Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Focus on Holiness and Unity

The Church of God Anderson Movement has long proclaimed a trans-denominational, reformational and relational message focusing on Holiness and Unity and offering wholeness, reconciliation, and relationship. Before his death Sam Hines, the portly Jamaican whose green eyes (maybe blue) were always filled with laughter, addressed the rest of us through his writings.

Best known as Pastor of our 3rd Street Church in our National Capitol, Sam was a friend to many of us of whatever ethnicity, a man the church loved greatly and we all deeply respected and personally admired. The following excerpt from Sam's pen is filled with truth we need to recover from our current deep divisions and escalating violence. Consider his words in the spirit of Shalom …

 “… Before time began God had a purpose in mine, a secret but significant purpose. The incarnation of Jesus—this mind of God, this Word of God made flesh—made God’s plan public. In Christ, God revealed that seasons of time are controlled by the divine will, so that in the fullness of time, God can fulfill his purpose to head up all things in heaven and on earth in Christ. This may be the most explosive idea that has ever reached the human mind …

One of the major impacts of this idea was that both Jew and Gentile now belonged to the same family through Jesus Christ. The walls of division fell down, and all barriers to solidarity were removed when Jesus came … Divisions, inequities, and injustice based on age, race, culture, gender, social status, or economic position were removed in Christ. We who live in this period must continue Christ’s action. God’s goal all through the centuries has been to bring together under Christ Jesus all things in heaven and on earth.

Through Christ, God’s one-item agenda heads up a new solidarity—a new reconciled covenant community … God’s universal church is either going to demonstrate this solidarity or become a contemporary scandal, bringing blame and shame to the gospel by virtue of blatant contradictions between what we preach and what we practice.

Of course, the issues no longer center only on Jew and Gentile: they revolve around African American and white, Latino and Asian, native and immigrant, right and left, conservative and liberal, militarist and pacifist. The separatist arguments in the church focus on whether we are movemental; reformational; sectarian; denominational; pre-post, or a-millennial; Pentecostal; charismatic; or evangelical. They even focus on the use of traditional or contemporary music and on worship styles. These things send us heading in different directions and getting into our little boxes with divisive labels.

We also create and promote a dichotomy between what some among us label as social gospel on one side (and I am identified as one of the chief transgressors in this area, because we try to feed, clothe, and evangelize the poor) and evangelism on the other, as if these two are exclusively separate…”

The church must never allow cultural concerns or institutional interests to override God’s agenda of reconciliation, oneness, and solidarity … As God’s people, we must discard our own agendas and get on God’s agenda … We must repent of everything that has developed in our communities and regions that cuts us off from this solidarity … and this brings us all together in solidarity under our one head, who is Jesus Christ. (See Colossians 1:12-17.)
Samuel Hines &Curtis DeYoung/BEYOND RHETORIC/30-33.

Know this my beloved brethren, wrote the Apostle James: “Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. For the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves (1:19-22, RSV).

It was Luther’s young friend Melancthon that suggested “It is faith alone which saves, but the faith that saves is not alone.”  Walkingwithwarner.blogspot

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