Church Urged to Reground Approach to Political Life — And Renew Witness to America
BOSTON — The First Principles Project, a partnership of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), Christianity Today (CT), and American Awakening, today announced the launch of a movement to reground the Evangelical Church’s approach to political life and renew its witness for the 2020 election season and beyond.
The First Principles Project is inspired by the conviction that the Church should disciple believers in the essential biblical truths and values of faithful Christian citizenship. The project calls believers to their fundamental responsibilities as “Citizens of the Kingdom, the Country, and their Communities.”
“Whatever policies or parties we support, we should all begin from shared commitments on why we engage in public life and how we do so in a manner that reflects the character of Christ,” said Timothy Dalrymple, president of Christianity Today.
The First Principles Project provides in one convenient location the best teaching on Christian civic engagement (including sermons from Timothy Keller, Andy Stanley, Tony Evans, Rick Warren, J.D. Greear, and many others), in both video and transcript form.
Pastoral and thought leaders with the First Principles Project also prepared easy-to-use original videos, transcripts, outlines, and discussion materials based on the best historic and contemporary thinking to encourage a biblical approach:
- First, as citizens in the Kingdom of God — with Jesus as our King and God’s way as our charter;
- Second, participating as citizens of our country, engaging in our civic duties in a spirit of service; and
- Third, serving our communities, loving our neighbors as Jesus commanded.
John Kingston, founder of American Awakening, said, “For a generation, we have not consistently or effectively taught Christians how to approach the political world. As a result, to our neighbors in the public square, we are not known as agents of love or reconciliation, nor voices of reason, grace and vision. We have to do better, and we can do better.”
Kingston added, “Years ago, now-CT President Tim Dalrymple and I developed the idea for this Project to reground Christians in our truest values. For the First Principles Project, there could be no better partners than Christianity Today and the National Association of Evangelicals (and its great President Walter Kim), with their long legacies of being the thought leaders of evangelical Christianity in America.”
The First Principles Project is also intended to draw new focus to the NAE 2004 white paper “For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility (www.forthehealth.net),” and its evergreen principles.
“Evangelical Christians engage in the public square, not for our own sake but to bless others,” said Walter Kim, NAE president. “For the Health of the Nation offers a biblical basis for engaging in common action. For decades, Christians across the political spectrum have used it to apply gospel principles to complex issues. It’s just as important as ever today.”
Dalrymple concluded, “In a highly polarized culture, it’s easy for the Church to grow polarized as well, and we see a great deal of animus and suspicion even among believers of different stripes. If we are going to see reconciliation in our society, perhaps we can start in the Church. Perhaps Christians can become known as the most fair, thoughtful, and compassionate participants in public discourse. The First Principles Project is an attempt to replenish the roots of our engagement in common life.”
About American Awakening
American Awakening is an ambitious multi-platform effort that embodies a campaign for the soul of America in an effort to slay the giants of death and despair in this American moment. The initiative includes John Kingston’s book, “American Awakening: 8 Principles to Restore the Soul of America,” a “Signs of Life” livestream and podcast, a “Losing Our Religion “docuseries, “The Daily Dose” online devotional and the virtual “Better Together” concert series. The movement is a comprehensive and far-reaching initiative to convene key faith and thought leaders across generations and traditions to inspire the nation to come together to heal, unite, and cherish what its people share instead of being fixated on what divides.
About the National Association of Evangelicals
Founded in 1942, the National Association of Evangelicals includes more than 45,000 churches from 40 denominations and serves a constituency of millions. The NAE provides resources, connection and influence to help evangelical leaders navigate complexity with clarity and foster thriving communities. It is currently led by NAE President Walter Kim.
About Christianity Today
Christianity Today is regarded worldwide as the leading evangelical publication for news and opinion. Trusted for its thoughtful and civil presentation of ideas and analysis, Christianity Today reaches more than 4.5 million Christian leaders monthly through its printed pages, ChristianityToday.com, and a wide array of other print and digital resources that engage, encourage and equip the Church worldwide. It was inspired by Evangelist Billy Graham’s desire for a national resource that provided balanced reporting, biblical commentary, and a loving posture on the social, cultural and theological trends, issues, and opportunities facing Christians. Tim Dalrymple serves as president and CEO.