Thursday, 8 May 2008

An evangelical manifesto.

From Justin Taylor: This morning a document was released at the National Press Club in the United States entitled An Evangelical Manifesto: A Declaration of Evangelical Identity and Public Commitment, spearheaded by Os Guinness and signed by over 80 evangelical leaders.

Justin Taylor comments: The full document is over 7,400 words, and I encourage you to read the whole thing. It’s an imperfect but nevertheless (in my opinion) remarkable document that deserves serious attention. The press has latched on to the political dimension of the document, but the critique of theological liberalism is much more extensive and pointed.

Justin has a short interview with the manifesto's chief organizer Os Guiness, here.

The manifesto itself is here.

UPDATE: Here's my early and provisional response:

I've read the manifesto twice now, and will need to do so again, far more carefully.

The word 'judgement' occurs once, and not with reference to God.

At second reading, there is no clear explanation of what the resurrection is about.

The question of Scriptural inerrancy seems to have been carefully avoided.

These are early responses only, and I am keen to go back and see if these early impressions are valid. Especially, even if the vocabulary of judgement is absent, I'm keen to discover whether or not the idea of divine judgement is clearly stated. I would have thought it would be linked in some way to the resurrection (see Acts 17:31). I'll need to look more closely to see if I've missed it.

Many good things too. This statement from page 8:

...Evangelicalism must be defined theologically and not politically; confessionally and not culturally.


is surely right (but if so, it makes the initial appearance of reticence on the subject of divine judgement more troubling rather than less).

The desire to put distance between genuine evangelicals, and those evangelicals who have pursued strong secular political affiliations in the name of evangelicalism, is a good one, and I hope this part of the message gets out clearly within the US political scene, and more broadly.

UPDATE II: This is a fine piece of rhetoric:

Our purpose is not to attack or to exclude but to remind and to reaffirm, and so to rally and to reform.


Remind...Reaffirm...Rally...Reform. They have been taking lessons from Obama (and I don't mean that as cynically as it might sound).

But why would you make a deliberate decision 'not to attack or exclude?' Aren't some bad things worth attacking and excluding?

2 comments:

byron smith said...

I'm keen to discover whether or not the idea of divine judgement is clearly stated.
Isn't it present in this paragraph in speaking of the penalty of our sins, and of God's action to expose and reverse the course of human sin and violence?
"Second, we believe that the only ground for our acceptance by God is what Jesus Christ did on the cross and what he is now doing through his risen life, whereby he exposed and reversed the course of human sin and violence, bore the penalty for our sins, credited us with his righteousness, redeemed us from the power of evil, reconciled us to God, and empowers us with his life ―from above.‖ We therefore bring nothing to our salvation. Credited with the righteousness of Christ, we receive his redemption solely by grace through faith."

The question of Scriptural inerrancy seems to have been carefully avoided.
"Fourth, we believe that Jesus’ own teaching and his attitude toward the total truthfulness and supreme authority of the Bible, God’s inspired Word, make the Scriptures our final rule for faith and practice."
Do you think this is insufficiently positive about the Scriptures?

there is no clear explanation of what the resurrection is about.
Do you mean the denotation of resurrection, rather than its implications? There are many implications mentioned at various points throughout the document, though there is no mention of an empty tomb or the physicality of the resurrection.

If you're looking for important things missing, how about the trinity? There is also only a single mention of the Spirit and none of the Father as Father (indeed, there is relatively little about God, although a great deal about Christ).

Roger Gallagher said...

My biggest concern is that there's no attempt to justify their positions (even as footnotes) with Bible quotes. In an Evangelical Manifesto, shouldn't this have been a non-negotiable?