General News

Session Affirms Duty of the Church to Humbly Speak on Social and Moral Issues

By July 3, 2020July 28th, 2020No Comments

At its regularly scheduled June meeting, the session worked through a beefy agenda that included items related to the Finance and Personnel Ministries of the Church, the Worship Ministry and Live Webcast needs, items related to reopening the church facility in accordance with the Restore Illinois plans, and a Capital Grant to support the ministry of the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry.

You will see more communication about a few of these matters in the coming days and weeks, but I want to share separately about one other item from the June session agenda.

The past month has seen a significant amount of public discourse, public protest, and public engagement with the topics of race relations and racial injustice in our nation. It is important for the church of Jesus Christ to be clear in this moment that, while faith is intensely personal, faith is not a private matter. Faith in Jesus Christ demands that we as Christians not be indifferent to the evils and ills in the world, but work earnestly to reveal God’s grace, especially in places of suffering and need.

Accordingly, the session of First Presbyterian Church voted to affirm a statement adopted by the PC(USA) General Assembly in 1958 that upholds the importance of Christians’ active engagement, in a posture of humility and love, in the work of upholding the dignity and worth of all people.

While the church of Jesus Christ should never be aligned with any specific political party, political movement, or worldly institution, the church is compelled to work sacrificially and determinedly in society to right wrongs, to show compassion, and to pursue justice for all of God’s children. An authentic proclamation of the Gospel does not allow for indifference to injustices and evil in the world.

The statement adopted by the session is:

The General Assembly “affirms its conviction that neither the Church as the body of Christ, nor Christians as individuals, can be neutral or indifferent toward evil in the world; affirms its responsibility to speak on social and moral issues for the encouragement and instruction of the Church and its members, seeking earnestly both to know the mind of Christ and to speak always in humility and love; reminds the churches that their duty is not only to encourage and train their members in daily obedience to God’s will, but corporately to reveal God’s grace in places of suffering and need, to resist the forces that tyrannize, and to support the forces that restore the dignity of all (people) as the children of God, for only so is the gospel most fully proclaimed; . . .” (1958 Statement – PC(USA), p. 537).