If you haven’t heard by now (I heard from Halden), a group of (select) world renowned Evangelicals got together and compiled their own manifesto (or see the summary). I say ‘select’ because there are certain voices (namely any strongly conservative or liberal ones absent from the group). It’s not that I care whether they have conservatives, moderates, or liberals, involved in the project, but it seems to me that ‘Evangelicalism’ is the very thing that cannot have a manifesto unless is it a ‘select’ Evangelical manifesto. That is to say, the term Evangelical is so contested that at first glance it would seem you need a special theological swat team in order to nail the subject down. And it is firmly nailed down in a number of some areas, Bill Samuel summarizes some of theological stances in his post (and he also has some helpful criticisms here). Another area where it seems somewhat inflexible is, as Alan Wolf says in his essay for the Guardian, the being, among other things, aimed against Fundamentalists:
One of the most striking features of the Manifesto is the lengths to which its authors go to disassociate themselves from fundamentalism. Protestantism, they write, tends to veer off either in a mainline, liberal direction or in a reactionary, anti-modern one – evangelicalism must be understood as rejecting both. Their critique of the mainline tendencies is not surprising. Their harsh words toward fundamentalism are. Fundamentalism “tends to romanticize the past, some now-lost moment in time, and to radicalise the present, with styles of reaction that are personally and publicly militant to the point where they are sub-Christian.” Jerry Falwell is dead. One wonders, were he still alive, how he would react to other religious conservatives calling him “sub-Christian.”
Now, I don’t care much for fundamentalism (of any sort), any more than the next person (though I’m not sure fundamentalists would like themselves if they heard us describe them!), but why the need to have a document that sets out to do something like this? I’m just not sure why we would take the time to let everybody know who we are not!? If people can’t tell you’re not a fundamentalist, no manifesto will help you.