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Switch to Forum Live View The Manifesto Summary
10 years ago  ::  May 12, 2008 - 11:10AM #1
Posts: 3
 The full manifesto is 20 pages, and you can find a pdf of it here. The Evangelical Manifesto website also offers a much briefer exeutive summary, which I'll paste below (with apologies for any awkward formatting).
The Washington Declaration of Evangelical Identity and Public Commitment
May 7, 2008; Washington, D.C.  
Copyright ©2008 by An Evangelical Manifesto Steering Committee
Keenly aware of this hour of history, we as a representative group of Evangelicals in
America address our fellow-believers and our fellow-citizens.ii  We have two purposes:
to clarify the confusions that surround the term Evangelical in the United States, and t
explain where we stand on issues that cause consternation over Evangelicals in public
The global era challenges us to learn how to live with our deepest differences—
especially religious differences that are ultimate and irreducible. These are not just
differences between personal worldviews but between entire ways of life co-existing in
the same society.
1. Our Identity
First, we reaffirm our identity. Evangelicals are Christians who define themselves, their
faith, and their lives according to the Good News of Jesus of Nazareth. (The Greek word
for good news was euangelion, which translated into English as evangel.) This
Evangelical principle is the heart of who we are as followers of Jesus. It is not unique to
us.  We assert it not to attack or to exclude, but to remind and to reaffirm, and so to rally
and to reform.
Evangelicals are one of the great traditions in the Christian Church. We stand
alongside Christians of other traditions in both the creedal core of faith and over many
issues of public concern. Yet we also hold to Evangelical beliefs that are distinct—
distinctions we affirm as matters of biblical truth, recovered by the Protestant
Reformation and vital for a sure knowledge of God. We Evangelicals are defined
theologically, and not politically, socially, or culturally.
As followers of Jesus Christ, Evangelicals stress a particular set of beliefs that we
believe are true to the life and teachings of Jesus himself. Taken together, they make us
who we are. We place our emphasis on ...
1. Jesus, fully divine and fully human, as the only full and complete revelation of
God and therefore the only Savior.
2. The death of Jesus on the cross, in which he took the penalty for our sins and
reconciled us to God.  
3. Salvation as God’s gift grasped through faith. We contribute nothing to our
4. New life in the Holy Spirit, who brings us spiritual rebirth and power to live as
Jesus did, reaching out to the poor, sick, and oppressed.
5. The Bible as God’s Word written, fully trustworthy as our final guide to faith and
6. The future personal return of Jesus to establish the reign of God.
7. The importance of sharing these beliefs so that others may experience God’s
salvation and may walk in Jesus’ way.
Sadly, we repeatedly fail to live up to our high calling, and all too often illustrate
our own doctrine of sin. The full list of our failures is no secret to God or to many who
watch us. If we would share the good news of Jesus with others, we must first be shaped
by that good news ourselves.iii
2. Our Place in Public Life
Second, we wish to reposition ourselves in public life. To be Evangelical is
to be faithful to the freedom, justice, peace, and well-being that are at the heart of the
good news of Jesus. Fundamentalism was world-denying and politically disengaged at its
outset, but Evangelicals have made a distinguished contribution to politics—attested by
causes such the abolition of slavery and woman’s suffrage, and by names such as John
Jay, John Witherspoon, Frances Willard, and Sojourner Truth in America and William
Wilberforce and Lord Shaftesbury in England. 
Today, however, enormous confusion surrounds Evangelicals in public life and
we wish to clarify our stand through the following assertions:
First, we repudiate two equal and opposite errors into which many Christians
have fallen. One error is to privatize faith, 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.  
The other error, made by both the religious left and the religious right, is to
politicize faith, using faith to express essentially political points that have lost touch with
biblical truth. That way faith loses its independence, Christians become the “useful
idiots” for one political party or another, and the Christian faith becomes an ideology.
Christian beliefs become the weapons of political factions.
Called to an allegiance higher than party, ideology, economic system, 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, or nationality.  The
politicization of faith is never a sign of strength but of weakness. 
Second, we repudiate the two extremes that define the present culture wars in the
