Adopted by the General Conference in 1988
NOTE: This position paper and the Video Restrictions one were replaced by a new paper on Media Technology, which was approved by the General Board in 2012 and was later approved at the 2013 General Conference.
Holiness as a spiritual experience and a way of life is not an option for a Christian but a biblical injunction. We are to "cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (II Corinthians 7:1). We are urged, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God" and "be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind" Romans 12:1-2).
Jesus said that we are in the world but not of the world (John 17:14-16); therefore, we are not to love the world, neither the things in the world, for the world appeals to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life (I John 2:15-16). A Christian is "to keep himself unspotted from the world" (James 1 :27), for we are to so live that we may be "blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15). As a people who have been delivered from darkness, we are to walk as children of light and "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Ephesians 5:11).
Since the "whole world lieth in wickedness" (I John 5:19) and we are no longer to live "according to the course of this world" (Ephesians 2:2), and since worldliness is often communicated throughout society by the media, the United Pentecostal Church International has expressed its concern that Christians may be influenced by the media to compromise biblical holiness. It has officially dealt with technology in three ways: (1) allowed its use without voicing caution or disapproval (telephone, automobile, microwave, central heating, printing press, photography, computer, etc.); (2) accepted its use with warning and restrictions (radio, video); and (3) rejected its use as being unsuitable for Christians or for their homes (movie theater, television).
The United Pentecostal Church International recognizes that technology is not evil in itself, but it feels that it must reject any use of technology that favorably displays a lifestyle of worldliness and ungodliness. Moreover, since technology continues to accelerate in our times, the United Pentecostal Church International and Christians must evaluate each new use of technology, especially media technology, in the light of biblical holiness.
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 life, for God alone is his judge, but the church is also responsible to teach biblical standards of holiness.
As new media appear in the marketplace, the Christian must not accept their usage without evaluation of their impact on his 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 6, 2005 & Updated April 28, 2016
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