Some may be surprised that I identify myself as an Evangelical. I call myself that because I believe in spreading the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a broken and fallen world. The term “Evangelical” I have said over and over again has been co-opted by Christian Conversatives and Fundamentalists, and I long for the day when the religious right finally loses the monopoly on the name.
Fleming Rutledge, a retired Episcopal Priest has listed a proposed Ten Evangelical Affirmations which I believe sums up what “Evangelical” means, which I am reprinting below. I am a big fan of Fleming. I wouldn’t describe her as a supporter of the full inclusion of GLBT folk in the Church (at least not in the way that we normally mean it), but I do believe her theology is very sound and I respect her scholarship. You’ll definitely find her influence in some of my sermons.
Now … onto the affirmations …
- Jesus Christ is the only-begotten incarnate Son of God the Father
- Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah of Israel, hailed by Moses and Elijah, the one in whom the New Covenant prophesied by Jeremiah is fulfilled
- In the Crucifixion, the Triune God gave himself in the person of his Son, on our behalf and in our place, the righteous for the unrighteous
- The Cross and the Resurrection were a single definitive act of God to overcome Sin, conquer Death, defeat the Evil Oneon his own turf, and inaugurate the new reality called the Kingdom of God
- The Holy Scriptures are the true revelation of God’s own self, and the Bible is therefore unique among writings and can be trusted as the living and active Word of God.
- We are incorporated into the new life of God for now and for all eternity through baptism, justified by grace along, through the gift of faith.
- The Holy Spirit is actively at work in the world shaping both events and people to bring his ultimate redemptive purpose to pass.
- God in Christ is gathering disciples, the saints of God, who embody his purposes through the ministry of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
- It is the very essence of Christian faith to bear witness to this story of God, and therefore make his gospel known to all nations and peoples.
- We look to the future of God, when Jesus Christ will come again in great glory to rectify all that is wrong and bring all things to their appointed summation.
Does anyone have any thoughts on any of these? For myself, I think it’s interesting that she affirms two theories of atonement (point 3 being substitutionary atonement and point 4 being more of Christus Victor), which is something that not many people do. She also unsurprisingly takes a very high view of scripture, but she stops short of saying that it is “inerrant,” which is interesting. I don’t think the bible is inerrant, but I do believe that it’s true and it can be trusted as being inspired by God.
All in all, I think this is a very good snapshot of Evangelical theology. I would be curious as to what others think. I’m just curious more than anything, especially with those who might disagree with any of the above statements and why.