A sense of crisis and urgency keynotes the feeling of Christians facing a new decade. Many issues confront the church with their multiplicity and complexity:
• Problems of ecology and air pollution
• The alarming increase in the use of hallucinogenic drugs
• Unprecedented filth in the film industry and in the TV medium
• The secularization of all that is sacred, as evidenced in the increase in Sunday business
• The destruction of the sacred, as seen in an attitude of total permissiveness in sex today . . . A wide spirit of situation ethics in all avenues of belief, life and practice
• Efforts to sabotage the judiciary system
• The loss of a sense of authority and the meaning of freedom with obligation in the educational campuses of our country
• The increasing polarization of nations, races and peoples with the resultant sin of racism and prejudice
Christians in faith believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord of history. Nevertheless, all too many are tempted to ask, “Can the seventies be saved if the Lord Jesus Christ delays His coming during this decade? Does the church have a redemptive word and act for this hour?”
We remind ourselves and others that our pledge to be involved in saving acts in the seventies can never mean any concept of universal salvation for all. We declare anew that apart from the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross there is no deliverance from the penalty of sin. We also stand on the threshold of the seventies questioning whether we shall ever see the end of this decade. Or again we see before us the possibility of an extension of that persecution of those true to the faith once for all delivered so evident in other lands.
The church needs to be a redemptive force in the decade of the seventies. The prayer of many has become the heart-cry of the evangelical constituency: “Lord, help us to take You out beyond the walls of this church.”
This first National Association of Evangelicals annual convention of the seventies and twenty-eighth in the series of conventions since the founding of NAE declares that we believe we do have something we can say, do and be with respect to the issues confronting us. We answer the challenge of the Seventies as believers in the authority of the Word of God written and in the continuing command of the Word of God manifest in the flesh, even Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible said, “Occupy till I come.” He also commanded, “Go and teach all nations.” Moved by the Holy Spirit, His servant, the Apostle Paul enjoined, “Be filled with the Spirit.” We thus realize we operate under the mandate to act in society in the context of scriptural principles, to speak to the world and ourselves the truth in love, and to seek the life of the Spirit of God which will renew us in the inner man to live Christlike lives in a decadent society and to challenge the basic presumptions of a lost world around us.
The National Association of Evangelicals calls on all its constituent members to declare their individual and corporate positions on the broad issues of the day. In so doing we know there are areas where the NAE too shall speak as and when it is the mind of its membership so to do.
The NAE will continue to present the cause of evangelical Christendom in the areas of witness to government and corporate structures in society. We continue to call on our own membership to review our spiritual insights and actions, praying God that He will cleanse us from all sinful prejudice and misunderstandings of His will for man.
However, a sense of urgency and crisis alone will never get us out to do the job, to speak the word that is necessary. We realize anew the need for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit of God on the church. We rejoice in the evidences of revival and renewal in diverse peoples and groups. The movement of the Spirit of God in these past weeks in youth groups, on campuses, in churches, in the healing of divisions and generation gaps, is evidence that in this first year of the Seventies’ decade the promise of the Word of God, “I will do a new work in your midst, ” is still valid and sure. Our saving acts must therefore always be in the context of the prophetic word, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”
We also sense in a fresh way an urgency to work cooperatively in evangelism, not only in our individual church or denominational ways as in the past. We thus call on the membership of the NAE to seek active ways of collective witness to the world at large of “new life for all.”
Our watchword in saving acts in the Seventies will ever be—Behold, He Cometh! And to that end, in word, deed and being, we shall occupy till He comes. Amen. “Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.”