Chicago Declaration

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Here are some excerpts from the 1973 Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern which launched Evangelicals for Social Action. Sojourners tells of how their vision was detailed in the 80's by the Moral Majority making Evangelicalism synonymous with right wing politics. So they got together again two decades later to issue Chicago Declaration II: A Call for Evangelical Renewal. The following excerpts are from the 1973 declaration written in the form of a prayer of repentance.

I see so many ways that my own life simply mirrors the values of the culture around me, and long deeply to exhibit the counter-cultural radical grace of the Gospel in my life and community. It is easy to sit back and criticize the failures of the church from my high horse of trendy postmodernism, but it is my church, and so I want to do all I can to let the change begin with me. So I join them in their confession and commit my life to making changes to promote a total life of being the Gospel. Come Lord Jesus.

On Racism
"We deplore the historic involvement of the church in America with racism and the conspicuous responsibility of the evangelical community for perpetuating the personal attitudes and institutional structures that have divided the body of Christ along color lines. Further, we have failed to condemn the exploitation of racism at home and abroad by our economic system."

On Materialism and Poverty
"As a nation we play a crucial role in the imbalance and injustice of international trade and development. Before God and a billion hungry neighbors, we must rethink our values regarding our present standard of living and promote a more just acquisition and distribution of the world's resources."

On Nationalism and War
"We must challenge the misplaced trust of the nation in economic and military might - a proud trust that promotes a national pathology of war and violence which victimizes our neighbors at home and abroad. We must resist the temptation to make the nation and its institutions objects of near-religious loyalty."

On Sexism
"We acknowledge that we have encouraged men to prideful domination and women to irresponsible passivity. So we call both men and women to mutual submission and active discipleship."

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