Last month a new book was released titled A Conservative Christian Declaration. Co-authored by six men (Kevin Bauder, Scott Aniol, David de Bruyn, Mike Riley, Ryan Martin, and Jason Parker) this fairly short volume (92 pp.) is intended to articulate “a fully orbed conservative Christianity that includes both doctrine and practice” (6).
Although six men are listed on the book’s cover, Scott Aniol appears to be the guiding force behind the book. In the introduction, he writes, “in July 2013 I gathered together a group of pastors and ministry educators to discuss the future of conservative Christianity” (6). This book was written as a result of that meeting.
After the book’s introduction and preamble follows a list of fifteen “Articles of Affirmation and Denial.” The bulk of the book is then comprised of short explanations of these articles. Here are the topics covered in the articles:
Article 1: On the Gospel
Article 2: On the Whole Counsel of God
Article 3: On Transcendentals
Article 4: On Ordinate Affections
Article 5: On the Appetites
Article 6: On Beauty
Article 7: On Scripture Regulated Worship
Article 8: On Works of the Imagination
Article 9: On Harmony and Variety in Ordinate Expression
Article 10: On Meaning
Article 11: On Popular Culture
Article 12: On the Cultivation of Christian Tradition
Article 13: On Today’s Congregational Music
Article 14: On Our Children
Article 15: On Local Churches and the Sovereignty of God
As these headings suggest, the writers did not intend for this declaration to provide a complete statement of basic Christian doctrine. They explain, “This statement does not fully articulate the fundamentals of the Christian faith. We look to the traditional creeds and confessions for that” (7). Assuming the fundamental doctrines of orthodox Christianity, this declaration focuses on a number of issues that the writers believe need to be reaffirmed in our current cultural context. In the book’s preamble the authors say,
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 (10).
The fifteen articles of this declaration are intended as a partial remedy to this decline. The text of several historic creeds as well as a list of significant confessions of faith are included in the five appendixes which round out the book.
You may or may not agree with everything in the book, but it’s worth checking out. For the time being, it looks like the only place you can purchase a copy is through Amazon.