In response to the comments…..

10 11 2008

That the previous post generated.  I wanted to write one post in response. 

First let me say that there may not be an easy answer to this question.  Each and every person has to make a decision at to how they will proceed on this issue.  I do feel rather strongly about the church being a place of salvation and helping people become the best Christians possible.  However, this is America and you have the right to your own opinions and systems of beliefs. 

In 1 Corinthians chapter 2, the apostle Paul, makes this statement: “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified”.  If you read the entire chapter Paul expounds on the difference between God’s knowledge and mans.  I do not think that I am taking this scripture out of context.  People were always trying to trip up Jesus and the apostles with questions and conundrums.  It seems to me that the world would like to use the the same type of tactics to get us off point.  Paul, one of my favorite’s in the Bible, was the apostle to the Gentiles.  That is all of us who are not Jewish.  So I believe that this passage of scripture is vitally important to us even in the modern day. 

I honestly believe that the best way to influence people into changing their views is to preach and teach them about the love and redemptive power of Jesus Christ.  If you have ever watched the conversion of a person from sinner to sinner saved by grace you are aware of the awesome changes that Jesus brings about in a person.  They change from the inside out!  If we believe that the Gospel message we preach is indeed the most powerful message of change and hope in the world then we have need to stand up on our platform’s and expound on issues outside of what our mandate is! 

Let me break it down even further.  Here in California we just had to vote on Proposition 8, an amendment to the constitution of California to say that marriage is between one man and one woman.  This is the second time that we have voted on this issue.  I feel very strongly about this issue as do almost all of the saints in my church.  However, I doubt very seriously, that anyone who has visited my fathers church for any length of time has any question on what he believes in regards to homosexuality.  Why then would he take the time to speak about an issue that everyone already knows he supports (ie voting yes on Prop 8)? 

I, and this is a totally personal opinion, will align myself with Jesus Christ and apostle Paul.  I don’t want to know anything except Jesus Christ  and him crucified.  That’s the message I preach, that’s the life I live.

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9 responses

10 11 2008
James Wilder

Than, if a pulpit is known for preaching the Gospel, the church is showing the fruits of it, yet the church, as a side commentary during announcements, tends to social aspects in our world, I don’t think they are missing the boat here or out of alignment with Paul. That’s at least overstated.

Preaching “Christ”, means you are articulating righteousness. Our message can never be subsituted to the point we are a church of political swindling (and there are many examples for that). The main thing must always be the main thing. At the same time, we cannot buy into this lie that that the church must be mute against the immorality in our world. Aside from prayer and intercession, as Americans (which many of us are patriotic) we have been blessed with a beautiful democracy and a process which we can affect the world for good.

Respectfully, a man of God giving his endorsement toward a civic process, specifically through a proposition, (and by the way, not doing so to change minds of anyone for purposes you have stated, but more likely to make people aware and get them involved in the process) is not a debauchery or mishandling of the Gospel.

I share your concerns with this issue in that it can be a slippery slope, and something that needs balance, with the weight leaning heavily on eternal things. A church is a safe place where the talk radio heads are silent, the polarism we face everyday at work is removed, and we cling to the Hope of Jesus Christ. Part of proclaiming Christ, is also preaching righteousness (ie., Prop 8). And, because as you pointed out, Prop 8 is so unanimous in agreement, it presents no real dangers.

I can’t speak for everyone else’s church, but our limited commentary and focus on Prop 8 (as well as Prop 4) did not dominate our service, nor our announcement time, which is was eloquently handled. At the conclusion of the service, the altars were full, the hope of Christ preached and new lives were birthed. Praise be to God for it.

There is no way that you can draw a correlation between making announcements that are directly related to church activities and making announcments about a political issue. Of course we preach the morality of an issue such as those that were dealt with in Prop 8 and Prop 4. However, it is my personal belief backed up by the scriptures that I gave, that we never politicize those issues. We preach morality, not issues that are being dealt with in the community. It is the annointing that takes the words that our pastors and teachers say and changes life. How can anyone doubt that is the correct process to go about fighting immorality and corruption. The Christian church was NEVER involved in the political process in the Bible, nor were they involved until the kingdom now doctrine. Look it up. History will back up my statement. The advent of the kingdom now doctrine which states that the church has to take over the world before Christ can make his return, was the beginning of Christian churches becoming involved in the political process. We preach morality and salvation. That is the only proven formula for changing our world!

