Church Family Newsletter | August 6, 2022
In a previous column talking about the five “solas” of faith I teased the subject of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral.
Although it sounds vaguely rectangular and invented by John Wesley himself, it turns out that neither of those suppositions is true! Instead, it refers to a method of Bible Study that John Wesley employed, although he never formally published the fact or gave it a name.
It seems that every few years businesses and institutions feel compelled to implement the latest popular theme for productivity, management style, or political correctness.
Sometimes these changes are initiated by changes to laws and sometimes to forestall negative public sentiment. The most recent of these pressures has been to form departments whose mission is to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity to participate, that all shades of opinion and belief are represented and no particular group is unfairly favored or discriminated against. Usually, these departments, teams, or task forces gather under the umbrella title of “DEI", standing for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity.
Of course, there seem to be as many definitions of what these terms should mean as there is personnel implementing them, but from a Christian and Biblical point of view God has already laid out for us how we should act in order to be righteous. Given my space constraints, I will treat each term in a different column, but in this column, I would like to look at what the Bible says about inclusivity.
Sometimes on the internet, authors who are writing longer pieces will provide their readers with a main point to contemplate if the reader finds the rest too long or they don’t want to read! You may see this as “TL;DR” meaning: “too long, didn’t read” - and here is the salient TL;DR for this column:
Every single human being, without exception or qualification, is a soul for whom Jesus died! (And we must act accordingly!)
I can make that statement boldly because there are a plethora of scriptures to back it up. For example:
For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:16-17, Amplified Bible)
That “whoever” is all-encompassing leaving no room for anyone to say that they are disqualified for any reason - except perhaps, for not really believing that Jesus meant what He said!
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation]. (Acts 4:12, Amplified Bible)
For indeed Christ died for sins once for all, the Just and Righteous for the unjust and unrighteous [the Innocent for the guilty] so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit. (1 Peter 3:18, Amplified Bible)
Please believe me that there are many other scriptures adding weight to this notion that every single human being who lived, lives, or will live is covered by this astounding insurance plan guaranteed by God Himself.
The flip-side of that is that if we start making judgments about who is or is not worthy of God’s love and affection, we are arguing with God (and you know who wins that argument!)
So, as Christians imitating Christ no one is beyond consideration for hearing or accepting the gospel and it is our mission to preach that gospel “to every living creature”.
However, there is further guidance for the health of the body of Christ — the “church”.
When salvation is accepted, when an individual encounters Christ, a change occurs.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Amplified Bible
If this change does not occur it is because the individual has not accepted the offered gift of salvation. While we are not judges of our fellow humans we are expected to examine their lives for evidence of the fruit of the Spirit.
So, for example, the thief, the swindler, the wife-beater, the glutton, the rapist, the sex-trafficker, the prostitute, the child molester, the pedophile, the murderer, et al are not excluded from the opportunity to be included or accepted in our fellowship, but we are to expect that their lives will be changed by their encounter with Christ. We are called to accept sinners, but we are not called to endorse their sin or, far worse, promote it! In fact we are called to expel it!
God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside [the faith]. Remove the wicked one from among you [expel him from your church]. 1 Corinthians 5:13 Amplified Bible
Here is where the world system comes into conflict with scripture.
“Inclusivity" for the Christian means that we are not to exclude anyone for any reason from the opportunity of salvation.
Health and hygiene for the church mean we must guard against the infiltration of sin.
There is a balance to be found here which is only possible by constantly seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Scripture. The world would have us “go along to get along” and be accepting and tolerant of blatant sin in the name of inclusivity — but the scripture is quite explicit about how this works in God’s plan of salvation.
We have to keep the temple clean:
Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. (2 Chronicles 29:5)
So we are to:
"Rescue the perishing,
Care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save." - Fanny Crosby
The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 Amplified Bible.
As the founder of The Salvation Army — William Booth — famously said, “Go for souls, and go for the worst!”
Blessings on you and yours,
This will take you to Jim Black's collection of articles since starting the newsletter.
