The organization, Evangelicals for Social Action, is changing the group’s name to Christians for Social Action, the organization announced this week.
According to The Christian Post, in a statement, the Christian scholar-activist group says the word “evangelical” has become a polarizing term.
“Today the word ‘evangelical’ in the popular mind has largely political connotations,” Ron Sider, the organization’s founder and president emeritus, said in a statement.
“For significant numbers of people, it signifies a right-wing political movement irrevocably committed to Donald Trump. Many young people raised in evangelical churches are turning away in disgust–abandoning evangelical churches and even sometimes the Christian faith itself. And the larger society thinks of evangelicals not as people committed to Jesus Christ and the biblical gospel but as pro-Trump political activists.”
Sider said he hopes the change will help the group welcome more people.
“We believe it will help us win a listening ear with more people. And it certainly will avoid people refusing to even take a minute to see who we are because they see a word that for many people immediately signals political folks,” he said.
The change comes as popular evangelical Christians have become more vocal on a select number of issues, Sider says.
“They identified more and more with the politically conservative part of the Republican Party,” he said.
Finally, the name change will better reflect what the organization stands for, Sider said.
“The result is that ESA increasingly found that our name failed to communicate who we really are. And it also led people to click off any message with that name before we had any opportunity to explain that (the word comes from the Greek word, evangel, for gospel.) Because of a shameful history of white evangelical racism, the black church has long refused to use the term evangelical for itself even though its theology and piety are very close to what the word evangelical used to mean,” he said.
Photo courtesy: Christians for Social Action Facebook
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.