Text Size: Zoom In

Evangelical Manifesto

A document and declaration signed by 80 evangelical leaders has hit the press this week. You can find the full text on the web at this link. I’ll copy a brief excerpt from it below. See what you think:

“…Today… we wish to stand clear from certain positions in public life that are widely confused with Evangelicalism.

First, we Evangelicals repudiate two equal and opposite errors into which many Christians have fallen recently. One error has been to privatize faith, interpreting and applying it to the personal and spiritual realm only. Such dualism falsely divorces the spiritual from the secular, and causes faith to lose its integrity and become “privately engaging and publicly irrelevant,” and another form of “hot tub spirituality.”

The other error, made by both the religious left and the religious right in recent decades, is to politicize faith, using faith to express essentially political points that have lost touch with biblical truth. That way faith loses its independence, the church becomes “the regime at prayer,” Christians become “useful idiots” for one political party or another, and the Christian faith becomes an ideology in its purest form. Christian beliefs are used as weapons for political interests.

Christians from both sides of the political spectrum, left as well as right, have made the mistake of politicizing faith; and it would be no improvement to respond to a weakening of the religious right with a rejuvenation of the religious left. Whichever side it comes from, a politicized faith is faithless, foolish, and disastrous for the church – and disastrous first and foremost for Christian reasons rather than constitutional reasons.

Called to an allegiance higher than party, ideology, and nationality, we Evangelicals see it our duty to engage with politics, but our equal duty never to be completely equated with any party, partisan ideology, economic system, or nationality. In our scales, spiritual, moral, and social power are as important as political power, what is right outweighs what is popular, just as principle outweighs party, truth matters more than team-playing, and conscience more than power and survival.

The politicization of faith is never a sign of strength but of weakness. The saying is wise: “The first thing to say about politics is that politics is not the first thing.”

The Evangelical soul is not for sale. It has already been bought at an infinite price.”

Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+13 rating, 13 votes)

9 Responses to “Evangelical Manifesto”

  1. dep7547 says:

    Wow! I really want to think this one over for a while; however, my initial thought is that having a personal relationship with the lord should mean that my faith is privatized. I am pleased that they have acknowledged the need to get away from the political process though. At this juncture, I cannot even see a point of compromise–one must either be a free-thinking contributor or a mindless drone. I do not believe that God wants me in a church just because someone says I should. I believe that God wants me there because I desire to be closer to him.

  2. tallmark says:

    Keep up the good work. I may not have a comment but I’ll be thinking about what you wrote and how it relates to me and the people around me. Thanks

  3. abalderama says:

    Although I did not read the entire document, these individuals definitely see our Father as I see him. The scripture that kept returning to me was – judge not lest you be judged. Meaning that why would I desire to comment on their document unless it was a direct assault on our Father. And even then, it would take me back to judge not lest you be judge.

  4. desert rose says:

    In regard to the first pargraph, one cannot separate the spiritual from the secular. We cannot compartmentalize our faith. In regards to the politics I agree that we are called to a higher allegience and not the dogma of what particular party is popular.

  5. poohpity says:

    Hey Mart,
    I read the entire document WOW. That is what the Bible teaches and what I believe but am unable to put to words. When we are followers of Christ and read His Word, then we hold to a higher calling. That then changes how we live our lives. Gee understanding of my other posts. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

  6. Gale L. Jarvis says:

    Good Afternoon everyone, Mart, Once again i must try to be honest, and say i do not spend a lot of my time with the different debates they have had, what little i have heard, i agree with James Dobson, there has not been any talk of the family values being destroyed, and what they are going to do about it.
    I believe who ever is our next president it will be who God puts in that position, and desires for me to pray for him, or possibly her.
    I know morallity cannot be legislated, but i believe there are too many in leadership roles that have no moral values, and using religious thoughts and statements that someone has told them they need to say in order to get the evengelical vote is very foolish when their lives tell it differently.

  7. daisymarygoldr says:

    This whole ‘Evangelical Manifesto’ is too complex for my simple brain to comprehend and theology is certainly not my cup of tea on a sluggish Saturday morn! All I can think of is that Jesus did not align himself with any political, social or religious group. Therefore, having responded to His call to do the work of an evangelist requires rising above politics and religion to stay focused on the ‘commission’. Even as we continue to ‘be in this world and not of the world’ we are actively engaged in rallying for the common good without having to align with any movement, ideology, philosophy or humanistic thinking (evangelicalism included) that leans towards commercial, diluted, and feel-good gospels of health, wealth and religious happy talk. These things can easily distract us from the actual message- to love God and to love our neighbor!

  8. dep7547 says:

    That was very well put, daisymarygoldr! In fact, it has been a sad evolution of misinterpreting the word of God that has led me to refer to modern interpretations as the Gospel according to Industrialism and the subsequent Letters to the Capitalists. Somewhere in our history,the wealth of individual congregants became a symbol of piety and that has escalated to a society which serves both God and mammon. What happened to the poor widow who cast in two mites?

    Today’s “Our Daily Bread” selection made a wonderful point about a very committed pastor who was discouraged at the slow growth rate of his church while a megachurch was growing close by. I, too, have struggled with this issue in the past, but came to realize that when a church gets to large, it goes from a sense of family to a sense of community. From there, it is only a matter of time until individualism causes divisions in the church.

    As I began to say in my earlier post, when God called upon Isaac, he revealed himself as “the god of your father, Abraham.” While God may have called Isaac in remberence of his covenant with Abraham, I am certain that Isaac must have had some redeeming qualities that he learned from Abraham’s fellowship with the Lord. In other words, God did not want Isaac to follow him just because Abraham did, but because Isaac also learned to delight in fellowship with God. It is precisely this kind of relationship with God that is hard to find in a megachurch.

  9. eltonteng says:

    There many excellent points within the EM. It can also be easily misquoted. I would recommend everyone who wants to learn about it to go to the website and look at the press coverage.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.