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We are researching payroll software for our church. We are looking for something affordable (preferably under $100) to handle payroll for up to 5 employees and our minister...

November 30, 2014 0 1 comments
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This sample Church Administrator job description may serve as a sample for larger churches and provide understanding of tasks that need to be covered by volunteers in a smaller church.

October 13, 2014 0 1 comments
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The procedure for handling benevolence requests from non-members.

October 2, 2014 0 0 comments
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Do you want to know more about Insurance Coverage for your church? Church Protection Plus offers more than "inside and out" coverage. 

August 20, 2014 0 0 comments
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The value of supporting documentation for financial transactions can be measured by the degree of objectivity with which such documentation was compiled.  For example, auditors rely on bank statements to confirm the accuracy bank holdings.  The following document show some definitions and a list...

August 20, 2014 0 0 comments
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This Budget Template file is tailored to the user with a form for presenting your church's annual budget. This form also provides a comparative analysis for prior year's budget.

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Learn more about the difference between auditing and reviewing.

August 19, 2014 0 0 comments
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The following link redirects you to the IRS Publications. 

August 19, 2014 0 0 comments
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Do you have questions about your Pastor's earnings regarding SECA or FICA, Income Tax withholdings, or Parsonage Allowance?

August 18, 2014 0 0 comments
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Income tax, social security tax, and Medicare tax are paid on wages and self-employment income. Social security and Medicare taxes are collected under one of two systems...

August 18, 2014 0 0 comments
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This training tool is intended to help church leaders have a fruitful conversation about evaluation in their local setting—and to strengthen the local church by blessing its staff with timely, effective feedback.

August 18, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Form or Template

The wages scale is based on a number of criteria. This excel spreadsheet (which is a sample from a church) will help you distinguish salary grades based on that criteria.

August 11, 2014 0 0 comments
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This publication will help you better understand the tax rules that apply to your 403(b) (tax-sheltered annuity) plan. You will understand and identify excessive contributions, basic rules for claiming the retirement savings, and more.

August 11, 2014 0 0 comments
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You can deduct your contributions only if you make them to a qualified organization. IRS Publication 526 discusses the organizations that qualify to receive deductible contributions.

August 8, 2014 0 0 comments
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This document explains how to claim a deduction for your charitable contributions. The types of organizations to which you can make deductible charitable contributions are explained in the following link,

August 8, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Book or eBook

These books will simplify the accounting process and methods involved.

August 7, 2014 0 0 comments
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Ministry leaders and volunteers agree to adhere to these standards. When these standards are violated they submit to correction and, if warranted, removal from leadership or service in that ministry.

August 6, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Software or Application

The Church Software includes recommendations for accounting software and church administration software. The recommended software packages are designed to best suit your ministry.

August 6, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Software or Application

The Church Law and Tax Group has a wide variety of resources to provide financial, legal and administrative support for your ministry.

August 6, 2014 0 0 comments
Q&A

Is there a policy in the CRC for how salary amounts for church staff should be disclosed to the congregation?

April 27, 2014 0 2 comments
Blog

Many congregations rent their facilities to emerging or established Christian congregations in their communities. This seems like a win-win arrangement. But what does Christ think about such an arrangement?

April 24, 2014 0 20 comments
Blog

Does your minister have a "Continuing Education" line item as part of their compensation package? One church called recently and wondered how they could ensure that their minister used the funds each year for the primary purpose.

April 7, 2014 0 1 comments
Resource, Job Description

The Assistant Treasurer is accountable to the Administration Team for the proper recording of giving by the congregation. The Assistant Treasurer replaces the Treasurer upon retirement and serves as backup Treasurer when the Treasurer is unavailable.

April 3, 2014 0 0 comments
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The Pastor of Discipleship is accountable to the Senior Pastor for guiding and equipping members to develop and live in relationships of full-orbed discipleship. Full-orbed discipleship includes pastoral care, spiritual growth and outreach. This position will serve as a member of Shepherd Elders and ex officio member of Service Deacons.

