Last October I invited two dozens evangelical pastors, philosophers, theologians, and bloggers to join together for an on-going conversation. The intention was to create a place where we could discuss the issues that are important to our community and to explain ourselves to non-believers, Christians from other traditions, and anyone else who was interested in listening in. The result was more than I could have ever hoped for.
However, as this blog matured, we experienced the inevitable growing pains. Personality clashes drove some people away while others were confused about the blog’s purpose. Some critics complained that we were too Reformed, too conservative, too focused on politics. We listened to the criticisms and attempted to make a course correction by bringing in new blood and setting new internal standards. Unfortunately, the changes were insufficient. A few weeks ago I realized it was time for a radical alteration.
Today we’re rebooting Evangel. We removed everyone from the masthead and started from scratch, asking the group to decide who among them would be willing to commit to this project and who would fit in with the new, refined mission. Unfortunately, not everyone will be returning. As anyone who has participated in a group blog can tell you (I’ve been a part of nine different group blogs), it is difficult to be fully engaged when you have your own blog and writing projects that require your time and attention. For some of our contributors it was simply time to move on. It wasn’t fair to impose on their friendship by asking them to continue to write here for free. I’m grateful for all they’ve done and will miss their contributions.
As we go forward we want to reiterate where we stand. Although we hail from various evangelical traditions, we all share certain core agreements, such as the Nicene Creed, the five solas, and the inerrancy of the Bible. Most of all we are committed to the evangel—the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We have also agreed that certain topics that are appropriate for discussion are not necessarily appropriate to discuss here. For instance, we’ve erred at times by focusing on American politics. While we are unapologetic about being a prophetic witness on issues such as human dignity and the defense of the family, we will refrain from engaging in partisan political discussions. While we may discuss how Christians should engage in the political process, we will not be weighing in on the merits of Sarah Palin or Barack Obama.
Similarly, while we welcome intramural discussions about doctrine, we intend to focus more on informing and analyzing rather than debating the superiority of our particular tradition. We want to stimulate a greater awareness and understanding of the depths of evangelicalism and how it enriches the broader Christian community. We want to engage with charity rather than attack with impunity.
One thing that will not change, though, is the value we place on our readers and commenters. We need you to help shape the direction of this blog as we move into our second year. Let us know what topics you’d like to discuss and what we can do to improve this blog. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below or send them to me at email@example.com.