Evangelical Alliance UK leader Joel Edwards is embarking on a tour to help rehabilitate the word 'evangelical' and restore its links with the sense of good news (gospel) in which it has its roots. He is publishing a new book called Agenda for Change.
Described by publishers Zondervan as a "manifesto" and "a compelling tract for our times addressed to evangelicals around the English-speaking world", Agenda for Change is being launched in a series of public meetings across the country.
Dr Edwards, a senior black Christian leader, was in the news at the end of 2007 when he was appointed a member of the newly-constituted UK government-backed Commission on Equalities and Human Rights (CEHR), leading to protests from lesbian and gay activists because of the Evangelical Alliance's opposition to full gay rights and its non-acceptance of practicing homosexuals within the church.
During his tour, Dr Edwards will elaborate on his book's principle argument that Evangelicals are not called to tip-toe through the 21st century, but to bring personal and social transform to society by "presenting Christ credibly to the culture."
It is intended that the EA leader will set out a new vision for evangelicalism, reclaiming the idea that evangelicals are a ‘good news’ people called to a long-term vision for spiritual and societal change.
The EA is an umbrella group is the largest body serving evangelical Christians in the UK, and has a membership including denominations, churches, organisations and individuals. It is part of the larger World Evangelical Alliance of 128 national and seven regional alliances including the National Association of Evangelicals in the USA.
The word 'evangelical' is used in two senses in today's church. Historically it was used to describe mainline Protestants who were heirs of the Protestant Reformation in Europe, an event which broke open both the Bible and Enlightenment culture.
It subsequently came to denote a range of Christians in the transatlantic area with a particular attachment to the regulative normativity of the Bible, understood in a primarily propositional way. Evangelicals range from the radical social activist strand typified by Jim Wallis and Sojourners/Call to Renewal in the USA, through to hardline conservative groups.
The word comes from the New Testament Greek term 'evangel' (gospel, or good news) from which the word evangelist - someone who proclaims the gospel, also comes. All Christian traditions have evangelists, but the terms is often wrongly employed as a synonym for 'evangelical' in the transatlantic sense, especially in the British media.
Joel Edwards' book Agenda for Change can be purchased here: http://shop.ekklesia.co.uk/christian-bookshop/an_agenda_for_change_11210...
Joel Edwards will be appearing at the following venues, with more tour dates to be announced:
23 April - Kings Church, Eastbourne
27 April - Emmanuel Christian Centre, London
06 May - All Nations Centre, Leicester
07 May - The King’s Centre, Kings Community Church, Norwich
08 May - Great St Mary's, Cambridge
18 May - Vineyard Church, Sutton, Surrey
21 May - Cornerstone Church, Swansea
22 May - Glenwood Church, Cardiff
25 May - New Community Church, Southampton
29 May - Barnabas Community Church, Shrewsbury
2 June - Oxford Community Church, Oxford
3 June - Trinity Church, Cheltenham
24 June - St James, Carlisle
25 June - Kirkintilloch Baptist Church, Glasgow
26 June - St Paul's and St Georges, Edinburgh
30 June - St George's, Leeds
1 July - St Thomas Church, Philadelphia, Sheffield
2 July - Kings Church, Manchester
3 July - Frontline Church, Liverpool