Progressive Evangelicals

Gasaway contends that Peace Pentecost offered a coherent social agenda. Grounded in a “public theology of community,” it stood in stark contrast to the pervasive individualism of midcentury evangelicalism.
In a blistering editorial in the January 1978 issue of Sojourners, Jim Wallis castigated the president for failure to attend adequately to the needs of the poor. “The biblical demands for justice and compassion bring the harshest kind of judgment to the system of wealth and power upon which Jimmy Carter has built his presidency,” Wallis wrote. “It is these standards of social righteousness that our evangelical president has set aside during his first year in office.” John F. Alexander of The Other Side, another signatory to the Chicago Declaration in 1973, was almost flippant about the 1980 election. Although he acknowledged the moral rectitude of Carter’s policy on human rights—“we can be reasonably sure that fewer people are being tortured now than if Ford had been elected”—Alexander expressed doubts that an evangelical in the White House made any difference whatsoever. While he applauded Carter’s cancellation of the B-1 bomber, Alexander criticized the president’s approval of the MX missile. “Personally I see little point in not voting,” he concluded, although he suggested that his readers cast their ballots for Donald Duck.
Andrew Marin 10-24-2011


The reason the word Evangelical has become so poisonous is because the answer to the above question comes from a conversion-based model of cultural engagement - political, theological and social. Too many Christians believe, and have wrongly been taught, that those "others" and "opposites" who have made an active choice not to believe in "our" teachings are justifiably: 1) left to their own devices as we wash our hands of them because of their bad choice (think in terms of blood-on-their-own-head); or 2) uninformed, so much so that their "no" is an illegitimate answer.

Evangelicals care more about positions -- whether progressive or conservative -- than people. We lack nuance. We have become either all Scripture or all Justice. I don't know where the balance was lost in terms of holding Scripture in high authority and, simultaneously, loving with reckless abandon?

Brian McLaren 11-16-2009
It's been said that conservatives are people who honor the tombs of dead progressives.
Charles Gutenson 11-11-2009

Well, you get progressive evangelicals -- a people who unite those two things too long separated: the invitation to become followers of Jesus and the call to join the struggle for the creation of just societies. What is it that progressive evangelicals do?

Aaron Taylor 10-15-2009
I'm trembling as I write this one.
Tim Kumfer 06-23-2008

It is no secret that young evangelicals are opting out of the 'religious right' in ever-larger numbers, and are becoming more (what for lack of a better term we'll call) progressive. With the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other, many young evangelicals are asking tough questions and beginning to make connections.

Our politics are coming out differently, but it is not that we reject everything our parents believe. Rather, we take seriously something beneath the rhetoric. We [...]