Media Questions

June 18, 2020

Our Prayerful Answers Regarding MICAH and the Media

Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church is a force for good in our city. As an Evangelical church, we take the UNUSUAL stance to be involved on all sides of the debate. We think it unwise to automatically concede theological or philosophical ground to those from an anti-faith platform. But if the church is not being “salt & light” in interfaith or anti-faith organizations, those organizations will never hear the word of God injected into the debate from a respected partner. With that said, Hope has been asked some questions regarding a magazine article that was cited in a Bible study on June 4th, and about its relationship to MICAH.

1. Did the Pastor write the magazine article in question?

No. He did not write the article. 

2. Why did the Pastor share the article with the congregation? 

The link to the article, and the list contained in it, was included with many other resources as part of the Bible study.  The article was not issued as a ‘stand-alone’ document but was intended to encourage discussion around the Biblical reference below…

2 Corinthians 5:16-20 English Standard Version (ESV)
16 
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[a] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[b] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

We apologize for the hurt, confusion, and offense we have caused.

3. Does the Pastor agree with the sentiment shared in Item 72? 

No.

4. Does the Pastor believe that people have been radicalized by Fox News? 

No.

5. The list in the article characterizes Fox News viewers as ISIS-like. Does the pastor believe that Fox News viewers are Isis-like?

Absolutely not.

6. We understand the list was removed from the church website. Could you explain why the list was removed? 

Because it was being cherry-picked and divorced from the Bible study context it was contained in. Without knowing the history of Hope Church’s Evangelical claims and our expansive works in Memphis, it was too easy for non-members to misunderstand the comprehensive discussion we have been ‘leaning into’ as a church during these difficult times. As a church, we are grounded in our Biblical mission, to engage our neighbors of all ages and ethnicities to experience Jesus.   

7. Does Hope Church believe in defunding the police?

Hope Church is currently a member of MICAH (Memphis Interfaith Coalition of Action & Hope), an interfaith religious group made up of Christians, Jews, Muslims & others who support the general aims of reconciliation, justice & economic equity. While Hope agrees with many of MICAH’s objectives, we unequivocally do not favor defunding the Memphis Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department, or ceasing the operations of ICE or any other law enforcement agency. We evaluate all of our affiliations each year to determine if we are still aligned in philosophy.

Hope Church has a longstanding relationship with the law enforcement and first responder communities of Memphis and Shelby County. Hope has had the honor of serving the Police, Sheriffs, Firefighters, Paramedics and others for decades in many different capacities. We will, without question, continue to do so.

  • Hope has hosted graduation ceremonies for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office
  • Hope hosts a Law Enforcement & First Responder Breakfast every November
  • Hope (Founding Pastor Craig Strickland) serves as Chaplain for the Germantown Police Department and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Hope hosts large funerals for law enforcement and first responders on a regular basis, many of whom have been lost in the line of duty.

Finally, Hope strives to bridge the racial and socio-economic divide in the city of Memphis. From its inception, Hope has taken seriously our Lord's command to care for the under-resourced among us. To that end, we have implemented a rich variety of successful urban initiatives that have become part of our DNA. These programs foster relationships between people from different backgrounds and lifestyles. Our Urban Outreach Ministry, led by Senior Associate Pastor Eli Morris, has created life-enriching outreach opportunities such as Urban Plunge, an immersive three-day experience of the inner-city & the Justice Tour, following and redemptively tracing the path of the Civil Rights movement through Selma, Montgomery, and Birmingham. Hope has built low-income housing, continues to provide low-cost appliance and furniture options to those in need. Hope has spearheaded the Memphis Christian Pastors Network as a way to bring churches together to tackle some of Memphis’ most difficult issues of race and poverty. Our overall mission to love Christ, serve our neighbor, and creatively minister to our community - a mission that began over 30 years ago - is the same mission of “Hope” to Memphis today.

Questions?

Please email Info@HopeChurchMemphis.com