A.G. Resolution: COMPASSION

My good friends James e-mailed me the other day in response to my most recent post. I thought you'd enjoy his example of what you might call ultimately "redemptive" church politics...

The Assemblies of God recently had their national general council that they have every two years. Normally it is not that exciting but this year they were voting to add a fourth reason for the church to exist. As it stands right now the three reasons that they had were worship, evangelism, and discipleship. There was a resolution that wanted to add compassion as the fourth reason for being. When I read through the resolutions I just assumed that this resolution would pass because it seems like an obvious good thing. When it actually got to the floor though it became a very contentious issue. Many did not want to add it because they said that evangelism usually involves some sort of compassion and then the other side said we are called to compassion even when there is not a evangelistic motivation. Anyway it was a huge fight and the resolution ended up being defeated and that sucked, especially for those of us that were watching on the internet and could not vote from home.

The thing that makes is kind of applicable to your blog is what happened the next day though. I think that when the vote happened it came pretty close to passing so it was not like it was defeated by a huge margin. The next morning the web stream fired up and sitting in the seat where the general superintendent usually lead the meeting from was occupied by the Assistant General Superintendent which was weird. Then the [camera] shot went to the floor and the General Superintendent was standing there. He had spent the first couple days of the business session saying that he was trying to remain as impartial as possible but that he was so troubled that he was the leader of a denomination that had voted down compassion ministry. He said that even though it has already been voted down he had to say something so that his conscience would be clear. He went on to talk about why he thought the resolution was necessary. That did not change anything though because it had already been voted down.

The general superintendent went on to say that if the resolution was to be reconsidered that someone who voted it down, someone who got there way yesterday, would have to move that discussion be brought back to the floor. There was this kind of awkward silence but eventually someone got up and said that they still didn't think that it should be adopted that they would move to bring discussion back to the floor. So the discussion came back to the floor and similar argument were made but when the vote happened again it passed by a pretty good margin.

This reminded me of your blog because I think that not only is it important to know when a fight is not worth it, but it is important to be willing to lose a battle that you may have already won.

I'm so grateful that James shared this "insider's vantage." It's a great example (I think) of the inherent kindheartedness in many (most) evangelicals. Clearly, their initial rejection wasn't a rejection of compassion. It had been communicated in a way that seemed irrelevant or unnecessary to them. But they were ready and willing to take action once they'd been convicted - they were open to conviction.


Anonymous said...

If forced to choose between your church and compassion, which would you choose?

That is, what is your true church?

Peter said...

I think that question relies on a false premise.

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