A Pentecostal View on Human Government and Law Enforcement

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How should Pentecostals approach human government generally and, more specifically, law enforcement agencies and personnel? First, we follow Romans 13:1-7, which advocates respect and submission rather than opposition to governmental authorities, acknowledging that “the powers that be are ordained of God.” This statement doesn’t mean every governmental action is appropriate and shouldn’t be corrected, but it means God has ordained government and Christians should uphold the rule of law in a fallen, imperfect world. (See also I Peter 3:13-17; I Timothy 2:1-2.) God has given humanity the right and responsibility to establish and maintain human governments committed to goodness and justice. The form of government may vary from nation to nation, but Christians should support the following basic principles:

1. Every human should be treated with respect and dignity, and every human life should be held as sacred.
2. Citizens in our pluralistic society should have the right and freedom to think, speak, and act as they choose, as long as they extend the same rights and freedoms to others, respect the property rights of others, and do not harm other individuals or society.
3. A commitment to truth and fairness should inform the writing and enforcement of laws. We should reject corruption, partiality, and prejudice.
4. The government is responsible to maintain peace and security.

Second, the task of governance, including law enforcement, is a collective one. The authority of human government is not located in the person of individual officials, but in the principles just outlined. Likewise, authority to enforce law is not vested in officers as individuals but is based upon the principles they collectively represent and defend. Therefore, no individual government official is above the law but rather must be held accountable to the law without partiality or preference.

There can be room for improvement in even the best systems of government. Moreover, overt injustice and corruption are common in many parts of the world. Thus, both affirming and dissenting voices should enjoy free expression. Under no circumstances, however, should an individual attempt to take justice into his or her own hands to perpetrate violence or kill in the name of reform or retribution. Because we are all affected by the way governance is implemented and laws enforced, and we are called to live out our faith in this world, we should work to promote truth, peace, and justice in government.

A Pentecostal View on Human Government and Law Enforcement

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 7/19/16

News Bulletin from the General Superintendent
7-19-16

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General Superintendent David K. Bernard

Call to Prayer and Action
We are all shocked and saddened by the violent events in recent weeks, including terrorist attacks, attacks on police officers, and loss of lives. We need to pray for our nation, our communities, and our law enforcement officers. Our local churches should become actively involved in their communities, advocate peace and justice, and seek ways to minister to those who have been affected by violence.

Appreciation Sunday, September 11, 2016
Last year, at the recommendation of Building the Bridge Ministries, the General Board approved a new community outreach for 2016 called Appreciation Sunday. This plan comes at exactly the right time in the will of God to enable the UPCI to step to the forefront of ministry. It calls for churches to celebrate, recognize, and honor law enforcement officers, first responders, firefighters, military personnel, and civil servants. This initiative will provide an opportunity for these valuable community servants and their families to receive prayer, be blessed by the preaching of the Word, and experience the work of the Holy Spirit in a Pentecostal church. The first Appreciation Sunday will be held on September 11, 2016, and will focus on law enforcement personnel. This date is especially appropriate as the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in US history, when over 400 first responders gave their lives to serve and protect their city. A website, appreciationsunday.com, has been established to provide information, resources, and promotional materials in downloadable format to assist you in preparing for this event. I appeal to every church in North America to participate in this outreach to your community.

Relocation of World Headquarters
As previously reported, on March 1 we purchased a new building in the St. Louis area for our world headquarters. It was under lease through May 2017, but we negotiated an early termination of the lease effective July 1. In return being released from future operating costs, the leaseholder has conveyed to us all furniture and equipment, which were originally purchased for about $1.5 million, and has agreed to pay rent through March 2017. Our total rent income will be almost $1.5 million.

On July 19, we signed a contract to sell our current headquarters with most furniture and equipment. Under the contract, the buyer has 45 days to inspect the property and obtain financing. After that time the contract will be final, and we will have 90 days to close the sale. During this time, we will prepare the new building for occupancy by repainting the exterior, sealing the parking lot, constructing a media studio, installing frosted glass partitions to prepare additional private offices, and creating a chapel area. If all goes according to plan, we will move into our new building in October and November. During the transition, we will maintain telephone and data services for both buildings.

