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But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Christian scripture, Romans 6:22-23
You were made by God and for God and until you understand that, life will never make sense. — Rick Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, an Evangelical Christian congregation averaging 22,000 weekly attendees with a 120-acre campus and more than 300 community ministries to groups such as prisoners, CEOs, addicts, single parents, and those with HIV/AIDS. Recently, the church fed 42,000 homeless people —three meals a day —for 40 days.
Christian Evangelicalism is a significant movement in the United States today, both in its numbers and its prominence in our nation's political and cultural life. In this workshop, participants consider the popularity of Evangelical Christianity and the ways this faith movement meets its followers' religious needs. They observe how key theological tenets—for example, that the Bible is inerrant, and that salvation comes only through surrender to Jesus Christ—motivate some Evangelicals to bring their faith into the public forum through prosthelytizing and political activism. They learn that charitable work is another expression of Evangelical Christianity. The workshop describes extreme fundamentalism within the Christian Evangelical movement, and teaches youth to apply Unitarian Universalist Principles in interactions with Evangelical believers.
This workshop will:
- Introduce fundamental beliefs of contemporary Evangelical Christians, particularly the belief in the inerrancy of the Bible and the concept of being born again (saved) through acceptance of Jesus as one's personal savior
- Describe a range of Evangelical Christian beliefs and practices, and explore the appeal these may hold for adherents
- Highlight a variety of expressions of Evangelical Christianity in our pluralistic society's cultural and political life, and guide youth to meet these expressions grounded in their own Unitarian Universalist faith.
- Deepen understanding of the contemporary American Evangelical Christian movement—its theology and its religious, cultural, and political expressions
- Relate to the concept of being "born again" through reflection on their own experiences of rebirth or transformation
- Consider the theology, practice, and popularity of Evangelical Christianity in the United States today and explore how this movement meets its adherents' religious needs
- Explore how Unitarian Universalist values and principles can guide them in encounters with fundamentalist and/or evangelical Christian people, ideas, and practices.