The Evangelical Manifesto

The big news today in the Evangelical world and beyond seems to be the release of The Evangelical Manifesto, complete with a news conference at the National Press Club. The big two, Tim Challies and Justin Taylor, have posted excerpts, along with an interview with the main drafter, Os Guinness.

The subtitle of the twenty page document is A Declaration of Evangelical Identity and Public Commitment, because the goals of the document are to both help define better the Evangelical movement for the culture at large and to state what the movement is and is not. The steering committee and signatories are a wide-ranging group of people, some of whom I know and respect, like Erwin Lutzer, Sr. Pastor of Moody Church in Chicago.

The document is critical of the extremes of both the far religious right and the far liberal left. There are some things in the document I do applaud, including the call for evangelicals to reform themselves. There is much in evangelicalism that needs to be reformed. One of the best paragraphs is found on page 11 of this document, when the authors close the paragraph with this sentence:

“…we have become known for commercial, diluted, and feel-good gospels of health, wealth, human potential, and religious happy talk, each of which is indistinguishable from the passing fashions of the surrounding world.”

After reading this document I am wondering two things; one, is this group’s bark worse than its bite (will anything come of some of the more admirable goals)? Second, I wonder what other leaders think of this document. It may take time to analyze and ask questions of the steering committee, but I would like to hear the assessment of such people as Al Mohler and David Wells, especially in comparison to his insights in his book, The Courage to Be Protestant. I have not read this book, but have read his others, and I could see him both agreeing and disagreeing with conclusions found in The Evangelical Manifesto.

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2 thoughts on “The Evangelical Manifesto”

  1. The Evangelical Manifesto was a short-lived faddish movement which was promptly forgotten by the very Christians who signed it. By this time next year some energetic evangelical leader will conjure up something akin to it; along with it comes the hope or promise it will create revival in America.

    The Manifesto concentrated on peripheral and nonessential matters. By focusing its attention on such things it isolated Christians further from the historic creeds and confessions of the church. The Christian church already possesses an abundance of “manifestos:” Westminster Confession, the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed, etc. These historic and long-established documents have stood the test of time. They are good “manifestos.” Why do we need more?

    Creating more manifestos only creates additional confusion. We need to pay heed to the documents we already have, not create new ones. By way of example I would like to ask readers if we create additional gun laws would we have less crime? If we add to immigration laws that we currently possess, will we have less illegal entry into the US of A? No is the answer of course. We do not need new laws; we need to enforce the ones we have.

    The Evangelical Manifesto will not extirpate worldliness, lust, and biblical ignorance from the American Christian heart. The solution to American Christian’s problems begins with stronger exegetical theology, regular Bible reading, and a return to Bible preaching in churches instead of entertainment shows.

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