Friday, July 07, 2006

A Call to Evangelical Unity

The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration is a manifesto of sorts, compiled by leaders within the evangelical community and published in Christianity Today in 1999. Those leaders who compiled or endorsed this statement of faith included the following: R.C. Sproul; D.A. Carson; Erwin Lutzer; J.I. Packer; Kay Arthur; Chuck Colson; Jerry Falwell; Wayne Grudem; Woodrow Kroll; John MacArthur; Beth Moore; Charles Swindoll; Bill Hybels; and Ravi Zacharias. Here are a few excerpts from this statement:

Unity in the Gospel

Christians are commanded to love each other despite differences of race, gender, privilege, and social, political, and economic background (John 13:34-35; Gal. 3:28-29), and to be of one mind wherever possible (John 17:20-21; Phil. 2:2; Rom. 14:1-15:13). We know that divisions among Christians hinder our witness in the world, and we desire greater mutual understanding and truth-speaking in love. We know too that as trustees of God's revealed truth, we cannot embrace any form of doctrinal indifferentism, or relativism, or pluralism by which God's truth is sacrificed for a false peace.

Doctrinal disagreements call for debate. Dialogue for mutual understanding and, if possible, narrowing of the differences is valuable, doubly so when the avowed goal is unity in primary things, with liberty in secondary things, and charity in all things.

Affirmation and Denial – Point 18:

We affirm that Jesus Christ commands his followers to proclaim the Gospel to all living persons, evangelizing everyone everywhere, and discipling believers within the fellowship of the church. A full and faithful witness to Christ includes the witness of personal testimony, godly living, and acts of mercy and charity to our neighbor, without which the preaching of the Gospel appears barren.

We deny that the witness of personal testimony, godly living, and acts of mercy and charity to our neighbors constitutes evangelism apart from the proclamation of the Gospel.

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