April 3, 2014 0 0 comments
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Does your church contribute to a retirement plan or encourage contributions to a retirement plan through matching contributions? One option you may want to consider for your non-minister church staff is a SIMPLE IRA.

March 14, 2014 0 0 comments

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Hi Ben,

Your comment paints a great picture of the unique context of every CRC and an important reminder of why a one-size-fits all approach doesn't work. I'm also part of a church plant and my small group of kids there includes those from different faith traditions, those who come with their grandmas and have parents who don't own a Bible, kids in distress, and kids whose parents grew up in the CRC, and more.  It's an exciting challenge:)  And I suspect that even in churches that aren't plants we're going to be seeing more parents who are Biblically illiterate in the coming years. So it's important that the children's ministry toolkit we hope to create will include ideas and resources that are both theologically sound and flexible to shape for the different needs of the church leaders who use them. I'd love to chat some time with you and learn more about the needs of your church and the sorts of things you are doing there to meet those needs. It's the best way for us to gather ideas that we can share with other churches!

Hi Scott, 

Thanks for your feedback. Although I posted this to the Pastors page because of the comment a pastor on the Board of Trustees made about how he wished every CRC pastor was able to hear, I'd love to see the information it contains shared with elders, children's ministry coordinators, and anyone else who is tasked with choosing what and how their church will invite kids to live into and live out of God's story. It's important!

 

Hi John,

Yes! The list to which I linked is a list that's created each year by a Church Educator from the Episcopalian tradition and shared on buildfaith.org but in the toolkit we do plan to point folks to curriculum from other Reformed publishers (for e.g.e Growing in Grace and Gratitude, Feasting on the Word and LOGOS (an intergenerational curriculum) are all available through the PCUSA.)  There are also other resources available from other sources which would work in a Reformed context which we'll include in the kit. The goal of the children's ministry toolkit will be similar to our other toolkits----links, ideas, information on resources that churches can shape to fit their particular context.

Thanks for the article!

I agree wholeheartedly that our children and their Faith Formation NEEDS to be an important focus of every Church.

From the context of a Church Plant perspective, I spoke with various people from Faith Alive often over the past 8 years. I shared with them the problem we face is complete Biblical illiteracy of many people of our congregation. With 2/3 of our people coming into our faith community being brand new to church or returning after many years, most of the parents we meet have very little Biblical knowledge to speak of. While the content of Faith Alive materials like Dwell are fantastic, they have been tried in our setting and are 'over the head' of most if not all of our kids. More and more families from the area are not just coming to us with a deficiency of Bible knowledge, they are coming to us with ZERO Biblical understanding...because they didn't even own a Bible!

We serve in a Post-Christian setting where some kids think the story of Adam and Eve is on the same level of authenticity as the story of 'Beauty and the Beast.' When God brings them into our midst, guess which story they know better?

Thank you Karen! I agree with the article and the comments so far!

Two further thoughts... 

1. What does it communicate when this is assumed to be information for pastors? How about elders? In my first church I was given almost no say about Sunday School curriculum, thankfully the second church I had did value my input. And, I hope that I'm not alone among pastors in placing a high value on the input of professional educators when it comes to the pedagogy of the curriculum.

2. I hope this is somewhat of an answer to Tim's thoughts. While the CRC curriculum is an improvement on the other, I still wouldn't say it picks up on the better aspects of Reformed theology. It reinforces a sense of assurance of our salvation (justification!), but fails to plant seeds of sanctification. I've found, sadly, that many adults who have grown up in our churches actually begin to feel less assured over time because a) they don't sense themselves becoming more godly and b) the preacher seems to believe we need to hear the message of justification again - maybe that's a sign we didn't understand it before!

In my own young adulthood I went from extreme boredom with my faith to fervent excitement when I began to understand a Reformed (emphasis on Reformed!) view of sanctification - a view that put God in the lead, yet gave me a role in watching His transforming work in my life and even being allowed to participate in exciting ways! And then I discovered many others who were experiencing the same thing and then we got to watch God work in each other and support each other through the ups and downs of all that! 

