Independent Presbyterian Church believes that God’s mission is to unite all things in heaven and on earth in Jesus Christ (Eph 1:10). In the church, God is bringing together different races, ethnicities, and classes (Eph 2:13-14). The result is a beautiful community, in which diversity is brought together into unity through the Cross.
Since this is God’s mission, we consider our past and present failures to love our neighbor as ourselves and press on to promote the healing of Memphis (Jer 29:7). Our desire is that God’s kingdom would come and his will would be done on earth as it is in heaven, that we would be new people for a new Memphis.
We believe that all human beings are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). That means that no single race is superior or inferior to another—all bear God’s image and reflect his glory. After Adam and Eve’s sin, though it is marred, God’s image continues in all of us and in each one of us.
Scripture teaches us that God is a God of justice (Isaiah 30:18). Ultimately, God’s justice works with his grace. Though we deserve condemnation through the Fall, God is gracious to us through Christ. He is both just and the justifier who makes us right with him again (Rom 3:24-31). This is part of his purpose to reconcile the world to himself (Col 1:20;
2 Cor 5:19).
As believers in Jesus Christ, we are recreated to pursue justice in this world as well (Eph 2:10). As John Calvin observed, “The Law is kept only when men are just, and kind, and true, towards each other; for thus they testify that they love and fear God, and give proper and sufficient evidence of sincere piety.” Commitment to justice, mercy, and faithfulness demonstrates commitment to Christ (James 2:14–26). Thus, our care for the poor and oppressed must be as evident as our concern for doctrine.
“We are confronted in Scripture by the true and living God, who loves justice and hates injustice, whose anger is roused by evil and rests on evildoers, and who is moved with compassion toward all those who suffer.”
— John Stott, forward to Gary Haugen's book Good News About Injustice
- In 2018 Shelby County reported 3,053 abortions (Shelby Co. Dept. of Health).
- 66% of students not reading on grade level by 4th grade will likely be in jail or on welfare (Arise2Read).
- 38% of Memphis children live in poverty and are, on average, three grade levels behind their more affluent peers in reading (Arise2Read).
- Approximately 199,000 incidents of sexual exploitation of minors occur every year in the US (A Way Out Ministries).
- 45% of adults in the 38126 neighborhood are not in the labor force (City-Data.com.).
- 61% of students in low-income families have no books in the home (Literacy Project).
- The poverty rate among African-American children is 38%, more than twice as high as the rate among whites. The poverty rate for Hispanic children is 32% (Datacenter.kidscount.org).