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THE SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND INVOLVEMENT

OF THE FULL GOSPEL CHURCH OF GOD OF GUATEMALA

An excerpt by Richard E. Waldrop

Church of God Theological Seminary

"Historically the unwritten position of the church is that its members should stay out of politics and concentrate on the "preaching of the Gospel." This is slowly changing, however, and the church is more and more accepting the fact that members are free to participate in the political process of the country, including that of belonging to a particular party or holding to a given political ideology, when these do not usurp one's loyalty to the church and to the Gospel. As a whole, the church would tend to take a more non-violent, peaceful stance against participation in civil strife, echoing the earlier

Pentecostal counter-cultural and pacifist tradition, although quite a few of the church's young men are regularly inducted into military service against their wishes.

The entrenchment of institutionalized violence on the part of the para-military and government forces, as well as the guerilla violence against the army and the rich, sadly has served to fuel the flames of numerical church growth and spiritual hunger which has benefitted the Full Gospel Church of God. Hopefully, it has also served to help the church to confront its social and political responsibility as well.

As we mentioned earlier, new voices are being raised and heard in the Full Gospel Church of God, and the call is going forth for the integration of spirituality, evangelism, education, and social transformation. We believe that the future will see a more holistic emphasis given to the life and mission of the church.

In a very powerful message to the delegates to the International Congress on World Evangelism, sponsored by the Church of God in Cleveland, Tennessee in the summer of 1983, Josť Minay called for a greater degree of social responsibility on the part of the entire worldwide movement, and a broader understanding of the difficult task facing the church in places like Guatemala. We hope and believe that, given the social context of Guatemala and the new generation of leaders coming up in the church, God will continue to pour out his Spirit upon the long suffering people of Guatemala and give his church the insight to offer biblical and socially relevant solutions to the complex and pressing needs of the country."

For the entire article click http://www.pctii.org/cyberj/cyberj2/waldrop.html

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