Good News or Bad News? The Meaning of Evangelical in 21st Century America

On June 14th, 350 Christian leaders, who work on the front lines of the battle for The Soul of the Nation, gathered in Washington DC to convene and create an opportunity for building relationships and cross-sector collaboration. 

 Five of those leaders gathered together to lay bare the controversy of what it means to be an Evangelical.

·            The Reverend Jim Wallis, Founder and President of Sojourners

·            Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, President of Skinner Leadership Institute

·            Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, the founder of the Faith-Rooted Organizing UnNetwork.

·            Rev. Nikki Toyama-Szeto, Executive Director Evangelicals for Social Action

·            Rev. Wes Granberg Michaelson, the former General Secretary of the Reformed Church in America

 

The question examined by this Dream Team of Christian Social Leaders was if the word Evangelical still means “Good News,” especially for the growing minority populations in America.

 Rev. Alexia Salvatierra: “In M25 (Matthew 25) we are constantly intentional in what we call justice in the process…In all of our processes and all of structures, we try to practice being the body of Christ…It’s a profoundly biblical shift.”

 

Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner: “We have an identity crisis in America…The Church of Christ is the body…We have so segmented ourselves that we have not clarified that those who are aligned with Christ are aligned with each other.”

 

Rev. Nikki Toyama-Szeto: “The Church in America is actually going to precede [the] demographic shift. What our churches in our pews are going to look like, that’s going to happen in our churches ten years before it happens along Main Street on America. The church could reimagine how we live our life together as familia.”

 

Rev. Wes Granberg Michaelson: “We have to de-Americanize the Bible…The Gospel of Jesus Christ has a political and social and economic impact. It did then and does now…Romans 13 didn’t mean we were justified in dropping Napalm on Vietnam … [It] doesn’t justify us separating vulnerable families at the border.

 

The Reverend Jim Wallis: “The parties…want to use us and abuse us and…that’s true on both sides of the aisle…How do we evaluate our public life by proclaiming Jesus?”

 

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. — John 1:5

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