A Response to A Declaration of Evangelical Concern | Sojourners

A Response to A Declaration of Evangelical Concern

Thanksgiving 1973, a group of evangelical Christians in Chicago drew up a “Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern” which represented an important event for the life of the whole Christian community in this country.

Members of the Division of Church and Society and of other units of the NCC have been impressed with the degree to which that statement lessens the distance that is often assumed to separate “evangelical Christians” from “ecumenical Christians.” We deplore the use of such labels as though they were mutually exclusive, and we welcome the Chicago Declaration as an expression of a common concern. We do not suppose those who made it to be any less evangelical for having lifted up afresh the social concern that has always been implicit, and sometimes explicit, in their tradition. In the same sense, we do not relinquish any of our historic concern for social justice by reminding ourselves that we have not sufficiently manifest the evangelical spirit that has always been implicit in the ecumenical movement.

Though that Declaration neither invites nor requires response, we are moved by the Holy Spirit to express a deep feeling of kinship with that statement and with our fellow-Christians who issued it. Using the same form and some of the same words, we offer a response in the spirit of humility and searching, to the end that a new understanding, a new dialogue, and possibly a new reconciliation may emerge.

The Response

As people “committed to the Lord Jesus Christ and to the full authority of the Word of God,” we too affirm that “God lays total claim upon the lives of the people.” We cannot separate our efforts to alleviate the distresses of human society from the urgency to proclaim the Gospel of Christ, which truly saves and frees persons to become what God created them to be.

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