Christianity Today Declares EPH
Churches for Justice
"Now evangelicals, left, center, and right agree that social
justice is one of the central callings of all Christians. Thirty
years ago, only a frustrated minority … thought so." So
writes Joel Carpenter in the December 2003 issue of Christianity
Carpenter credits the Chicago Declaration of 1973 (see be;ow) for influencing
the evangelical church. But also he states a "surprise" of
social action by fundamentalists and Pentecostals/charismatics
(Moral Majority and Christian Coalition). Finally, Carpenter credits
the long time listening and learning of Ron Sider's "diplomatic
approach" toward "evangelical's renewed passion for social
We can hail this change in the last thirty years. Now, EPH
churches need to recognize faith-based community organizing as a
valid and effective witness to social justice.
---------------------------------------------------------Chicago Declaration of
Evangelical Social Concern
As evangelical Christians committed to the Lord
Jesus Christ and the full authority of the Word of God, we affirm
that God lays total claim upon the lives of his people. We cannot,
therefore, separate our lives from the situation in which God has
placed us in the United States and the world.
We confess that we have not acknowledged the
complete claim of God on our lives.
We acknowledge that God requires love. But we
have not demonstrated the love of God to those suffering social
We acknowledge that God requires justice. But
we have not proclaimed or demonstrated his justice to an unjust
American society. Although the Lord calls us to defend the social
and economic rights of the poor and oppressed, we have mostly
remained silent. 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.
We affirm that God abounds in mercy and that he
forgives all who repent and turn from their sins. So we call our
fellow evangelical Christians to demonstrate repentance in a
Christian discipleship that confronts the social and political
injustice of our nation.
We must attack the materialism of our culture
and the maldistribution of the nation's wealth and services. We
recognize that 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.
We acknowledge our Christian responsibilities
of citizenship. Therefore, 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
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.
We proclaim no new gospel, but the Gospel of
our Lord Jesus Christ who, through the power of the Holy Spirit,
frees people from sin so that they might praise God through works of
By this declaration, we endorse no political
ideology or party, but call our nation's leaders and people to that
righteousness which exalts a nation.
We make this declaration in the biblical hope
that Christ is coming to consummate the Kingdom and we accept his
claim on our total discipleship until he comes.
November 25, 1973, Chicago, Illinois