The UPCI’s Racial and Ethnic Affirmation
Below are some resources to assist you as we discuss racial tensions in society and proclaim the power of the gospel for racial reconciliation.
- UPCI Position Paper, “Racial and Ethnic Affirmation“
- UPCI Timeline of Racial and Ethnic Affirmation
- Facebook Live Panel Discussion: “The Church in a Time of Racial Tension”
As an international organization, it is important for the UPCI to articulate a public position on key moral issues of our day, including religious liberty, racism, same-sex marriage, abortion, and transgenderism. Recently, we have held a couple of video discussions on current racial tensions, based on the Position Paper in the UPCI Manual. Such statements and discussions are important for several reasons.
- To stand publicly for biblical justice and holiness. Holiness is not only personal but interpersonal, not only individual but social. (See Hebrews 12:14; James 1:27.) If we make no statement, our silence could be misinterpreted, and isolated voices could falsely be deemed as representing us.
- To assure our minority constituents that we are an inclusive and diverse organization and that we are sensitive to their concerns. About one-third of our constituents in the US and Canada are minorities. They often receive questions and sometimes pressure from unsaved family and friends about their church.
- To teach our youth. Many teenagers and young adults want to address problems in our society. They need to understand that the gospel is the answer to every problem and that the church supports “liberty and justice for all,” advocating peaceful means of influence.
- To communicate to our overseas constituents and national leaders. Most of our overseas constituents are nonwhite, and we have about 60 national superintendents. Since they could easily draw wrong conclusions from the news and social media, it is important to reassure them of our position.
- To influence the worldwide Apostolic movement. We are the largest Apostolic organization, and we provide resources to many organizations and independent churches through our publications and educational institutions. To influence other churches positively, we need to be a strong, public example in all areas of holiness.
- To maintain credibility to speak on biblical values and national culture. If the church is silent, other voices will use these issues to promote their secular, radical agendas. We need to be a voice of reason and conservative moral values in our culture, offering hope and a unique witness through the Word and the Spirit. While we are not partisan, we want to influence our nation to make good political choices and adopt good laws and policies.
- To support local churches with helpful resources and the credibility of a strong, worldwide organization. Many of our pastors have asked for resources to help them. Our local churches are self-governing, and pastors are our primary voices in their churches and communities. We respect their right and ability to speak or not to speak, as they deem most appropriate in their own situations. Thus, our public statements are rare, of general application, based on the Bible, and based on our consensus position as expressed in our Manual. Pastors can use them or not as they deem suitable in their local situation.
Sincerely in Christ,
David K. Bernard