By Bishop Doug Beacham and The Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops
In 1996 the IPHC met in Fayetteville, North Carolina to confess and repent of seven areas where the Holy Spirit had prompted us that as a movement we had disobeyed God’s Word and call. These seven were spiritual pride, judgmentalism, controlling spirit(s), racism, male domination, elder brother syndrome, and pride. For nearly twenty years we have consciously sought to live out this repentance in attitude and action.
Since 1996 the United States has changed in numerous ways, including rapidly expanding ethnic diversity. In the United States the IPHC has grown among the African-American community, among new African immigrants, and among other ethnic populations from Latin America and Asia. We give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ for enriching us with the gifts of these brothers and sisters. We value all people equally as created by God and are thankful that there is room at the foot of the Cross for everyone.
As the IPHC has grown around the world since 1996, the global setting has dramatically changed with a proliferation of extremists’ movements and intense persecution of Christian minorities.
Troubling events in Ferguson, Missouri and in Staten Island, New York, as well as in other parts of the world, have raised our awareness of the complexities we face as a church in demonstrating God’s love and our caring for others.
In view of the IPHC Core Value, “We Prayerfully Value Justice,” IPHC leaders offer the following perspectives as we pray for justice and peace.
- The Scriptures remind us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, KJV). This is true for law-abiding citizens, for those who break the law, and for those who enforce the law. Our sinful condition is real and can only be remedied by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Our fallen nature is not only personal, but permeates the structures of society.
- We recognize that in the United States many people of color encounter forms of discrimination, poverty, and breakdown in family structure that present unique challenges for moving into the mainstream of American educational, economic, and social life. This is particularly true for many in the African-American community who live with the historic and generational effects of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and more subtle forms of discrimination that still linger a half century after the legal victories of the Civil Rights Movement .
- In spite of its weaknesses and failures, the American Constitutional system remains a viable system for adjudicating injustice, for providing balance among governmental powers, and for providing a stable environment protecting individual civil liberties from government overreach. We pray that our courts, legislatures, and executive officers will lead with righteousness and equity.
- We pray for the men and women assigned to enforce the laws of the land. The vast majority are honest and seek to serve their communities with integrity and fairness. We pray they will be given wisdom as they enforce laws in challenging circumstances. We pray that those who are corrupt will be discovered and dealt with according to the laws of the land.
- We pray for Christian minorities in the Middle East and in other nations who are being systematically killed or forced to emigrate because of their faith. We call for moderate voices in Islam and other non-Christian religions to speak more clearly and strongly to this religious and cultural disaster. We appeal to the democratic nations of the world to address this injustice.
- As Pentecostal Christians and leaders, we pray that the Holy Spirit will lead us individually and corporately to “learn to do good; seek justice. Rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless; plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17, NKJV), and “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NKJV).