Please pray that these plans are fulfilled over the next few months. In the meantime, we still need additional funds for long-term financing. If you would like to contribute to the building or invest in the loan, you may contact our Stewardship Department in one of the following ways:

Women in Ministry Network
From its beginning in 1945, the UPCI has given ministerial credentials to both men and women. Originally women were about 21 percent of total ministers. The percentage has decreased over time for various reasons, but in recent years the number of women ministers has grown to a new record of 461. Since women are still a relatively small percentage of the total and since the ministry of women is different from that of men in significant ways, after discussion with the Executive Board I have appointed a committee to launch a Women in Ministry Network for UPCI ministers. The purpose is to facilitate communication, coordination, visibility, mentoring, and training tools for women in ministry. I have asked Lois Mitchell of Pensacola, FL, to serve as the chair of the committee. She has been a credentialed minister with the UPCI for many years and serves as the Ladies Ministries president of the Florida District. Her husband, Jimmy Mitchell, is a pastor in Pensacola and a member of the Florida District Board. If you would like to participate in this network, please contact my administrative assistant, Rhonda Morley, rmorley@upci.org, 314-837-7300.

Urshan Accreditation Process
Urshan College (UC) and Urshan Graduate School of Theology (UGST) are owned and operated by the UPCI, and together they compose the Urshan System. UGST has been accredited with the Association of Theological Schools since 2010, and from the start of UC the Urshan System has also been seeking accreditation from the secular regional association. This accreditation would strengthen our undergraduate program and enable UC students to qualify for federal grants and loans. It would also enhance recognition of degrees, transferability of credits, and employment opportunities for graduates. The goal is to attain candidacy (a form of provisional accreditation) in 2018, at which time students would qualify for federal financial aid.

In June Urshan passed a significant milestone in the process by submitting 19 eligibility requirements to the accrediting association. Since the opening of UC four years ago, the school has been working diligently to meet these requirements. For the present submission, five committees worked for a year and a steering committee worked intensively for a month to create three documents totaling almost 1,600 pages. These documents provided evidence that Urshan meets all initial requirements and should be considered for the next phase of the accreditation process. This submission required the writing of 19 narrative pieces with detailed supporting documents on legalities, stability, finances, academics, student life, mission, administration, faculty, and personnel. Please pray that this effort will be successful.

Live Broadcast – David K. Bernard
View live broadcast at http://bit.ly/29OfXDo.

Sincerely in Christ,
David K. Bernard

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 7/19/16

Statement on Killing of Police Officers in Dallas

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The UPCI unequivocally condemns the killing of police officers in Dallas yesterday.  Our hearts are broken in the aftermath of this unjustifiable, horrific event. We pray for the victims and their families. It is unspeakably tragic that human beings, created in the image of God, could engage in this kind of behavior.

We live in a broken world. Every day we are accosted by the harsh realities of injustice and violence. We are surrounded by evil, but we are not powerless or afraid. The enemy of our souls would like to use incidents such as these to cause division and strife in society and even in the church. Our Lord Jesus calls us to follow his example and overcome evil with good. Sadly, prejudices and group loyalties can distract us from this calling. We are tempted to forget our humanity and make enemies of our neighbors. We are tempted to fight evil with evil, and in the process become evil ourselves. But we must not succumb to such temptations. Rather, we must love relentlessly and endlessly. We must proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and demonstrate its power to defeat evil, not through violence and hatred, but by transforming one human heart at a time. And we must proclaim this for everyone without qualification or exception.

Statement on Killing of Police Officers in Dallas

A Statement on Recent Police Shootings

 

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The recent police shootings are tragic and troubling, for as Christians, we believe that human life is sacred. Each situation needs to be investigated thoroughly with the goal of ascertaining the truth and ensuring that justice is served. We know that in the vast majority of cases our police act in our best interests to serve and protect us. We also must face the reality, however, that there have been cases in which law enforcement officers have engaged in racial profiling, used excessive force, and perpetrated injustice. When tragic events such as the recent shootings occur, it is important to respond peacefully and to avoid premature judgements based on stereotypes.

The shooting in Baton Rouge occurred near one of our churches, and the church is ministering to the African American community during this time. The pastor has issued the following statement: “What we need at this time is transparency and continued prayer for this city. We do not need imagined scenarios or stereotypes; we need truth for the family of Alton Sterling and the people. We need to come together and pray for peace, direction for the family, and transparency for our police department and our elected officials to bring awareness to their community constituents.”

A Statement on Recent Police Shootings