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2009 Conversations

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2002 Conversations

Ron McManus: Leadership center launched (December 30, 2001)

Norman Arnesen: History's supreme event (December 23, 2001)

Dr. Everett Bartholf: Help for the holidays (December 16, 2001)

"Auntie" Anne Beiler: God has a plan (December 9, 2001)

Mary Inman: Raising seven sons for Christ (November 25, 2001)

Tony Hall: Feeding the hungry, one person at a time (Novemer 18, 2001)

John Maracle: A growing Native American Fellowship (November 11, 2001)

Al Peterson: Praying for national leaders (October 28, 2001)

Beverly LaHaye: The family is God's gift (October 21, 2001)

Terry Meeuwsen: Putting family first (October 14, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Changing the world, one student at a time (September 30, 2001)

Nate Cole: You are not alone (September 16, 2001)

George Cope: Training pastors, missionaries and evangelists (September 9, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: Breaking down the barriers (August 26, 2001)

John Kilpatrick: The blessings and challenges of revival (August 19, 2001)

Marie Colwill: A passion for evangelism (August 12, 2001)

Lottie Riekehof: The Joy of Signing (July 22, 2001)

John Castellani: Teen Challenge: The Jesus factor (July 15, 2001)

Mike and John Tompkins: Publishing newspapers and proclaiming the Good News (July 8, 2001)

Chuck Girard: Music, marriage and ministry (June 24, 2001)

Stanley Burgess: The value of a godly father (June 17, 2001)

Dennis Franck: Single Adult Ministries Agency (June 10, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: The work of the Holy Spirit (May 27, 2001)

Stephen Tourville: The changing church in America (May 20, 2001)

Margaret Columbia: Raising 17 children for Christ (May 13, 2001)

Donna Fahrenkopf: Wanted: a life change (April 29, 2001)

Sean Smith: Spiritual attacks on young people (April 22, 2001)

Josh McDowell: Is the Bible true? (April 15, 2001)

Joyce Meyer: Being a practical Christain (April 8, 2001)

Paul Drost: Multiplication (March 18, 2001)

Bill Bright: Fasting for 40 days (March 11, 2001)

Beth Grant: Women in ministry (February 25, 2001)

Alicia Chole: His people and His presence (February 18, 2001)

Cris Carter: Playing on God's team (January 28, 2001)

Randall K. O'Bannon: The value of life (January 21, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Secular colleges: a vital mission field (January 14, 2001)

Breaking down the barriers

(August 26, 2001)

David Moore, commissioner of ethnic relations for the Assemblies of God, recently spoke with General Superintendent Thomas E. Trask about racial prejudice in American society and in the church today.

Evangel: Is our society making progress in dealing with prejudice?

Trask: I think we’ve come a long way since Selma, Ala. I wish I could say prejudice has been removed from society. However, that is not the case. I believe it is the responsibility of the church to play a major role in alleviating prejudice. We don’t have a right to call ourselves Christians if we harbor feelings in our hearts that prevent us from fully accepting everyone regardless of racial or ethnic background.

Evangel: Do you see evidences of prejudice in the church?

Trask: I believe it is isolated. What I am seeing in our church is that prejudices are breaking down. I see many congregations of diverse ethnic backgrounds. I also see more diversity on church governing boards. This is a picture of what the church should look like. When Jesus said, "Go into all the world and make disciples," He did not say to go only among a select group.

Evangel: There is often a general acceptance of people of other races and ethnic backgrounds, but less acceptance of their cultural expressions and worldviews. Do you agree?

Trask: Yes. We need to understand that people of different ethnic backgrounds have traditions and ways of doing things that are not the same as many of ours. Some have brought these with them from their homelands, and it gives distinctiveness to their heritage. By showing appreciation for those heritages and cultural differences we attest to the bigness of the gospel.

Evangel: Many immigrant groups have governing structures, worship styles, and even preaching methods very different from most in our churches. Should we try to help them adjust to our expectations?

Trask: No. I think flexibility is the key. If it fits and believers are comfortable we should not try to make them fit the framework of American culture.

Evangel: Where do we draw the line?

Trask: Our doctrine is not negotiable, but how we set up a church board and how we worship – these are areas where we must be flexible. For example, we in America are accustomed to worshiping on Sunday morning while some groups worship on Sunday afternoon or Sunday night. That is not something we should try to change.

Evangel: There seems to be a polarization in ideological viewpoints between races, particularly between whites and blacks.

Trask: We have to be careful not to make political ideology part and parcel of the gospel. There is one Lord, one faith and one baptism. That has to be the measuring stick.

Evangel: Men and women in the Assemblies of God of both major political parties hold office.

Trask: And I am grateful for this. I believe Christians should be involved in politics. We are called to be salt and light, so we need to have the influence this provides.

Evangel: Would you offer some advice to the layperson who sincerely wants to see reconciliation among races?

Trask: All of us need to do everything we can to express appreciation and love one for another. The Scripture says, "Love never fails." Love has to be the power plant of the church. The love of Christ made Pentecost so powerful in Jerusalem, in Samaria, and then to the Gentiles. It allowed the gospel to move across cultural barriers. Our churches need to embrace others and empower them for ministry.

Evangel: Anything else?

Trask: I would reiterate that we need to be tolerant of differences based on the cultural experiences of others and not try to make them think and act like us. A healthy church should be able to attract men and women of all backgrounds. We are now having missionaries come to America from other parts of the world to evangelize. This should sharpen us to be sensitive to the needs around us.


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