CHAPTER XI. THE BASIC BELIEFS OF THE CHURCH WITH REGARD TO THE SOCIAL PRINCIPLES INHERENT IN THE SOCIIETY.
The Wesleyans in London were known at the beginning of the Church, for their strong opposition to the human trade and slavery particularly in Africa and the Caribbean’s, resulting in excessive suffering and slavery. It is therefore apparent that Wesleyans are mindful of the implications of social justice.
The social issues, are ideals that have been prayed for and thought about in accordance with the Holy Bible and also in accordance with the Basic Doctrines of the Church, for the dissemination of the voice of the Church based on its beliefs regarding the sufferings of people in the midst of the society. It is hoped that these thoughts may form the basis for the direction and manifestation of the prophetical spirit of the Church This is an invitation to all peoples of the Church, to share and pray for our relationships in our work and in our faith.
We still reaffirm our faith in our God the Father, in Jesus Christ our Saviour, and in the Holy Spirit, our Leader and Protector.
Based on the unconditional and great love of God, we praise him, and therefore confirm that we believe without a doubt, about the importance of each and every individual. We therefore reaffirm our pledge, to bravery bear witness to the Gospel and to all the peoples of the world, and to reach the ultimate of our fellowship in our lives and in our work.
SECTION I. THE CREATION.
Everything in the Creation, is of God, and it is up to us to think about its utilization, or we may be accused of misusing it. It is therefore important to keep and protect it, and take note of the value of every aspect of the Creation, because it was created by God. Included in this, are the water, the air we breathe, the land, the sources of power, the flora, the animals and the atmosphere. The Church has a duty to life and changes in the society, to assist in the promotion of a healthy life style, and the natural beauty, for which this universe was created.
SECTION II MARRIAGE.
We reaffirm the sacredness of the covenant of married life, which is expressed by a man and woman when they exchange vows to love one another, to help one another, to defer to one another and to respect one another. When marriage is at that stage, we then believe that such a marriage is blessed by God, irrespective of whether they have children or not.
SECTION III DIVORCE
Because of the sacredness of the covenant of marriage, we therefore believe that it is not prudent, that it should reach a stage where a husband and wife decide they should separate, in spite of every attempt at their reconciliation, and it appears that nothing else will convince them not to enter into divorce. At the same time, it should also be noted that a divorcee has every right to marry again. We wish it to be known that we have a strong responsibility for the children of divorced parents, or to a parent who has remarried. We also support the custody of such children by either of the two parties, or by both of them. We strongly recommend the Church making special efforts together with the community, to look after such children of separated parents.
SECTION IV SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A MAN AND WOMAN
We look upon the sexual relationship between man and woman as a beautiful gift from God to promote the harmonious relationship in marriage. It is our hope that everyone is capable of controlling his various cravings, until such time as he is able to fulfill his wishes, upon marrying. Although we all possess this gift of God, whether we are married or not, we do believe that sexual relationship between man and woman, should not be consummated until they are joined together in holy matrimony. It is also confirmed that the Church does not condone living in adultery.
The Church also does not condone the commercial solicitation of the human body, either male or female, whereby the dignity of the human body is degraded. It is therefore important to educate the children, the youth and adults alike, in relation to the gift of God relating to the sexual relationship between a man and woman. The Church also does not condone the homosexual relationship between man and man, or similar relationship between a woman and woman, for that is contrary to the Christian teachings and also that of the Holy Bible, and that it is also a sinful action that causes diseases such as Aids. It is therefore important for the Church to educate its members to avoid these immoral practices.
SECTION V ABORTION
The beginning and ending of a human life is of God alone. And because we are aware of the sacredness of the life still in a womb, we do not condone abortion. At the same time, we should also respect the sacredness of a woman’s body that is in pregnancy and is experiencing all the difficulties of development in her body. Therefore, any notion relating to abortion in such a situation, should be a matter for supplication and diligent consideration by all those who are responsible, such as the doctor, the guardians and advisors.
SECTION VI TAKING NOTE OF THE DIVINE RIGHTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN
Children are a gift of God to the parents, and they have a right to be kept and protected and loved by their parents. It is apparent that they are complete human beings in accordance with their respective divine rights, and there is also a duty towards them by the adults and the society. That is why we support the establishment of educational institutions by the Church in the effort to develop the young person to become a complete man and woman. Each young child has a right to good education and in accordance with the Christian faith. They therefore have a right to the right kind of food, sui9table living conditions and enhance a healthy life style and appropriate development in all aspects of life. Children should therefore be protected from all economic hazards and transgressions.
SECTION VII TAKING NOTE OF THE DIVINE RIGHTS OF THE YOUTH
The majority of our population is young people, but they often suffer from lack of opportunities and they find it difficult to become full members of the society. We therefore support all aspects of their development and promotion that they may take a more active role in decision making and to prevent their abuse. Attempts should be made to find employment for them and also familiarize them with the kind of life they should lead.
