Posted by: Rodney Shaw | February 22, 2012

Simplify the Articles of Faith

The 2011 General Conference of the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI) passed a resolution to add an article of faith on the Atonement and another resolution that revises the existing article of faith on Conscientious Scruples. For these resolutions to take effect, they must be passed by two-thirds of the District Conferences by a two-thirds majority. The article on the Atonement is a needed addition. The proposed article on Conscientious Scruples, however, is unhelpful, and what it proposes actually disqualifies it from serving as an article of faith of the UPCI. It should thus be defeated in our District Conferences.

Dilemma #1 or #2?

The reason the proposed article is unhelpful is that, instead of resolving or clarifying our theology, it merely replaces one dilemma with another dilemma. Instead of removing the potential conflict, it merely shifts the conflict to the other position.

The dilemma involves ministerial applications. It does not, however, involve affirmation statements as the Preamble of the proposed article misleadingly states: “Whereas, In signing ministerial applications and affirmation statements, many ministers are not in agreement with our stand on Conscientious Objector Status and are consequently endangering their personal integrity.” The affirmation statement only applies to two articles: Fundamental Doctrine and Holiness. The applications for ministerial license say, “Have you read the Articles of Faith and do you agree with them?” (Local) and “Do you continue to believe in the Articles of Faith and ministerial obligations?” (General and Ordination).

Currently, those who believe it is permissible to take human life in military service—indeed, who may feel an obligation to take human life—are now unable to sign an application in good conscience. However, should the proposed article be passed, the opposite would then be true: those who are against the taking of life in military service could not sign an application in good conscience because they could not, of course, embrace an article of faith that permits the taking of life in military service. The more restrictive position cannot endorse the more inclusive position. Accordingly, the conflict has not gone away; it has only shifted. For one who is opposed to taking human life in military service, the proposed change would be analogous to having one who is against abortion affirm an article of faith that states abortions should be left up to personal discretion. To force brethren into such a position ought to strike us as repugnant and unconscionable.

The Purpose of Our Articles of Faith

Moreover, the content of proposed article itself disqualifies it from serving as an article of faith of the UPCI. To see this, we need to revisit the purpose of our Articles of Faith. Let’s begin with definitions: “Articles of faith are sets of beliefs . . . which attempt to more or less define the fundamental theology of a given religion” (http://www.wikipedia.com). An article of faith is “a very basic belief not to be doubted” (http://www.thefreedictionary.com). In other words, articles of faith express what a particular group considers to be timeless, unchanging truths that must be embraced. The purpose, then, of the Articles of Faith of the UPCI is to set forth in clear, concise statements only those core doctrines that we regard as fundamental and emphatically true and, therefore, not open to opposing views.

The proposed article of faith fails to fulfill this purpose. Rather than stating a specific position, it presents a choice between two mutually exclusive positions and allows the constituency to choose which they affirm. This is entirely unlike the rest of our Articles of Faith, which do not allow “individual choice” (Preamble to proposed article) with regard to other moral or holiness matters. The proposed article is rather a statement of inclusiveness about a moral issue about which we have differing opinions. Since it does not state a position that all must embrace, it is actually a non-position and therefore, by definition, can neither be part of our fundamental theology nor “a very basic belief not to be doubted.”

Agreeing to Disagree

People tend to feel deeply about the matter of Christians bearing arms in military service, but the fact we are considering this revised article at all is evidence that we seem to be comfortable with allowing diversity of opinion on this issue.

If this is truly where we are as a movement, and if the current article of faith on Conscientious Scruples does not “accurately represent our corporate identity” (Preamble to proposed article), then the primary question in this whole matter is not how can we draft an article that everyone can affirm, but why do we need an article of faith on bearing arms in military service at all?

Matters over which we have opposing and mutually exclusive views should not be contained in the Articles of Faith. If we have agreed that no particular position is required on a matter, this nullifies the possibility of formulating an article of faith about it. By approving the proposed resolution, we are saying it does not matter what one believes in regard to taking human life in military service, and whatever position one holds will not be an obstacle to belonging to the UPCI. If this truly is the way we believe, there is no need for an article of faith to say we do not have a position. The Articles of Faith are the core doctrines around which we gather for fellowship and mission. Following the example of Acts 15, these articles should be few in number, but once decided, should be strictly enforced. The Articles of Faith are what unite us, and strict adherence should be required. Whatever we need to say about bearing arms in military service can more appropriately be said in a position paper.

