Seems those who claim the title of “Evangelical” are attempting to distant themselves from…something. What, exactly, is not patently clear. I understand the distaste these individuals feel with being constantly associated with political movements—but then I didn’t see anything specifically saying what political movements they either do not want to be associated with or do want to be associated with.
It speaks in great generalities, with few specifics.
I did find this statement interesting:
On the one hand, we repudiate those who believe their way is the only way and the way for everyone, and are therefore prepared to coerce others.
Why? Isn’t this exactly what the Evangelical is doing? Notice these other quotes from the document (emphasis added):
First, we believe that Jesus Christ is fully God become fully human, the unique, sure, and sufficient revelation of the very being, character, and purposes of God, beside whom there is no other god, and beside whom there is no other name by which we must be saved.
Second, we believe that the only ground for our acceptance by God is what Jesus Christ did on the cross …
Third, we believe that new life, given supernaturally through spiritual regeneration, is a necessity as well as a gift; and that the lifelong conversion that results is the only pathway to a radically changed character and way of life. Thus for us, the only sufficient power for a life of Christian faithfulness and moral integrity in this world is that of Christ’s resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit.
On the other hand, we repudiate all who believe that different values are simply relative to different cultures, and who therefore refuse to allow anyone to judge anyone else or any other culture. More tolerant sounding at first, this position leads directly to the evils of complacency;. for in a world of such evils as genocide, slavery, female oppression, and assaults on the unborn, there are rights that require defending, evils that must be resisted, and interventions into the affairs of others that are morally justifiable.. [emphasis in original]
Sure seems to be saying they think theirs is the only way, the way for everyone, and they are quite prepared to coerce others. If they deem it “justifiable.”
Frankly, the paper comes across as (a touch whiney) public relations piece. The “why” of this manifesto is more interesting to me. Why did they think such a document (which they obviously spent a great deal of time wording just so) was necessary right now?
The obvious answer is the concern “Evangelical” is becoming a bad word. That the general public is associating certain demeanor or characteristic with a person who calls themselves an “Evangelical” and this document is an attempt to provide a new spin on the same thing.
I am in no position to speculate as to all the nuances of this document coming out now. I thought it might be an intriguing read for some. You might also want to read some of the comments. My favorite was:
Dear Sir: I would like to know more about the individuals who have worked on the manifesto. Have all these people truly "trusted" Christ as personal savior, before they can write about such issues? You do realize that not every theologian, pastor, etc. are not all born again believers.
Wouldn’t want some of those writing such a historic piece of work! *wink*