SECTION VIII TAKING NOTE OF THE DIVINE RIGHTS OF WOMEN
We believe that men and women are the same in all aspects of life. We reaffirm the rights of women to equal opportunities with their male counterparts, in employment, functions, rank and benefits. We also believe in equal opportunities for women in decision making positions in all aspects and acti9vities of the Church.
SECTION IX TAKING NOTE OF THE DIVINE RIGHTS OF THE HANDICAPPED
We believe in the equal status of everyone and their belonging to the family of God. We believe that it is the rightful duty of the Church and of the Society, to take good care of all persons and including those who may be physically and intellectually handicapped. We believe also that it is the duty of the Church and society to be aware of the talents of the handicapped and to encourage them to become active members of the Church and the society. Equally important for the Church to establish promotional programmers to assist in their active participation and involvement, and also to facilitate their transportation.
SECTION X POPULATION EXPLOSION
Because of the ramifications of the population explosion, it is therefore crucial to take action in an attempt to help stem this increase in population. It is in everybody’s interest to think about the increasing population, in relation to the concept of planned parenthood. It is therefore important to consider all information available relating to the planning of their family.
SECTION XI ALCOHOL AND RELATED DRUGS
We re-affirm our traditional support for all peoples of the Church to exercise self restraint with regard to alcohol, and bear witness to the renewal power of God’s love and calling to us. Similarly with our notification to abstain from the keeping or use of any and all dangerous drugs. We also support the establishment of educational programmes to enlighten the people of the Church to abstain from keeping or use of alcohol, tobacco, and all drugs because of the dangers to health.
We also support the enactment of laws to prevent the import, sale and distribution of all drugs. We also support the enactment of laws to safeguard society from those using dangerous drugs presenting problems to the society. It is important to consider formulating some programme to assist those who have suffered from the excessive use of dangerous drugs.
SECTION XII GAMBLING
Gambling includes poker, bingo, lottery, casino, horse racing, scratches, and any other form of gambling or gaming where one pays a small amount of money in the hope of getting a substantial amount in return. We believe that this creates temptation to the society and dangerous to the spiritual, social, cultural and economic wellbeing, of the Christian and degrades the government. It is therefore imperative that the Christian should avoid all forms of gambling and gaming, and the Church should assist those that have fallen to the wayside because of this habit.
SECTION XIII POLITICS
We belie lottery, casino, horse racing that it is the duty of the Government to protect the freedom and rights of all peoples in accordance with the Constitution of the nation. It is also the rightful duty of the Church to advise the people to obey and maintain all laws that have been enacted by the government to keep the peace in the society. It is also the duty of the Church to advise the Government of any laws that are contradictory to the Gospel.
SECTION XIV INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
We believe in the universality of the Creation. Nevertheless, there have been thoughts that clash with the apostolic faith of the Church. As such, the Church should be well prepared to search for the true meaning of the Gospel and what it says about thought provoking ideas concerning our world.
a). Countries and their Culture. We believe in the equality of all men and all are bestowed with the same love and care of God, in spite of the differences of the countries, differences of clans and differences in characteristics. It is inevitable that there should be shortcomings in all cultures, but at the same time, it is the duty of each respective country to look after its people. The Church believes that there are times when injustices are forced upon the people by certain cultures and certain propositions. But in spite of the differences in political belief as and cultures, the Church is still adamant about its support for justice and peace for all nations.
e). War and Peace. We believe that war is incompatible with the teachings of Christ. Therefore, we do not condone any form of warfare as a tool in the international or national arena. We should therefore be vigilant in our attempts to convince nations, that it is their duty to settle their differences in a more civil manner. It should always be noted and accepted, that the human being is of the utmost importance, and more so than any form of warfare. WE should also try our best to prevent force recruitment of troops for national service, and the manufacture and distribution of arms, most particularly atomic weapons.
f). The Law and Justice. Each individual has the right to feel secure and safe within the society, and have the right to live within that society, as a result of the security provided by the law. We do not condone unfavourable behaviour that causes wrongdoing by the people. We also support all activities of the United Nations and the Government of Tonga in upholding justice and peace.
THE BASIC DIVINE BELIEFS THAT THE FREE WESLEYAN CHURCH OF TONGA ADOPTS IN COUNTERING THE UNNATURAL AND UNCHRISTIAN PRACTICES OF HOMOSEXUALITY AND LESBIANISM.
The essence of this information, is based on the belief in God, as contained in the Apostle’s Creed: “I believe in the Almighty God the Father, the Creator of Heaven and Earth”. Meaning, that God is the source of all things.
