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1995 Racial Reconciliation

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 great Reconciler; in the cross and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, God has graciously reconciled us to himself and he has reconciled male and female, slave and free, Jew, Gentile, barbarian and Scythian into the one body of Christ, the Church, the koinonia, in which there is but one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one Holy Spirit, and one head, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:20; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 2:16, 4:4-6; Colossians 1:20-21; 3:11);

2) God has given us the ministry of reconciliation in the world, as his ambassadors; he has commissioned us to preach the gospel of reconciliation to himself; and he has called us to bear witness to his reconciling power by our love for one another, by our community with “saints from every tribe and language and people and nation” (John 17:20-21; 2 Corinthians 5:16-20; Revelation 5:9-10);

WHEREAS, God has been at work in the Evangelical Covenant Church

1) gathering us in a global fellowship of believers in the United States, Canada, Sweden, Zaire, and other parts of the world, and in a North American fellowship of believers from native, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and other ethnic and national backgrounds;

2) leading us to express repeatedly, in these Annual Meetings and elsewhere, our anguish over and disapproval of racism, racial injustice, prejudice, discrimination and division, and our commitment to racial justice, understanding, reconciliation, and harmony; and

WHEREAS, our churches, our neighborhoods, our cities, our nations, and our world continue to be troubled, even plagued, by the sins of racist attitudes, words, and deeds, of racial fear, animosity, misunderstanding, discrimination, division and even violence; therefore be it

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

1) condemnation of racism as a grievous sin against God, whether in attitude, word, or deed, in personal or public life; let us examine ourselves, confess our sins of racism, and repent of all vestiges of sinful racism in our lives, churches, communities, and denomination; and let us pray for forgiveness, healing and renewal, for an unwavering commitment of God’s great purposes of uniting our differences into one glorious kingdom of justice and love in Jesus Christ;

2) vigorous proclamation of the gospel through faith in Jesus Christ, with its attendant good news of reconciliation and fellowship among those formerly divided by sex, race, class, and nationality; and faithful education in our households, churches, throughout our denomination and beyond, concerning God’s judgment against the sin of racism and, still more profoundly, God’s promise of a new and better way in the fellowship of saints from all ethnic backgrounds.

3) action in our personal lives by initiating and nurturing at least one meaningful friendship with someone of another ethnic background;

4) action in our congregations, by welcoming different ethnic groups and cultural styles, and by developing meaningful, mutually beneficial, sister relationship(s) with congregation(s) predominantly of another racial or ethnic membership than our own;

5) active support (prayer, financial, spiritual, material) of individuals and ministries, directly addressing the injuries of racial injustice and the challenges of racial reconciliation and harmony in church and society at large;

6) action throughout our denomination and in our churches, businesses, schools, community organizations, and political life, to overcome any policies and practices that perpetuate racial discrimination, injustice, and ignorance, and to take all available steps to facilitate racial understanding, justice and harmony in these arenas; let us reject the pessimism and indifference that argue that nothing can be done, and insist on the brash hope of the cross and empty tomb, that what is humanly impossible is possible with God, that in Jesus Christ we shall overcome someday.

Note

For the people of God, racial reconciliation is fundamentally grounded in our biblical theology, which may be summarized as follows:

1) God’s purposes in creation were for men and women to live in unbroken communion and partnership with himself and with each other (Genesis 1-2);

2) Sin has broken those relationships created and willed by God, producing alienation from God as well as alienation from one another, characterized by pride, fear, ignorance, separation and violence (Genesis 3-4, 11);

3) God’s redemptive grace in the cross and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ makes possible our forgiveness and reconciliation to God as well as forgiveness and reconciliation in our relationships with other persons made in his image and likeness (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:20; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:20-21);

4) God’s eschatological purposes are to gather “saints from every tribe and language and people and nation kingdom of priests serving our God” (Revelation 5:9-10) into the eternal City of God where “people will bring into it the glory and honor of the nations” (Revelation 21:26).

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