Jack Kistler, a retired California Highway Patrol Sergeant and one of the "founding fathers" of FCPO, passed away in April of this year. He faithfully served the ministry in a number of capacities in its earlier years, including as president of the organization. Jack was still in touch with the National Office, maintaining a keen interest in the growth of FCPO and the latest updates. He was a tremendous source of encouragement to the FCPO staff.
We recently looked through some of the old newsletters in our archives from Jack's tenure as FCPO President. Jack wrote a number of short articles during that time and we decided one of the best ways we could honor him was with his own words. These thoughts, reprinted from the January 1978 issue of The Christian Peace Officer, are still wise, godly counsel for us, as FCPO members, today.
One of the basic tenets of the FCPO is to unite all Christian peace officers together in the body of Christ. Jesus Christ is the center of our programs, plans, goals, ambitions, and ultimate objectives. The goal of the FCPO has always been to organize peace officers into a fellowship! Men and women from various backgrounds, denominations, theological persuasion, and methods of worship - molded into a group whereby all such distinctions fade away. This goal of fellowship with restrained diversity has not yet been attained.
My contacts with members and chapters around the country indicate that there are chapters heavily involved with issues that have traditionally divided Christians since the founding of the Church. Other chapters have dissolved or become inactive over such issues. "Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!" (James 3:10b NLT).
I agree that there are important distinctives to the individual, or to the church in which he/she worships as a member, but they have no place in the FCPO. We must not let such issues divide the Fellowship.
The Statement of Faith to which we, as FCPO members, have subscribed provides a solid scriptural basis for our Fellowship. FCPO meetings should be neutral ground where peace officers with many divergent personal views can fellowship without the pressures of sectarian differences. How important to you is the task of winning peace officers to Christ? Are you prepared to subordinate some of the distinctives of your denomination or movement to further the larger goal of uniting Christian peace officers in the body of Christ?
As President of this expanding organization, I challenge every member and friend to all band together "to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ." (Ephesians 4:12-13 NLT)