Thanks for the helpful article! In the toolkit that Faith Alive is preparing, I hope we can help direct churches to other Reformed publishing houses. The linked chart of 50 curriculums appears to be heavily drawn from non-Reformed, mainline denominations (Episcopal, ELCA, UCC, UMC, etc.). There are some other great options out there that are deeply Reformed and didn't make the list - such as Great Commission Publications (https://www.gcp.org/) from the PCA/OPC. We've found their Sunday School curriculum to be very solid in our context.

While I agree with much of what the article has to say, I want us to also stop and consider that the young adults who are leaving the faith from our churches also grew up with those same covenantal teachings, albeit with an older version of some of the same curriculum.   But they are still leaving.  Somehow, we need to discover what it is that we are missing in our teaching, not just what "the others" are missing in their curriculum.  Could it be that in our covenant theology that we fail to emphasize our response to God's faithful promises?  Do we presume a faithful response acceptance because we have taught the meaning of the words?  I don't have the answers, but I am also not hearing those kinds of questions being asked within our denomination.

I second Doug's "amen".  Teaching children truisms and trite morality lessons will not equip them to grab hold of the promises sealed to them in baptism, nor will it teach them to understand/handle scripture correctly.  Children are often so much more ready and able to understand and internalize deep and meaningful truths than they are given credit for.  If we expect little from our children, we will get exactly what we expect.  The great commission starts at home and in the church and blossoms outward from there. Karen, thank you for posting this.

thx Chuck, I am in Bozeman, MT now. Doing an interim pastoral job.  Bozeman area is where I grew up. The ranch I grew up on is now run by my youngest brother. Nice to be back. I also have another brother in the area.

I left my books on the shelves in my office at Trinity CRC  St. L.   they are vacant now....I will donate them when I get back.

I saw that your dad finished his earthly pilgrimage. Great man. May your mother be guided by the Spirit of Christ as a widow.

Until then,  gil

 

We recently downsized. While I am not a pastor, we were able to donate some to our church library, and others to a thrift store our church members operate. Our children were given first choice, but books are not so much in vogue for them. We love books, but have gone ourselves to e-books better for travel, and space taken.

This verse is often used out of context.  Yet it does convey the truth, that we are judged by the same standards we judge others.  So when you judge the actions of others, be careful and ready to repent yourself as well.  

If this verse is taken out of context, then Jesus, the apostle Paul, Peter have all broken this command/advice.  Think especially of Peter's role in judging Annanias and Sapphira, or Paul's action in judging Peter for separating himself from gentiles, or Paul's command for the church to cast out or separate itself from the man who was committing adultery.  In context, judgements should be careful, loving, truthful, and humble, and more about the actions than about someone's heart.  

Jeff so did I. What year and in what?

Blessings.

Gordon is where I got a DMin but they have a lot of offerings. I would check out their Shoemaker Center or talk with Steve Macchia who works at the Pierce Center for Disciple Building.

Jeff thanks for the suggestion. What did you participate in? Any brown bag offerings? Have you interacted much with the Ockenga Institute? Thanks.

Bruce

Thank you so much for this comment, Bob. Your insights and references help give a much more accurate and complete picture (and show the trouble with picking and choosing statistics to share). One thing I did appreciate about Hatmaker's article was how she used the lens of a consumer culture to highlight the need for pastors and churches to be equippers, so that each and every person can become a disciple.

I helped distribute a retired pastor's library who is from our church. Credo was OK but didn't take much. I found the best price & distribution at the local seminary's used book store. (Multnomah Seminary in Portland). They were glad to receive all the older volumes as well as more recent ones; they had a ready market of fresh seminary students.

