Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Evangelicalism - a manifesto

On the 7th of May there was An Evangelical Manifesto released to the press that a few people have put their two cents in about. This has some big names on it such as Max Lucado, Os Guinness, and Mark Noll. I just read the 6 page summary (not the full 20 pages) and it seemed alright. They want to define Evangelicalism by 7 points which I whole heartily agree with (things like Jesus was fully man and fully God, died on the cross for our sins, salvation is a gift that can't be earned, the bible is God's word etc...).

The second half of the summary (the bulk of it) goes into detail on how they want to be back in the public square. They would like to share, agree and/or disagree with ideas in the public square. They are basically arguing for the tradition meaning of tolerance, that is not that you accept any and all ideas, but that you allow your ideas and the ideas that you disagree with to be put forward and discuss it with respect.

Al Mohler had commented on this saying: "I cannot sign the document for several reasons. These reasons are rooted in my own concern for Evangelical identity, and my belief that this document says far too much on the one hand, and far too little on the other." Al argues that the definition "is just not sufficient" and "it is never clear who the intended target really is." Al concludes that it is "too expansive in terms of public relations and too thin in terms of theology."

Jesse Johnson from
Because this is a call that I would agree with, I would not have viewed signing this document negatively. But because of the ambiguity surrounding “Fundamentalism” I will not add my name to the growing list.

However, I also can’t help but see public manifestos unveiled at the National Press Club as some form of grandstanding. Who is the target audience? What is the goal of this document? Because that is not clear, I am not entirely sure how much impact this manifesto will ultimately have.

After reading their views, I agree with their praise of the document but I am also persuaded with their pessimism about the document. If you have to tell people your worth listening to, then you might come across that your not. I think if you want to change the public square then be in it, voice your ideas (and I guess this document is a way for them to do that) and live in the way you want to change it; sounds simple, but it is far from that.

1 comment:

  1. I think those points are sufficient in that you wouldn't deny those. But I believe it should, and only intend to serve as a guide, and they sound good in that sense.

    Whilst there is so much it could say, it doesn't, and I don't think it should. It would be made complete by God working in the hearts and minds of those who are listening, and those speaking.

    However, I say this having not read it all, or in great depth, nor knowing much about Evangelical identity.