Steve Clifford is a nice guy with a big task. He has just started as the new General Director of the Evangelical Alliance. I used to describe myself as an Evangelical Christian- no qualification was necessary and I was proud to share the badge of the tradition that freed slaves and brought social reform and schooling for the masses to our nation. But over the last couple of years I have stopped using the term and I am not alone. Many Christians have become increasingly unhappy about the term as Evangelical has become synonmous in some minds with homophobic, literalist, hypocritical bigot. I don’t think for one minute that this tag is right for the majority of Evangelical Christians who are fair minded, honest, sensitive and compassionate in sharing their faith.
In a recent interview with Christianity Magazine, Steve seems aware of the scale of the job and says, “We have often come over as the negative ones, the ones who always have something to complain about, obsessed with sex and homosexuality..There are certain evangelicals who turn up with the pointed fingers..I think that’s sad “ Steve goes on to says that the word ‘Evangelical’ is worth fighting for. As the guy who headed up Hope 08 and Soul Survivor he sounds like the right person to bring hope that the term evangelical will survive as a positive, can do brand that will help the general public understand what Christians are for rather than what they are against. So let’s see , if Steve manages this I may even start using the E word again.