Fleming Rutledge is a preacher and teacher known throughout the US, Canada, and parts of the UK. She is the author of eight books, all from Eerdmans Publishing. Her most recent book, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ, is the product of the work of a lifetime and is being described as a new classic on the subject.
One of the first women to be ordained to the priesthood of the Episcopal Church, she served for fourteen years on the clergy staff at Grace Church on Lower Broadway at Tenth Street, New York City.
Fleming and her husband celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2009 and have two daughters and two grandchildren. She is a native of Franklin, Virginia.
Ruminations: Eight Evangelical Affirmations
Saturday, February 05, 2005
Eight Evangelical AffirmationsNow that the "25 most influential evangelicals" are on the cover of Time magazine, it is urgent that the definition of "evangelical" be examined more carefully by those of us who claim it and also broadened more intentionally to include "left" as well as "right." The sharp divisions among evangelicals is a grave problem threatening our witness. A recent letter by retired Episcopal bishop Frank Vest and published in The Living Church states the problem clearly:
Somehow [the word] "evangelical" has been co-opted to connote a Christian who is anti-abortion, pro-Iraq war, pro-capital punishment, anti-gay rights, anti-stem-cell research, anti-gun control and a Biblical fundamentalist. I am an evangelical Christian and I am...pro-choice, against the war in Iraq, against capital punishment, for gay rights, for stem-cell research, for gun control...I believe that the word of God is inerrant, but I don’t believe that the words of Scripture are inerrant...
This letter makes a number of useful points. It arises out of unhappiness about division and hostility among Christians. It defines evangelicalism in precisely the way it is currently being defined in the media. It correctly explains the root of the word "evangelical." And it stakes a claim: I, too, am an evangelical. The writer of this letter does not wish to be pushed out of the circle. His unabashed faith is central to who he is. I would like to hold on to that fervent claim as we proceed. In saying this I wish to make a pitch to the evangelical right to be more inclusive.
I am proposing a tentative list of eight affirmations that seem to me to define "evangelical" as I understand and use the word myself. I call myself either a "liberal evangelical" or, more accurately, a "postliberal."
I will be presenting these proposed affirmations on my speaking tours this Lent and Eastertide, and I welcome responses and reactions to them.
Eight evangelical affirmations (proposed):
 The Rt. Rev. Frank Vest, letter to The Living Church, 1/16/05.
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