Evangelicals for Social Action Changes Name to Christians for Social Action Because ‘Evangelical’ Has Become ‘Largely Political’

Ron Sider, professor emeritus at Palmer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and founder of Evangelicals for Social Action, speaks at the Evangelicals for Life conference in Washington, D.C. on January 21, 2016. | (Photo: Screen Grab/Evangelicals for Life)

Lamenting that the term “evangelical” is now too “largely political” and hasn’t been helpful in conveying the character of their organization, Evangelicals for Social Action, a Christian scholar-activist group started in 1973, announced Monday that they have changed their name to Christians for Social Action.

“Today the word ‘evangelical’ in the popular mind has largely political connotations. 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,” Ron Sider, the organization’s founder and president emeritus, said in a statement.

“After careful thought and prayer, we have decided to change our name–a little! Our new name is Christians for Social Action (CSA). 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 noted.

Sider contends that while the word evangelical is a rich theological term that refers to historic Christian orthodoxy and a commitment to Jesus’ Gospel, the political activism of popular evangelical figures such as Jerry Falwell Sr., who formed the Moral Majority in the 1970s, and Pat Robertson, who mobilized charismatics and Pentecostals in his 1987-1988 presidential run, distorted that narrative.

He explained that while ESA believed biblical faith called Christians to a “completely pro-life” agenda, Falwell, Robertson others in their camp preferred to focus on a much narrower range of issues, particularly abortion and marriage.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair