God's Heart for Social justice
@ The Barn
The Church Should Be at the Forefront of the Fight for Social Justice
The definition of social justice is, “Justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.” In a just society everyone would receive fair, equitable and impartial treatment and have access to the same outcomes.
Ultimately, our greatest example of how the Church should approach justice is found in the word of God and the teachings of Christ Himself.
James 1:27 states that, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” The thing that sticks out about that verse is the fact that is not all about the bettering of oneself, but also the bettering and protection of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Furthermore, in Luke 4:18 Jesus says, “He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Clearly, justice is not only compatible with the gospel, it’s one of the reasons God sent Jesus to the Earth and it is a fundamental aspect of it.
Letter from Phil Strout, VUSA National Director
Dear Vineyard Leaders, Wow, 2020 – and we are not halfway through it yet. How is that for a positive greeting? Right now, there are so many feelings, thoughts, laments, ideas, and convictions being expressed through many venues, and in the end, we will be better for them. If you would, allow me just a few minutes to express, on behalf of Vineyard USA, a collective, “Oh God, we need you now more than ever.” To all people of color in the Vineyard, we want to say that we are sorry. We are sorry for what has existed for so long and yet not been known nor understood by so many of us. We see you, we love you, and we seek to listen well to you. In a posture of charity, repentance, and humility, please forgive us. As we have read, watched, and talked with many of you over the last several days, there has been a gathering storm of emotion, reflection, bewilderment, and resolve. In this pivotal and painful moment, we weep with you for all that has been lost and stand with you to confront injustice head-on. We all agree that acknowledging racism is one thing and being anti-racist is a whole other reality. We cannot step back one inch from naming racism as evil, anti-human, and unacceptable in any form. We, the people of the Vineyard, are going to stay the course of believing in and longing to see the Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven – people from every tribe, tongue, and nation as ONE. This is not something we wait for someday, when all the trouble has gone, because we hold a theology that says that future reality has invaded the present. We will settle for nothing less, right now, as the Kingdom continues to come. Diversity in the Vineyard is not part of a slogan but a destiny. To that end we commit ourselves. We have far to go and much to learn, so let’s do the heavy lifting now, no matter the cost and the uncomfortable seasons and experiences that await us. Our African American and minority brothers and sisters have been uncomfortable for centuries. We have assembled a list of resources for you here. Not comprehensive resources, but food for thought, articles, sermons, stories, and tools to be used. We hope they will help you lead well and disciple well in the midst of this pain and opportunity. To the Greater Glory of God, and the well-being of all people, Phil
Answering Objections to my Message about George Floyd’s Murder - Rich Nathan Senior Pastor Columbus Vineyard
Click on link below to read Rich Nathan’s excellent article in response to his teaching about George Floyd’s Murder.
Prayer of Renunciation of Racism
of any kind regarding race, whether made by me or anyone in my family line. I ask now for the blood of Jesus to cleanse me and my bloodline from all these iniquities and their consequences. Righteous Judge of All the Earth, I ask that You separate me now from all these sins and iniquities, along with their strongholds and attachments, and remove every curse incurred by them, according to Your word. (1 John 1:9 and Gal 3:13) I take authority in Jesus' name and bind every demonic entity, assignment, and process and every other demonic spiritual thing that has flowed from or been attached to these iniquities. Father in heaven, I ask that You would remove them along with all of their apparatus, structures, and markings. Holy Spirit, I ask You to come now and fill all those vacated places, burning out any residue and renewing my mind and heart. Most High God, I re-consecrate myself and my bloodline to You alone. I ask for a complete cleansing of my DNA and RNA. I ask that you seal this work and be glorified in and through me and my descendents. I thank You that the blood covenant of Jesus supersedes and annuls all others and I am free in Him to love my neighbor as myself! (John 8:36) Amen.
ON RACISM, PENTECOST, AND A WAY FORWARD - RANDY CLARK
What happened to George Floyd was a terrible wrong. It was evil. We are sickened to think that George Floyd, a brother in Christ, who was a model in his home city to other young men, has had his life taken so tragically and needlessly. The protests are important, and peaceful protests are part of our constitutional rights. One hundred and sixteen years ago the Church was visited by a new Pentecost. Led by the son of former slaves, this movement became a powerful force within Christianity. Jesus had once again come to a stable (the mission had been used as a stable previously). Black and white and many other ethnic groups came together, and it was said the color line was washed away in the blood line of Jesus Christ. We believe God wanted the Church in America to bring healing to the wounds of slavery and racism – to lead our country out of its shameful past of slavery and racism. Despite the Jim Crow laws of segregation, that Pentecostal Mission was offering another way to a better society, a more just and humane society. It was the Church’s opportunity to provide an answer to one of the most powerful societal evils (and from a religious perspective societal and personal sins) – racism and the exploitation of the poor. Sadly, that Pentecost Revival of 1906, like the first Pentecost of 30 A.D., would eventually be replaced by the powerful pull of ethnic pride, leading to so much death, poverty, and a continued exploitation of the poor and marginalized. We believe this deception is more than the influence of a demon, but rather is the work of what Paul called the “powers” and “principalities,” a much more powerful source of evil that works primarily through false ideologies, pride, superiority feelings, that in time creates hatred. Out of this comes tribalism, racism, and forms of nationalism such as Nazism, Fascism, and Communism, which are all rooted in the philosophy of demons, the deceptive teaching that we have the right to suppress, oppress, exploit, and even kill those who do not look like us, talk like us, think like us, and worship like us. This past Pentecost, May 31, 2020, at least two things were happening simultaneously: one, a prophetic voice of people crying out for justice in protests, and the other, people looting and destroying the property that others had spent a lifetime trying to build in their businesses. One based upon a biblical principle of Jesus and the prophets calling for justice and righteousness; the other based upon the “spirit” that comes from the devil intent on killing, stealing, and destroying. For those who have eyes to see, can you see the enemy trying to take the attention off the issue of justice and righteousness by turning it to destruction? Let us return to the intention of God at Pentecost, which was to bring about love, respect, and unity. When Holy Spirit fell on Pentecost, He broke down walls of separation and brought unity. God erased distinctions as the fire of the Spirit brought power. No longer was there a division between peoples, as God in Christ had created “one new man” from the previous division. In Galatians 3, Paul further explained this new reality: “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” This is part of what we cry out for when we pray, “let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” May we hunger and thirst for right-ness to come. May we fight — and fight hard — to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. May we remember that it is God’s kindness that leads to repentance, to a change of thinking. Let Your kingdom come. Lift up the helpless. Humble the haughty. Let Your will be done. Unify your people. Let them know us by our love, our peace, our unity. As it is in heaven, so be it on earth. Awaken this world to who You are and make us coins in Your pocket, to be spent however You wish.