. of view

Earl Marshall

An Evangelical Manifesto

Recently a group of biblical scholars got together to develop what they call the Evangelical Manifesto.  This manifesto is certainly not a "nail it to the front door of the church" kind of radical reformation of evangelicalism.  It seems to me to be more of a repositioning statement as to how evangelicals should be interacting in the public square in North America and around the world.  While evangelicals are defined theologically not politically or culturally the "correctives" of the manifesto emphasize the cultural and political.

I can’t help but wonder what is driving the need for this kind of repositioning.  Is this a last ditch effort on behalf of some well intentioned biblical scholars for correctness or correction?  We are alive in a most interesting time for "Truth" and the discussion of what is right is prominent in evangelical theological circles.  Postmoderns are being corrected by moderns and vice-versa.  There is a shifting going on and the feeling of the need to grab on to something that isn’t moving is prevalent.  Perhaps this is what is going on here.  Perhaps this is an attempt at legacy building or truth telling.  Who knows? But while important in the ongoing process for the development of the future this certainly will not be a last word.

It is unfortunate the word "manifesto" was used.  I feel as if the proverbial balloon has lost all of its air.  Was that a bang I heard . . . no just a pfffffffffffffffffff!


  1. I don’t understand your criticism of the word manifesto associated with this public declaration. What’s wrong with trying to reclaim a classical definition of evangelicalism given the identity crisis today.

  2. In the light of the politicized prejudices against evangelicalism why are you reluctant if not suspicious about this public declaration?

  3. I am not reluctant about a public declaration but this is hardly that public. I am suspicious of the ongoing debate that is noisy at times but seems to hardly lead anywhere. I am suspicious because of who is not involved in the process.

  4. Nothing wrong with the word manifesto but I don’t see this as having the “radicality” that is usually associated with the term manifesto. If it is simply a reclaiming of a classical definition then why call it a manifesto. Who is the battle with? Where is the reformation?

  5. I am not reluctant about a public declaration . . . it is just that this was not all that public. I am suspicious because of who was involved and who was not involved. Do these speak for “evangelicalism”?

  6. You are so cynical.

  7. I agree, love gives the benefit of any doubts without contrary evidence.

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