Dear ECA Member,
Cheryl and I send "CHRISTmas" greetings to you
and to all yours! I trust this has been a fruitful year of ministry for you and
I am praying for an even greater harvest for you in the year ahead!
I write now to seek your counsel on a very serious
subject. As you may know, I wear several hats here in Washington, DC, including
my post as president of the National Clergy Council (NCC), a broad-based
network of church leaders from all Christian traditions, including Catholic,
Evangelical, Orthodox, and Old-line Protestant. The mission of the Council is
"to bring classical Christian moral instruction into the conversation and
debate surrounding public policy." My nearly twenty years in office at the
NCC, now combined with my present chairmanship of our ECA, invites a lot of
inquiries on contemporary issues from both law and policy makers and from the
The recent spate of clergy suicides (all Evangelical) and
mass shooting incidents in Washington and other places, have resulted in many
such inquiries lately from members of congress and journalists.
Frankly, until recently, I have not wanted to address the
issue of gun ownership by Christians. It just didn't seem to be a terribly
relevant subject. However, you may have heard that during last month's meeting
of our ECA board, we did have a fulsome discussion on the escalating concern
about gun violence in our culture. (This was provoked by a documentary film
producer, Abigail Disney--yes, of the famous entertainment family--who is
dedicating an entire project to the opinions of evangelicals on gun ownership
and use.) I've asked the chairman of our Committee on Church and Society, Dr.
Sam Goebel, to follow up that board discussion within the committee and to
report back to the full board with recommendations in July of next year.
In the interim, the three recent suicide deaths of our
evangelical brothers has been enough to increase my sense of urgency about this
matter. The attached letter I sent recently to my constituents at the NCC
explains this concern. I share the NCC letter with you now simply as a
conversation starter. I am, of course, biased, but I do believe evangelicals
are the best source of reflection on matters of this import because we base our
conclusions strictly on the record of Scripture, so I wouldn't want your voice
to be left out. May I ask you to read my attached letter and respond to me
directly with any comments you may have about it? I would be ever so grateful
for your insights. You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call me on my mobile at 202-656-1252.
Thank you for your prayerful consideration. I am,
Always your servant for Jesus' sake,
Chairman of the Board of Directors