What I find fascinating is the fact that only 21% of pastors feel as though their employer has unrealistic expectations of them. And the posted information does not consider how many of that 21% deal with the unrealistic expectations with healthy boundaries. The fact is that according to the March 2011 American Psychology Association's survey, 40% of the general workforce feel that their employer has unrealistic expectations of them. So if 79% of the churches have realistic expectations, where does the negative stuff come from? Certainly not the employer.

As I read through the original article I find that it is exceptionally positive and hopeful for people in ministry. It is a great career with exceptionally positive working relationships, support networks and job satisfaction ratings.

Ed Stetzer's article on the misuse of statistics is helpful to blow away the myth that ministry is the worst calling in the world that leads to terrible marriages, resentful children and burned out pastors. see: http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/october/that-stat-that-s...

It would be refreshing to hear conversations that focus on helpful facts like the fact that 93% of Protestant pastors strongly agreed with the statement "I feel privileged to be a pastor" and an additional 4% who agreed with that statement (Lifeway Research). Try to find that satisfaction rate in any other career. 

Hi, Gil. Remember teaching in Moscow together. Good times.

I offered everything I had to Gary Vander Scaaf at Credo Books: https://www.facebook.com/Credo-Books-Books-for-Believers-Since-1983-1505...

He gave a fair price for what he could use (not as much as I'd like, but fair) and in my case hauled the rest away to donate or recycle. Not sure how that would work in St. Louis. Maybe you can send digital pictures of your library and get a quote on what he can use, and ship them via media mail.

P.S. I'm not quite retired yet. Got a year to go. Bit I did this when i was moving from Michigan to Alaska four years ago. Too much weight to ship that far. Besides, almost everything is available digitally today. 

I'm with Chuck, I love books. I've been blessed to have inherited a few small collections from former pastors. I would suggest finding a young minister who would be blessed by having such resources available.

Hi, Pastor Gil--

No good advice here, except to say that I wish I were closer to St. Louis--I'd drop in and buy some from you!

I'm as much of a bibliophile (or book hoarder!) as my dad was. Not sure what I am going to do if I ever need to downsize. Shalom, and best wishes on your retirement.

One of your former catechism students,

Chuck Adams

Thanks for the thoughtful comment, John. 

When Hatmaker gave statistics on pastors' job satisfaction (or lack thereof), I saw it as a way to highlight the pressure on pastors, not the fact that pastors have problems (as we all do). I saw it as a challenge to narrow the role of pastors so that they can EQUIP disciples instead of bearing the responsibility for the spiritual development of each member of the congregation (which is the Holy Spirit's work anyway). 

I really appreciate your point on God working through our weakness. I completely agree and am reminded of this every single day (thanks be to God!). 

Imagine if all pastors had their lives entirely together.  Would this be success.  Saying that if pastors have problems that this is a failure rate, points to the essence of the problem.  Because if all pastors were pathetic, and had nothing but problems, but yet the church was growing and people were worshipping God in greater and new ways, then it would not be failure.  God works through our weaknesses, through our trials and tribulations, which increase patience, perseverance, hope.   As scripture says.  

Been wrestling with exactly this over the last few months.  Have taken to calling myself "spiritual coach."  No title, per se.  But that's just fine.

posted in: So, What Do YOU Do?

I can totally relate to this as a pastor/missionary. I am curious though - what titles are you using now as an alternate to pastor in order to open doors to communication - do you have any favorites? Thanks!

posted in: So, What Do YOU Do?

Larry, thanks for this. We finally have done that. Christian Reformed and Reformed Church in America Disability Concerns, working with CRC Pastor Church Resources, chaplains, and pastors have produced a Guide for a Clergy Leave of Absence for Mental Health Reasons as well as supporting materials to present the guide to groups. Church leaders often have a good idea how to respond if pastor has a serious physical illness or accident, but they are much less sure what to do if pastor has a serious mental health crisis. We hope and pray that this guide will help churches and pastors navigate these difficult waters with grace. 

I think the listening piece is key. Thank you so much for sharing this. 

