Evangelical Christians put the welfare of those in greatest need above their own interests, according to new research ahead of the general election.
Over nine out of 10 evangelicals want the UK government to speak out more strongly on issues of human rights and religious liberty in countries with oppressive regimes and the same number think we have to continue to campaign hard if we are to make poverty history.
The findings come in a groundbreaking new book, 21st Century Evangelicals, from the Evangelical Alliance based on five years of surveys into the beliefs and actions of evangelicals in the UK. This research backs up the conclusions of their recent Faith in politics? report showing the high political activism among evangelicals.
Following more than a dozen short reports, the Alliance drew together leading academics in theology and the social sciences who looked in depth at the data and contributed their analysis and reflection. The book is made up of chapters tackling subjects including social involvement, politics, global mission, gender and families, each with a response from an experienced practitioner.
The research shows the emergence of a distinct social and political evangelical identity which is highly engaged and working for the good of both those around them in their communities and those in need across the world. Four out of five evangelicals say they have volunteered in a church activity serving the wider community in the last year and over a third do this each week. Over half consciously try and buy fair trade and nearly as many are involved in child sponsorship (43 per cent). The book also reveals that four out of 10 evangelicals have been overseas for mission or development work.
21st Century Evangelicals busts many of the myths of what evangelicals look like, and delving beneath the surface of the surveys provides an impressive portrait of a vibrant and active part of the UK Church.
In recent years there has been an explosion of interest in religious belief and its unexpected resilience in a world where it was predicted to demise. This book explains why evangelical Christians are of particular interest, as the churches they are part of are usually the ones bucking the trend of nationwide decline.