14 October 2011
The Evangelical Alliance calls on The Evening Standard to apologise for its comments about Pastor Agu Irukwu
Following an article in Thursday, 13 October's issue of the Evening Standard relating to Pastor Agu Irukwu's nomination as an inspirational black person as part of Black History Month, the Evangelical Alliance has spoken out in support of Pastor Agu.
Following an article in Thursday 13 October's issue of the Evening Standard relating to Pastor Agu Irukwu's nomination as an inspirational black person as part of Black History Month, the Evangelical Alliance has spoken out in support of Pastor Agu.
The article suggests that to hold an orthodox interpretation of what the Bible teaches is a problem and reflects a deep intolerance of Christian beliefs and the evangelical tradition.
Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance commented: "Pastor Agu is a friend and excellent leader and worthy of this nomination. Boris Johnson should be proud to be associated with the leader of a thriving church bringing hope and well-being to its congregation and surrounding community.
"It is a deeply disappointing turn of events that the Evening Standard could not celebrate with tens of thousands of Londoners that such a respected statesman and leader of a large and thriving church was nominated for this award. Pastor Agu has had a profound and incredibly positive influence on the UK church over the past 20 years.
"Many churchgoers, regardless of their ethnic background will be shaking their heads today in disbelief that the Evening Standard decided to play politics rather than recognise Pastor Agu as an inspirational leader.
"Why instead did they find it necessary to repeat third party suggestions regarding the church's approach to exorcism without making contact with the church?"
A spokesperson for Jesus House, the church which Pastor Agu Irukwu leads, commented: "Jesus House does not advocate exorcism for people with same sex attraction. As part of the Evangelical Alliance the church holds a traditional orthodox interpretation of the Bible in relation to marriage, sexual relationships and family life. Such a view is held by hundreds of millions of Christians across the world.
"Pastor Agu Irukwu does not require Boris Johnson to defend or vote for him, the thousands of people he inspires week after week with his messages of love and peace seem to be doing that already."
The Evangelical Alliance commends and supports the work of Pastor Agu and Jesus House and wishes him well for this competition to celebrate Black History Month.
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Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.