An Open Letter to Our Membership
and to All Christians in the United States
From the General Assembly of
The National Council of Churches of Christ and Church World Service
Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, November 9-11, 2004
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,
During the recent national election, strongly felt differences within the Christian community resulted in the painful spectacle of Christians demonizing one another. We do not view the Christian community in our country as being divided into red and blue. Our view is that we are a mosaic of God's grace and presence. We need to give up caricatures of one another's positions and avoid treating others as though they were less than faithful. We must abandon behavior that is a scandal in the New Testament sense of being a stumbling block to faith.
Our differences resulted from the efforts of all of us to be faithful. While we each have deeply held values that reflect Christian moral and ethical perspectives about the world, we serve one Lord and one God. All 36 member churches of the National Council of Churches of Christ, with a combined membership of approximately 50 million, recognize the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
We believe that the Christian community in our nation stands in need of healing and reconciliation. The New Testament says: Katalagete, "be reconciled.” We invite all Christians to join us in an effort to achieve mutual understanding, recognizing that while we may disagree with one another, we desire as conscientiously as possible to obey our Lord. In the context of our faith journeys we need each other.
This is to say that not all our churches or even all the members of any one of our churches take the same positions on key issues of the day. We have a spectrum of positions among ourselves and we imagine other Christian communions may have the same experience. There is probably much overlap of views between these spectra.
We believe we need to reach out to one another for the sake of the gospel. Jesus prayed that we all may be one so that the world may believe that the Father sent him. It will be by our love for one another that everyone will know that we are disciples of Christ.
We pray that all Christians will heed the prophet Micah's command to seek justice, and love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. Therefore, we believe that God is calling all Christians in our nation to engage in conversation for the restoration of broken relationships. It is in our coming together from diverse circumstances that we believe the reconciling and healing power of Jesus Christ can be experienced.