Sunday, July 10, 2005

Signs of change

Kansas City Star | 07/07/2005 | Evangelicals abandon stereotypes to pursue array of social issues:
“Evangelicals don’t want themselves identified as the Republican Party at prayer,” says Mark Noll, a prominent evangelical author who teaches history at Wheaton College.



A sign of new directions is a 12-page statement from the National Association of Evangelicals ( www.nae.net). “For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility” was issued earlier this year after the NAE took more than two years to work out acceptable wording. Noll calls it “an effort to bring out of the background things that have always been there but have been overshadowed by the concentration on life issues.”

Ted Haggard, NAE president, says the statement proves that “evangelicals can think about more than two or three things at a time and can be active and concerned.” The NAE is made up of 52 denominations (not including the Southern Baptist Convention) with 45,000 churches and 30 million members.

The statement chastised evangelicals for failing “to engage with the breadth, depth and consistency to which we are called.” But it also cautioned evangelicals to “practice humility and cooperation to achieve modest and attainable goals for the good of society” and to acknowledge that “perfect solutions are unobtainable.”
This is a great trend if it takes hold. There's a lot more to Christianity than what some prominent religious leaders present. The Comforting Whirlwind of Creation: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation by Bill McKibben is a great take on a religious view of the environment, and the Green Evangelical movement is nice to see.

I'd love to see more talk about social justice, a theme that Jesus certainly spent a lot of time on.

I won't hold my breath waiting for mainstream Christians to come out against the death penalty. (How a religion that is built around an executed messiah can favor the death penalty is a bit of a mystery to me.)