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World Evangelical body changes its name, explores Catholic relations

Posted: Friday, May 18, 2001

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- The World Evangelical Fellowship, representing national Protestant organizations with 160 million members, has decided to rename itself the World Evangelical Alliance.

The new name, effective Jan. 1, better reflects the nature of the world group, a statement said, and indicates conservative Protestants are inclusive and involved with social issues. The world group also noted ''fellowship'' doesn't translate well into some languages.

The evangelical organization has held formal discussions with the Vatican since 1993 and plans to issue a joint statement after next February's session, clarifying doctrines on which evangelicals and Roman Catholics agree and disagree.

George Vandervelde, secretary of the evangelical side in the talks, said ''the new reality is that evangelicals have a greater affinity with Roman Catholics than they do with other Protestants in liberal mainline churches, because both Catholics and evangelicals accept biblical truth.''

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