How A Pastor Sees Resolution #6

Posted: February 27, 2012 in Resolution #6, United Pentecostal Church
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(The following was written by Cameron Price, a United Pentecostal Church pastor, and is published by permission.)

How I See Resolution #6

If you were to read through the Articles of Faith in the manual of the United Pentecostal Church International, you would come across one titled “Conscientious Scruples.”  It carefully, methodically and, most importantly, scripturally lays out in great detail the organization’s position on bearing arms as, “Christians shall not shed blood nor take human life.  Therefore, we propose to fulfill all the obligations of loyal citizens, but are constrained to declare against participating in combatant service in war, armed insurrection, property destruction, aiding or abetting in, or the actual destruction of human life.”  For decades, this remained the unchanged position of the organization, of which I am a member, and it has served us just fine.

But now there is a movement in the form of Resolution #6 to change our position on the bearing of arms.  The author of Resolution #6 lays his foundation with 12 Whereases, none of which include a single scripture reference.  The proposed new article reads like a trinitarian trying to explain the Godhead, calling the issue, “complicated with a wide variety of complexities.”  He encapsulates the essence of his article by encouraging members to “serve according to their conscience, in any and all capacities,” or as my parents’ generation used to say, “If it feels good, do it.”  So if this resolution passes, our new position will be, well, that we have no position.  Do we need an article to say that?

I’m going to call this the way I see it.  We’ve all seen the following scenario play out in some form.  A pastor teaches and enforces hardline holiness standards, that is until his teenage daughter insists on leading worship and/or playing the keyboard, but refuses to comply with all of Daddy’s platform requirements.  With the issue now hitting too close to home for comfort, Pastor Dad softens his position to accommodate her.  After all, he doesn’t want to offend her and possibly drive her out of church.

Resolution #6 is no different.  Our current article on conscientious scruples worked great before 9/11.  But since we declared war on terror, now virtually every family in America (and subsequently every family in our congregations) has someone serving in a combative role in the US military, and the issue hits close to home, making us suddenly uncomfortable with our organization’s current position on the bearing of arms.  And since maintaining our prayerfully crafted, scripture-laden position would be just downright unpatriotic, our only option is to replace it with a new one that doesn’t offend anybody.  Everybody’s a winner!  Say, think of all the other Articles of Faith we could change to make the UPCI more accommodating!  Do I sense revolution in the air?

Since most of the people who will be voting on Resolution #6 fit into the “uncomfortable” position described above, I expect it to pass largely unopposed, and when it does, I will be sad.  Like most everything else in my wallet, my fellowship card will hold a little less value.

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