Today, a group of over 100 Christian theologians, primarily professors from various universities and seminaries, released the Boston Declaration, a challenge to “the corruption of U.S. Christianity.”
Styled as a “prophetic appeal” to U.S. Christians, the declaration targets evangelical Christians.
How does one appeal to an evangelical Christian?
How the Boston Declaration Does It
If you want to appeal to an evangelical Christian, the first thing you want to do is to tell them that their religion is driven by white supremacy.
(The Boston Declaration’s opening lines accomplish this, saying the signers are “outraged by the current trends in Evangelicalism and other expressions of Christianity driven by white supremacy ….” It accomplishes the other “advice” in this blog post about how to appeal to an evangelical Christian, too.)
It is also a good idea not to call Jesus divine or the son of God or anything like that explicitly in the declaration. Just refer to him as a “Jewish prophet for justice.” Evangelicals are not already suspicious of academics teaching religion to their kids, so they won’t be suspicious that you think he is just a great teacher.
Say the main thing to which you want everyone to commit is “shalom justice,” a phrase few will understand.
It Gets Worse (How The Boston Declaration Does It)
Then—this is a good one!—to appeal to evangelical Christians, title your opening substantive section “Choose Life,” but do not say a word about unborn life.
Say something that will appeal to evangelicals, like “[w]henever one of God’s children is being oppressed, we will fight with them for liberation with the power of the Holy and Life-Giving Spirit.”
But then reveal that what you are talking about is the police and the President who “again and again choose death rather than life.”
Add in some political assertions, like “[w]e reject the false ideology that peace is achieved through military strength” and “the false ideology of American exceptionalism.” Mention “Democrat” in the accompanying press release as someone for which some of the people you are talking about would never vote, preferring a “pedophile” instead.
These political-sounding things will not make evangelicals think the Boston Declaration is a political declaration disguised as a religious one. Now, what was it that evangelicals are doing that you are complaining about with this declaration?
Finishing the Appeal to Evangelical Christians (How The Boston Declaration Does It)
And then close the declaration with a call to action to “reject all political and social movements that do not lead to life.”
(You know most evangelicals already think that they have rejected all political and social movements that do not lead to life, right? Remember evangelicals’ concerns about abortion?)
Make the declaration lengthy, but do not cite much scripture.
Also, throughout, include a ton of things with which most evangelical Christians would readily agree. We can build bridges. I am sure evangelicals will read the declaration closely.
I agree with most of what is in the Boston Declaration.
There is a tremendous amount in the declaration with which most, maybe the vast majority of, evangelical Christians—conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat—would agree.
But the declaration reads more like a rallying cry for those who already agree with the signers than an appeal to those they are trying to persuade.
My sarcastic blog-post was written to convey this:
I appeal to the signers to learn to talk evangelical and to appeal—actually appeal—to the evangelical Christian.
I wrote a follow-up article to this one. It is here—The Boston Declaration: 5 Problems With It and How to Fix Them.
Sources & Notes
The Boston Declaration and its accompanying press release can be found here: https://thebostondeclaration.com/.
(Updated: added more headers, fixed some typos and awkward phrasing, and inserted the first set of parentheses into the text.)