…and I for one am slow in answering it. Sorry!
Here’s one from reader Jacob:
As a group, how would you define evangelicalism?
How do you think Mitt Romney can overcome his “evangelical problem?”
Do you think that Mormonism is Christianity?
If so, how do you define Christianity?
If not, are you afraid that Romney’s ascendancy to the White House will presume to streamline Mormonism and normalize it as historic, orthodox Christianity, therein rejecting the cardinal truths of the Christian faith?
Here are my answers; I welcome others’.
We don’t have a “group definition” of evangelicalism, and I’d be hesitant about our doing so (we’re bloggers, not theologians). But the term is certainly fraught these days. I’d suggest a good starting point, and one with which I suspect my co-bloggers would agree, is the Barna Group’s definition of a “nine-point evangelical.”
Briefly, I’m not sure Gov. Romney has an “evangelical problem” to overcome so much as evangelicals have a confusion problem to overcome. That is, we get confused about the difference between pulpits and politics, between theology and values. We need to overcome our ill-considered insistence that the people we elect as presidents meet the same criteria we’d use to elect pastors. We need to understand that while it is proper–indeed, incumbent upon us–to take theology very seriously, it is foolish to insist that our politicians share it. Rather, what matters when it comes to politicians is how their theology manifests itself in terms of their values and their policy priorities. David has explored this more here.
We have been clear over the years that we do not agree with Mormon theology and do not consider it to be part of historic Christianity.
We do not at all agree that electing a President Romney will place souls in jeopardy. The first reason is that (at least for David, Nancy, and me…I haven’t given Tim a theological examination yet!) we are Reformed. But even if you’re not, there are commonsense reasons why this very common view is mistaken. We explored that here.
Thanks for the note, Jacob.