Critical Reflections on “An Evangelical Manifesto”

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 →

Albert Mohler Comments on “Manifesto”

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 Takes “Evangelical Manifesto” To Task

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 →

NPR Interview with Richard Mouw

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 →

The Release of “An Evangelical Manifesto”

“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.

Anticipating “An Evangelical Manifesto” – Part 2

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 →

Anticipating “An Evangelical Manifesto”

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 →

What To Do with Economic Stimulus Checks

Recently, a debate has broken about whether Christians should use their forthcoming “economic stimulus checks” for missions rather than spending it on consumer goods. What are our obligations given that the rationale for sending out the checks in the first place is so that more money might be pumped into the economy? The discussion started with a short essay by John Piper, but others have been weighing in on the question.

Last week, Tim Chailles interviewed David Kotter about this issue. Kotter currently serves as the executive director of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Previously, Kotter taught business courses at Trinity International University, worked as a finance manager for Ford Motor Company, and contributed to Wayne Grudem’s book Business for the Glory of God. Besides that, Kotter has a keen eye for economic theory in light of the ethical demands of scripture. The interview is outstanding, but one item caught my eye that I want to pass on to you.

“As Christian voters, we should not be fooled by fiscal maneuvers that take money from one group of people and give it to another in the name of boosting the overall economy. The economy only grows if more goods and services are produced, not when money is transferred from one person to another.”

Read the rest here: Thinking Christianly About Economic Stimulus Payments.

D. A. Carson on Just War

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

Just War – Q&A

Complementarian Series from Mark Dever

Dr. Mark Dever is the pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D. C. He is a faithful pastor and expositor of God’s word, and I have benefitted greatly from his ministry over the years.

Dr. Dever recently completed an excellent sermon series on gender roles, and all of the audio is available via his church’s website and podcast. The four sermons are listed below.

Gender Identity in Creation – Genesis 1:27

Gender Identity in Redemption – Galatians 3:28

Gender Roles in the Family – Genesis 2:20-24

Gender Roles in the Church – 1 Timothy 2:12

The introduction to the sermon on 1 Timothy 2:12 is an adaptation of an article that appears in the most recent issue of the Journal for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (which I noted yesterday). If you would like to read that article, you can order the journal here.

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