International Prayer Focus
I am pleased to forward you the Prayer Focus requests for July 2022. This initiative of turning our thoughts and prayers towards the same part of the world at some point in the same week is a beautiful way to unite us as a global Army family and I thank you for the commitment that you each give to this.
GERMANY, LITHUANIA, AND POLAND TERRITORY
Territorial leaders: Colonels Herve and Deborah Cachelin
- Pray that hunger for God arises in Lithuania!
- Pray that Christians will commit to taking over responsibility - for each other, their churches, for evangelism, for their country
- Pray that Christians will listen to God's voice in this geopolitically difficult situation and be witnesses for HIM
- Pray that we as The Salvation Army will be a blessing to people and lead them into a strong connection with Jesus.
- Pray God will lead and direct the newly formed Salvation Army Foundation as it works towards opening the first Salvation Army Charity shop in Poland.
- Pray for families attending this year's Regional Family Camp and the camp team as they try to encourage, come alongside, and share the Gospel message. Pray that the presence of God is strongly felt throughout the week's activities.
- Thank God for the work being done at the Corps level amongst the Ukrainian refugee communities. Pray that the refugees will integrate into, and feel part of the corps family and programs that are offered to them. Pray also for continued and renewed strength for the Officers, soldiers, and volunteers who work tirelessly to meet the needs of the refugees.
We thank God
- For all the loving presence, for the good words and deeds that are lived out daily by people of The Salvation Army in corps, projects, social institutions and at THQ!
- For again and again new ideas and creative solutions in the midst of daily challenges and ongoing "construction sites”.
- For a Candidate who has just been appointed Cadet.
We ask God
- For patience with one another in the process of change through which the Territory has been passing for several years now.
- For a good transition for the Territorial Leaders who are retiring and moving to another territory.
- For a good arrival of the new Territorial Leaders, as they leave an International Zone with its culture and settle into this new, culturally different territory. Pray for a good coming together and mutual understanding beyond language barriers.
- For the vacancy period in the summer until the arrival of the new leaders, when additional responsibilities and tasks for those being in charge at THQ have to be mastered.
- For His care and provision in the multiple challenges that the leaders in corps, projects, social institutions and at THQ are daily facing. Pray that we are recognizing His working in the midst of everyday life.
- For the situation of the cadet and his family while he starts Officer’s Training in combination with corps work.
For our territory
- COVID19 still is active and a lot of people at the local level are infected and affected by aftereffects. Pray for God’s healing presence.
- All three countries of the territory are receiving refugees from Ukraine. Please pray for wisdom on how to welcome and care for these people. And pray for the caregivers and helpers to cope wisely with these ongoing demands.
- Pray for each country and their national (spiritual) challenges – as the threat and fear of a greater European military conflict are spreading. Pray for the willingness to listen to God’s voice and seek Him as a safe place (Ps 43).
- And pray that we will be responsive to the Holy Spirit’s work and obedient to his leading - in our personal lives and together at all levels.
Be richly blessed for supporting our Territory in prayer! 😊
This Week's Schedule
- 9:15 AM - Praise Team Practice - Chapel
- 10:00 AM - Sunday School - Classroom 3
- 10:15 AM - Time of Prayer - Prayer Room
- 11:00 AM - Worship Service - Chapel
- 12:30 PM - Fellowship Time - Fireside Room
- 6:00 PM - Men's Bible Study - Fireside Room
- 7:00 PM - Senior Band Practice - Chapel
- Women's Bible Study, Songsters, and Youth Music Programs will resume shortly.
- 10:00 AM - CAMEO: Expressive Movements - Hybrid
- 1:00 PM - Celebration of Life Service for June Haughin - In-Person & Streamed
Celebration of Life Service for June Haughin
Saturday, Aug. 13th, 1pm
3950 Clayton Road
Click here to share your requests. Requests will be prayed for in our Prayer Room and distributed through our Prayer Chain. Requests can be made anonymously.
You can make a tithe payment, give an offering, or donate towards the World Services fund.