Today, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and World Relief launched a statement titled, “A Call to Civic Responsibility: For the Health of the Nation,” inviting the evangelical church to repentance, renewal and resolve to address the critical issues our nation and world face.
The full statement was published in print this morning in The Washington Post, and the NAE and World Relief discussed it in depth during a press call with a few key signatories. This statement marks the beginning of several digital advertising campaigns that will launch in national mainstream and Christian outlets throughout the remainder of the week.
“The Bible speaks to the most challenging issues we face as a nation. With this statement, we renew our commitment to biblical values as we work together for the health of our nation. I hope many evangelical leaders will join us in affirming these beliefs as we convene a collective evangelical witness,” said Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.
The statement is based on the principles of “For the Health of the Nation,” first published in 2004 by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). Over the past 16 years, “For the Health of the Nation” has guided the public engagement of the NAE and its members, applying gospel principles to the issues we face as a nation.
“Not every individual in the evangelical community agrees on every issue, but the Church should be unified on these core issues if we are going to serve the world in loving our neighbors,” said Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief. The statement calls all evangelical Christians, whether Democrats, Republicans or Independents, to unite in agreement with the evangelical Christian call to seek the health of the nation for the good of all people.
Among several calls to action, it urges evangelical Christians to do their part to protect human rights and the sanctity of life and pursue reconciliation. “The national conversation around race has reached an inflection point this summer, and the evangelical church must lead in conversations that can bring about justice and peace in our communities,” said Bishop Timothy Clarke, senior pastor of First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio.
The statement urges evangelical Christians to take political action that aligns with biblical callings. “Evangelicals too often allow the marriage of political agendas with their understanding of faith. This is too narrow a conception of Jesus’ teachings. We are called to love all our neighbors, not only those who resemble us and our political preferences,” said Rev. Jeanette Salguero, senior vice president of NaLEC, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition and co-lead pastor of The Gathering Place in Orlando, FL.
Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of NaLEC and co-lead pastor of The Gathering Place in Orlando, FL, also said, “We signed onto this statement because we believe that a broad evangelical witness encompasses more than just one or two singular issues. And we must choose to support through prayer those carrying the burden of leadership.”
Evangelical Christians are invited to repent of the ways they have failed to perfectly engage with these issues. “We must inspect our hearts, own our inconsistencies and commit to listening to our neighbors and loving others well by the ways we choose to engage in the public sphere and care for our shared spaces,” said Jo Anne Lyon, vice chair of the board of the NAE.
“It’s time for the evangelical community to inspire a new commitment to values-based public policy and stand up for the issues that are central to the health of our nation. The principles in this document provide a platform from which evangelicals can engage in much needed common action,” said Jenny Yang, vice president of advocacy and policy for World Relief.
“In a time when our democracy itself is strained to the breaking point, evangelical Christians are called to be a healing presence, as we seek to bless our neighbors and advance the common good,” said Galen Carey, vice president for government relations with the NAE.
World Relief and the NAE aim to reach a wide audience and invite as many evangelical Christians as possible to sign in agreement with this call to action. To learn more and add your name, visit http://www.forthehealthofthenation.org.