior of those around us. No one lives in a vacuum, everyone has a point of view that they use to make sense of the larger picture.

          For some it’s Fox news for others it is the Daily Beast 🙂

        3. But the POV isn’t the larger picture, and only produces a one-sided picture of it. Which is why intelligent people try to use multiple POVs in interpreting events, communications, ideas and ideologies, and the physical world around us.

          They have only one, according to them. They have chosen as their singular Point Of View one which cannot help them understand the world in which they live — and only attempts to connect them to the world which they believe is coming.

        4. The question is not whether have a singular point of view is valid, but rather, is there a market share for people who only want there children to be indoctrinated with a singular point of the view.

          As long as the answer to that question is yes, these types of schools (businesses) will always exist.

        1. Dear Liutgard,

          It’s great to hear from you again! I was hoping that the reason you hadn’t posted in a while was that you were too busy or simply had better things to do. Hope your health good and all is well.



        2. Sadly, no. I had surgery in December, which included peeling out a first-sized mass and several smaller ones, and just as I was getting back on my feet from that, I ruptured a disc in my neck. C6-7, on the nerves running into my arms. I have been in amazing amounts of pain, have very limited use of my left arm, and right hand is numb. I’m having trouble getting the insurance to do anything about it. They’re insisting on ‘conservative measures’, PT, before approving injections or anything. But they’re being a pain about paying for PT. And even though we got the MRI results in mid-January, I couldn’t get an appointment for a PT evaluation until March 17th. So in the meantime, life is very difficult. All they’re offering in the meantime is pain drugs. But they make me go to sleep, and I can’t drive or run the sewing machine or anything. I have a choice of taking the meds, and either going to sleep or sitting here and watching videos in a stupor- or I can skip the meds and go somewhere, drive, get something done, but in a great deal of pain.

          I am not doing well.

    2. Next time you need surgery or chemotherapy, look for a Bible college diploma on your doctor’s wall, not one from a medical school, and certainly not an accredited medical school.

      Nervous about flying? Don’t worry, the airplane was designed by someone who learned the Bible instead of taking those irrelevant engineering classes.

  8. The slide show says that the high school is “preparation for life and family”. I can guarantee that it isn’t.

    The propaganda goes on to mention the buzz words of “critical thinking” (it’s “critical” all right — criticizing anyone who doesn’t follow the party line) and “communication skills”. It then goes on to promise “rigorous math, science, and English classes” that will prepare the inmates — er, students — for college and beyond.

    The school uses Beka curriculum. In my experiences, using it is a catalyst in helping people to leave the deity the curriculum purportedly represents.

  9. On Page 14:
    “Sweethaven Christian Academy is considered to be God’s property.”

    God has a mortgage?

    1. God does have a mortgage, and it’s coming due very, very soon.

      If you should die tonight, do you have enough money to pay off the mortgage?

  10. The issue with Christian education is not rule books like this one. It is the fundamental flaw that they are a God ordained organization such as the home, the church, or the government. Christian schools (and colleges) or nothing more than business ventures. Although businesses can have a core mission that aids the common good, they still have to make money to survive. Once a church ventures out into these types of programs they are not freely promoting the gospel; but marketing a product.

    Is there a market for this product? Apparently
    I caution both sides; the school and those that criticize it; don’t be fooled that this is anything more than a business. It is certainly not an act of God.

    1. The issue with Christian education is not rule books like this one.
      That’s a hell of a pronouncement. I think you will find many folks on this site who believe that inventing religion and claiming that it is from God is a damnable heresy – especially when used to coerce the behaviors of others. That would make this rule book kind of a problem. I mean for Christ’s sake, would you tell everyone that a whore house is “nothing more than a business”?

      1. “Especially to coerce the behavior of others”

        I think you give these people to much credit. The proliferators of this educational product in my experience don’t much care about the rules in these books. That being said, they have identified a niche market of people willing to pay that do. These parents behave in fear, and believe that insulating their children they guarantee the outcome of the adults.

        The parents are the totalitarians, the administrators or shrewd business people. That is the distinction I would like to make.

        1. The administrators are not shrewd business people. I have known more than one. They really believe they are shielding children from the evil influence of public schools. They really believe they do a better job of educating kids. They start these schools because they think God called them to do it…or they want the “prestige” of being a school administrator as well as a pastor. They view it as a “ministry,” meaning everyone involved gets paid next to nothing.

  11. Oh I don’t know, the definition of an Act of God is “A natural catastrophe that no-one can prevent.” While Fundies aren’t exactly natural, this school is certainly a catastrophe and I defy anyone to stop a Fundy once he has made up his mind.

  12. While I have no doubt that this is IFB-ism at some of its worst and that the school is intended for people who think just like them and no one else, they sure could clear things up a lot by having someone who knows basic grammar skills re-writing that handbook.

  13. The section on medication and communicable diseases is not quite a page; however, the dress code is the largest section at two entire pages.

    1. Consider it preventative measures. If the dress code is in check you won’t have to worry about communicable diseases 🙂

  14. Actually, they do mention vaccines…
    “After acceptance, as required by the state of Virginia, we will need a copy of your child’s up to date shot records (K5 students will need a Virginia School Entrance Health Form).”
    It’s in the registration requirements section of the web site.
    Not that this changes a whole lot!

  15. You make fun of things like this, but do you make fun of businesses that reserve the right to dismiss any employee that the management feels that his or her attendance is not an asset to the company? Or, that the company will have the final decision as to the appropriateness of any dress or appearance?

    The Lord Jesus Himself said in:
    Matthew 12:36-37 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
    For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

    1. Companies don’t always get the last word on clothes. There’s a case in the Supreme Court one major company looks sure to lose.

      And aren’t Christians supposed to be “better” than the world? More loving, more patient, desiring to win others instead of just exercising control?

      Students aren’t “employees” and they lave legal rights, including that of privacy.

    2. And, of course, the requisite threats. “God will get you!”

      Mr. Smith, you seem to be under the misapprehension that God will judge us for critiquing the man-made rules of this “ministry.”

      Not so. “By their fruits ye shall know them” and “Prove all things. Hold fast to that which is good.” “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

      I suppose you think that these endeavors are not to be tried to find where they are wanting?

      No, sir. This is our duty.

  16. When I was on staff at a fundy “academy,” there was a series of staff meetings at the beginning of the year about the student handbook. Three hours, THREE HOURS! were spent discussing whether the female students should be required to wear socks, hose, both, or none (as well as what constitutes each – knee highs, ankle socks, no-shows?).
    I’m pretty sure I’d rather have been stabbed in the face repeatedly with a dull rusty swiss army knife for those three hours.

    1. We were also required to wear a slip, even the smallest girls, whether it was needed or not. The staff checked every day to see if we were wearing one. If not, we got demerits. Who needs a slip with a thick jean jumper?

  17. “SCA reserves the right to dismiss any student if the administration feels that his or her attendance is not an asset to the school.” Translation: “If said student’s parents are not big tithers”

  18. That building…

    It’s a corrugated-steel industrial structure with a first-floor facade of little homey brick cottages…

    The only thing I can compare it to is Jack Hyles/Polishing-the-Shaft Schaapt’s mega — a tilt-up Wal-Mart warehouse with the facade and steeple of a little brick country church…

  19. I feel like fundy’s have a template for their christian school rule books. I attended a few christian schools in my day and everything is basically the same, except maybe the font.

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