The new evangelicals? Word comes that the National Association of Evangelicals is circulating a draft document that promotes evangelism as a kinder, gentler type of spirituality. According to the Los Angeles Times, which broke the story (and which is linked above from a newspaper that doesn't require registration), the document focuses on the best of both liberal and conservative evangelicalism. It "affirms a religiously based commitment to government protections for the poor, the sick and disabled, including fair wages, health care, nutrition and education," and "declares that Christians have a sacred responsibility to protect the environment. But it also hews closely to a traditional evangelical emphasis on the importance of families, opposition to same-sex marriage, and social evils such as alcohol, drugs, abortion and the use of human embryos for stem cell research. It reaffirms a commitment to religious freedom at home and abroad.
(An aside: for the real scoop, read the Times report. The Associated Press and other agencies have revised the report but haven't gotten all the facts quite right, as pointed out in today's ChristianityToday Weblog.
Is the National Association of Evangelicals promoting a new kind of Christian? Or is this more an attempt to give evangelicalism a makeover? As an evangelical, I do grow weary of the stereotypes of my faith, and the assumption that because I'm an evangelical Christian I must also be a conservative. (Even folks within the evangelical community equate evangelicalism with conservativism. Otherwise, how can I account for all the spam I receive from "Christian" conservative organizations?) Pardon my cynicism, but I smell a PR campaign cooking. I could be wrong.
Here's another view to ponder: On God's Side, by Brent Morrison. His thoughts are worth reading. He may even be worth adding to the blogroll, which I'm considering pruning one of these days.