Princeton Student Group Excises ‘Evangelical From Name Due to Negative Perceptions

Princeton

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A Princeton University student group has excised "evangelical" from its name due to the negative perceptions that members say have been too closely linked with the term.

The Princeton Evangelical Fellowship has reformed itself as the Princeton Christian Fellowship, as evangelical has "too much cultural baggage" and had become an "unnecessary hindrance," William Boyce, a PCF associate chaplain told student paper the Daily Princetonian.

"I'm old enough to think [evangelical] is a good word," Boyce said, but common misconceptions that have since surrounded the term—like the mistaken assumption that all evangelicals are Republicans—led the organization's trustees and directors to vote for a name change in May 2017.

"There's a growing recognition that the term evangelical is increasingly either confusing, or unknown, or misunderstood to students," Boyce said, adding that Trump's election increased organizational will to disassociate itself with the further politicized term.

The group had held "evangelical" in its name since 1937.

Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, told the Washington Free Beacon in an email, "Most of our member denominations and organizations don't use the word ‘evangelical' in their names and never have."

"Evangelicals are about faith beliefs not politics. Of the estimated 600 million evangelicals around the world, most probably know little or nothing about American politics and parties," Anderson added. "Visit 99 percent of evangelical churches in the United States next Sunday and you'll hear about Jesus and the Bible not politics."

The PCF's doctrinal statement remains in line with the NAE's explanation of the evangelical view on faith, including a belief that the Bible is the "authoritative Word of God" and a focus on Jesus.

To Anderson, "What's important is that university students and millions of Americans take the Bible seriously and believe in Jesus as their Savior, not the names of their organizations."

Rachel Frommer

Rachel Frommer   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Rachel Frommer is a staff writer with the Washington Free Beacon reporting on campus issues, including anti-free speech and anti-Israel activity. Prior to the Free Beacon, she was the senior campus correspondent at The Algemeiner. Her work has been picked up by Fox News, Newsweek, and the New York Post. She graduated from Touro College in 2016 with a BA in English literature. Her Twitter handle is @Rachel_Frommer, and her email address is frommer@freebeacon.com.

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