Trajectory and the Manhattan Declaration.
Esteemed Ordinary Gentleman E.D. reads the Manhattan Declaration and remarks: “Well, this is the trajectory of the modern Christian right.” Actually, not quite. The trajectory of the modern Christian right isn’t totally clear right now, and the Manhattan Declaration announces an attempt to set that trajectory — but whether it will succeed is an open question.
I realize that the inner social structure of Evangelicalism can be a bit opaque to outsiders, so I’d like to provide a little bit of context, if I can. If you read the list of the document’s signatories, you’ll see that they’re in pretty high places: seminary presidents, pastors of large churches, bishops, theologians, and think-tankers. What’s missing is the younger generation, and this document is in part an attempt to make young evangelicals (like me, maybe) fall in line. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s an excerpt from the New York Times article on the declaration:
They say they also want to speak to younger Christians who have become engaged in issues like climate change and global poverty, and who are more accepting of homosexuality than their elders. They say they want to remind them that abortion, homosexuality and religious freedom are still paramount issues.
“We argue that there is a hierarchy of issues,” said Charles Colson, a prominent evangelical who founded Prison Fellowship after serving time in prison for his role in the Watergate scandal. “A lot of the younger evangelicals say they’re all alike. We’re hoping to educate them that these are the three most important issues.”
See that? They’re worried that young evangelicals are going soft on gay marriage and abortion. In my experience, at least, they’re right to be worried: for every young evangelical that goes in the direction of Mark Driscoll, it seems another one follows after Rob Bell, getting into what’s called the “emergent church.” (And everybody goes to a church called Mars Hill.)