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World Evangelical Alliance leader says evangelicalism must be 'reclaimed' from political ties
The term "evangelical" has become more closely associated in the US with politics than Christianity - and it must be "reclaimed", the general secretary of the World Evangelical Alliances has told Premier.
Bishop Efraim Tendero said it was "unfortunate" the word has become politicised and now draws strong connotations to the Republican Party in the United States.
Visiting the UK from his native Philippines, Bishop Efraim said during an interview with Premier's Alex Williams: "Definitely, we need to claim [the word] evangelical in that context.
"It is not a political agenda or a political organisation; it's actually a ministry of people who are committed to the Lord Jesus."
It has been widely acknowledged that Donald Trump became US President in 2016 thanks, in part, to the sizable support he received from white evangelical Christians in the US.
Polls have indicated Donald Trump has consistently been rated more favourably by people identifying that way than the wider US population.
Bishop Efraim, who leads a 600 million-strong global membership, said it was important Republican politics does not become perceived as synonymous with evangelical Christianity.
The heart of evangelical Christianity is "the Good News", he said.
Bishop Efraim continued: "That's unfortunate that, in the United States in particular, the word 'evangelical' and the evangelical movement is [sic] identified more as for political advocacy rather than the demonstration or proclamation of the Gospel."
Urging people not to stop using the term "evangelical", Bishop Efraim added: "Politics will pass by but the historicity of the evangelical movement… the meaning and what it stands for will [out] last any political season.
"Let's continue upholding that word 'evangelical', true to its meaning, [ensuring] that we are about the Gospel."
In a wide-ranging interview with Premier, Bishop Efraim also talked about unity within the global Church and how the evangelical movement can support people who are same-sex attracted.
He was visiting the London to attend a meeting of the UK Evangelical Alliance.
Click here to listen to Premier's Alex Williams speaking with Bishop Efraim Tendero:
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