Statement on Recent Events
During the past several weeks, we have witnessed many troubling events in our nation. We have grieved instances of police brutality, racial/ethnic injustice, widespread rioting and looting, the unlawful destruction of public and private property, and the failure of local governments to maintain order in their communities. In our own city, many businesses have been boarded up downtown in the aftermath of rioting, and the recent protest of a local statue turned violent when a man was shot and critically injured. This all comes after many months of suffering the devastating health, economic, and social effects of COVID-19 and the government restrictions enacted in response to it.
These are troubling events and troubling times. The voices around us are loud and seemingly ever-intensifying. Members of our church land on different points along the spectrum of pressing social issues. Most of us feel stressed and anxious, and many of us are angry about injustices we have witnessed or experienced.
We write to affirm to you that the Elders of North Church are unified around the Gospel of Jesus Christ in approaching these challenging issues and events. As expressed in North Church’s Core Beliefs, we believe that all men and women, of every color and tribe, are made in God’s image and consequently have inherent worth and dignity. We believe that all people share a common identity in Adam, that all have inherited a sinful nature from conception, and that all have therefore become alienated from God. With much joy, we also believe that all people can be reconciled to God and one another through Jesus Christ, our great Mediator, who bore the wrath of God for our sin on our behalf on the Cross, who was raised from the dead, and who rules and reigns in heaven over all things. The Bible is clear that the life of every person is significant, valuable, and worthy of respect.
We affirm to you that we cherish the diversity reflected by our members. We categorically denounce white supremacy, racism, and any other form of claimed ethnic superiority. Such concepts are sinful, abhorrent, and antithetical to Scripture. The Bible is clear that followers of Jesus ultimately come from every color and tribe, and as such we are to love and serve people from every color and tribe.
We affirm to you that all members of our church should pursue justice for all people. The Church has a rich heritage of serving and building up people and communities that have suffered great injustices. While the American Church has at times and to her shame lamentably remained silent amidst, and even fostered, acts of great injustice, the Church should be at the forefront of efforts to realize justice for all. We acknowledge that the Church and Christians as individuals have at times failed in this area and sinned against image bearers of God. Grieving this fact, we encourage individual and corporate confession of such sins to Christ.
We affirm to you our understanding that civil government, including its police power, is an institution provided by God that is to be both respected and stewarded. We strongly denounce the unnecessary or disproportionate use of force by law enforcement. The government should be organized to best serve its citizens—all of them. It is neither just nor right for the police power of the government to be employed for the abuse of its citizens. We encourage lawmakers to seek wisdom from God in establishing the laws of our state and our country, and to reevaluate and, if necessary, revise laws which have proven to precipitate injustice, particularly with respect to minority populations. We believe that God approves of civil disobedience only insofar as it is required in order to obey God’s commands.
The Church must not get swept up in social movements embracing a secular understanding of humanity and justice. As followers of Christ, our understanding and our goals must be based on biblical truths which are desperately needed in this time. We strongly encourage you to research and become informed concerning organizations or movements focused on important social issues prior to promoting, supporting, or affiliating with them, and to avoid organizations or movements whose beliefs and principles are antithetical to biblical Christianity.
We acknowledge that the issues above are complex and implicate complicated aspects of history, sociology, politics, economics, and law. We encourage you to extend grace and mercy to others when addressing these and similar issues. Further, we note that many of the relevant terms connected to these issues are not consistently well defined, and that there are many who employ them, particularly in the public sphere, for demagogic purposes.
Lastly, we find it important to acknowledge that our church has had men of various ethnic backgrounds serve as elders in the past. We do not doubt God's providence concerning the calling on the lives of the current elders at this particular time. That said, we believe that all local evangelical churches should reflect the general population of the areas in which they are located. In that light, because our church resides in an ethnically diverse region, we desire to see a greater diversity among the men leading the church. We encourage men of all backgrounds and ethnicities who are faithful members of this church to prayerfully consider whether God is calling them to serve this body of believers as a pastor. We ask you to join us in praying that God would raise up such men to faithfully serve the church in this way.
Please feel welcome to contact any of us with questions or needs you may have, particularly with respect to the issues herein addressed.
We love you and are thankful to Jesus for you.
The Elders of North Church
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