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Institute on Religion and Democracy Cross

(Photo credit: Institute on Religion and Democracy)

April 15, 2013
Contact: Jeff Walton 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell

“Echoing dying liberal Protestantism circa 1975 is not a winning formula for Evangelicals now or ever.”
-IRD President Mark Tooley


Washington, DC—Recent controversial remarks by Palmer Seminary Professor Paul Alexander to the Society of Pentecostal Studies (SPS) call to question his suitability as the new co-director of Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA) scheduled to begin in June.

Palmer’s recent remarks as SPS’s then-president about race, sex and liberation theology have excited alarm, including an investigation by the head of the Assemblies of God denomination in which he’s ordained, and the new SPS president publicly defending Palmer’s language as “metaphorical.”

Under founder and longtime chief Ron Sider, ESA has been a politically liberal advocacy group that has remained evangelical and theologically orthodox, with Sider defending traditional marriage, the unborn and persecuted Christians.

Alexander currently teaches at Eastern University’s Palmer Theological Seminary and is ESA’s director of public policy. A recent article describes him as having
“protested the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories, was once fired for organizing against unethical business practices, and was jailed by the Los Angeles Police Department for peacefully protesting unfair labor standards in California.”

IRD President Mark Tooley commented:

“No doubt Alexander is sincere about his causes, but at this very crucial time in history, evangelicals need theologically grounded leaders like Ron Sider who will not confuse core Christian teaching with prudential political judgments, who are not embarrassed by evangelical distinctives, and whose mission is not to reinvent evangelical doctrine.

“In recent years Sider has acknowledged the utility of free markets and questioned the sustainability of an unlimited federal entitlement state.

“Alexander’s comments to SPS imply flexibility on Christian sexual teachings and a rehash of 1970s-style radical Liberation Theology, which evangelicals and other traditional Christians strongly opposed for its subversion of the Gospel into a primarily political message that during the Cold War aligned with Marxism.

“Echoing dying liberal Protestantism circa 1975 is not a winning formula for evangelicals now or ever.”

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