10 11 2008
iluv2prshim

Than,
I have been silent in your political posts. However, I want to state something here. I appreciate your view on the subject and I believe I know where you are coming from. You know as well as I that the morality of Prop. 4 and 8 has been preached very forcibly in our church, not only by Dad but also by YOU! I appreciate you and Dad taking a stand against such things. It is the only right thing to do. Having said that, I also know where you are coming from…that our churches should not be used as political platforms, etc. I personally do not know any of our churches who have used their services for that purpose. I want to believe that every Apostolic church is using their pulpits and their worship services for reaching souls and I believe that is what they are doing. There MAY be a few out there who are using their influence for the wrong reasons, but I don’t believe that supporting such things as Prop 8 is a bad thing. It is a morality issue and if the church is silent (which ours isn’t) it could wreck havoc on our state and our lives. I know that I don’t want our church to become “political”, but I do want people to know the truth of the word of God and that would include knowing what the scriptures say about such things as same sex marriage and abortion. Having said all of this….I know that is how you feel too and I totally agree with your take on church and politics. Thanks for being you and standing up for your convictions.
You can delete this comment if you want to or if you don’t think it makes any sense. 🙂

Mom, Of course the morality of the issues at hand were dealt with but never one time were the names and numbers of the propositions mentioned. There is no question where the leadership of our church stands on these issues. We have made that abundantly clear through preaching the word of God but we have never politicized the issues over the pulpit! Like I said earlier, the churches mandate is to preach salvation and morality, or as Dad preached a couple of Wednesday nights ago, How to be saved and how to stay saved!

10 11 2008
Jana Allard

Than, perhaps I, and even James, took your post too personally. In my opinion, I think you and I share similar political views and probably voted nearly identical. Yet, I could almost ditto all of James above comment. Our area is quite culturally different from yours. There were many people in our area who were confused about Prop 8 thinking if they voted “Yes” they were suppporting same-sex marriages. My husband took about 2 minutes during announcements and explained the terminology of the proposition to our people and let them know there were yard signs available in the back hall following the service.

Having said all that, I don’t think the church is the place to focus on politics but I do think we must address issues that affect the morals of our country. Not harp on them, but take a stand for righteousness. It isn’t very popular, but quite needed.

After reading your mother’s comment, I think I am understanding you a little more, too. Then again, maybe I’m not. Maybe you hate my political views being blasted on my blog. 🙂 I suffered infertility and went through so muc to ever have my kids. Surgery, testing, fertility drugs, etc. The subject of abortion pains me greatly and I am very vocal speaking out against abortion. My intentions are not to offend anyone but, if a visitor to my blog supports abortion, it just may offend them.

Sis Allard,
These posts were never aimed at one particular person or blog. I understand that people feel very strongly about these issues as well they should. Christ said that it is better for a person to commit suicide than to harm a little child. There is no more defenseless child than an unborn child. However, my personal beliefs and the way that I have been taught preclude me from stating my personal political views. As I have mentioned in my responses to both James and my mother, I will use the pulpit to preach the morality of the issue while not crossing a line that I believe is very clearly drawn in the Bible. That does not mean of course that you do not have the right to blog about whatever you want and I do enjoy the things that you have posted. In fact I check everyday to see what else you have posted!

11 11 2008
James Wilder

Sis. Jana,
A blog and a pulpit have different liberties. I’ve enjoyed reading up on your blog over the last month and appreciate your passion!

Than, I appreciate your provoking posts. I don’t believe I took it personal, I just took it serious… and complimented it by giving it a thought-out response. I’m guilty of not passing up more of those opportunities 🙂

I am with the majority of the world, though, and am glad the entire “political” season is behind us. The church will survive and thrive in any condition… whether it be an immoral monarch, persecution, militia, etc – and certainly even a democratic, to-the-left President.

Blessings.

11 11 2008
Jana Allard

Than, I appreciate your willingness to speak your opinion. Recently, I commented to another young person, “I have a hard time respecting those who hide their convictions and criticize those who do speak up.” I would much rather have honesty than a hypocritical facade. You have given an honest, well thought argument and presented it with passion. This causes me to respect you even more.

