On Wednesday, a group of high-profile, centrist evangelicals unveiled “An Evangelical Manifesto” at the National Press Club in Washington, D. C. A nine-person steering committee is responsible for the contents of the document (including Timothy George, David Neff, Richard Mouw, and Os Guinness). There are also scores of notable “charter signatories” (including Mark Bailey, Darryl Bock, J. P. Moreland, Alvin Plantinga, Ron Sider, Jim Wallis, and others). Continue Reading →
The Washington Times reports why some prominent evangelical conservatives did not appear among the charter signatories of the recent “Evangelical Manifesto.” James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Richard Land and Janice Crouse are among those not listed, and all of them have statements in the Times article. Dr. Albert Mohler is also on the record expressing reticence about the document. Here’s the relevant excerpt from the story:
‘Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said he was passed over but doubted he would have signed a document “that vague.”
‘The document, he said, “is often eloquent and many ways sets forth some key evangelical convictions. My questions have to do with its actual intent. How specifically do those who are framing this document wish to define evangelicalism with reference to some crucial questions, such as abortion and gay marriage? They appear to be calling for civility, but how do they suggest discussing these issues in the public square and be as civil as they think themselves to be?”‘
Alan Jacobs is a professor of English at Wheaton College, and he has written a pointed critique of “An Evangelical Manifesto” for The Wall Street Journal. His take on the document is clarifying:
‘The Manifesto is a very American document, the product of an election year, and a strong reaction against a quarter-century of evangelical identification with the Republican Party. . .
‘A purpose finally emerges with the appearance of a word never mentioned by its predecessor: “fundamentalism.” The Manifesto sets a course for evangelicalism that steers between the twin dangers of liberalism and fundamentalism. Few words are needed to distinguish evangelicalism from liberalism, but the authors, while they admit that “the fundamentalist tendency is . . . closer to Evangelicalism” than liberalism, are clearly troubled that “in the eyes of many, the two overlap.” So it turns out that the chief goal of this document is to establish the differences between evangelicalism and fundamentalism. Continue Reading →
Richard Mouw is on the steering committee that drafted “An Evangelical Manifesto.” Yesterday, NPR interviewed him about the “Manifesto,” and the audio is available here. Or you can listen to it below. The interview begins at 27:20.
I am not yet ready to post all of my reflections on the document, though I can tell you now that my review will be mixed. One of the reasons for my skepticism is confirmed in this interview. As everyone knows, leading evangelicals like James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Charles Colson, Albert Mohler, and others have not signed on to support the “Manifesto.” Mouw tells NPR that many of those who haven’t signed “have a vested interest in promoting and using their religious leadership to promote a certain kind of political agenda.” Is Mouw suggesting that the abstainers are abstaining because of some personal benefit that they derive from partisan politics? Does this suggest that the abstainers care more about their “vested interest” than about affirming the gospel? Continue Reading →
“An Evangelical Manifesto” was released this morning at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. As I noted in previous posts, I will offer some reflections on the “Manifesto” either later on today or tomorrow. For now, I direct your attention to the media materials that have been released.
There is a video recording of the event held this morning: Archived Webcast of Press Conference. You will need Windows Media Player to view it. There are two websites: www.anevangelicalmanifesto.com and www.evangelicalmanifesto.com. The latter of the two websites is a press-friendly site that has an executive summary of the 20 page document.
USA Today has a story out in advance of the release of the “Manifesto.” There are some encouraging signs here that were missing from the AP story that I referenced in the previous post. The opening paragraph reads:
‘An “evangelical manifesto” being released today by a group of Christian scholars and theologians is expected to try to take back the term “evangelical” from politics and return it to its theological roots.’
A spokesman for the “Manifesto” says that, Continue Reading →
This weekend the Associated Press reported that a group of evangelicals will release a document criticizing an evangelical movement that is too mired in partisan politics.
‘Conservative Christian leaders who believe the word “evangelical” has lost its religious meaning plan to release a starkly self-critical document saying the movement has become too political and has diminished the Gospel through its approach to the culture wars.
‘The statement, called “An Evangelical Manifesto,” condemns Christians on the right and left for “using faith” to express political views without regard to the truth of the Bible, according to a draft of the document obtained Friday by The Associated Press.’
I have not yet seen the document because it will not be released until tomorrow. So I won’t be making any final judgments about it until after I have read it for myself. Timothy George (a man I hold in the highest regard) has apparently endorsed the effort. So perhaps “An Evangelical Manifesto” will turn out to be a helpful articulation of evangelical priorities in the public square. But the early reporting raises questions that make me doubtful. Continue Reading →
A student of mine alerted me to a lecture that D. A. Carson delivered in 2004 on the topic of Just War at a “Henry Forum” at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D. C. Immediately following his presentation, Carson fielded questions from the audience. You can download the audio from the church’s website or listen to it below.
Carson is a Just War proponent who rightly views Just War as an expression of Christian love. Carson also discusses how just war theory informs our assessment of the Iraq War, the War in Afghanistan, and preemptive war in general.
Just War â€“ Q&A
Yesterday I lamented the fact that the evangelical left has their priorities all wrong. They refuse to treat abortion-on-demand as a transcendent moral issue. In other words, they do not think it should be a priority for Christians to support the protection of the unborn in law. Christians might try to reduce the abortion rate through social action, but they should not seek to protect the unborn through political means. At least that’s what the religious left is urging us to do. Continue Reading →
Chuck Colson, Greg Boyd, and Shane Claiborne recently sat down with Krista Tippett for an interview about the political views of Evangelical Christians. You can watch the video here, or listen to the audio below.