Replacing UK Evangelical Leader Joel Edwards

There is no doubt that it has been a difficult time in the Evangelical movement on both sides of the Atlantic in recent years. There have been numerous arguments about what the definition of an Evangelical should be and how closely we can work together with people who disagree with us about a range of issues. In the UK, for example, these arguments erupted within the Spring Harvest/Word Alive partnership and have led to the formation of a new conference, New Word Alive, which appears headed for a second highly successful year in 2009.

Joel EdwardsIn the USA, one attempt to define an Evangelical is a manifesto which has received some criticim from leaders such as Al Mohler. The UK’s Evangelical Alliance has a definition on their website, and the outgoing leader, Joel Edwards, has recently set forth the Alliance’s vision for the future in a book, Agenda for Change. Currently that organization holds together some 7,000 churches across the UK. Joel Edwards has steered the Alliance through some fierce controversy over the years, arguing strongly that the charismatic churches should be seen as part of the mainstream and has avoided a potential split in the organization over Steve Chalke.

There are, of course, many questions about the future direction of the Alliance, and Christians in the UK do need to pray for its Board as it considers who should take the place of the much respected Joel Edwards. I asked the EA for comments about how they plan to select a new General Secretary. Mike Talbot, Chair of the Evangelical Alliance board, said:

“A very clear vision has been set under Joel’s leadership, which focuses the Alliance’s work, and will continue to do so as the new General Director is appointed.

We recognize this is a crucial appointment and that many in the evangelical world have a keen interest in Joel’s successor.

The Evangelical Alliance board members responsible for the appointment have been prayerfully consulting with a wide range of member organizations as they seek to discern God’s will for the future, and their next step is to work on the job description before advertising the post.

The Alliance has a strong leadership team, who will work with the board to run the Alliance until the new General Director is appointed.”

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