We have no articles of faith regarding other matters concerning life, including abortion, euthanasia, medical ethics, taking life in self-defense, taking life while serving as a peace officer, etc., but have chosen to express our views on some of these issues in position papers. Why have we singled out bearing arms in military service as an article of faith? Although we do endorse military chaplains, this does not require an article of faith on bearing arms in military service. In short, there are other ways to state our positions in our Manual that do not create the conflict for ministerial applicants that the current and proposed articles now create. Such a position paper on bearing arms in military service would be naturally situated among other position papers such as the existing ones on “Abortion” and “Church and State Relations.”

A Recommendation

Whether the proposed article passes in our District Conferences is really moot. We still have an Article of Faith on taking human life in military service, a matter about which we are now willing to allow mutually exclusive views. Since the proposed article is thus disqualified from serving as a corporate article of faith, it should, therefore, be defeated, and then a resolution should be passed at the next General Conference to delete the current article of faith and add a position paper on this matter in the Manual.

© Rodney Shaw and rodneyshaw.wordpress.com 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rodney Shaw and rodneyshaw.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The most divisive issue in the United Pentecostal Church in my lifetime has been television. The debate was not about whether we should own televisions and use them for recreational viewing in our homes, but whether we should advertise our churches on television. That issue sent us in to a tailspin. The stench wafted across two General Conferences. I received e-mail about the issue. I sent e-mail about the issue. There were blogs. There were Internet forums. There were threats that some would leave the UPCI if the conference did not vote their way. Some published booklets in defense of their view. An entire issue of the Forward, the magazine for UPCI ministers in North America, was devoted to the debate. A survey of all ministers was conducted. Ultimately a group of ministers left the UPCI citing the outcome of that conference as their reason.

We have before us now the resolutions that will be presented at the upcoming General Conference of the United Pentecostal Church International. These resolutions include one, Resolution 6, that relaxes our historical position against Christians taking life in military service, leaving the decision up to individuals. I am writing this article two weeks before the General Conference, and I have not heard one comment about Resolution 6. I have not received any e-mail about Resolution 6. Most people I have talked to are unaware the resolution exists.

Can we delete the following text from our Manual, as Resolution 6 proposes to do, without a vigorous debate? Read More…

Posted by: Rodney Shaw | January 13, 2011

Questions to Help Christians Make Entertainment Choices

  1. Can I maintain my Christian witness and engage in this activity?
  2. Can I glorify God in this activity?
  3. Can I invoke the blessings of God, praying in the name of Jesus, for my involvement in this activity?
  4. Does this activity leave me feeling as if I have compromised my values?
  5. Would I be comfortable inviting my spiritual mentor to engage in this activity with me?
  6. Does this activity promote godly attitudes and behaviors?
  7. Do I leave this activity more or less equipped for the spiritual life?
  8. Does this activity appeal to my carnal nature, i.e., the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life?
  9. Does this activity portray, promote or condone behaviors, attitudes or philosophies which are condemned in the Bible?
  10. Do I feel guilty, like I am violating my conscience, or the need to repent after I have engaged in this activity?
  11. Am I committed to ceasing my involvement in any activity which turns out to be in violation of biblical principles, including but not limited to turning off a device or walking out of a venue?
  12. How does my commitment of time and resources to this activity compare to my commitment to spiritual disciplines and participation in the life of the church?
Posted by: Rodney Shaw | October 22, 2010

Philippines 2010—Headed Home

A rat walked slowly across the breakfast buffet this morning. He looked as healthy as a rat could look. He was fat and had a nice coat. He was not in a hurry and seemed to be at home. We reported it to the staff, but they were no more bothered by the rat than the rat was bothered by them. The rat went back to wherever he came from. The staff went back to work. This is the Philippines.

There was nothing unique about this trip. It was similar to many others I have taken, but for the sake of recording 10 days of my life, I write.

The Filipino way
The Philippines is a beautiful country. It is comprised of more than 9,000 islands which are mountainous and covered in lush vegetation. The surrounding seas are clear and beautiful. The fruit is delicious, particularly the mangos, lanzones, rombutans, bananas, pineapple, and pamelos. There are many other varieties.

