January 18, 1993
To All of Our Ministers in the United Pentecostal Church International,
Greetings in the only saving Name, Jesus!
The General Board met in their annual Mid-Winter Meeting at the World Evangelism Center on Tuesday, January 12, through Thursday, January 14, 1993. One of the most important questions of discussion involved the resolution passed at the General Conference held in Salt Lake City. This resolution called our ministerial constituency to affirm their conviction on the matter of our doctrinal position on full salvation and our stand on holiness.
The Executive Board had asked for a delay until the General Board could meet to discuss the time of implementation of the resolution. In the meantime the resolution was printed in the new Manual and in the Forward. There was no intention of the Executive Board to delay it until the next General Conference in Louisville.
The disinformation that went out from the last conference had confused many of the ministry who were not privileged to be in attend to hear the discussion on the floor of the conference. Unfortunately, some of the information was erroneous and considerably exaggerated. The result was [that] a confused fear developed in ministers who were not present at the conference. In the spirit of brotherly kindness and Christian graciousness, every member of the General Board was urged to speak their heart on this matter, and many did speak. The result of this lengthy discussion ended with the following motion made by the General Board and clearly approved, with a vote of 47 to 14.
“Inasmuch as this resolution has been passed out at the conference and published in the Forward and there has been adequate time for it to be discussed and understood by our fellowship, and inasmuch as there is a sixty day period given after receiving the resolution and in view of the fact that further delay will only bring more confusion, be it resolved that this General Board instruct the General Secretary to implement this resolution immediately and that the sixty-day period for return of these declarations of faith begin on February 1, 1993; Ammended that the statement of affirmation cannot be used a basis for any kind of complaint or charge or Judicial Procedure action; Ammended that a cover letter be sent with the statement of affirmation. This letter to contain the fact that the resolution does not give any added powers to officials.”
Following this motion, Brother Becton and I were authorized to write this cover letter. The consummate interpretation and explanation is hereby rendered:
The resolution does not give any added powers to officials. If a minister believes our message, all he must do is sign the annual statement. If he does, no official can take any action against him, except under the provisions of our Constitution and Judicial Procedure that already exist. There is no provision for contesting a signed statement.
The resolution does not allow officials to impose private interpretations of holiness standards. The only person who interprets the statement is the minister himself. If he honestly embraces the principles described in the two sections of the Articles of Faith, then he can and should sign the statement. No one can challenge his signature on the basis of personal interpretations and applications.
Some people have argued that the resolution will impose controversial views on subjects such as long sleeves, wedding rings, hair arrangement, church softball games, facial hair, skating rinks, and so on. Neither the resolution nor the statement, nor the Articles of Faith mention these subjects. The Articles of Faith mention matters such as immodest dress, worldly sports, and unwholesome music, but the specific definition and application of these principles have always been left to the individual pastor and saint.
Moreover, the methods by which a pastor seeks to convert and disciple people who attend his church is in his discretion. Nothing in the resolution changes these prerogatives.
This letter is being sent to comply with the sixty-day period beginning February 1. Your fellowship card will be sent from Headquarters when you answer within a sixty-day period.
Again, the intent of this resolution is to stem the tide of the worldly pressure on the ministry. The United Pentecostal Church has become a beacon of hope for a drowning church world which has disintegrated into “situation ethics and other strange behavior.” This is not inquisitory or cultic in any sense. I trust this letter will give you the encouragement to open a willing door to your heart and life for the continuity of doctrines given to us by God-fearing pioneers of our Apostolic movement.
May the Lord bless and keep you strong in the faith, to the Lord Jesus and doctrinally sound.
Sincerely in Christ, Nathaniel A. Urshan General Superintendent