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Bringing people together under Christ (part 2)

Editor’s note: General Superintendent Thomas E. Trask talked recently with Ken Horn, managing editor of Today’s Pentecostal Evangel.

PE: Brother Trask, what is your vision for the Assemblies of God?

TRASK: I’d like to see this Fellowship continue to be a strong Pentecostal body, a current New Testament church that reaches across boundaries to other fellowships, partnering with those that have the same heart that we do, praying with those for the evangelization of America and the world. I believe this is the greatest day of opportunity given to the church, and we are going to see that intensified. World events are going to bring greater focus upon the church. The Scripture says the world will know that we are followers of Jesus by our love one for another. That is the greatest testimony for any Christian fellowship. I believe God has raised us up to be that Pentecostal witness in this day and hour.

PE: Comment on the opportunity to work together with the Church of God in Christ.

TRASK: Our doctrine is practically identical to theirs, and I believe there are enough opportunities that we can partner together to make a statement to the church world and to the unchurched that we are brothers and that our mission is the same. We both want to reach people for the kingdom of God. It isn’t the Assemblies of God or the Church of God in Christ; it’s the kingdom of God. That has to be the canopy that moves us and drives us and motivates us — what is best for the kingdom of God. If that will be our heart, then God will take care of the unity.

PE: What would you like to say to Assemblies of God readers about Bishop Patterson and the Church of God in Christ?

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TRASK: I have a deep love for Bishop Patterson. He is a man of sterling character. He is an outstanding preacher. He pastors one of the great churches in America today. Whenever I have opportunity, when I’m on the road I try to pick up his telecast. I thoroughly enjoy it. I have had the privilege of being in his pulpit. His church is made up of wonderful people. The thing that I especially appreciate about Bishop Patterson is that he sees the need as I do for the churches to come together. I don’t mean organizationally, but relationally. I believe that comes out of an understanding of the body of Christ. We need to embrace that, not just with verbiage, but also in demonstration. Bishop Patterson does that again and again and again, and I applaud him. He is a great leader.

I pray the Assemblies of God has the privilege of fellowshipping more closely with the Church of God in Christ in days to come. We can learn from these godly people. The Church of God in Christ loves the church. They have a high regard for leadership. We in the Assemblies of God can benefit from these qualities. And I pray that when people look back on this period of time that they will say that our two churches and others joined together to take a stand against the racism and prejudice that still exist in America.

PE: What do you see as the pressing needs in our nation?

TRASK: I see the need for the church and for people to know what truth is. I’m told that the greatest percentage of Americans don’t believe there is any such thing as truth today. That is frightening because then you have what the Scripture says, “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). The church has to become the beacon of light that brings truth, because with truth comes conviction. With truth comes conduct that is wholesome. You dismiss that, and you have taken away the very fiber and substance that governs all aspects of society. You’ll end up with greater immorality and chaos. The church has to become the herald of truth, and truth is only found in the person of Jesus Christ.

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