May 7, 2008

Always Manifesto-ing


The evangelical illuminati released their previously mentioned Evangelical Manifesto this morning at the National Press Club.  You can download the 7,500 word document on their website.  They address the dual issues of evangelical identity and evangelical's role in society.  I haven't had time to wade through the whole thing yet but if there is anything of interest I'll keep you posted.  Here is a bit from their summary:  
First, we repudiate two equal and opposite errors into which many Christians have fallen. One error is to privatize faith, applying it to the personal and spiritual realm only. Such dualism falsely divorces the spiritual from the secular and causes faith to lose its integrity.  

The other error, made by both the religious left and the religious right, is to politicize faith, using faith to express essentially political points that have lost touch with biblical truth. That way faith loses its independence, Christians become the “useful idiots” for one political party or another, and the Christian faith becomes an ideology. Christian beliefs become the weapons of political factions.

Called to an allegiance higher than party, ideology, economic system, and nationality, we Evangelicals see it our duty to engage with politics, but our equal duty never to be completely equated with any party, partisan ideology, or nationality. The politicization of faith is never a sign of strength but of weakness.

PS - Most surprising signatory to me:  Ergun Caner of Liberty Theological Seminary, yes THAT Liberty.

1 comment:

mike rucker said...

being a first-time visitor to your blog, i'm not sure what your views of the EM are gonna be ... please post them when you get a chance.

from my perspective, i had some hesitations and misgivings before reading the document, but was actually quite impressed and invigorated after taking in the whole of what it addressed.

one of the things i like about the document is that the authors choose not to say that creationism and inerrancy are non-negotiables. for the first, there’s very little biblical justification anymore behind whatever the latest flavor of anti-natural-selection dessert is being served up; for the latter, somehow we can admit that we can’t prove the existence of God, but goshdarnit we have a golden egg this unprovable God laid right here. there’s simply too much of a tendency to add items to the ever-increasing laundry list of ideas and doctrines to which we have to pledge allegiance before we’re allowed into the room marked “Christian.”

more than anything, i found myself motivated and energized by the very positive nature of the piece - that it isn’t yet another “here’s everything we’re against” rant but an effort to make the gospel again a message of good news. imagine that - the gospel being good news. American Christianity has lost this defining characteristic that once served it well.

there are a few things i question, but nothing is going to please everyone, i suppose. for instance, i’m not sure i agree with this statement: We Evangelicals should be defined theologically, and not politically, socially, or culturally. Jesus’ message uses “action” verbs: teach them to DO as I have commanded you, LOVE God and LOVE your neighbor, by this will all men know … if you LOVE one another. any theology that defines us must have feet.

i did, however, like these words:
We are also troubled by the fact that the advance of globalization and the emergence of a global public square finds no matching vision of how we are to live freely, justly, and peacefully with our deepest differences on the global stage.

somehow we've got to figure out how we we're going to happily share the same bathroom over the next few decades in our ever-shrinking world.

one interesting thing: maybe i missed it, but there doesn’t seem to be a great emphasis on evangelism in this Evangelical Manifesto. was that intentional? i didn’t see a single chick tract referenced in the bibliography…

perhaps one unintended benefit of the proposal is a clear opportunity to take this EM (Evangelical Manifesto) and align it with the other EM (Emergent Manifesto) and finally have all our EM & EMs in a row without demonizing the other side.

one can only hope…

mike rucker
fairburn, georgia, usa
mikerucker.wordpress.com

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