History & Theology
Chris Stratton was born and raised in Southern California. He and his wife Sarah lived on the East Coast for eight years prior to their return to help launch Pacifica in 2015. They are passionate about the gospel, the historical Christian tradition, and liberal arts education. Chris loves working with students and watching them grow in character, knowledge, and skill. He is enthusiastic to bring his experience in teaching and learning back to Orange County students.
Chris was a Religious Studies major and Philosophy minor at Westmont College where he earned Magna cum laude honors and was the top graduate in his major. His major emphases were Church History and Historical Theology/Philosophy. He credits his time at Westmont with giving him a deep love of learning and a strong desire to mentor students intellectually, morally, and spiritually through their formative years.
After college, Chris worked as a product manager for Ingram Micro in Santa Ana, CA. While working at Ingram he earned an MBA from Pepperdine University. He then spent five years working for Okidata Americas Inc. as a channel account manager.
During his business years, Chris spent time lay teaching young adults at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Los Alamitos. From that lay ministry he received a call to attend Princeton Theological Seminary in 2007, where he earned an M.Div. degree. At PTS, he earned various honors, receiving both the E.L. Wailes Award for the top student in New Testament studies and the Edward A. Dowey Award for being the top student in Reformed Theology.
Immediately after PTS, Chris took a job teaching Humanities and Bible at The Stony Brook School on Long Island. The Stony Brook School is a 99-year-old Evangelical boarding school with a history of matriculating students to the top colleges in the nation. In 2012, Chris became the Director of Religious Life and Chapel as well as the Grace Palmer Johnston Bible Department Chair of the school. In those roles he was instrumental in revising and reinvigorating the chapel program, and reimagining the capstone Faith and Culture class as a Socratic seminar centered on The Great Conversation. In his five-year tenure at The Stony Brook School, Chris won several awards and grants for curriculum development, outstanding pedagogy and scholarship, and teacher of the year.
In 2015, Chris took on the role of Pacifica Orange County’s founding Dean of Academics and History and Theology Chair. His vision for the academic program is to lead students from wonder to worship by forming their character through the cultivation of virtues inside and outside the classroom. Chris has a passion for learning that is formed by a deep love for God. He agrees with Justin Martyr’s notion that “whatever things were rightly said among all men are the property of us Christians,” because truths about the world reflect the hand of their Creator who endowed us with the ability to know. He therefore challenges students to be rigorous in their pursuit of truth wherever it may be found, and to do so with grace and without fear or anxiety, because all truth is God’s truth.
Not only does Chris have a passion for God’s general revelation, he also has a deep desire to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Christian Scriptures. He believes, as Pascal argued, that the gospel is the best answer to the riddle of humanity’s simultaneous “greatness” and “wretchedness,” and that the divine narrative of creation in the image of God and the fall from grace is the best explanation of the human condition, while the redemption offered in the incarnation of Jesus Christ is the only solution to the problem of human sinfulness. Above all else, therefore, Chris wants students to love that Jesus is Lord, and to know experientially that in Christ they are loved and accepted by God.
Chris and Sarah have three children, Wendell (13), Eliot (11) and Evelyn (8). The Strattons enjoy the beach, bike rides, camping in the Sierras, literature, concerts, movies, being silly with high-school students, and spending time with their extended families engaging in amazing feats of strength.
M.Div. Princeton Theological Seminary
M.B.A. Pepperdine University
B.A. Religious Studies & Philosophy Minor – Westmont College
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