|USA||EVANGELICAL LEADERS ISSUE PLATFORM|
Leaders of Evangelical Protestantism in the US have issued a joint statement of doctrine defining what unites the movement and what distinguishes it from Catholicism and other less exclusively Bible-believing forms of Christianity.
Among other things, the statement reaffirms the Evangelical belief that Jesus Christ ``is the only way of salvation. ... The Bible offers no hope that sincere worshippers of other religions will be saved without personal faith in Jesus Christ.''
Catholicism and other Christian faiths have promoted a more liberal and universal concept of salvation. Evangelicalism, a conservative wing of Protestantism representing about a quarter of the US population, is a network of denominations, congregations and independent ministries that share the same outlook but rarely take joint action.
Many of Evangelicalism's best-known figures, including religious broadcasters Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, Pat Robertson and Charles Stanley, endorsed the statement. Billy Graham did not sign, but one of his top aides served on the 15-member drafting committee.
The project began as a bid to define conservative Protestant views of salvation in contrast to those of Catholicism. But it quickly took up other topics, including disagreements with more liberal strains of Protestantism that share Catholicism's more optimistic view of humanity.
AP 1:31pm 11/6/99