RACIAL AND ETHNIC AFFIRMATION

(Note that it took them from 1945 to 2008 to take a stand on this issue.)

Adopted by the General Board in 2008

Inasmuch as we are commanded to make disciples of every nation, and

Inasmuch as the Scriptures declare that "by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12:12-13), and

Inasmuch as the stated mission of the United Pentecostal Church International is to take the "Whole Gospel to The Whole World"

We earnestly contend that the following is true: the United Pentecostal Church International practices and teaches racial equality and our fundamental conviction is that the "Whole Gospel" is to be preached to "every creature."

In support of this earnest contention, we submit the following:

1. The Word of God assures us that racial and cultural differences have no bearing on an individual's worth to God. "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him" (Romans 10:12).

2. Racial prejudice, bigotry, and/or discrimination are inconsistent with the truth of the Gospel. These do not represent God's design for the Apostolic church and must be boldly and lovingly confronted and universally denounced as unrighteous living, in the same manner as was declared by the apostle Paul when he observed Peter's behavior toward the Gentiles. "But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel" (Galatians 2:14).

3. No person should be denied entry or membership, nor discouraged from attending churches or schools on the grounds of race, color, or ethnicity where there is a pastor licensed with the United Pentecostal Church International. "God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him" (Acts 10:34-35).

4. The use of racial slurs and other negative pejoratives used to describe people of a different race, color, or ethnicity is not conversation becoming of a Christian and undermines the holiness message and testimony of the United Pentecostal Church International. "But now ye also put off all these ... filthy communication out of your mouth" (Colossians 3:8).

5. Because acts of racial prejudice are a sin against both our brother and the body of Christ, we declare such behavior worthy of correction and rebuke. These things are to be observed without partiality. "But if ye show partiality, ye commit sin" (James 2:9 NKJV) and "Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality" (1 Timothy 5:20-21).

6. Because we are a body of Apostolic believers, the United Pentecostal Church International must continue to take deliberate, intentional steps toward inclusion in all areas of the fellowship and at all levels of the organization. We recognize that the need for inclusion is a basic human need that must not be ignored so that unity and harmony can be maintained as we see the numbers of disciples of diverse ethnic backgrounds being added to the church.

7. The United Pentecostal Church International is committed to making sure that it operates in harmony with its true passion and purpose by attempting within all reasonableness to ensure inclusion of all special events and other non-elected functions to reflect the unity and diversity of the United Pentecostal Church International.

8. As the largest and leading Apostolic holiness movement in the world, the United Pentecostal Church International is dedicated to overcoming any appearance of racism within the church by making a deliberate effort toward inclusion and a firm open stand against racial bigotry and segregation. "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).

9. Finally we declare that as children of God it is not enough to avoid evil. We must proactively take advantage of every opportunity to do what is right especially to those who are of the house hold of faith. (See 1 John 3:10, Galatians 6:9-10, James 4:17.) To do otherwise is sin.

The above is a position paper of the United Pentecostal Church International and is provided for informational purposes.


Page Added March 16, 2013


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