Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Ancient-Future Talk: November 2005

A Call To An Ancient Evangelical Future

I and others are putting together a document calling upon evangelical Christians to turn away from the cultural narrative and return to the Biblical narrative as the source of all Christian ministry.

The preamble is below as are the 36 areas of the "Call." I have also put the Chicago call of 1977 up on my website for you to check it out. The new call will update and expand the Chicago Call.

The current search is to identify younger evangelical (in age or spirit) who have an interest in being a participant through e-mail conversation. If you qualify as a younger evangelical academic (teacher, pastor, leader) and would like to participate in the formation of this document send me:
1) Your name, position and e-mail;
2) The area of your interest (one of the 36);
3) Names (with e-mail) of other people who should be included.

After the document has been written there will be an opportunity for everyone - seminarians, pastors, worship pastors, youth leaders - who share the convictions of the "Call" to be original signers through a website (not up yet): www.ancientevangelicalfuture.

Bob Webber
Myers Professor of Ministry
Director of M.A. in Worship and Spirituality

Northern Seminary
See Northern's M.A. in Worship and Spirituality and D.Min. in Worship by clicking on the website.



In every age the Holy Spirit calls the church to examine its faithfulness to God's story. We younger evangelicals recognize with gratitude God's blessing through the evangelical resurgence in the church. Yet at such a time of growth we need to be especially sensitive to our weaknesses. We believe that today evangelicals are hindered from achieving full maturity by a captivity to the cultural narrative. There is, therefore, a pressing need to reflect more deeply on the substance of the biblical narrative, its articulation in the historic faith and to a recovery of the fullness of this heritage. Without presuming to address all our needs, we have identified 36 areas to which we as evangelical Christians must give careful theological consideration: This call incorporates and expands the Chicago Call of 1977, and sets forth an Ancient-Future faith for a postmodern world.

Classical Foundations

1. A call to organic faith and practice
2. A call to God's story
3. A call to be the people of God
4. A call to biblical authority
5. A call to the historic hermeneutic


6. A call to theological reflection
7. A call to creedal identity
8. A call to ancient theology
9. A call to reaffirm the atonement
10. A call to confessional humility


11. A call to narrative worship
12. A call to ancient preaching
13. A call to musical ecclecticism
14. A call to sacramental life
15. A call to artistic integrity
16. A call to Christian time


17. A call to holistic salvation
18. A call to Christian formation
19. A call to catechetical teaching


20. A call to historic spirituality
21. A call to sacramental spirituality
22. A call to ethical integrity


23. A call to servant leadership
24. A call to women in ministry
25. A call to sacramental healing


26. A call to Biblical values
27. A call to family values
28. A call to moral absolutes

Life in the World

29. A call to the sanctity of life
30. A call to Christian community
31. A call to the new monasticism
32. A call to sacramental ecology

Roots and Continuity

33. A call to historic connection
34. A call to an ecumenical spirit
35. A call to interfaith dialogue

Ministry Formation

36. A call to seminary reform


We call the Evangelical church to the faith and practice of ancient Christianity in a time of tumultuous cultural transition and change. In this moment when a failed modernity is succeeded by the upheaval of the postmodern, post-Christian and neo-pagan world, we call the church back to the meta-narrative of God, and to its implications for a missional and countercultural witness. May the church not be formed by the world in which it lives, but by the narrative to which it belongs, the story of God. For it is only through God's story proclaimed, enacted and embodied by God's people that the world will learn its own destiny.

We offer this call as a reflection of the new leadership among the younger evangelicals and as a document to facilitate the theological thinking and applied theology of the next generation. Your signature does not bind you to the nuances of every call, but is instead an affirmation that you embrace the general call to return to the priority of God's story and seek to narrate the world out of God's perspective.



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