5 Hopes for the 2017 General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene

The 29th General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene will convene in three weeks in Indianapolis.  Here are my FIVE BIG HOPES for the gathering:

I hope that General Assembly is like a family reunion.

Four years ago, when the question on the floor was to move General Assembly to every five years, one of the persuasive arguments to continue every four years was that our gathering is like a family reunion. As our church family expands in this ever-changing world, we need more gatherings (not less) to keep the bond between us strong. Like the motto for the gathering, I hope we are One.

I hope the resolutions concerning Article X (Christian Holiness and Entire Sanctification) and Human Sexuality pass.

While I’m not ready to state that either resolution is perfect, both are HUGE improvements to the current manual statements.  The current Article Ten could best be described as a mishmash. If ten different people (including pastors) were to describe our “distinctive doctrine,” there would be ten different expressions of Article Ten.  The new precise statement is more readable, teachable, preachable, Biblical and Wesleyan.  I really like it.  The statement on Human Sexuality takes one of the most the complex and divisive issues of our times and gives our people a Biblically based, grace-filled position from which to speak. The resolutions are well written and show both scholarship and grace.

I hope the resolution concerning the use of intoxicants does not pass.  

I like the affirming, grace-filled language in the resolution. Moreover, I do not think people who have a glass of wine are going to hell.  Still I am not ready to do away with denominational injunction against the consumption of alcohol.  This resolution is a bit personal with me.  My dad prior to becoming a Christian was an alcoholic. Had the church allowed the consumption of alcohol following his conversion, I’m not sure moderation was possible for him. So, I’m glad the church said we are coming along side of you in this struggle and as a people we say, “no alcohol.” Alcohol related problems are well documented. Most domestic violence and sexual abuse has an element of alcohol involved. Drunk drivers kill innocent people every day.  I’m thankful for a church that says “we choose to side with those who struggle and have been harmed by the abuse of alcohol by abstaining from its use.”

I hope we elect two visionary and godly individuals to be General Superintendent.

Godly but not visionary leaders tend to lead from memory instead of imagination.  They lead based on fear (“we are going the way of the Methodists”) or nostalgia (“Let’s make the Church of the Nazarene Great Again”) instead of inspiration, grace and hope.  Conversely, visionary but not godly leaders are drunk on personal ambition. Elevating self instead of elevating Jesus seems to be their top priority. Our church has plenty of godly but not visionary leaders and we have our share of visionary but self-promoting individuals too.  We need General Superintendents to be both godly and visionary.  We need to elect two individuals who see what we can become and selflessly lead us there.

I hope we leave Indianapolis ready to promote the message of Holiness and making Christ-like disciples with a renewed zeal and commitment. 

General Assembly will be a success if we leave inspired and ready to accept the challenge of working to see God’s Kingdom come and His will done in our neck of the woods.

 

 

5 thoughts on “5 Hopes for the 2017 General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene

  1. Kevin Rector

    The statement of intoxicants doesn’t end our abstinence position on alcohol. Paragraph 29 says, “We hold specially that the following practices should be avoided:”

    Then the resolution language is:

    “29.5. The use of intoxicating liquors as a beverage…”

    What I think the intent of the resolution is designed to do is to place our abstinence position within the realm of social concern rather than legalism and to acknowledge that moderate consumption is not sinful and that there are Christians who drink without losing their Christianity. It attempts, I think to also acknowledge that people can attend our churches who choose to drink in moderation as well and we will not “kick them out.”

    As I read it, there is nothing in the resolution that would, “do away with denominational injunction against the consumption of alcohol.”

    Reply
  2. Rob Prince Post author

    As I read the statement on the use of intoxicants while being graceful and non judgmental (which I agree is a good thing) clearly ends our abstinence position as a denomination. The resolution states: “For that reason, we do not hold adherence to this position as required for fellowship, either in the body of Christ or the Church of the Nazarene.” Passing this resolution will end our longstanding position.

    If I am reading it wrong (I’ve been wrong before), I think it is still a problem because I think others will read it as I have and view it as opening Pandora’s box when it comes to intoxicants.

    Reply
  3. Darvin R Chandler

    THIS ISSUE IS ONE WHICH I STRONGLY BELIEVE WILL DESTROY THE HOLINESS BENT AND PERMIT MORE WORLDLY INVASION , WHICH HAS ALREADY BEGUN TO CHANGE WHAT ONCE WAS THE STANDARDS OF OUR CHURCH AND WAY OF LIFE. CULTURE HAS CHANGED AND ADAPTED A MORAL PERMISSIVENESS WHICH WE HAVE NOW BOUGHT INTO. SHAME ON US! I AM READY FOR A MORE CONSERVATIVE WAY OF LIFE AND BELIEFS AND CHURCH CHANGE.

    Reply
  4. James

    I’m curious about that statement: “…we do not hold adherence to this position as required for fellowship, either in the body of Christ or the Church of the Nazarene.” As a pastor, there a many areas which are up for interpretation. Does this statement mean that those who choose to drink responsibly are now allowed into membership or simply that we aren’t going to discourage them from worshiping with us as non-members? I can see it being interpreted both ways, thus it is confusing. That statement alone would lead me to vote against this otherwise thoughtful resolution.

    Reply
    1. Rob Prince Post author

      I take that statement to mean that those people who drink responsibly are allowed into membership. I agree with you that the vague wording (in an otherwise well worded resolution) will be misunderstood one way or another.

      Reply

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