May 14, 2020

Here is a fitting message from Pastor Jerry with biblical advice on being patient as we wait for clarity. Please note the ten principles to guide us.

Hey family,

As we have continued to pray for the situation within our county and state, I have wrestled greatly with what to say regarding the matter. I wrestle not because I lack conviction or words but because the situation itself continues to be incredibly dynamic. Frankly, the facts and facets of the matter are continually shifting and being updated. Even today, we need to add specific local municipality leaders to the list of governing officials to pray for. If you haven’t heard, Ephrata, Denver, Columbia, Marietta, and Lancaster City are now standing in opposition to the county’s opposition to the governor.

Nevertheless, when it comes to obeying governing authorities, Romans 13:1 could not be more clear when it says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” The issue that we face is, “What do we do when governing authorities do not agree?” With all that could be said about this, perhaps the most concise answer is to pray and patiently wait for clarity.

Arguably, the more pressing question for us as a church is what to do when we do not entirely agree on matters with such crucial implications in our community. Obviously, we must look to the Lord and allow His Word to order our priorities and direct our path forward. Here are a list of biblical principles to guide our processing as we interact:

  1. First and foremost, we must remind ourselves that our primary allegiance is to the gospel (Rom. 1:16).
  2. We must always seek to adorn the gospel with our words, tones, and actions (Col. 4:6).
  3. We must remind ourselves that our ultimate citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20).
  4. While we look to heaven, God calls us to care deeply for our earthly home (Jer. 29:7).
  5. We ought to care about the whole of society with special consideration for the body of Christ (Gal. 6:10).
  6. All life is precious and worthy of our protection (Ps. 139).
  7. Desiring to work is a righteous pursuit, and providing for one’s family is a mandate from God (Col. 3:23, 1 Tim. 5:8).
  8. God calls us to be good citizens who participate within the framework of the government where we reside (Rom. 13; 1 Peter 2; Jer. 29:4-7).
  9. As people process and share their personal convictions, love compels us to believe the best of one another, showing deference and patience (1 Cor. 13:4-7).
  10. The Lord has called us to extend grace and leave room for varying degrees of conviction and liberty within the bounds of Scripture (Rom. 14).

Friends, can you feel the tension in all of this? The matters before us are not simple, but our primary calling is crystal clear. Unity in Christ means that we hold fast to the objective truth of the gospel while giving one another the freedom to process and land without judgment where our conscience leads us before God. It also compels each of us to remain patient and deliberate in making a final judgment until clarity arises. Proverbs 18:17 says, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” As many plead their case, may we trust the Lord for wisdom and discernment.

The one passage that seems to capture the clearest picture of all these principles is 1 Timothy 2:1–4.

1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

So from here, we pray for those in authority, seek peace, godliness, and dignity in our interactions, all to the end that the mission continues without hindrance. These are the essentials that drive us.

In all this, I commend you for your patience thus far. I am proud of our church and the unity we have demonstrated. Once again, you are proving to show maturity that honors the Lord. Hold tight, friends; don’t grow weary. The Lord is working out His plan.

Speaking of plans, would you please pray for our pastors and elders as we meet tonight to continue our conversations regarding all of this and our path forward?

I love you, Church!

Jerry Lingenfelter
Senior Pastor