Constantly you are in the work of linking the purposes of God to persons living out their lives. You declare the story of God as the true story. You lift up Jesus as the Messiah of God, declaring that there is salvation in his name. You describe the ways humans miss the mark. This is your life. You speak for God.

So it is that when the tragedy of Charlottesville, Virginia, occurred several weeks ago many people, not just pastors, are doing various levels of “theologizing” and “preaching” about this event. We pastors want to speak for God accurately and faithfully.

I offer the following as you communicate with and live with your people over the next weeks:

  • Ever preach the good news (gospel). It is this: God is working to bless all the families of the earth. Genesis 12:3; Galatians 3:8. We are to please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. Romans 15:3. We are to love our enemies. Matthew 5:44; they may be bad like the city of Nineveh, and we may feel like Jonah toward them, but God cares for them, and so must we. The gospel and God’s people are missionary in spirit and action — always.
  • We are to refuse to gratify the acts of the flesh, which are so very obvious, says Paul. So hatred, discord, fits of rage, dissensions, factions, and the like, are not only disallowed behaviors, but “those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21. The way we talk about anything is as important as the subject about which we are talking.

Indeed, Brethren in Christ pastor, our theological identity markers of peace and holiness are powerful for such a time as this. God bless you with a clear mind, a grace-filled spirit, and much wisdom as you help your congregation think and act as Jesus desires.

Praying for you,
Bishop Lynn

P.S. I recommend a book that I have earlier commended to you: Messiah College professor Drew Hart’s book, The Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism.

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