Major New Evangelical Consensus Declaration on Political Engagement

by Ron Sider

The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has just released a new draft of a major declaration called "For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility."

The declaration acknowledges that in spite of widespread evangelical political engagement in recent years, there has been far too little careful, sophisticated reflection on how to do politics in a biblically faithful way. This new document spells out a framework for combining a normative biblical vision with careful social analysis to develop the beginnings of an evangelical political philosophy.

Diane Knippers of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (www.ird-renew.org) and I co-chaired the process that has been at work for several years. Baker Books will publish a large, scholarly volume of essays that served as background for the declaration. David Neff, editor of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, was the principal writer of the declaration. A Drafting Committee that included James Skillen (Center for Public Justice – www.cpjustice.org), JoAnne Lyon (World Hope International – www.worldhope.org), and Paul Marshall (?) worked with NAE Vice President for Public Policy Richard Cizik, along with Diane, David, and myself on several versions of the draft.

The current draft is now available and we want to invite widespread comment. Please go to www.nae.net to read the document (scroll down to the press releases, click on the heading, and download the declaration). Then send your comments, suggestions, and questions to civicresponsibility@christianitytoday.com. A further revision will be prepared in early September for the fall 2004 meeting of the NAE Board, which plans to act on the proposed declaration. After it is approved we will then welcome signatures for the document.

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