This letter was emailed to IPHC Ministers from IPHC Ministries [email protected] on Tue 6/30/2015 3:54 PM.
Dear IPHC Ministers,
Revelation 11:15 tells of the time when there will be “loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’” (NKJV). As I write, I can hear the majestic sounds of George Handel’s Messiah which contains these powerful words in the “Hallelujah Chorus.” In light of the growing darkness enveloping the United States, these words from Scripture remind me of the “blessed hope” all of us have! (Titus 2:13).
All of us have been praying for the United States Supreme Court as they deliberated over the Obergefell v. Hodges case. The decision of five justices legalized sinful behavior in the United States and gave it the sanction of law in legalizing same-sex marriage in all fifty of our states. If you have not read the decision, I encourage you to do so via this link. You should not only read Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion but also the dissenting opinions from Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.
I also encourage you to read the IPHC Response posted on our website. At the close of our response, you will find links to other Pentecostal denominations, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Southern Baptist, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Orthodox Church in America. We included the links from the USCCB and Orthodox because we want you to know that there are millions of American Christians and large movements that hold the same basic views we do on this matter. We are not alone.
In his dissent, Chief Justice Roberts posed the question to the majority why their reasoning should not extend to marriages of multiple people (polygamy; pages 20, 21 of the dissent). His argument foretells that we are on the front edge of more changes to state sanctioned “marriage” in the coming years. This does not even address the changes and challenges that will come in the form of anticipated and unanticipated legal challenges against institutions, religious and non-religious, that do not conform to the godless spirit of the age.
In light of this legal decision, and the yet to be seen effects, I want to make you aware of several things:
1) This is the time for Holy Spirit revival of evangelism and holiness to impact the IPHC. We must ask the Holy Spirit to bring repentance and revival to us as ministers and to our flocks. I am convinced that the greatest witness we can give our morally confused nation is for us to humbly live in the power of loving holiness and purity. Through that, “the beauty of holiness” will shine in the darkness. May we live such that the glory and blessings of God are manifest to us and draw others to the power and truth of Almighty God.
2) The IPHC Manual 2013-1017 is very clear about our moral position on sexual immorality, including homosexuality. We are also very clear regarding our policy for IPHC ministers and church properties that weddings, anniversaries, and other marriage related ceremonies or events can only be for a marriage between a man and a woman. If you are challenged, you can refer to the denominational statement as the basis for your response.
3) I want to make it perfectly clear: IPHC holds that God-ordained holy matrimony only occurs between a man and a woman. The government can make its own laws and rulings, but we abide by the revealed will of God in His Word, the Holy Bible.
4) We are working on two documents which the Council of Bishops will discuss later in July. The first is a statement of the IPHC regarding sexual morality in our time. The second provides guidelines for ministers and congregations as you navigate various issues that arise when same-sex couples attend or visit your congregation.
5) You can find some initial guidance through this document from the Alliance Defending Freedom, particularly as it relates to transgender issues. The Christian Legal Society has also scheduled a free webinar and a corresponding white paper for clergy. IPHC is working on a statement regarding these matters (which were not as public when the General Conference met in 2013).
6) Finally, Jesus commands us to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Let our words be “seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6) as we speak about these issues. Anger, resentment, fear, and despair are not our response, rather Christ’s love that draws all to repentance. Our response comes from the Lord of Life, Jesus Christ, who has overcome the world!
If you have any suggestions or comments please feel welcome to write me at [email protected]. I encourage you to stay connected to IPHC Communications at www.iphc.org, Facebook at IPHC Ministries and IPHC General Superintendent, and Twitter @IPHCMinistries.
Dr. A.D. Beacham, Jr.
IPHC Presiding Bishop