Generous Orthodoxy  




Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ten evangelical affirmations

About once a year I put forward a list of evangelical affirmations. Now more than ever, it seems to me that "generously orthodox" Christians need to work hard at making a case for broadening the term "evangelical" more intentionally. The sharp divisions among evangelicals are a grave problem threatening our witness. News from England and Australia suggests that Anglican evangelicals sometimes endanger the gospel itself by taking too narrow a view of what consitutes "sound" theology.

At the same time we need to be outspoken and confident about what sets evangelical theology apart from liberal theology.

I am repeating my proposals now, and will continue to do so from time to time.
This revised list seems 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."

Ten evangelical affirmations (proposed):

--Jesus Christ is the only-begotten incarnate Son of God the Father.

--Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah of Israel, hailed by Moses and Elijah, the one in whom the New Covenant prophesied by Jeremiah is fulfilled.

--In the Crucifixion, the Triune God gave himself in the person of his Son, on our behalf and in our place, the righteous for the unrighteous.

--The Cross and Resurrection were a single definitive act of God to overcome Sin, conquer Death, defeat the Evil One on his own turf, and inaugurate the new reality called the Kingdom of God.

--The Holy Scriptures are the true revelation of God's own self, and the Bible is therefore unique among writings and can be trusted as the living and active Word of God.

--We are incorporated into the new life of God for now and for all eternity through baptism, justified by grace alone, through the gift of faith.

--The Holy Spirit is actively at work in the world shaping both events and people to bring his ultimate redemptive purpose to pass.

--God in Christ is gathering disciples, the saints of God, who embody his purposes through the ministry of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

--It is the very essence of Christian faith to bear witness to this story of God, and therefore to make his gospel known to all nations and peoples.

--We look to the future of God, when Jesus Christ will come again in great glory to rectify all that is wrong and bring all things to their appointed consummation.