The description of the Divine Faith, is clarified and enlightened by two factors. The first is the Holy Bible, and the second, is the Theological description of God. It is therefore important for the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, to have a divine faith. It is a sin and it is not a Divine act, to engage in unnatural cohabitant, by man and man, or woman and woman.
There are three(3) divine truths upon which our faith is based:
i. Living in Divine Purity
ii. The doctrine of the Christian Church
iii. The Divine rights of men and women.
(i) Purity in Living. Purity in Living is an experience attained as a result of the relationship between man and God. God bestows purity on man, but man does not impose purity on God. The explanation is contained in Leviticus 11:44; 18:22; 19:2; 20:13. where it clarified that the purity of man is the same as the purity of God. And it is required for man to uphold that purity by maintaining instant relationship with God, by carrying out God’s will so that man may attain Divine purity.
God created man as a living being to establish relationship in his spirit, his physical being, (in the flesh), and his intellectual being. It was therefore not God’s will that man should exist alone. God therefore created a woman to keep company with man, and that creation, was to enable the man and woman to coexist in body, soul and intellect.
The biblical and doctrinal foundation, is by holy matrimony as shown in His words in Genesis 2:24; “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and they will become one flesh. They will then be in a position to accomplish the blessings of procreation of God intended for man and woman. It is for a fact that this accomplishment of procreation cannot be achieved by a man and man or by a woman and woman, but only by the process of Holy Matrimony of man and woman. It is therefore not a Divine act, for the unnatural and unchristian union of man and man, or of woman and woman.
As such, there is no other purer action than in the sexual relationship between a man and woman who have been united in holy matrimony.
(ii) The Doctrines of the Christian Church.
The Christian believes that in Christ is the complete manifestation of God to the world in body, intellect and soul. It became confirmed in the history, from his birth to the ascension (33 years). The same Christ, is manifested by the Church, which comprises of people who have been called together, because of their belief in God through Christ. Such belief dictates the kind of life and action to be followed. The biblical foundation is found in 1 Corinthians 12:12-30. Paul here uses the illustration of the Church, as the Ever Present Body of Jesus. That same Ever Present Body, is manifested by people who believe God, and the ahead of that Body, is Christ. Christ becoming the Head of that Body, enables that Body to be clothed as a new man, that was created to take after God in righteousness and holiness.
Paul also uses the relationship of Christ and the Church, as the principles for holy matrimony of a husband and wife. Those are the principles that he teaches to the Ephesians in Ephesians 5:22-30 regarding the coexistence in marriage of a husband and wife, and it is based on the relationship between Christ and the Church, where the Church becomes the wife of Christ. The coexistence of the husband and wife in married life, is in the same light as the coexistence of the Church in her relationship with Christ. The traditional edict of a wife being obedient to her husband as the head of the family, also applies to the requirement for the Church to be obedient to Christ as the head of the Church (Ephesians 5:22-23). The husband is also required to love his wife, is in line with the love of Christ for the Church, when he gave his life as a Sacrifice.
Paul then applies the relationships of Christ to the Church, and that of a husband to his wife , to the directions in Genesis 2:24 “…..a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh”. Such is the Church as it becomes the Body of Christ, and unity of a husband and wife in holy matrimony. It is obvious therefore, that the relationship of a husband and wife, is that of a man and woman, and not the relationship or coexistence in marriage of man and man, or woman and woman.
(iii) The Divine Rights of man and woman.
In the beginning, it was granted to the first man and first woman, and it was to be inherited by the human race, the authority to rule over everything in creation, [Genesis 1:28-29]. That authority, is the stewardship of man and woman. That however, is not the authority to rule over individual ownership.
Stewardship, is to act as a guardian for someone else, to oversee and to develop such property to attain the honour and ultimate value for which it was invested. Man and woman, is the crowning of the creation of God. The stewardship of man and woman, is to keep and protect that honour, and not by their own right, but in accordance with the will of God who was responsible for the Creation and ownership.
It has been scientifically proved, that the greatest reason for genocide in the world, has been caused by the unnatural coexistence of man and man, and of woman and woman, causing such disease as HIV/aids.
This human transgression, does not only cause genocide, but we are also causing displeasure to God, as indicated by Paul, is his letter to the Corinthians in I Corinthians 3:16-17; “Do you not know that you are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you. If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him, For God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are.”
As such, the Conference of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, has adopted this resolution, which will be placed in the Constitution of the Church, and will read as follows:-
Unnatural and non-Christian coexistence. “Anyone who practices unnatural coexistence that is also not a Christian practice, whether it be by a man and man, or woman and woman, will not be accepted as either a Catechist, a Lay Preacher, a Minister of Religion, or is employed by the Church. Except where such a person repents, and relinquishes such behavior.”