United States. On one side, we repudiate the partisans of a sacred public square, those
who would continue to give one religion a preferred place in public life. 
In a diverse society, it will always be unjust and unworkable to privilege one
religion. We are committed to religious liberty for people of all faiths. We are firmly
opposed to theocracy. And we have no desire to coerce anyone or to impose beliefs and
behavior on anyone. We believe in persuasion.
On the other side, we repudiate the partisans of a naked public square, those who
would make all religious expression inviolably private and keep the public square
inviolably secular. This position is even less just and workable because it excludes the
overwhelming majority of citizens, who are still profoundly religious. Nothing is more
illiberal than to invite people into the public square but insist that they be stripped of the
faith that makes them who they are.
   We are committed to a civil public square – a vision of public life in which
citizens of all faiths are free to enter and engage the public square on the basis of their
faith, but within a framework of what is agreed to be just and free for other faiths as well.
Every right we assert for ourselves as Christians is a right we defend for all others. 
Third, we are concerned that a generation of culture warring, reinforced by
understandable reactions to religious extremism around the world, has created a
powerful backlash against all religion in public life among many educated people. If this
hardens into something like the European animosity toward religion in public life, the
result would be disastrous for the American republic and would severely constrict liberty
for people of all faiths. The striking intolerance shown by the new atheists is a warning
We call on all citizens of goodwill and believers of all faiths and none to join us
in working for a civil public square and the restoration of a tough-minded civility that is
in the interests of all.
Fourth, we are concerned that globalization and the emerging global public
square have no matching vision of how to live with our deepest differences on the global
stage. In the Internet era, everyone can listen to what we say even when we are not
speaking to everyone. Global communication magnifies the challenges of living with our
deepest differences.
As the global public square emerges, we warn of two equal and opposite errors:
coercive secularism and religious extremism. 
We also repudiate the two other positions. First, those who believe their way is
the only way and the way for everyone, and are therefore prepared to coerce them. This
position leads inevitably to conflict.
Second, those who believe that different values are relative to different cultures,
and who therefore refuse to allow anyone to judge anyone else or any other culture. This
position sounds tolerant at first, but it leads directly to the ills of complacency. In a world
of such evils as genocide, slavery, female oppression, and assaults on the unborn, there
are rights that must be defended, evils that must be resisted, and interventions into the
affairs of others that are morally justified.
Fifth, we warn of the danger of a two-tier global public square. This is a model of
public life which reserves the top tier for cosmopolitan secular liberals, and the lower tier
for local religious believers. Such an arrangement would be patronizing as well as
severely restricting religious liberty and justice.
We promote a civil public square, and we respect for the rights of all, even those
with whom we disagree. Contrary to those who believe that “error has no rights,” we
respect the right to be wrong. But we also insist that “the right to believe anything” does
not mean that “anything anyone believes is right.” Rather, respect for conscientious
differences also requires respectful debate.
We do not speak for all Evangelicals. We speak only for ourselves, yet not to
ourselves. We invite all our fellow-Christians, our fellow-citizens, and people of different
faiths to take note of these declarations and to respond where appropriate.
We pledge that in a world of lies, hype, and spin, we publish this declaration in
words that, under God, we make our bond. People of the Good News, we desire not just
to speak the Good News but to embody and be good news to our world and to our
 This is an abbreviated version of the full Evangelical Manifesto which can be read at
  The terms “an Evangelical” and “Evangelicals” are proper nouns, rather than common nouns, and should
be spelled with an upper case -- as are the terms Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant, or Christian,
Jew, and Muslim.
 This brief expression of repentance is more fully developed in the full Evangelical Manifesto.
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10 years ago  ::  May 13, 2008 - 4:13AM #2
Posts: 495

