Part two of two parts; click here to read part one
A TIME TO SPEAK OUT: For adults, reconciliation is no less difficult than for children. In 1988, a group of evangelical leaders decided to make a public stand against sectarianism within their ranks.
"For too long, an evangelical constituency that did not agree with Dr. Ian Paisley has been silent, and it was time to say something," says ECONI's Porter. He says historically evangelicals have had two options. "You either became politicized like Paisley and believed that God and Ulster went together, or you were pietistic and orthodox." But Porter says many who chose the option of being pious and keeping silent were in reality sympathetic with sectarianism.
ECONI formed when a group of about 200 evangelical pastors and lay leaders signed a statement, For God and His Glory Alone, in 1988. Their 20-page document says, in part:
—Human sinfulness is the "root cause" of Ulster's problems.
—Evangelicals have been partly to blame for the alienation of Catholics.
—It is idolatrous to "equate God with any one culture or political ideal."
—Celebration of cultural and political tradition has been "triumphalistic" in manner.
—"Working for peace means working for justice."
Although the statement was widely ignored when released, ECONI Sundays were scheduled in local churches, and increasingly the group has gained public credibility as well as criticism.
Evangelical and fundamentalist critics of ECONI say the group is elitist and ecumenical and does not represent the majority of evangelicals.
But Porter defends the group's approach. "ECONI is not trying to get a popular mandate," he says. "We read Scripture and come to our best understanding and declare it.
"We stand foursquare ...1
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