The Filipinos are delightful people. Although they frequently are not trained in the finer aspects of service or hospitality or whatever their supposed area of expertise, they always greet you with a pleasant smile and in a sing-song sort of way say, “Hello, sir” or “Hello, ma’am,” which usually comes out “Hello, suh” or “Hello, mom.” Many times there will be 6 or 7 workers in a restaurant waiting on 2 guests. Labor is cheap, so workers are usually in abundance. Unfortunately, this does not always translate into efficiency or effectiveness.

The conference was in a hotel in the city center of Cagayan de Oro, a different hotel than where we stayed. It was located in a part of the city which seemed to be where the typical resident shopped. The streets were lined with small shops no bigger than a nice-sized office, often with poor lighting and very little merchandise. Every second or third shop was a food venue complete with plastic chairs and tables and dim fluorescent tube lights. The shop floors morphed into the sidewalks which morphed into the street. It was not clear where one changed into the other. There were also street vendors along the streets, mostly selling food from their carts. The buildings looked unfinished, and everything was a shade or tone of brown. The shops with glass fronts and sufficient lighting typically were grouped together but not always. There are modern shops and restaurants, sometimes in secluded parts of town, sometimes sprinkled throughout these more common establishments. Pedestrians, cars, taxis, jeepneys, motorcycles, bicycles, and tricycles jammed the streets. Everything with a horn honked.

There are three traffic laws: (1) if you will fit, you have the right-of-way; (2) do not hesitate; and (3) honk. Honking is usually not to scold but is more of an announcement. One honks to let someone know he is coming or going or that he would like to come or go.

Four-way stops are neither four-way nor stops. They are blobs of traffic where every man does what is right in his own eyes. Each driver inches forward, negotiating for space and priority, giving and taking in order to carve out his own path which immediately closes up behind him. Occasionally, due to the negligence of a distracted or timid driver, two cars—or bikes, or mopeds, or whatever—will squeeze by instead of one.

When it is deemed necessary to have a traffic signal at a given intersection—and the logic for making such a determination is never apparent—it is also deemed necessary to have a policeman direct traffic because no one pays attention to the traffic signals.

It gets dark early in the Philippines, so we made this journey to the conference in the dark each evening. There is very little street lighting, so this extreme congestion takes place in poor lighting. Not only so, but many drivers drive without headlights, thinking they are saving gasoline. This, along with the throngs of people, the dilapidated or unfinished buildings, the trash and dirt along the streets, and the overall sense of chaos makes it seem as if one is in a gang-ridden ghetto in danger of being mugged. But this is not the case at all. These are simply people going about their business, doing life in the only way in which they know to do it. They are husbands and mothers and students and common people living their lives.

People relieve themselves whenever they need to and wherever the need becomes urgent. Not everyone does this, of course, but enough do so that it is not an oddity. The men usually face away from the street. Women usually hide behind umbrellas.

The Philippines, like most developing and Third-World countries, is very dusty, even in cities. Diesel smoke can also be a problem due to the traffic congestion and the age of the vehicles. Too, people build fires to cook or eliminate their trash, and sometimes the city is literally covered in a haze.

Last night as we left the conference, working our way through the seemingly endless maze of streets, we stumbled into an extraordinarily sophisticated development of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues unequaled by most establishments even in the United States. I wondered who owned these affluent stores. Who were the customers? Would people actually drive through the chaos and filth to come here? And then, as if we crossed the border of some strange country, we were back in the dark. Back in the dirt. Back in the filth. Back in the chaos. Back in the normal.

A common tip is fifty cents. A common cab fare is $2–$3. The fare from the airport in Manila to the hotel where I overnighted upon arriving and departing the Philippines, was $6. It would have cost $30 or more in the U.S. I took a “coupon taxi,” the upscale taxi, from the airport in Manila to the hotel and paid double the fare of a regular taxi. It was $13 and took 45 minutes. Gasoline is $4 per gallon. After a driver pays for his car and fuel, he literally only makes a few dollars a day.

Accommodations
The first hotel we stayed at in Cagayan de Oro was a magnificent building . . . thirty years ago. The building had great promise. Inside was another story. The building was of concrete construction, and each room was essentially a concrete box. The floors were tile. It had a cold, unfinished feel. There was a sign over the bathroom lavatory which read, “Water is not potable,” beside which were two drinking glasses. But I have stayed in much worse. (I am particularly thinking of India and some backwards places is Eastern Europe.) This building was reminiscent of thousands of such hotels in such places around the world. They started with a great vision but never seem to have finished. Someone who knew nothing about hotel management, or interior design, or hotels decided to build a hotel.

