Much has been made recently about the Evangelical Manifesto. First of all, I really dislike the word manifesto. Perhaps because I immediately think of the Communist Manifesto when I hear the word. The Evangelical Manifesto seeks to clarify the definition and beliefs of evangelicals. There is much in the document that I welcome and endorse. I don’t agree with everything in the document. But I am pretty sure that no one agrees with everything I say. Including me.
One central idea makes me shout AMEN loudly. That idea is that Evangelicals should be defined theologically and not politically, culturally or socially. Since I am not smart enough to produce a document as eloquent as the Evangelical Manifesto I have decided to issue my own smaller brain version.
Without any adieu I present “One Christian's Minifesto”.
- I am a follower of Jesus.
- I believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe the Bible is the inspired and authoritative Word of God. I believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, His sinless life, and miracles. I believe in His atoning death, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory. I believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
Let me tell you what this particular evangelical Christian does not believe...
- I do not believe you have to be a Republican to be a Christian. Like it or not, heaven will be bipartisan and I am totally fine that there will not be sides of the golden aisles.
- I do not believe that God is "judging" America for any particular sin. But if He is judging this country I would suspect it is for the massive squandering of wealth and resources that America has been blessed with while giving back an average of less than three percent.
- I do not believe in ranking sins for their offensiveness to me. Some things are more offensive to me but all sin is equally intolerable to a Holy God.
- I do not believe that censorship, boycotts, or politics will redeem this culture...only a spiritual renewal can accomplish such redemption.
- I do not believe that it is my place to relish or desire eternal punishment for others. I am willing to leave that to a righteous and just God who sees the real heart and motives for each one of us and Who will judge justly.
- I do not believe that I should follow a spokesperson that represents all Evangelicals. I engage Scripture, my conscious, research, debate and prayer into my decisions as a Christian and as a citizen of this country.
Here is my complete agenda.
- To try and see everyone through the eyes of Jesus because my eyes are prejudiced and prideful.
- To try and love them like Jesus because my love is selfish apart from Him.
- To let them others know that my relationship with Jesus has changed my life, given my life purpose, given me strength to endure tragedy and real hope for the future.
- To authentically relate how this personal relationship with the living God saved my marriage and made me a better father to my sons.
- To be gentle in relating the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to people in every situation and mired in any sin. My goal is to introduce them to Jesus and let them work out their salvation in fear and trembling.
- To exhibit grace and forgiveness to those who oppose me.
- To love my wife and family sacrificially and well.
- To be an example of the living Christ to everyone I come in contact so that I can be salt and light to my little circle of influence.
- To be a advocate for those wounded by the church and other Christians. Our lack of unity must grieve the Lord who prayed for unity of the body during His final agonizing hours before His betrayal, mock trial and crucifixion.
- To try to never be surprised or repulsed by the actions of those who do not have a relationship with Jesus. The Lord Himself was always gentle with sinners and always tough on religious hypocrites. We have reversed his example far too often. We are too tough on sinners and too gentle with the hypocrites.
- To try and give generously of my time and treasure to those who have not been as materially blessed in my neighborhood, my country and around the world.
- To let people know that I love Jesus and I am not at all ashamed of that fact.
I believe that Jesus gave me a very simple game plan.
- “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[e] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22, NLT)
- “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” (Matthew 28, NLT)
And finally, I believe the truth of this promise that Jesus made.
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
That’s it. I care about the environment and politics and issues but I am passionate about Christ. Jesus is where I have found hope and change.
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com.