Hi Stan,

Thanks for your question. The Financial Shalom Project seeks to holistically respond to the financial challenges facing our pastoral leaders.  A significant portion of the project is devoted to support our pastors by providing grants for a variety of financial needs. Additionally, when we surveyed our CRC pastors last year, we found that many of them desired further training and resources for personal and church financial management. We are responding to that expressed need by offering personal financial management training,  online resources, consultation with financial professionals, and church stewardship training.  

We hope that by having a multi-faceted approach--where immediate financial relief is paired with ongoing financial skills--pastors will experience a renewed sense of financial shalom. 

Kris, this is spot on.  The six points you listed are key for sure. Why we think de-churched or people far from God should act like Christians when they come to church is beyond me.  It makes no sense.  Thanks again for posting.

I am wondering about this million dollar grant. Is it assumed pastors need more resources or training to handle their own unique financial challenges? What a lot of money to devote to this when there are a lot of people struggling to be able to afford the whole seminary experience (like my son, for one).

And therein we have the crux of the problem... is it the preacher or the sermon that receives the critique?   What about the poor preacher who delivers a good sermon?  The unbelieving preacher who is still true to the text?  The drunkard who preaches true?   Or, the loving pastor who can barely put two words together coherently?   The juxtapositions and contradictions of life.   "He who is not against us is for us."  To give God the glory, rather than the preacher.....

Unless you see the real statements of the Defined Contribution plan you can never know if its better than what you have in teh CRCNA plan. The variations in a DC plan are enormous and folks can contribute more or less tha what the CRCNA put into your DB plan. It is almost impossible to compare.  DBs are based on the assumption that the employer will always pay the "Defined Benefit".  As you know from the city of Detroit and some other places this is not always the case.

The question I had is the salary that this DB plan is based on. In Canada they subtract the housing allowance which can be up to 1/3 of a Pastor's income. To not include that allowance in the salary calculation will greatly reduce the pension. ON the other side it would greatly increase the cost of the DB plan.

 

In the US, DB plans in Detroit and in some places in California have had to severely reduce benefits. This risk in DB plan is not always properly understood.

I heard a piece on the radio recently that members of Defined Benefit plans should consider options of opting out of these plans. I wonder if Pastors in our churches could do that and the church would stop paying the ministry shares for that Pastor. Those funds would then be provided to the Pastor to create his own plan. The church could even double that. That process would lead to elimination of the DB plan in the CRC and weaken it significantly. Jerry Hoytema's comment should be a warning sign that our Minister's Pension Plan needs a serious review.

Bruce,

 

I've benefited from what Gordon-Conwell has offered--they have several programs, and it looks like it would not be too far from where you serve.

This is a great resource! I'm sharing in a Facebook group our ministry launched for mental health ministry leaders.

Eager to hear suggestions.

Larry I think you have given a good and agreeable reply in terms of the meaning of these words.  But without your explanation, these words are often misunderstood.  

The problem is that in many ways, capitalism is rather ruthless.  If you don't pay your loans, your property may be sold.  If you lose money at what you do, you may sell your business at a loss.  Larger entities usually buy up and absorb smaller ones, because they have the equity to do so.  A successful new business may end up putting other older businesses out of business.  

Yet, that does not mean that capitalists are necessarily ruthless at heart.  I understand there is a group of billionaires challenged to donate half or more of their income... is Warren Buffet or Bill Gates included in this?  

Materialism as a philosophical concept is certainly anti-Christian.  But most people do not understand it as a philosophical ideal, but simply as a part of reality, of common sense.  God created material, and he created us to live in the material world.  Material and goods are not evil, and even wealth has purpose.  It is very difficult for poor people to emply others or provide others with income.  

 

Anyway, thanks for your clarification.  

Larry: Just as to your #1, abstract concepts ("ruthless capitalism") don't violate commandments, even if people do.  "Capitalism" literally and merely refers to the idea that if one does not consume all that one earns but saves some to invest, that "capital" will generally increase future return, proportionate to the amount invested and not consumed.  (Many poor people have used that methodology to become not poor -- I did, having literally nothing when entering my adult life).

