Ever since nuclear arms emerged as a major policy issue, some people have prodded the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) to enter the debate. The association responded with Peace, Freedom, and Security Studies (PFSS), a program designed to generate dialogue within NAE ranks.
The organization launched the project about three years ago partly out of concern that the loudest Christian voices on arms-related issues were coming from the political Left. Last fall, the NAE adopted guidelines that will serve as the linchpin of its PFSS program (CT, Nov. 21, 1986, p. 28). The program’s immediate goal is to develop some 500 leaders within NAE who will adopt the study of nuclear-arms issues as an area of specialization. Long-range plans include the development of a speakers bureau, an information clearinghouse, and study kits and other educational materials.
This spring, the NAE is in the midst of ten regional meetings to solicit response to the PFSS document from church leaders and grassroots Christians nationwide. NAE has said it will incorporate the responses into future versions of the guidelines.
Lutheran theologian Richard Neuhaus said the PFSS document is of “potentially watershed importance.” He said this importance lies not just with the document’s content but “in the constituency it’s trying to reach.” The NAE umbrella includes some 45,000 churches from 78 denominations. Through its affiliates and subsidiaries, it serves 10 to 15 million people.
Although the program’s goal is to promote discussion, the guidelines reveal that “we have come to some conclusions already,” said Robert Dugan, director of the NAE Office of Public Affairs. Dugan called NAE’S ...1
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