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Os Guiness, well-known author and speaker.

The Manifesto Is The Message

Web Extra | On May 7, a group of evangelical leaders released their long-anticipated document, "An Evangelical Manifesto: A Declaration of Evangelical Identity and Public Commitment"

On May 7, a group of evangelical leaders-including Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals and "religious left" leader Jim Wallis-released their long-anticipated document, "An Evangelical Manifesto: A Declaration of Evangelical Identity and Public Commitment."
At a National Press Club briefing, evangelical public relations specialist A. Larry Ross called the document a "broadly inclusive" cross-section of evangelical voices that has been three years in the making. Os Guinness, the principal drafter of the manifesto, said it was "primarily a theological document," and not a statement of political or public policy activism.
More than 20 well-known Christian leaders were listed as "charter signatories" of the document, and Guinness said "scores of people have given input." Ross rebutted charges that it was an "exclusive" document by saying that "all are welcome to sign it." To illustrate that assertion, theologians Timothy George, John Huffman, and Richard Mouw joined Guinness and Christianity Today editor-in-chief David Neff at the unveiling of the manifesto. Jesse Miranda, Richard Ohman, and best-selling author Dallas Willard also reviewed drafts.
Guinness said the document is not political in the sense that it says "Christians are not to be defined culturally or politically" and that it is first and foremost a "charitable call to reform."
Nonetheless, the timing of the document's Washington, D.C., release, during the "home stretch" of the presidential primary season, caused some journalists at the event to suggest that claim was disingenuous. Ross responded to a question about timing: "We set the date back in January based on schedules. It had nothing to do with yesterday's election."
Even so, questions about who was left out of the document's drafting and signatories and whether those decisions were politically motivated arose. Among those not initially asked to sign: former presidential candidate Gary Bauer and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins both told WORLD they had not seen the Manifesto. Tom Minnery, executive vice president of Focus on the Family said neither he nor James Dobson has signed the document, though in the final days before its release, they did get a chance to review it. Other conservative evangelical leaders who often speak on political issues not included in the process: Rick Scarborough of Vision America, former White House speechwriter and Beverly LaHaye Senior Fellow Janice Crouse, Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land, homeschool leader Michael Farris, and Concerned Women For America President Wendy Wright.
Some evangelical commentators-including Chuck Colson and Ethics and Public Policy Center's Michael Cromartie-were asked to sign but chose not to, at least so far-due either to flaws in the document or the "exclusivity" of the list of signatories.

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Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren is vice president of mission advancement for The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and the host of WORLD Radio’s Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.


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