I don’t think you have been around me (or in this district) long enough to know I am a huge defender of the youth. I take pride in the young people of our district just as if they were my own children. My personal belief is you will play a great part in the church, district, and upcoming leadership. To know you are so committed to the cause of Christ gives me great confidence the church is and will be in good hands.

One of my favorite bloggers, Helen, is a woman on the East Coast who is not of our faith and she is very liberal. I enjoy some of our discussions because it provokes thought. Than, you have made me think with these last two posts. Take that as a compliment.

Sis Allard, I am happy to provoke thought in anyone. One of the reasons that I write on my blog is to provoke people to think. I am not necassarily seeking to change people’s opinions. Thank you for the compliment.

11 11 2008
James Wilder

“However, it is my personal belief backed up by the scriptures that I gave, that we never politicize those issues.”

Than, I have to just disagree on this fundamental issue I guess.

I think the commenters have all said we agree the church is not a political rally. However, the Scriptures you gave about “preaching Christ” and “Him crucified” in no way are explicitly or implicitly rejecting church leaders from becoming involved in the community, or encouraging godly people to “get out the vote”. Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church (1 of 4 letters to them) was primarily in response to false doctrine (as were most of the epistles), and especially those who were deceiving the Corinthian church that Paul was irrelevant. Paul was actually defending himself in Chapter 2, and giving his credentials! So, yes, if you stretch that scripture all the way with interpretation to mean that involving discussion of a proposition in church goes back to a principle in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 2, I have to respecfully disagree. There is no such principle. What did the text originally mean? Hint: There was no democracy in Corinth, especially for believers.

We obviously both have an opinion about this and I respect the position you’ve taken and I’ll leave it at that.

James, if my theology is wrong, and I really don’t think that I am off base of this, I still believe that the way the church affects the world is through preaching and teaching morality and salvation. Obviously we both have strong personal opinions regarding this issue. I strongly feel that the job of the church is to stay firmly planted in the word of God regardless of the political storms that are flying around it. This is not out of some misplaced reasoning of not wanting to offend potential church goers. A person may be offended by the word of God that they hear in a church. However, there is a much smaller chance that they will be offended by the preaching of the word mixed with the anointing of God than by political activism.

PS. You can not overlook the fact that Paul does not limit himself to just false doctrine teachings when he says the word NOTHING! Also, he says that he is deteremined to know nothing. That means he actually worked at it. It is much easier to be swayed by the winds of political activism than you may think. Especially when that is almost the only thing that is being reported as news.

11 11 2008
James Wilder

BTW… there is a battle with post-modern church “experts” like Andy Stanley, Andy Couch, Erwin McManus, etc and the fundamentalist like Dobson, Luce and others over this very issue. The old school groups were very much involved (some would argue overly-involved) in political groups, and were much responsible even for the election of Presidential candidates (eg., Bush election of 2000 and 2004). The new school groups desire to get away from this in an effort to not offend potential church goers (in line with much of their other ideas too). This is why Rick Warren broke ranks with his new school buddies when he publicly endorsed Prop 8.

I’m not in either camp, and most of our Apostolic churches aren’t either. I just thought it was interesting, because this debate is being had right now by other groups. I can tell you this, Dobson and Focus on the Family have made a tremendous and positive impact in the nation. I appreciate their programming!

12 11 2008
James Wilder

“Obviously we both have strong personal opinions regarding this issue. I strongly feel that the job of the church is to stay firmly planted in the word of God regardless of the political storms that are flying around it.”

Than, there is not a great gulf separating our ideas here. One opinion is of complete abstinence and another of extreme moderation, but neither of us, I believe, support politics taking over the pulpit. In fact, God uses it all for his own good pleasure in spite of us. Case in point, Prop 8 passed by the voters who came out to support Obama. The white liberals voters were overwhelmingly against Prop 8, while the Latino and Black voters, many of whom voted for Obama, helped pass Prop 8. God is King, and I’m proud to be serving Him with you.

The Bishop sort of preached in parallels to our discussion tonight in an absolutely powerful message about what the church should be doing right now. This is an hour we should keep our hearts right.

Going back to the quote I started with.. ironically, I agree 100% with that statement! Glad we both agree, though we may continue to debate the particulars.

13 11 2008
Matt

Llksldkjfjldkj;alksdl!!!!!! You know what I mean 😀

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