Preamble to "A Conservative Christian Declaration"
In his farewell address to the Ephesian elders, Paul declared that he was “innocent of the blood” of all, because he had not shrunk from delivering to them “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26–27). At its core, conservative Christianity aims to follow Paul’s example in successfully transferring the whole counsel of God to the next generation.
Historically, Christians have committed themselves to perpetuating biblical Christianity by pursuing absolute truth, goodness, and beauty. These transcendent realities, which are grounded in the character of God, are expressed through his works and his Word. In every age, Christians have determined to believe God’s truth, live out God’s goodness, and love God’s beauty, preserving these transcendentals by nurturing expressions, forms, and institutions capable of carrying their weight.
More recently, many Christians have abandoned their commitment to these ideals and are therefore failing, in one respect or another, to pursue fully-orbed biblical Christianity. The result is a shrunken creed, a waning piety, and a worship that has become irreverent and trivial. We object to this religious reductionism and desire to reclaim the entire heritage of Christian doctrine, obedience, and adoration.
We equally object to those movements attempting to preserve traditions that are not biblical Christianity but rather a progressivism from the past. An innovation is not made less an innovation because of its antiquity. Humanly invented doctrines, objects of piety, and elements of worship will never be part of a truly Christian tradition.
The following declaration reaffirms a historic commitment to fully orbed conservative Christianity. We believe in transcendent, absolute principles of truth, goodness, and beauty; we are confident that such principles are knowable; and we are determined to align ourselves and our ministries to those principles in our pursuit of the whole counsel of God. We also pledge to conserve those institutions and forms that best reflect a recognition and respect for this transcendent order. Since culture is nurtured within systems of values and is not created in a vacuum, every culture-maker builds upon what has come before. Consequently, we choose to build on those forms that have been nurtured within the community of Christian faith, affirming that they best express the transcendent character and nature of God.
We offer this document out of a deep love for Christ, his gospel, his inerrant Word, and his church, and from a humble desire to help churches conserve and nourish historic, biblical Christianity by affirming the teachings of the Bible concerning truth, goodness, beauty, and rightly ordered affections in life and ministry.
About Scott Aniol
Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is director of doctoral worship studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.