Evangelicals call for civic responsibility

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About 700 evangelical American Christians have endorsed a statement encouraging political engagement “with humility, civility, intellectual rigor and honesty” and inviting all followers of Christ to seek “the health of the nation for the good of all people.”

The statement is based on a National Association of Evangelicals 2004 resource, “For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility.” It appeared in the Oct. 6 edition of the Washington Post with about 100 signatories, and others have continued to sign it online.

Jesse Rincones, executive director of the Convención Bautista Hispana de Texas, and Jim Denison, founder of the Denison Forum, are among the Texas Baptists who have endorsed the call to civic responsibility.

Other Baptists who signed the statement include Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; Karen Swallow Prior, author and professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; and Ed Stetzer, dean at Wheaton College.

Key national Christian leaders who endorsed the statement include Leith Anderson; president emeritus of the National Association of Evangelicals; Darrell Bock, executive director of cultural engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary; Tim Breene, CEO of World Relief; Tim Dalrymple, president and CEO of Christianity Today; Daniel Harrell, editor in chief of Christianity Today; Shirley Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities; Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; and Tom Lin, president of InterVarsity.

Repent, renew and resolve

The statement specifically calls for three actions—repent, renew and resolve.

“Despite the example of Jesus and the teaching of Scripture, many of us have not adequately opposed the unjust systems that fail people of color, women, children and the unborn,” the call to repentance says.

“We have not always fulfilled God’s commands to protect the immigrant, refugee and poor. We have not always treated those who hold different opinions—both inside and outside of our faith—with dignity. We have not always displayed the beauty of the gospel of Jesus or the joyful relationship with him through faith.”

The statement calls for a renewed commitment to following Jesus both in personal lives and in spheres of influence.

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Specifically, it urges Christians to seek “just and merciful laws and leadership” that protect religious freedom and liberty of conscience; safeguard the sanctity of human life; strengthen marriage, family and children; seek justice and compassion for the poor and vulnerable; preserve human rights; pursue racial justice and reconciliation; promote just peace and restraint of violence; and care for God’s creation.

The statement ends with a five-part resolution to:

  • “Seek racial justice and reconciliation, asking for or extending forgiveness on an individual, local and national level.”
  • “Uphold a comprehensive pro-life ethic that protects both the unborn and the vulnerable of all ages, enriching life through equal opportunity and justice so that all women and men may flourish.”
  • “Resist being co-opted by a political agenda and instead pursue the breadth of commitments that Jesus displayed and Scriptures teach.”
  • “Embody God’s love for all, treating people with dignity even when we must confront them as required by our Christian conscience and convictions.”
  • “Pray for all who carry the responsibilities and burdens of leadership.”

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