I have read through this summary and am inspired by the ideas presented. in this day of post-post-modern life where doubt is not only raised to an art form but is the new religion of even religiously-affiliated people (!), I can appreciate the efforts of the Evangelical community and its Manifesto.

by faith tradition and by choice I am RCC, and see no contradiction in this Manifesto with the understanding that I have of my own faith. I am always grateful for ecumenical efforts that share what is common to Christians--our devotion to Jesus and our efforts to live out his message.

should we ever be arrested and tried as Christians, may there be enough evidence to convict us



Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction. --  Albert Einstein
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10 years ago  ::  May 13, 2008 - 10:48PM #3
Posts: 1,543


I'm wondering how you reconcile your RCC faith tradition with this declaration:

Yet we also hold to Evangelical beliefs that are distinct—
distinctions we affirm as matters of biblical truth, recovered by the Protestant
Reformation and vital for a sure knowledge of God. We Evangelicals are defined



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10 years ago  ::  May 14, 2008 - 6:38AM #4
brian griffith
Posts: 16
It's really good to see this. I knew real Christianity was a force for compassion, not dogmatism, nationalism or theocracy.
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10 years ago  ::  May 14, 2008 - 7:23AM #5
Posts: 495

well An the first thing I do is assume that love guides both my decisions (as rooted in the RCC tradition) as well as the conclusions that Evangelicals hold as vital. after assuming a shared respect, I assume that none of us interpret words in precisely the same way and that God expects us to think for ourselves. at which time I'm okay with the protestations of the reformation and even agree with certain of the protestations (I periodically reread Luther's 95 theses to note how things change AND how they stay the same)

thereafter I confess  Smile

that I do see the fullness of theology within my own faith tradition even as I continue to dialogue with people of other faith short, I keep the conversation going even though I (might) understand the basic doctrines differently (i.e. more fully) from those with whom I am chatting...the holy spirit is in charge of growth and development; not me

this is a very general answer but of course your question was of a general nature; should there be a specific matter of faith recovered by Protestants and/or Evangelicals that you would like to put on the table for discussion in this forum, please do so. I will do my best to respond.

since Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice in our modern society, I am well aware of the bias against all things Catholic. still I show up for conversations.  remember, though: without the roman catholic church and its monks there would have been no bible for the good folks of the Reformation to thump. Innocent



and of course if an avowed RCC member "contaminates" the purity of this Evangelical forum, I have no problem with a graceful exit. say the word, and I shall remove myself from the forum and ask the administrator to remove my posts; no problem for me. life happens.Smile





Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction. --  Albert Einstein
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10 years ago  ::  May 14, 2008 - 8:45AM #6
Posts: 3
Softsilk--This isn't an "Evangelical forum" even though it is was inspired by an Evangelical document. Indeed, part of what the manifesto is addressing is how Evangelicals can conduct themselves in a pluralist democracy, so your views and any views are not only welcome, but necessary.
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10 years ago  ::  May 14, 2008 - 11:52AM #7
Posts: 7


I don't know about, "salvation", "sin", and all that other stuff,  I perfer to view Jesus as a person of compassion, for the sick, the poor and the oppressed. If he were to say, "come", would christians, "come", If he were to say be compassionate, help the poor, help those in need would they, the Evanglists do that?  We live in a physical world, for that we can see the results, you can't see the results of "salvation", according to the belief's that's really not your or anyone else's call. So I figure if people want to believe in Jesus they should stick to the basics, be compassionate and help those in need.


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10 years ago  ::  May 20, 2008 - 12:20AM #8
Posts: 0

Softsilk, I enjoyed reading your posts. The way I interpreted the statement about "recovered by reformation..." to be talking about the bible being translated in a way people could read for themselves and that evangelicals base their faith on the bible and not on an institution specifically. I don't know why that would have to be put in there. It does seem to exclude roman catholics to some extent. But I really appreciate how you can still have an open mind and open communication with non RCC's. We all need more acceptance of each others differences, as we have so many more similarities! I am an evangelical and a good friend I have had for many years is rcc and as I see it, God is working in both our lives in the same ways over the years. We live far apart, so when we talk we have alot to catch up on and it's just funny how the older we get, the closer our thinking is the same. Maybe the little stuff falls off and the important stuff grows deeper. Tracy

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10 years ago  ::  May 20, 2008 - 2:04PM #9
Posts: 495

thank you Tracy for your very kind words. I appreciate your reception. smiles, Maggie


Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction. --  Albert Einstein
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8 years ago  ::  Aug 01, 2010 - 2:30PM #10
Posts: 11,795

I guess this one is dead?? Anyone out there want to revive it??...Ron

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