ONLINE NEWSROOM:  An Evangelical Manifesto

  Archived Webcast of Press Conference: 

National Press Club (Washington, DC)
Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It is no secret that the extraordinary influence of Evangelicals over the last two generations, climaxing in a barrage of political attention in the public square, has created both confusion within the faith community and consternation without. Many mainstream observers now doubt that the term Evangelical is ever positive. Many individuals who consider themselves to be Evangelicals now wonder if the term any longer serves a positive purpose.

In recent years, the meaning and connotation of the term Evangelical have evolved to reflect an emotional response, creating confusion and corruptions that have grown so deep, its character and meaning have been obscured and its importance lost.

Recognizing that no one can presume to speak for all Evangelicals, 18 months ago a group of Christian leaders convened, believing it was time to declare publicly who Evangelicals are and where we stand on issues that are causing dismay in public life – above all, to make clear that we are followers of Jesus Christ and therefore to be defined theologically and not politically or culturally.

This important declaration, written and revised with care and wide consultation by a nine-person Steering Committee, seeks to lay the lines down on the field and go back to the root theological meaning of Evangelical, so that individuals can evaluate or recalibrate to see if the moniker truly fits for them.

A representative group of 75 additional Christian influentials has primed the pump as charter signatories for this inclusive opportunity open to all Evangelical leaders and laity to review, consider, sign or comment at a website,

Many charter signatories will be recognizable names – and others will not be so easily-placed. Likewise, some names may be noticeably absent, which may be due to the policies of the ministries to which they are linked. Regardless, the content and the call to action within the Manifesto itself is the issue, hopefully prompting all those who claim the term Evangelical to solemnly reflect and consider where our hearts, our thinking and our actions need to be realigned. The purpose of this manifesto is not to attack or exclude, but rather to remind and reaffirm, and so to reform and rally.

Thank you for your sincere interest in considering the thought and intent of this declaration. After you have had an opportunity to read and contemplate the essence of the Manifesto, we welcome you to add your name to the list of signatures or leave a comment to further the dialogue about what it truly means to be an Evangelical.