OK sure, there are all kinds of other imprecise definitions of "capitalism," but those definitions are just political rants or epithets being thrown about.   A "free market economy," a phrased that many would syntactically equate with "capitalism," ruthless or otherwise, and one I would prefer to use instead of word "capitalism," means that the government declines to use the power of the sword to force its citizens to "not be selfish."  I think I ought not be selfish, that being selfish violates God's law, but yet I don't think government should restrain me (or others) if I (or others) choose to be selfish, by pointing a gun (or sword) at my head, even if government should restrain me from entering the home of another and taking his money.

This is the difficulty of preaching about broadly labeled political ideas.  It can be done, but ...
 

Dear Ed,

I'll try to answer your questions in the order they appear in your post.

1.  Ruthless capitalism is capitalism that violates the 8th commandment as defined by Lord's day 42 of the H.C.

2.  Materialism is the kind of materialism that precludes people from heaven because their first love is money rather than Jesus.

3. Irresponsible socialism is a socialism that ignores loving your neighbor as yourself, "working faithfully so that I may share with those in need." Q&A 111 0f H.C.  It also violates the sixth commandment as described by the H.C Lord's Day 40.

4.  I think that the pulpit should never bully except through the power of the preached word.  It may make me uncomfortable but then I need to ask is it my defiance of the Word or my obedience to God's word at bottom of this.

5.  Amen to Christlikeness.

Larry

 

Thanks, Larry

Yes, you are overlooking the ones I am referring to. They are the endorsement through the Office of Social Justice and the drumbeat in the Banner of a one sided approach to Global Warming, Fossil Fuels, Open borders, Sanctuary Cities, etc. Recently, Rex Tillotsen, our new Secretary of State made the observation that the best way to lift a country out of poverty is a reliable flow of electricity and the best way to get that is through the use of fossil fuels. But you will not find that perspective in the Banner or in the Office of Social Justice.

When you feel the need to preach against "ruthless capitalism" just how is that defined? Have you, like many of us and our children, watched a business in which you invested your life and your life savings go into bankruptcy because you were not ruthless enough? Just drive through the thousands of shuttered stores in strip malls across the country and try to imagine the heartbreak behind those covered windows. Or is ruthless capitalism just another name for success? Was King David a ruthless capitalist? How about Abraham?

And what is this "materialism" of which you speak? Materialism employs people to make the material. Money always goes somewhere. What may look to you as squandering, may be an intentional and loving way to provide employment to others. Perhaps you remember the 1986 Tax Act. In it, a tax of 10% was levied on all luxury yachts. In this misguided assault on materialism, Chris Craft in Holland, Michigan went out of business and threw a lot of highly skilled Christian workers out of work. 

And "irresponsible socialism" needs a whole lot of explanation. To me the Office of Social Justice is irresponsible socialism.

I resent the use of the pulpit as a bullying position because members of the congregation may have a completely different motivation or set of facts than the pastor may suspect, but they have no opportunity to respond. I resent the use of my ministry shares to advocate for or against social policies closely aligned with one political party. To be sure, there will always be differences between a "tough love" vs "gushing love" approach to helping. But from the pulpit, I want to hear the part about "love" rather than one kind or another. Then I can find those who are committed to working to help as I am convinced Christ would have me work.

In short, I want a church that equips me to be Christlike, not a church that assumes it has the answers, especially when those answers are divisive, or in my mind often wrong.

Thanks for asking.

 

 

Number wise the crcna would certainly be better off if she had not debated women in office for 25 years.  The result was a kind of compromise that said both ways of interpretation of God's word were appropriate. However the compromise did not work.  We ended up with the URC with nearly 20,000 give or take leaving the CRC.  It would have been hard not to talk about it since each year we elect new elders and deacons.

