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The Memphis Manifesto: Five Years Later

On our Sunday there, I went to Times Square Church. It met a ten o’clock in the morning and the sanctuary which seats 2,000 was full by half an hour before the service started. 1,000 more soon filled the annex. 3,000 people with a color mix similar to my home church though obviously more black than Asian. 3,000 people who were not tolerant at all, but related to each other in love and fellowship. Stepping across a threshold at the entrance to the church made all the difference in the world. Inside was the Kingdom of God filled with delight and delightful people. Outside of the church, people looked the same, but their delight with each other was woefully in short supply.

And so, point three, love is far different than tolerance. I have looked through all my concordances and Bible computer programs and no where do I find the word tolerance. Pollution is the sin of adding something that does not belong to the mix, thus rendering the mix worthless. Tolerance is to tolerate, not to love. One can tolerate with resentment, with envy and with hate. Tolerance is sin. No matter how many times we hear how good and necessary it is, tolerance is still sin.

Now how about the Memphis confession or manifesto? What difference has this historic meeting made in your life? You, the Pentecostal minister, scholar or congregant?

My personal journey has included spending more than twenty percent of my adult life in a community where I am a minority and where mixed marriages are common. My journey has included a Japanese son-in-law and a Hawaiian son-in-law. Last fall I became a father-in-law to an African American. Three wonderful men that I am privileged to know; and they call me Dad and I like that. Sure they have their faults but they are lovable, just like you and me.

In August 1999, USA Today had a front page feature of about 25 people that we all know as leaders in different fields of endeavor. The thing that linked the people was that they were all products of mixed parentage. As I read the article I wondered if the world would lead the church into the reality that God looks at our heart not our appearance. I sure hope that does not happen.

The Memphis Manifesto will remain nice words on paper until every believer can endorse the excellence of mixed marriage. Are you ready to do this? If you are not, I am afraid that division among the brethren will continue. And in my opinion, such division will delay the Lord’s return.

H. Murray Hohns


For Further Reading:

Read Vinson Synan’s article, “Memphis 1994: Miracle and Mandate” at Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA):

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Category: Living the Faith

About the Author: H. Murray Hohns went home to be with Jesus on November 28, 2012. He was on staff at the largest church in Hawaii and served on his denomination's investment committee from 1999 until his death. Hohns held two degrees in Civil Engineering, an MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary, and served as an instructor at Foursquare's New Hope Christian College (formerly Pacific Rim Christian College) in Honolulu. He wrote six engineering books and hundreds of articles in every type of newspaper, magazine and journal.

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