Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Evangelicals for Darfur

Conservative Evangelicals like Richard Land have joined forces with liberal evangelicals like Tony Campolo and Jim Wallis to try to save the people of the Darfur region of the Sudan. Whether or not you consider yourself an evangelical, I urge you to add your support here.

“…more than 400,000 people have been killed. 2.5 million displaced. Countless more have been raped, maimed, and tortured: Men, women, and children created in God’s image, innocents all.”

My thanks to Bryan Peters, an American Baptist seminarian who blogs as “The Young Evangelical,” for this heads up.


October 21, 2006 Posted by | evangelicals, foreign policy, human rights., peacemaking | 5 Comments

Menno Simons on Evangelical Faith

In recent U.S. history (not so much elsewhere in the world), the term “evangelical” has become synonymous with rightwing theology and, even more, rightwing politics, especially the demonization of sexual minorities, embrace of civil religion/nationalist religion, attempts to get federal money and other special favors from the government, cheering capital punishment and war, and hating church/state separation. Even as recently as the 1970s “evangelical,” meaning “gospel centered,” had a much broader meaning and those who pursued the goals listed above were a much smaller percentage of the evangelical spectrum.

I’ve always favored the definition coined by the nonviolent Dutch Anabaptist leader Menno Simons (1496-1561), whose direct followers became known as “Mennonites,” but whose writing also influenced early Baptists. Menno said it this way:

True evangelical faith cannot lie dormant:

It clothes the naked;

It feeds the hungry;

It comforts the sorrowful;

It shelters the destitute;

It serves those that harm it;

It binds up that which is wounded;

It has become all things to all.

When I use the term “evangelical” as a self-description, it is with Menno’s definition in mind.

August 5, 2006 Posted by | evangelicals, heroes | Comments Off on Menno Simons on Evangelical Faith