by Bishops Linda Adams, Keith Cowart, Matt Whitehead
As Free Methodists, we believe God calls us to responsible citizenship as one expression of Christian discipleship. While our ultimate loyalty is to the kingdom of God, we also commit to pray for leaders and work for the common good in the communities and nations where God has placed us. Since the 1940s, the FMCUSA has joined other biblically faithful Christians in addressing public policy issues through the collective voice of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). In these days of national uncertainty leading up to the November 3 election, we join other NAE members in signing the following statement, which we endorse as consistent with our Free Methodist values. Co-sponsored by World Relief, another organization with which we are partnered, “For the Health of the Nation” is an invitation to all followers of Jesus to seek the health of our nation for the good of all people. We commend it to you.
Bishops Linda Adams, Keith Cowart, Matt Whitehead
Free Methodist Church – USA
As evangelical Christians, we are called by Jesus to love God and to love our neighbor. As citizens who follow this call, we must engage with humility, civility, intellectual rigor and honesty in the complex and contentious social issues that face our nation. We invite all followers of Jesus — whether Democrats, Republicans or Independents — to join us in seeking the health of the nation for the good of all people.
We first acknowledge that we have not always loved God and loved our neighbor, and we repent. Despite the example of Jesus and the teaching of Scripture, many of us have not adequately opposed the unjust systems that fail people of color, women, children and the unborn. We have not always fulfilled God’s commands to protect the immigrant, refugee and poor. We have not always treated those who hold different opinions — both inside and outside of our faith — with dignity. We have not always displayed the beauty of the gospel of Jesus or the joyful relationship with Him through faith.
Faithful evangelical civic engagement and witness must champion a biblically balanced agenda. We renew our commitment to follow the way of Jesus in our personal lives and our spheres of influence, seeking the flourishing of our communities through just and merciful laws and leadership. This includes:
- Protecting religious freedom and liberty of conscience
- Safeguarding the nature and sanctity of human life
- Strengthening marriages, families and children
- Seeking justice and compassion for the poor and vulnerable
- Preserving human rights
- Pursuing racial justice and reconciliation
- Promoting just peace and restraining violence
- Caring for God’s creation
These principles are detailed in “For the Health of the Nation,” published in 2004 and available at ForTheHealth.net. While these issues do not exhaust the concerns of faith or government, they illustrate broad commitments in which evangelicals can engage in common action.
The needs of the moment are critical. We resolve to:
- Seek racial justice and reconciliation, asking for or extending forgiveness on an individual, local and national level;
- Uphold a comprehensive pro-life ethic that protects both the unborn and the vulnerable of all ages, enriching life through equal opportunity and justice so that all women and men may flourish;
- Resist being co-opted by a political agenda and instead pursue the breadth of commitments that Jesus displayed and Scriptures teach;
- Embody God’s love for all, treating people with dignity even when we must confront them as required by our Christian conscience and convictions; and
- Pray for all who carry the responsibilities and burdens of leadership.
As we trust in God, we commit to the biblical calling to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. We invite you to join us.+