What do you when the news is talking about you? What is there to be done when you can identify with a complete strangers’ struggle? Well, all that depends on who you are. If you're a journalist,, you write about it!
Bishop Marvin L. Winans and the Perfecting Church were drug into the news on last week as member and unwed mother Charity Grace was denied the privilege of her child being a part of the church baby dedication service this past Sunday.
There’s no way to not feel something when you read about Bishop Marvin Winans’ refusal to ‘bless’ babies born to unwed mothers. This story is interesting to say the least. It’s another polarizing story because either you agree with the mother that brought this story to secular news or you agree with Bishop Winans.
For those that agree with Bishop Winans, that case has been stated well in the news. Many local Pastors have expressed agreement with Bishop Winans’ policy and have stated that they practice the same policy in their church.
What is disturbing about this is that the children get left out, prompting me to ask this question: “Why Can’t the Children Come?"
In Matthew 19:14 Jesus rebuked his disciples and uttered these famous words: “…Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
The church bears the responsibility to receive all people especially children regardless of the circumstances surrounding their conception.
A parent’s decision to bring a child to Christ (not the church, nor the Pastor) is the BEST decision they can make for their child. Amazingly, Jesus didn’t inquire or challenge the parents when they brought their children to Him. Many children were brought to Him for healing and miracles, but these parents merely wanted Christ’s blessing over their children.
Many today are troubled about the conception; but for those parents, the inception of Christ’s blessing was paramount!
Keep the main thing the main thing…FOCUS!
In Luke 10:41, Jesus answers Martha in her criticism of her sister Mary. Jesus answered her, saying: “Martha, Martha thou art careful and troubled about many things, whereas but one thing is needful." In this case, what is that one thing? That one thing that is needful is seeing that the children have an unimpeded path to Christ!
Look at Jesus’ sharp criticism of Martha:
-The wrong thing has your focus: “Mary has chosen the good part…” Lk. 10: 42
In the Matthew text, Jesus invoked the Kingdom of Heaven on the children’s behalf. Noted theologian Matthew Henry spoke of this text saying:
“…the children of believing parents belong to the kingdom and are members of the visible church. For this reason they are welcome to Christ, who is ready to entertain those who, when they cannot come themselves are brought to Him. “
So why can’t the children come?
Well let’s be objective here. These are the established rules at the Perfecting Faith Church. Did this mother know that these rules were in place long before she tried to make arrangements for her child to be blessed at the service?
· Was the mother out of line to decline the offer for an elder to perform the blessing in an office?
· Was she out of line to bring this story to the news?
· Was there enough teaching beforehand that would have provided ample understanding to parents like this young lady?
· Is this another example of religiosity gone wild?
Religiose: especially : excessively, obtrusively, or sentimentally religious (Religiosity is the noun form).
You can also hear Fred's teaching on this on the SoulProsper Radio Show
Monday October 21 at 8 pm CST and Wednesday October 23 at 1 pm CST.
Looking at all those scenarios and possibilities you have to wonder how and why the decision not to bless babies of unwed mothers is in place to begin with. The purpose of this article is NOT to absolve anyone from the command to live holy before holy God. It in no way places blame on Bishop Winans nor his church and fellowship for not doing so. What this article will do is beg a pertinent question: “What did Jesus do?”
Religiosity in its most extreme measure overlooks Jesus’ response in most cases. In Bishop Winans’ case, certainly there is something in his life that would exclude/preclude him from something that grace has made provision for.
Matthew Henry says of the text in Matthew 7:1-3: “If we be modest and charitable in our censures of others and decline judging them and judge ourselves rather, we shall not be judged of the Lord…As God will forgive those that forgive their brethren, so He will not judge those that will not judge their brethren. The merciful shall find mercy.”
Jesus says of being judgmental, that your judgment of others will be met with the same measure and method in return. Upholding this standard and principle, Bishop Winans has further subjected himself to the scrutiny and prying of watching eyes worldwide.
Romans 14:10 reminds us that we shall all stand before the Lord. James 3 gives believers an overall lesson in how to handle one another! Finally, in Mark 9:42 Jesus issued a warning admonishing anyone causing his “little ones” to fall. It is my personal opinion that policies like this one upheld by Bishop Winans and the Perfecting Church do more harm than good.
Religion and its rules are meant to be broken. It’s not hard to find examples of the rules being broken or altered. Take for instance the Pastor now espousing similar beliefs, now married who happily brought his children (born and conceived out of wedlock) to be blessed with no objection.
What about the Pastor whose policy it is to not support children conceived and born out of wedlock by not allowing a baby shower to be held at the church? This same Pastor made no bones about the church hosting a baby shower for his granddaughter when she became pregnant out of wedlock.
There’s a saying that rules were made to be broken. Not following the Lord’s rules and commandments led to a broken people. Today I thank God for His mercy. He broke the rules for me. He broke His only begotten son for me. Romans 5:8 says that: “…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…” Much like helpless babies, Christ blessed us and made salvation available for all that will come to Him.
My story began as a child born out of wedlock. As an adult now 31, I can say without a doubt that God has blessed me and has affirmed me with his ultimate stamp of approval. Whether man chooses to or not, it is GOD alone who does the blessing of children, regardless of the circumstances surrounding their conception. I credit my grandfather Leroy Wilson, Sr, Dr. J.B. Horton and the Rev. Joe A. Foster for their impartation into my life as a young man.
Concerning myself and my sisters, a lot was said about us. Our successes in life are due to God alone. Our mother fought for us constantly and more than that, she covered us in prayer and showed us the way to Christ. She led each of us to Christ individually as our hearts turned toward Him. Both of my sisters are college graduates. As for me, well my life continues to be history in the making! For a little about me, you can visit any of the tabs above or visit the 3john2music site for an in depth look at Jesus' blessing on my life! In the words of famed gospel songwriter Luther Barnes, we're still holding on!
It would take half of Pastor Shirley Caesar's catalog to fully express my gratitude for everything my mother has done for me! I write this article in gratitude for it and as an expression of love for all she taught me, especially in the face of hard times! I love you, Valerie Mitchell and above all else, I'm eternally grateful for showing myself and my sisters the way to Christ!!
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