Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What Evangelicals Believe: Part II

Continuing my defense of how the term "evangelical" should not be reserved solely for followers of any political ideology, but rather is a term to be shared by all who share the foundations of the Christian faith, I turn now to the second article of my seminary's Statement of Faith, which reads, "God, who discloses himself through his creation, has savingly spoken in the words and events of redemptive history. This history is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word, who is made known to us by the Holy Spirit in sacred Scripture."

At a cursory glance, there is much in this article that reflects Article 1. The fact the God is the one who reveals is re-emphasized, as is the Trinity. The main addition here is the element of salvation, especially as seen in "redemptive history."

Evangelicals affirm that God is not simply revealed as a voice who speaks in the heads of a few people. Rather, as the author of What We Evangelicals Believe puts it: "When we list creation and history as the double stage where the divine drama takes place,we are embracing the totality of life." (p. 33) This article acknowledges the fact that a huge portion of the Bible that Christians affirm is not codes and laws, but story. The codes and laws, which do indeed comprise part of the Bible, would lose their impact upon us without the context of the story of God's revelation in history. The laws alone might still be the Word of God, but people would ignore them. God acted in human history to make sure we would listen. "History is the place of our salvation. The God who has preached to us through his creation has entered our human politics, economics, and culture to declare by word and work that he is our Savior." (p. 36)

That God acts in our world... yes, even in politics... is something that all Evangelicals affirm. Note that this does not imply a particular polical agenda, but emphasizes God's place within the political process, as well as in all of life. There is no reason that a Christian cannot be a politician. In fact, I would agree with the Republicans insofar as being a politician who can be open about his/her faith is a welcome thing. However, there are many Democrats who are committed Christians, as well, and it simply isn't fair to suggest that they have rebelled against the teachings of the Bible because they advocate policies that may appear contrary to a non-fundamentalist interpretation. This, of course, goes to the heart of the matter. Ironically, the "fundamentals" of the faith (which were are here in this series detailing) are far more basic and far less extensive than the doctrines advocated by those who call themselves "fundamentalist." More on this as the series continues....

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