We believe it is of the utmost importance that this initiative emerge and operate from a strong and distinctive theological identity. The initiative we are seeking to launch rests on an identity as evangelicals that affirm the core convictions of the authority of Scripture, the necessary work of Jesus on the cross, the necessity of conversion and discipleship, and gospel engagement in the world. We believe that the way forward must be grounded in this critical identity that is biblically and historically rooted, and yet it allows for theological freedom.
The Cape Town Commitment of the 2010 Lausanne Congress, “A Confession of Faith and a Call to Action,” provides a helpful framework for the evangelical orientation of our work.
We also believe that it is necessary for this space to be rooted in relationships. The recent debates over books and theological positions are disheartening. Theological stances are important. We should vigorously discuss these matters. Along the way, however, we have forgotten that we are brothers and sisters in Christ. While we hold tightly to our convictions, we must also reach out to each other. A spirit of modesty and generosity is necessary. It is a more tenuous path, but our commitment to each other as members of the Body of Christ demands this risk taking.
We believe it is essential for this alliance to cross new boundaries and develop new friendships. The issues that will face future congregational leaders will have increasing convergence no matter what part of the evangelical church current leaders find themselves a part of at present. To best prepare leaders for this future world in North America, we need a greater collaborative effort among the various streams of evangelicalism (Catholic evangelicals, African-American evangelicals, Mainline evangelicals, Asian evangelicals, Anglo-evangelicals, and Canadian evangelicals, Etc.) and to foster tighter bonds as we face the theological and pastoral issues of an increasingly multi-cultural future together.
Lastly, we believe this space lives out of a creative gospel dynamic. The gospel message is an old, old story. And yet, each time the gospel engages a new culture or a new era, that gospel story must be recast in ways that make it fresh and meaningful. Our theological task is not static. It is constantly changing, and that can be unnerving. Sometimes we get it right, other times we don’t. Yet we are confident that the Spirit of God is at work among the people of God. This has always been true and it is still true today. We are engaged in a dynamic enterprise of proclaiming good news.