If I hear you correctly you imply that there were other divisive positions the CRCNA has taken.  May I ask what they were: capital punishment, abortion, marriage and divorce, peace and war,maybe I'm overlooking theone(s) you are thinking about.  Help me out here, Ed.

Thanks

 

 

 

Please be a bit careful when you list those things you feel you must preach about, Larry. You see, 81.5% of evangelical Christians who voted, voted for a president who advocates controlling the border, enthusiastic capitalism, a degree of materialism and individual responsibility. And he was supported by a great number of evangelical pastors. Apparently you have a better insight into what scripture teaches, or you are a lot smarter than them, or you have a different bible.

Sure, you can preach on some of these topics, but I can just as easily walk out of your church never to return. Sure, you can ostracize another third of the denomination, but then do not cry when the denominational offices are starving and on the road to extinction. You have reduced your potential market to a very small percent of the population that needs the love of our Lord. You only have a message that resonates with guilt ridden liberals. You have made salvation contingent upon political views. That is the problem when you bully the institutional church, either a local congregation or the denomination, into taking a stand on social issues.

If, instead you focus your preaching on salvation through the blood of our Lord, individual Christians are allowed the freedom to respond to social issues as an expression of their love for our Lord rather than as a duty to the institutional church. I am convinced that this individual expression offers a far richer blessing.

Respectfully Larry, I think you are failing to distinguish between biblical admonitions to people and biblical admonitions to governments.  I am obliged to be a good neighbor even to those who have committed crimes like theft or drug dealing or even rape or murder.  Notwithstanding my obligation to those, government's obligation to those same persons is different.  Government  is obliged to curb those evils, which may often mean prosecuting and incarcerating those people.  

Your and my roles are often quite different than government's role.  We may be required to turn the other cheek, but government couldn't do what God would have government do if its policy is turn-the-other-cheek based.

I'm not saying I know that the current administration's policy on this immigration time-out is good policy, but I am saying its duties, responsibilities and obligations are not correctly understood by applying the lesson of the parable of the Good Samaritan.  Again, this doesn't mean the administration's policy is good policy, but, as I have suggested, neither you nor I nor the institutional church (nor even the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals frankly), are privy to the information required to in order to determine the wisdom of the administration on this policy.  Congress gave this power, and the right to have the information, to the executive branch.  Some in Congress have the right to the information, and to oversight, but you don't, I don't, and the institutional church doesn't.

Beyond that, there are plenty of neighbors that we can be good Samaritans too.  There is no lack there I don't think.

I want to thank everyone who has expressed themselves on this topic, especially Matthew for starting it.

Larry

Jesus parable applied to a man who was left behind by robbers.  His parable could also have included a robber waiting in ambush to attack anyone who might choose to help.  His parable could have included or been about a robber pretending to be hurt and robbed so that he could attack unwary helpers.  But his parable wasn't about that.  It is important not to conflate or blur the distinctions.  

It seems you are arguing and preaching to the converted, those who want to help refugees who truly need it.  But you are ignoring all the other real issues and thus your preaching will simply allienate those who are concerned about protection of the innocent.

All that I meant by referring to the parable of the good Samaritan is that Just as the priest and Levite must have had "good" reasons not to give practical help to the one robbed so it seems we are finding " good reasons" why a temporary ban on certain refugees is acceptable.  But Jesus did not see it that way.  He asked which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell among robbers?  The expert in the law said "the one who had mercy on him"  Jesus told him "Go and do likewise"

Perhaps I'm wrong.  You might be a good samaritan every day of your life but why can you not be a good samaritan toward Syrian refugees right now.  Is there ever a time someone in trouble is not our neighbor?

I'm not following Larry.  How is it that someone has said or otherwise suggested "we cannot be good samaritans in our world"?  I see that being done all the time by Christians.  I practice it quite regularly.  I advocate it.

I think the priest and the levite in the parable of the good Samaritan would have been comfortably at home in your world of logic. Too bad that we cannot be good samaritans in our world.

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