1995 Public and Political Discourse

Presented by the Commission on Christian Action, adopted by the delegates to the 110th Covenant Annual Meeting.

WHEREAS, the word of God teaches us that

1) God is the Word; by this Word the world was created, and by this Word made flesh in Jesus Christ redemption has been provided to the world; this Word of God brings not only judgment but truth and good news to a world in need of forgiveness, reconciliation, and new life; the people of God are commissioned to communicate this Word of God in their world as ambassadors of Jesus Christ;

2) Satan is a liar and the father of all lying (John 8:44), the accuser, divider, and deceiver (Revelation 12:9-10), and all falsehood, slander, gossip, and malicious talk is the work of the flesh and the devil (Colossians 3:8-9); Jesus Christ has triumphed over this enemy by the blood of his cross; the Holy Spirit replaces this sinful communication with the fruit of speaking the truth in love, and the capacity to listen and reflect with compassion and understanding;

3) The fundamental and eternal identity of all Christians derives from their being members of the one body of Christ and citizens of the one kingdom of God; this identity transcends and relativizes all differences arising from age, sex, ethnicity, culture, economic status, political orientation, and national allegiance;

4) The people of God are called to seek the peace and welfare of the city in which they reside as pilgrims (Jeremiah 29:5-7); they are not to withdraw, escape, ignore or despise the common life, the needs and the challenges of their neighbors, or the communities in which they reside; but rather they are to speak and act as ambassadors of the kingdom of Christ;

WHEREAS, for over 100 years the Evangelical Covenant Church has borne witness to the importance of maintaining our unity in Christ, while appreciating our differences and respecting our freedom in the Spirit;

WHEREAS, public and political discourse in North America have recently degenerated into an avalanche of half-truths, distortions, disrespectful name-calling, mudslinging, negativism, and provocations, and

WHEREAS, the name of Christ and the Christian witness have been seriously tarnished by their enlistment in support of secular political partisanship and economic class interest, often in a manner seriously at odds with the way of Jesus Christ; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the 1995 Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church issues a call to

1) condemn all lying, misrepresentation, oversimplification, propaganda, gossip, disrespect, slander, and hateful malicious talk about others, in particular talk about our political leaders from the head of government down to our local officials;

2) refuse to allow the name of Christ, or the Christian, biblical or evangelical witness to be exploited in justification of party politics and secular partisan interests; diligently explaining to our neighbors and colleagues that faithful Christians may be found in many different communities, parties, and action groups;

3) insist, in public and political discourse, on careful attention to, and understanding of, other voices than one’s own interest group, especially to opponents and to those with less power and little voice;

4) insist on maintaining respect for those burdened with responsibility and authority, praying for God’s help for them, defending their humanity to those who would attack them, refusing to impose speculative, negative interpretations on their performance in the absence of adequate understanding;

5) join with fellow Christians of various gifts and stations in life in search of a distinctive message from Scripture and Jesus Christ that might provide salt and light to our world; speaking together the truth of God in love from the perspective of the cross and the empty tomb; neither withdrawing from public life nor simply joining one or another appealing option in worldly politics; and

6) insist on the seriousness of the challenges of our common life and its politics, without forgetting that this is of relative importance in relation to the absolute claims and concerns of God’s kingdom which cut across all parties, all nations, and all epochs.

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