U.S.A.: National Alliance of Evangelicals: One Faith; Many Issues

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Leith Anderson, President

National Association of Evangelicals

Since 1942 the National Association of Evangelicals has remained unwaveringly committed to Jesus Christ and the Bible while speaking out on a very long list of contemporary issues.

Seeking to apply biblical truth to current events NAE took strong stands early-on in the abortion controversy. Formal pro-life statements were issued in 1971 and 1973 at the beginning of NAE’s long standing fight for the sanctity of human life and opposition to legalized abortion-on-demand, including opposition to Partial Birth Abortion in 1997. Also ahead of many Christian organizations NAE spoke to American society about Homosexuality in 1971, 1985 and again in 2004.

Other topics engaged by NAE have included HIV/AIDS (1988), Civil Rights (1964 and 1965), Ecology and Christian stewardship of the environment (1970 & 1971), Health Care Reform (1994), Human Rights (1956, 1964 and 1967), Immigration Law (1957, 1965 and 2006), Obscenity and Pornography (1958, 1965, 1969, 1975, 1985 and 1998), Racial Minorities (1963), Racism (1991), Religious Freedom (1979), Motion Picture Ratings (1975), Gambling (1966 and 1985), Federal Deficit (1985), Drunken Driving (1982), Physician Assisted Suicide (1997), Prison Sentencing Reforms (1983), Christian Day Schools (1967) and World Evangelism (1967).

Some issues that were timely during the Cold War years are now less talked about and forgotten by a younger generation including statements on Communism (1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, and 1967), Copyright Law and Religious Broadcasting (1972), Envoy to the Vatican (1969), Equal Rights Amendment (1984), the Fair Labor Standards Act (1958), Haiti Treaty (1956), the Christian Use of Leisure (1965), US Passport Office (1956), Recognition of China and Cuba (1964), Smoking on Airlines (1972), Spain (1959), Taiwan (1979), Vietnam (1966 and 1971).

More recent issues addressed by the National Association Evangelicals include Genocide in Sudan (1999), Immigration (2006), Judicial Usurpation (2004), Refugee Protection and Care (2000), Religious Persecution (1996 and 2002), Trafficking in Women and Children (1999) and Torture (2007).

The list is long. These topics and dates are a partial short list. Not everyone has agreed on every position. There has often been broad consensus in the evangelical community but sometimes not. Often the NAE statements have been forged in the intensity of the times when all did not subscribe to every word or agree with every perspective. Effort has been made over the generations to behave Christianly even when there has not been unanimity.

Specific wording and many more issues can be viewed at the NAE.net website of the National Association of Evangelicals.

The NAE is an association of more than 60 denominations, hundreds of parachurch organizations, tens of thousands of evangelical churches and millions of individuals. While other organizations have focused their resources and ministries on a few issues of primary concern that has never been the purpose of NAE. We are an association of organizations that do evangelism, send missionaries or advocate for specific causes and concerns. In other words, some are called by God to a narrow focus while NAE has maintained its historic role of addressing a broad array of contemporary issues on behalf of American evangelicals. This is in addition to NAE’s important role of endorsing evangelical chaplains to the United States armed forces through our Chaplain’s Commission, reaching out to the poor and desperate around the world through our World Relief Corporation and servicing our members through the association.

Since 2004 the National Association of Evangelicals has specially addressed seven areas of civic vision in a landmark roadmap called “For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility” (NAE.net) that include 1.) Protection of religious freedom and liberty of conscience; 2.) Nurture of family life and protection of children; 3.) Protection of the sanctity of human life; 4.) Justice and compassion for the poor and vulnerable; 5.) Protection of human rights; 6.) Seeking peace and restraining violence; and, 7.) Laboring to protect God’s creation. The roadmap has been widely commended and endorsed by secular and religious organizations and leaders, especially by the broad evangelical community in America. A complete statement is available at NAE.net. The association is not limited to these seven areas but they are the primary topics around which advocacy is currently addressed.

NAE has never changed its Statement of Faith (NAE.net) that has been the gold standard of evangelical belief in America since it was adopted two generations ago. While maintaining this faith the association and its spokespersons have faithfully sought to address contemporary issues without partisanship and with Christian love. All of this is consistent with the stated mission of NAE “to extend the kingdom of God through a fellowship of member denominations, churches, organizations, and individuals, demonstrating the unity of the body of Christ by standing for biblical truth, speaking with representative voice, and serving the evangelical community through united action, cooperative ministry and strategic planning.”