The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
Representatives from across the world sign manifesto denouncing those who “hailed the US President as a Christian and a prophet.”
Many voices from the global evangelical community have joined to warn about “a new form of dangerous political leadership emerging in different parts of the world.”
Evangelical leaders from many different countries have signed a statement called “A Call For Biblical Faithfulness Amid the New Fascism.”
“FASCISM IS REAL”
In the document, published by INFEMIT (International Felllowship of Mission as Transformation), the authors state that “although this is not the first, and likely not the last time, the threat today of what can be called the new fascism is real.”
“As an ideology characterized by fundamentalist, militant, nationalistic, and racist policies, fascism threatens especially the 'other', be it the poor, the oppressed, or the disenfranchised - people for whom God has a special concern”, the statement continues.
“A CALL TO RADICAL BIBLICAL FAITHFULNESS”
The signatories “feel compelled by the Spirit to call the church worldwide, first and foremost ourselves, to hear the clarion call of the Gospel to radical biblical faithfulness amid the new fascism and to renew its commitment to live out the peace, justice, and hope of the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ.”
“As followers of Jesus, we also feel compelled to issue this call because we find it disturbing that many self-identified evangelicals in their respective countries contributed in no small part to the new fascism by the way they voted in a number of recent referenda (e.g. Colombia, United Kingdom) and national elections (e.g. Philippines, United States).”
THE UNITED STATES' GLOBAL INFLUENCE
“Though we witness this form of dangerous political leadership emerging in other parts of the world, we are issuing this statement around the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States, because of that nation’s global influence”, the evangelical leaders say.
And add: “We are keenly aware of the anxiety and fear being caused around the world by the actions, stated positions, and inflammatory foreign policy remarks of the President-elect.”
“IT IS INADMISSIBLE TO HAIL TRUMP AS A CHRISTIAN AND A PROPHET”
“In the case of the U.S., we mourn the reduction of the gospel that resulted in single-issue voting, even as we acknowledge the complexity of the political process and the agony of many over the options available”, they point out.
The signers admit that “it is true that for many evangelicals, their vote was more against the other candidates than it was for the one they elected”, but they “grieve the part that evangelicals played in electing a person whose character, values, and actions are antithetical to the Gospel.”
Furthermore, the text said, “we find it inadmissible that some high profile evangelical leaders have hailed the President-elect as a Christian and a prophet. It does not surprise us that many people, especially from the younger generation, are abandoning the evangelical world altogether.”
AGAINST VIOLENCE, RACISM AND RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION
The representative members of the global evangelical community “stand with all who oppose violence, racism, misogyny, and religious, sexual and political discrimination by resisting the leadership of a person whose life, deeds and words have normalized and even glorified these postures.”
“Our voices represent solidarity with them both in their grief over the results of the elections and in their resolve to speak to power in word and deed in these troubling times”, they say.
“A CHALLENGE TO THE NEW FASCISM”
“As a challenge to the new fascism”, the evangelical leaders “call the whole church to biblical faithfulness in:
- the merciful and just treatment of immigrants, refugees, strangers, and racial and religious minorities.
- the rejection of all sorts of objectification of women and commercialization of sex.
- the responsible and just regard for the care of God’s creation, including taking seriously the reality and dangers of climate change.
- the commitment to world peace in the face of the war industry, military rhetoric and action.
- the courageous and self-sacrificing pursuit of the welfare of the poor, marginalized, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups, including children and youth.”
“PRAY FOR THE US AND ITS LEADERS”
The signatories finish the statement calling “to account the incoming U.S. President and his administration in the power of the Gospel, warning them that God holds each nation, each leader, and each individual responsible for how they act on behalf of the poor and the oppressed.”
“And we encourage all God’s people to pray for the United States and its leaders, for the sake of the welfare not only of the U.S. citizens but of all people around the world”, they conclude.
Femi B. Adeleye, Institute for Christian Impact (ICI) and Langham Preaching, Ghana
María Alejandra Andrade V., Tearfund UK, Ecuador/UK
René August, The Warehouse, South Africa
Gillian Mary Bediako, Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture, Ghana
Paul Bendor-Samuel, Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, United Kingdom
Rachel Beveridge, Christian Reformed World Missions, El Salvador/USA
Seblewengel Daniel, Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church, Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology, INFEMIT, Ethiopia
Corrie De Boer, Mission Ministries Philippines, Inc, Philippines
Samuel Escobar, Spain
Sheryl Haw, Micah Global, United Kingdom
Munther Isaac, Bethlehem Bible College and Christ at the Checkpoint Conference, Palestine
Amanda Kaminski, INFEMIT, USA
Kanthamanee Ladaphongphatthana, Mahidol University, Thailand
Terry Le Blanc, NAIITS, An Indigenous Learning Community, Canada
Gregory Leffel, INFEMIT, USA
David S. Lim, Asian School of Development & Crosscultural Studies (ASDECS), Philippines
David Nacho, CETI, Bolivia-Canada
Las Newman, Lausanne, Jamaica
Zac Niringiye, Bishop in the Church of Uganda, Uganda
Ruth Padilla DeBorst, INFEMIT and Comunidad de Estudios Teológicos Interdisciplinarios, Costa Rica
René Padilla, Kairos Foundation, Argentina
Melba Padilla Maggay, Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture, Philippines
B. Y. Quarshie, INFEMIT and Akrofi-Christaller Institute, Ghana
Vinoth Ramachandra, International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, Sri Lanka
Lindy Scott, Whitworth University, USA
Ronald J. Sider, Palmer Seminary at Eastern University, USA
Craig Stewart, The Warehouse, South Africa
Al Tizon, North Park Theological Seminary and INFEMIT, USA
Marcelo Vargas, Bolivia
Robin Wainwright, INFEMIT, USA