Monday, May 26, 2008

A Church of God Perspective

“This new blog of Wayne Warner will deal with pacifism from a Church of God perspective,” wrote Lloyd Moritz after I told him I was considering a blogsite and was interested in issues like Peace.

I read that and ask myself “what is a Church of God perspective?” Does my having been a pastor of forty-five years qualify me? Do my eighty-plus years of being part of the Church of God family qualify me? Must my views be filtered through the lense of our checkered history to qualify?

My recent re-reading of Strege’s I Saw the Church caused me to further ponder the question, especially in light of our longstanding conflict with “come-out theology” in the Church of God (not always recognized).
That was an early perspective that helped launch the “Movement,” but I believe it has hindered our function and growth to this day. Strege‘s theological interpretation seems to document my view (supported by the majority of the church. It is, moreover, a “theology”--if you will--that I abandoned as a young man living in the midst of people who believed it sinful to depart from it.

So, what is a Church of God perspective? I’m not sure that I know, although I have some strong opinions. I believe it must be a biblically-sound perspective. It must be an inclusive perspective, and I filter my inclusiveness through the filter of Jesus’ life and ministry, the practice of the early church, and what I perceive to be the church of which Jesus is the head.

I further suggest a Church of God perspective will be filtered through the lense of biblical holiness (I view holiness as a right relationship with God and man through the at-one-ment of the cross rather than the lense of cultural accommodation).

I will write for peace and justice issues, as well as other church issues. For today, however, I will mourn the loss of 4,100 young American victims of the Iraq occupation, and wonder what their lost lives achieved on the scale of eternity. On this Memorial Day of 2008, I ask--in the name of peace--just what is a Church of God perspective?

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