Nationally known minister and writer to be installed on Sunday as Church of the Covenant’s new pastor, and we’re all invited

headshot of mark sandlinThe Presbyterian Church of the Covenant will install its new pastor, the Rev. Mark Sandlin, next Sunday. The neighborhood is invited to attend the service, which will begin at 2 p.m. A reception will follow at 3 p.m.

Sandlin is a co-founder of The Christian Left website. He blogs at He also has written for and Sojourners, among others.

Sandlin has been serving as PCOC’s interim pastor since December 2015. He received his M. Div. from Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity. He holds undergraduate degrees in business administration and English.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent blog post, “The Overprivileged Judgement of John 3:16,” that provides an example of his views:

You see, for me John 3:16, is incomplete without 1 John 3:16 – or at least the meaning behind 1st John 3:16. Let me read them to you together. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.”

I’m much less concerned about what the theological question of atonement would encourage us to do and more concerned about what the life and teachings that lead to the cross would encourage us to do.

In my way of reading these verses, in John 3:16 we learn how far Jesus was willing to go to show us how much we are loved, then in 1st John 3:16 we learn how far we should be willing to go in response to that love to show others how much they are loved.

Far too often, those of us who consider ourselves, call ourselves, “Christian” forget to practice our faith as if these two verses go together.

Somehow, we don’t realize that on its own John 3:16 is only half the story. When we think it is the whole story, it is just a little bit too easy to feel slightly privileged, it is just a little bit too easy to measure the rest of the world by your own standards, judging whether people measure up rather than just loving them.

The truth is we all need to be a little bit better about turning our faith outward.

You see, as John 3:16 says, the ultimate sacrifice was made for us, but it’s not some sort of soul saving buffet – “Jesus did it, come and get it.” It comes with requirements, some assembly required, the work is not yet done.

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