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In an effort to stem evangelicalism's growing fragmentation, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) unveiled "An Evangelical Manifesto: A Strategic Plan for the Dawn of the 21st Century" at its annual convention last month in Minneapolis.

The plan calls for evangelicals to collaborate in five areas—prayer, repentance and reform, unity and cooperation, evangelism, and cultural impact—to become more influential.

"The church exists in a world tortured by polarization, selfishness, indifference, and godlessness," the manifesto declares. "The body of Christ in America, despite its significant influence and ministry, has been so infected by such sins that it has a witness and ministry for Christ that is far less than it could or should be."

While NAE represents 49 denominations and 300 parachurch organizations and educational institutions, few actively support the umbrella group. "We too often do more to build our own ministries than to cooperate," the document declares.

By summer, NAE president Don Argue will appoint a task force, with NAE as catalyst and resource center. One way to achieve unity is to be more inclusive, according to Argue, who vowed the panel will be "ethnically diverse and gender sensitive."

RECONCILIATION STEPS: Urban Family publisher John Perkins noted that talking about reconciliation is easier than implementation. "We believe the Word of God as an ideal, but we don't put it into practice," he said. "Black folks just don't trust white folks." NAE distributed a seven-point racial reconciliation packet for church leaders, outlining practical steps to bridge the divide.

Outgoing NAE chair David Rambo, president of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, said blacks "are properly skeptical that evangelical commitment ...

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April 8, 1996

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