When we complete our voting Tuesday, Nov. 8, let us all remember that we are one nation. How can we fight a war to defend our homeland, help in a natural disaster, or come to the aid of our brothers and sisters if we remain divided?
We can't continue to blame others for acting like we are not interdependent. As clergy, we know what's right, yet too many sit on the sidelines and remain quiet because of political or doctrinal views. Whatever political party wins, we are still sisters and brothers, one nation under God. More importantly, we are the United States of America.
When, in the course of human events in recent times, it becomes necessary for the church to attack and tear down the wall of division and strife which has separated brothers and sisters from one another, we as clergy members should raise our voices and cry loud and declare among the powers of the earth the bonds of love and unity in the community with which the Lord Jesus Christ has left the example.
I'll take a stand and say as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "We live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools."
I know this to be true and God-ordained that all are created equal and have the same origin in Adam. For of one blood God has made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth and hath determined the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitation in origin, purpose, and destiny, we are one.
I affirm these truths today, that the Church has been instituted among men by our Lord Jesus Christ, who considers it His body. Whenever any doctrine or practice of man, not having been inspired by the Holy Spirit, becomes destructive of these ends, it is the DUTY and OBLIGATION of God's servants to stand up and set forth the truth, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to agree with the word of the almighty God.
When a long train of traditions, habits, and usurpations attack the dignity and spirituality of God's people, resulting in the fostering of beliefs contrary to the Word of God, it is the duty, it is the obligation of God's servants, not to remain quiet, but to throw off such practices and to declare the truth of God in this earth, that regardless of denominations we stand unified.
God is not concerned about our church affiliations. We are all one in the name of the everlasting God.
Some religious persons have said, "Your denomination is not the same as mine, therefore we shouldn't work with him or her. We shouldn't have fellowship with them we should exclude them." Such has been the sufferance of some faith leaders for decades in the Pine Bluff area.
Now is the necessity which constrains me to confront the aforementioned heinous doctrines of darkness. The history of division and strife in the Pine Bluff area is a history of repeated injury and usurpation of the integrity and humanity of persons who differ in doctrinal conviction, all having in direct object the establishment of separations and divisions between churches and people.
Brothers and sisters, let the facts be submitted to a candid city:
* A spirit of denominationalism and politics has caused us to focus on doctrinal and political differences when God has called us to love one another and not be divided. (I Corinthians 1:10), KJV.
* A spirit of racism has been promoted to usher in strife and division for many. (I John 4:21), NIV.
These two problems have existed for some time, and we must confront these sicknesses openly so that we may be all as God intended, as individuals and as a community. Should we fail to face these problems we will be challenged with the question that Eichmann chose to ignore: How responsible am I for the well-being of my fellows?
"To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to do it...Love is the only power we have as Christians capable of transforming an enemy into a friend." -- MLK Jr.
"...If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us." -- I John 4:12.
When the season of elections is over, let us come together remembering that we are one.
Rev. Jesse C. Turner is the pastor of Elm Grove Baptist Church at Pine Bluff.
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