The Chicago Declaration and the Problem of “Evangelical” Identity

Posted on May 7, 2015 by PLT Staff

Outline for a lecture presented by Christian Collins Winn for the Spring Institute for Lived Theology 2008 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Winn discusses “evangelicals” and peacemaking by drawing historical and thematic analysis from the “Chicago Declaration,” a document published in 1973. Winn offers the historical background for the “Declaration,” its reception and the collapse of the coalition it represented. From there, he explores what the “Declaration” reveals about the descriptor “evangelical” and the elusive concrete “evangelical identity.”

Excerpt: “That is, if we are going to continue using the label ‘evangelicalism’ in such a way that is consonant with its own origins and dynamics, then we need to see to begin to see ‘evangelicalism’ in the light of its pietistic and puritan roots. Such a retelling of the narrative would not necessarily solve all of the problems we have highlighted. Nor would it necessarily produce widespread theological or ethical consensus within contemporary ‘evangelical’ circles. But it would reconnect ‘evangelicalism’ to those traditions and dynamics that actually produced it in the first place.”

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