Adopted by the General Board in 2012 & approved at the 2013 General Conference. This replaced the previous position papers on Technology and Video Restrictions. Contrary to what some claimed, the UPCI did NOT change its stand against watching television or movies with the 2013 resolution changes.
Our elders took an important, principled, and correct stand against the evils of television in 1954 when they adopted the fourth paragraph on holiness in our Articles of Faith in response to the invention of television and other changes in society. It follows that we need to enunciate the principles upon which our elders acted and apply them in light of technological changes and more complex choices today. Specifically, traditional television is now merging with other technologies that we have accepted, such as computers, online media, satellite and cable deliveries, media players, smart phones, tablets, and game consoles. Moreover, some forms of video technology are obsolete but new forms have been invented and are continuing to be invented.
Therefore we must give appropriate guidance to a new generation of believers with regard to all use of communications technology in language that is understandable and meaningful to them so we can continue to uphold our position on holiness of life and holiness in the use of all communications technology. In view of the symbolic nature of media for our movement, we must be careful not to signal any compromise of belief or lifestyle.
The United Pentecostal Church International accepts only the Bible and the Holy Spirit as its guides to determine the correct standards of conduct in this world, and it recognizes the responsibility to apply biblical principles in a changing world. Neither the Bible nor the United Pentecostal Church International teaches that salvation can be earned by good works, but both contend that holiness in behavior results from a transforming experience of the Holy Ghost, and is therefore incumbent upon each Christian. The church has an obligation to establish standards of conduct when necessary, but it refuses to make rules for every aspect of daily living. Each Christian is responsible to God to maintain holiness in his or her life, for God alone is the judge, but the church is also responsible to teach biblical standards of holiness. Holiness as a spiritual experience and a way of life is not an option for a Christian, but a biblical injunction. (See II Corinthians 7:1; Romans 12:1-2; John 17:14-16; I John 2:15-16; Ephesians 5:11.)
It is very evident that spirituality and holiness are deeply entwined together. The Scriptures teach that carnality is enmity toward God. The use of media must therefore be carefully considered so that we do not take the beautiful truths of God into areas that will contribute to the downfall of a child of God. The influence of sinful media programming is so grave and damaging to Christian living that conscience demands it be battled in a principled way. The biblical safeguard against rapid cultural or technological change is to build upon timeless principles. Scripture elegantly solves the proper management of media technology with a single verse: "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes" (Psalm 101:3). A consistent and principled position on media programming does not constitute a threat to our core stand on issues of separation from the world, but only strengthens our position by casting in principle the manner in which we are already solving this issue in practice.
Historic guidelines regarding television and video were written in light of the technology of the 1950s and 1980s, demonstrating a common desire for the homes of our families to be sanctuaries governed by godly principles. In today's world, we apply these guidelines as follows. We recognize that similar content is available through media such as computers, online media, media players, tablets, smart phones, and game consoles. What we have traditionally called television is merging with other devices that are commonly used. Therefore in these cases and with all other communications technology, we teach responsible use that is strictly in accord with wholesome Christian principles. As new media appear in the marketplace, the Christian must not accept their usage without evaluation of their impact on his or her spiritual walk with God. We are to "walk circumspectly [looking around us], not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15-16).
There were some who voiced their thoughts regarding the resolution which dropped this position and replaced it with the one on media technology:
UPCI General Conference 2013 by Art Hodges: "The goal is NOT to alter or weaken our traditional stance against the evils of television. Rather, it is to strengthen our position against taking pleasure in viewing evil in any form. As with many other words changing over time, 'television' means something different today than it did originally, and perhaps than it will tomorrow."
Historic General Conference 2013 by J. Mark Jordan: "As far as Resolution #2 goes, I believe we have finally arrived at an honest, workable formula for the UPCI ministers who have struggled with marrying technology to righteousness for decades. The status quo with which we came to conference had been awkward and, frankly, disengenuous for too long. Some who were adamantly opposed to television had no such restrictions for computer hardware; others who were permissive with television were on the vanguard against internet filth. The bottom line is that our real position against television from the very beginning has always been content-based, not hardware-based."
The Dangers of Television by John Dinwiddie: "This past conference was different. In this conference held in St. Louis the restriction on having a TV set in the home of a minister licensed with the United Pentecostal Church was completely removed from the manual. Granted, the holiness position of the UPCI still discourages its members from having a TV in their home and, by extension, its ministers should not have a TV in their home either. But it doesn't say they can't. I am afraid that some of the UPCI ministers will go out and buy a TV set. (Some will probably take them out of their garages or cupboards)".
Two News Bulletins from the UPCI General Superintendent by David Bernard: "We must continue to uphold our position on holiness of life and holiness in the use of all communications technology. In view of the symbolic nature of media for our movement, we must be careful not to signal any compromise of belief or lifestyle. We affirm that the decision of our elders in 1954 was correct when they adopted the fourth paragraph on holiness in our Articles of Faith in response to the invention of television and other changes in society. Our goal is to enunciate the principles upon which they acted and apply them in light of technological changes and more complex choices."
The above is a position paper of the United Pentecostal Church International and is provided for informational purposes.
Page Added October 19, 2013 & Updated April 28, 2016
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