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?”‘
This document seems go along the same lines as that book “UnChristian.” That we want the world to see us as we define ourselves rather than through stereotypes is all good and fine, but I don’t think that this is of utmost importance. Rather than warding off a bad reputation, we should focus more on the fact that many so-called Evangelicals have difficulty seeing any difference between Roman Catholic and Evangelical doctrine.
Go figure, Mohler was critical. I would have never guessed.
What did he want them to do? List a bunch of sins we’re against and tell him what methodology we will use to preach against those sins?
Maybe I think the Baptist Faith and Message is too vague. Maybe the Westminster Confession is too vague. Maybe the Bible is too vague.
I respect Mohler and think he is an absolutely brilliant guy, but he seems to be becoming more and more political. His opinion is meaning less and less to me every day.
I have been reading your posts for the last two days on this issue and I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Yesterday everyone who signed onto the manifesto signed onto a political document.
I suspect based on your comments you aren’t seeing it this way and thus you aren’t going to lose respect for anyone who signed on. But because Al Mohler is “becoming more and more political his opinion means less” to you. This surprises me — all he did was criticize a document written by a random group of fairly prominent evangelicals.
Please explain to me what is wrong with being a Christian and engaging in our political process? For that matter, what’s wrong with being a Democrat or a Republican and a Christian? Are you suggesting that there are people who believe that to be a Christian you can only belong to one party or the other? Are you suggesting that evangelical leaders who this manifesto is aimed at are saying that? Other than than Dobson (who has threatened to leave the Republican party and take his listeners with him)I don’t know of anyone who asserts that position publicly. I have heard individual believers say such things however. And that is the crutch of it all — you have millions of believers in this country who identify with one party over the other — were they led there by Dobson and the other mouthpieces or were they already there? In this regard, I think the manifesto is appropriate — I am inferring from what i am reading that this is a call to the local church and pastors to get back to teaching the basics… I applaud that.
One of the other comments made by one of the speakers at the press conference was that the manifesto was like a Rorschach test, that it told more about the person reading it and interpreting it than it did the document itself. So by excluding other prominent Christians, like Dobson, the authors of this manifesto were inviting criticism. This is proof enough for me that this was more about attacking (in a subtle and yet dignified “Christian way”, of course)personalities than it was about setting a new course.
I could go on (and I apologize for trying to hit on so many themes at once) but I have to go back to making America safe for Christians like me. (that was sarcasm)
I agree with you, good points.
This document is an effort to marginalize those who speak out on controversial issues like abortion and homosexuality. Or, as Alan Jacobs says, to marginalize and impugn Christians who really believe the earth was created in 6 days (now what kind of Christian would believe such a thing!).
Additionally, to suggest that folks like Perkins, Colson, Dobson and Mohler are tools of the Republican party is simply not true (ask any GOP leader, Bush included, if they want to hear Dobson talk to them about constructionist judges) and is based on a lack of information and/or assertions fabricated by the likes of Wallis (now THERE’s someone who isn’t political!) and the mainstream media.
D. Taylor Benton
Oh gosh, Dr Mohler, always stepping in and trying to thoughtfully interact with the evangelical climate in which we live along with assessing issues with a Christian worldview and thoughtfully responding to it…..you think he would have something better to do being one of the biggest leaders and thinkers in the SBC and all…
I’ll try to answer your questions tomorrow or Sunday. Sorry I couldn’t get to them today. Thanks for asking them and for the candid and irenic tone.