The hotel sat on top of a hill overlooking the town. Below were countless shanties huddled in clusters, sometimes sharing walls. They were built with whatever materials could be found; most of the roofs were rusted corrugated metal. Many were no bigger than a room or two. Some housed multiple families. Some owners rented rooms—single rooms—to other families. At meal times smoke rose from these houses as women prepared food over open fires. The result was a gradual haze which ascended and filled the valley and ultimately joined with dust and diesel smoke to filter out the mountains in the background. The haze would drift away with time. But just as the mountains became visible, it was time for the next meal, and the cycle repeated itself.
The hotel had a window-unit air conditioner in each room. The unit was like a pump dumping outside pollution into my room. The room smelled of soot. I finally had to turn off the air conditioner in order to breathe.

Due to the hotel being over-booked, we had to change hotels for the last night. We moved to a Korean hotel located on the edge of town. Being on the edge of town, the pollution was much less severe. In fact, there were affluent subdivisions surrounding the hotel, demonstrating the extreme contrasts between the rich and the poor.

The hotel was only 5 years old and was no doubt the dream of some Korean entrepreneur. A lot of money was spent on this complex, but it was inadequately finished and was already falling into disrepair. Parts of the grounds were not maintained. The lobby had no drop-off point for guests, only a row of parking spaces in the front. The lobby was a patio with no protection from blowing rain, flies, or the heat. The floor of the entrance to my room, an area about 4 feet by 8 feet, was covered in mold, which added to my allergy problems. However, the outside air was not as bad as at the other hotel, so I was able to survive. This is where we encountered the rat.

The conference
This conference was a district conference, a gathering of the ministers of the Northern Mindanao district. The presbyter (district superintendent) has wanted me to come since I first visited the Philippines in 2005, but it has taken this long for it to work out, although I have returned to preach and teach at other conferences since. The conference grew in intensity each night and ended on an encouraging note.

The Filipino church is very strong. They have good leadership and have aggressively focused on starting new churches. They only license ministers who are already engaged in ministry, and many pastors pastor multiple congregations. The Filipino church has risen to the challenge and is an example from which we all can learn.

We celebrated after the service last night by going to McDonald’s. It was a treat for us all! The Filipinos ordered spaghetti and fried chicken. I had a Number 1 Combo with a large Coke. The Filipinos gave me a nice plaque and a barong in appreciation for coming. I will wear the barong Sunday.
 
© Rodney Shaw and rodneyshaw.wordpress.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rodney Shaw and rodneyshaw.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted by: Rodney Shaw | October 18, 2010

Philippines 2010

I am in the Philippines to preach at a district conference in Cagayan de Oro. There is a typhoon battering the northern part of the Philippines, but we should not be affected here in the south. This is the fourth time I have been in the Philippines and the eleventh time to visit Asia/Pacific. It took three flights to get from Austin to Manila for a total of 20 hours in the air not counting layovers: Austin to Detroit, 3 hours; Detroit to Nagoya, Japan, 13 hours; and Nagoya to Manila, Philippines, 4 hours. The 13-hour flight was a little troublesome, primarily due to the naughty child who sat behind me, screaming and kicking my seat for 13 hours. His parents said he was tired. I think he was . . . never mind.   Read More…

Posted by: Rodney Shaw | July 23, 2010

Get in the Game

We all know things are changing. When we deny change, we have to deal with other concerns, like rigor mortis.

Change always brings anxiety. However, those who are accustomed to progress know that change is inevitable. As uncomfortable as change makes us feel, we do not have the luxury of waiting for perfect conditions before we do something. We do not need more commentators and pundits, armchair quarterbacks who watch from a distance; we need more participants, more players. We need men and women—old and young alike—who admit that what we have may be imperfect, but who, nevertheless, are still committed to staying in the game.

Choose to be confident about the future. I choose to see the future as a preferred place. I anticipate great things tomorrow, and next week, and next year. I choose to live in hope, not fear. The future cannot be subordinated to our memory of an ideal past. The past does not have superior standing due to its chronological priority.

