One of our recent Facebook posts, “Better Together,” resonated with many friends. Certainly MF4i’s goal of having churches decide when, if, and how they are inclusive for LGBTQ individuals and couples builds space for us to worship and work together to spread the mission of God’s love and avoids the schism that is dreaded by all.
But why are we better together?
In our polarizing, political and anxiety-filled world, people want to see that Christians can rise above dogmatic disagreements and still work together as followers of Christ. The Covenant denomination long ago decided it was crucial that while we agree on matters essential to salvation, we are free to disagree on nonessential matters and still be united in Christ.
David Nyvall, the first president of North Park College, wrote that “Our first principle is that every true believer has a right to church membership with us in all respects, and that it would be mortal sin and treason to exclude someone who the Lord himself has received.” 99 LF
We can disagree with each other and stay united, indeed, that is part of our call. Paul appealed for unity to the church in Corinth, “by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.” (1 Cor. 1:10)
In John 17:20-23, Christ prays to God for all believers “that they may be one, as we are one.” What unites us—devotion to Christ, loyalty to the ethos of the Covenant, and finding joy and purpose in acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God—should be the bridge where we meet over our differences.
MF4i’s mission statement, “We embrace the diversity of the Body of Christ and advocate for the freedom of Evangelical Covenant churches to fully include people of all sexual orientations and gender identities,” also supports the idea that we are better together.
Who belongs in the Covenant? All who love Jesus. All who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. All who have experienced grace beyond measure, forgiveness without end, and love that defies definition and logic. This includes those who support full inclusion of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in the church – and those who do not.
Let us work, pray, worship, and live together as fellow Christians and Covenanters – better together.
Photo Credit: Kelsey Stevens Photography
This essay is part of a series elaborating on the goals of Mission Friends 4 Inclusion. Please share with anyone who may be interested. If you’d like to contribute to our ongoing efforts to help the Evangelical Covenant Church be a more hospitable place for LGBTQ people, please consider donating.