70 leading Evangelical pastors signed a document this past Wednesday entitled 'An Evangelical Manifesto'. The signers range from Os Guiness (a clear Reformed theologian) to Dallas Willard (who I believe is one of the leading guru's for the Emergent church movement.) Among the drafters and preliminary supporters of the manifesto are Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary in California; Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Jim Wallis, founder and editor of Sojourners Magazine; and Frank Wright, president of the National Religious Broadcasters. Dr. James Dobson did not sign it, nor any Black American Evangelicals that I am aware of. The Manifesto can be found at: http://www.anevangelicalmanifesto.com/
From my quick review of the Evangelical Manifesto, it seems designed to address two problems: first, to help people understand what is an Evangelical. And second, to call for reform of Evangelicals involvement in the political process. I see (and I may be wrong here) that the two main points of attack for this document are first, prosperity preachers in America who are not preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. Second the Manifesto takes aim at Evangelicals involved in politics who are compromising Christian principles, in order to get things accomplished. It is interesting that this came out now, when the World seems especially turbulent.
The Manifesto starts out: The two-fold purpose of this declaration is first to address the confusions and corruptions that attend the term Evangelical in the United States and much of the Western world today, and second to clarify where we stand on issues that have caused consternation over Evangelicals in public life.
It also includes the following: As followers of Jesus Christ, Evangelicals stress a particular set of beliefs that we believe are true to the life and teachings of Jesus himself. Taken together, they make us who we are. We place our emphasis on ...
1. Jesus, fully divine and fully human, as the only full and complete revelation of God and therefore the only Savior.
2. The death of Jesus on the cross, in which he took the penalty for our sins and reconciled us to God.
3. Salvation as God's gift grasped through faith. We contribute nothing to our salvation.
4. New life in the Holy Spirit, who brings us spiritual rebirth and power to live as Jesus did, reaching out to the poor, sick, and oppressed.
5. The Bible as God's Word written, fully trustworthy as our final guide to faith and practice.
6. The future personal return of Jesus to establish the reign of God.
7. The importance of sharing these beliefs so that others may experience God's salvation and may walk in Jesus' way.
Sadly, we repeatedly fail to live up to our high calling, and all too often illustrate our own doctrine of sin. The full list of our failures is no secret to God or to many who watch us. If we would share the good news of Jesus with others, we must first be shaped by that good news ourselves.
Let me know what you think about the document, or if you have a different impression of what the Evangelical Manifesto is designed to accomplish. Thanks, and may God bless you this day.