A message from Pastor Gillin

A Statement of Conviction and Compassion Rejecting Evil Racial Ideologies

Walla Walla Presbyterian Church joins with the vast majority of the Christian community to unambiguously condemn hateful white supremacist ideologies. This ideology, and others like it have existed in each generation and have recently been brought into glaring attention by the evil events of Charlottesville, Virginia.

We want to be clear. This ideology is hostile to God as revealed in scripture, and through the incarnation and witness of Jesus Christ. “Therefore this ideology must be antithetical to all who follow God. It makes a mockery of the Father, our Creator, who knit each of us together in our mother’s womb. It ridicules the cross of Jesus, our Redeemer, in whom there is neither Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male nor female. It disdains the work of the Holy Spirit, our Sustainer, who has baptized us into the one Body of Christ.

Friends, it is hateful … and it is heresy.”1

At Walla Walla Presbyterian we instead desire to be found evermore faithful to a Kingdom vision that shows God’s will here on earth as it is in heaven: “a vision of every tribe, nation, and tongue finding its place of belonging and reconciliation at the feet of Jesus. We don’t always get it right, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t right.”1 In Christ Jesus God is reconciling the world to Himself and He has given to the church His ministry of reconciliation. Father: renew in us we pray the conviction that Jesus breaks down the dividing walls of hostility.

As inheritors of this great tradition and ministry we press on towards the goal, we stumble, we ourselves need correction, yet we are not allowed to keep silent in face of attacks on the gospel and the Kingdom work of the Holy Spirit particularly when silence can be misunderstood or mischaracterized as complacency, fear, or approval.

We grieve the senseless loss of life, we pray for family and friends left behind to grieve for years, we pray for their comfort. We read and hear with pain the finger pointing and division we are experiencing in our nation. We covenant together to resist the temptation to miss-characterize others, or to crassly use this evil for our own political gain. We pray for the revealing and convicting work of the Holy Spirit to show us our wrongs and hatreds that we might repent. We condemn hateful, unjust, heretical and Godless ideologies but would never assume the position to judge others.

We ask that we might be given the grace to pray for those with whom we disagree. We pray for the Spirit to work in them, to convict and reveal God’s grace, even as we pray the same for ourselves. We join with Bethane Middleton Brown and the other Members of the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston SC. victims of the 2015 shooting who taught us how to forgive our enemies and with her we say, “We will not let hate win.” We reject the ideology of hate and choose to pray for our enemies.1

Albert Gillin,

1Gary Walter, Covenant Companion, the magazine of the Evangelical Covenant Church. Quotes and paraphrases and some structure taken from this author.

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