The future is always bright for a Christian minister. The gates of Hell will not prevail against the church. God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh. Greater is He who is in us. These and many other promises bring me great hope! The success of the church is not rooted in its infallibility; the success of the church is rooted in the power of God! God wants to do great things even more than we want to experience great things. It really is an alignment issue: if we align ourselves with God’s purpose, success is guaranteed. Read More…

Posted by: Rodney Shaw | March 29, 2010

What Are You Waiting For?

In his book Sent and Gathered: A Worship Manual for the Missional Church (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009), Clayton J. Schmit addresses the idea of modernizing traditional Protestant worship. He writes from the perspective of a Lutheran, and he considers the changes in worship that have occurred in Protestant churches in recent decades, including the influence of the seeker sensitive churches, the liturgical reform movement, “missional” churches, and so forth. (His definitions and perspective may be somewhat different than what you might expect.)

Although an advocate of “worship renewal,” Schmit makes some pungent observations about the effects of such renewal on a church, and he offers some clear warnings: “There is a temptation among congregations to attempt worship renewal at the expense of those things that provide their core identity. . . . Attempts at renewal in Christian churches are a commendable practice . . . yet renewal must be done with an awareness of each congregation’s core identity lest changes in worship and congregational life have unintended negative consequences” (128). Read More…

Posted by: Rodney Shaw | February 21, 2010

Shrink Wrap

I like shrink wrap. I wish I could shrink wrap stuff at home—just take a big pile of junk and bundle it up in plastic. I think you can buy the cheap kind at craft stores, but I want the industrial grade. If my kids get out of line, I could just wrap them up! I could even throw the dog in there.

The beauty of shrink wrap is that it conforms to its environment. The same wrap fits any shape. It snuggles up to and takes the shape of whatever it has been draped over. Some catalyst, usually heat, causes the wrap to shrivel up and cling to whatever is underneath it. In a sense, the plastic runs from the heat and clings to the first thing it makes contact with.

And while shrink wrap is a nifty invention for packaging stuff, it is an unfortuante metaphor for the Christian life. Albeit, it is a perfect reflection of how many go about living the Christian life. Conforming to external pressures and temperature changes can only leave one bent out of shape and looking very much like everything in the immediate vicinity. And it is very difficult to unshrink plastic wrap that has been shrunk.

Paul warned of the danger of allowing oneself to take on the shape of one’s environment: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2, NKJV). We must be careful that we do not allow the world’s values—including politics, economics, entertainment, greed, and so forth—to push us into a mold. Our thinking needs to be Christian before it is Democrat or Republican. Our allegiance should be to God before country. Our morals cannot be borrowed from Hollywood. Our sense of propriety, modesty, and decency must not be determined by those whose agenda seeks to glorify lust, fornication, adultery, and homosexuality.

I am amazed when I see evangelical Christians stand up and defend the inerrancy of Scripture, the exclusivity of Christianity, and the universal guilt of humanity and then undress down to bikinis and go swimming in mixed company or go watch adultery, fornication, and mayhem at a movie theater. This is conforming to the world.

Who determines standards of conduct? Who decides what is normal behavior? Who decides what is wholesome entertainment? Who decides what is acceptable devotion? We would argue vehemently that those in the fashion and entertainment industries should not! It is a known fact that an overwhelming majority of these industries are controlled by those whose values are inconsistent with Christian values. Why then would we adopt their standards as normative? We should not. Do not be conformed to this world.

If this all sounds prudish and old-fashioned, that proves the point. Living for Jesus Christ will eventually force a person to take a stand against culture. Jesus stood against His culture. The apostles stood against their culture. Devoted Christians have always stood against culture. Are we exempt? Is it a badge of honor that we now are part of the mainstream of society? Is it a good thing if there are no noticeable differences between Christians and unbelievers?

It makes one wonder why some professing Christians prefer to adopt worldly ways. Do they enjoy worldliness or do they fear persecution? Leave the shrinking to plastic wrap.

© Rodney Shaw and rodneyshaw.wordpress.com 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rodney Shaw and rodneyshaw.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted by: Rodney Shaw | February 10, 2010

Counter-cultural

There has been a lot of talk about methods in the past few years. Interestingly, some of our fiercest debates have been over methods, not doctrine. (Let us avoid the snare of attacking someone’s doctrine because he has a different opinion on methods.) But methods aside, it is the Spirit that draws people to Jesus Christ. Whether a person teaches a Bible study in a chat room from a coffee shop or preaches on an elaborately decorated stage in a three-piece suit, if God is not in it, the window dressing will not matter much. No matter what one’s methods, be they traditional or innovative, we all should be reminded that our methods are meaningless without the power of the Spirit.

The Corinthians were hung up on methods. They expected Paul to act like the philosophers of the day, to speak with polished words, and to accept remuneration from them as the traveling philosophers did. The Corinthians also wanted Paul to package the gospel in a way that was agreeable with their cultural expectations, consistent with their worldview that was philosophically dominated with the ideas of wisdom (sophia). In fact, they found the gospel itself to be somewhat lacking. The idea of a crucified messiah as the basis of salvation along with the idea of someone proclaiming this message (preaching) as the means to salvation was ridiculous to them. Further, Paul’s simple oratory was insulting. It was antithetical to their worldly wisdom; it was foolishness to them. Read More…

Posted by: Rodney Shaw | December 12, 2009

Two Things That Matter

Our spirituality can be summed up in two things: we glorify God and we reach the lost. Everything we teach and preach falls under one of these categories. If ever there is a time when we lose one of these, we will cease to be who we are.

Do We Glorify God?

Is God glorified in us? Does God receive glory by the lives we live? At the end of each day, can we claim to have projected glory on the Almighty by the things we have said, by the places we have gone, by the company we have kept, by the things we have purchased, by the things with which we have amused ourselves, and by the way we have interacted with people?

There is very little meaning in our Sunday expressions of worship if they are not reinforced by a life which also glorifies God. To say or sing words of praise in public worship services and not back up those words with an appropriate lifestyle is no different than Tiger Woods telling his wife how much he loves her.

When we pray the Lord’s prayer (not merely recite it), it leads us to beseech God on behalf of the glorification of His name: hallowed be thy name. When we pray for God’s name to be hallowed, it is much like praying that God would send laborers into the harvest. At some point the prayer becomes one of consecration: “God, let your name be glorified in my life today—in the words I say, in the company I keep, in the activities in which I engage.” Read More…

Posted by: Rodney Shaw | November 29, 2009

What Is “Emerging” and Does It Matter?

If you have recently become aware of the terms emerging or emergent with regard to the church and culture and feel somewhat alarmed, confused, or uncertain by what you have heard or read, you should indeed be troubled. You should not be troubled because something is emerging; rather, you should be troubled because you have only heard about it recently. The things you have been initially concerned about may already be in the dump by the time you read this article. Cultural change has been occurring at a phenomenal rate. It is accurate to refer to this as an upheaval. Conventions of all sorts are being overturned.

Commentators often use the term emerging to describe the changes that are taking place. Why? Because change is happening so quickly, any label that could be devised may be outdated momentarily. Accordingly, it is unclear what some of these new things will ultimately become or even what they are. Not only so, but there is no way to predict how two parallel changes might be impacted by a third perpendicular change. Things change so rapidly, about all that can be said is that they are emerging. Read More…

Posted by: Rodney Shaw | November 4, 2009

An Update on New Life Church

A friend of mine pointed me to some conversations that were taking place on chat forums concerning the pastoral transition that is happening at New Life Church. I am somewhat humbled that anyone outside of Austin would care about our church. I am also somewhat concerned about the false assumptions that some have made. I am amazed that people have so much time and motivation to evaluate what God is doing somewhere else. But for the record, here are the details from our church website :

Last Sunday night [October 25], we elected Rodney Shaw as pastor of our church by a vote of 99 percent. From now to the end of this year, he and I will work together much as we have been working. Both of us will be available for pastoral counseling and decision-making. All reports to the pastor should go to both of us.
 
Beginning January 1, 2010, he will assume most of the daily authority and responsibility as pastor, as I will assume full-time responsibilities as general superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church International. He and I will serve together as co-pastors through June 30, 2011, to allow time to finish our building program and capital campaign.
 
Beginning July 1, 2011, he will be the sole senior pastor, and I will become bishop, defined as advisory pastor. I will be available to preach, teach, and counsel as requested. I will have an office at church, sit on the church board, and receive a small income from the church.
 
It is unfair for those outside of our church to understand fully what this means. They only have their own experience to draw from, so let me provide some clarifying points:
 
1. We are defining “bishop” as “advisory pastor.” This means that Bro. Bernard, as the founding pastor, will be available to me for advice, counsel, preaching, or whatever I deem is needed. He will serve at my pleasure. Read More…

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