Under Trump, ‘evangelical’ has been linked with topics such as racism and nationalism.

About 50 top leaders of major evangelical institutions will attend an invitation-only gathering next week to discuss the future and “soul” of evangelicalism at a time when many of them are concerned their faith group has become tainted by its association with divisive politics under President Trump.

The diverse group, which includes nationally known pastors like Tim Keller and A.R. Bernard, is expected to include leaders of major ministries, denominations, colleges and seminaries.

The gathering will be held at Wheaton College, an evangelical college outside of Chicago, according to organizer Doug Birdsall, honorary chair of Lausanne, an international movement of evangelicals.

The gathering, which has been in the works for several months and was discussed at evangelist Billy Graham’s funeral last month, will happen before the expected meeting of a separate group of evangelicals who advise, defend and praise Trump. Those leaders, who include members of Trump’s informal advisory council, are considering convening at Trump International Hotel in Washington in June.

The purpose of the Wheaton meeting is to try to shift the conversation back to core questions of the faith and Trump as an individual will not be the focus of discussion, Birdsall said.

Nonetheless, the president will be the “elephant in the room,” Birdsall said, because under his leadership the term “evangelical” has become negatively associated in the minds of many Americans with topics such as racism and nationalism.

While organizers said they are not trying to build a new coalition or launch a counter political agenda, the gathering shows how many key leaders of major institutions are wringing their hands over the state of evangelicalism.

“When you Google evangelicals, you get Trump,” Birdsall said. “When people say what does it mean to be an evangelical, people don’t say evangelism or the gospel. There’s a grotesque caricature of what it means to be an evangelical.”

Those gathered will not necessarily oppose Trump and some may even be friendly to some of his policies, said Darrell Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary, who is also helping to organize the event.

But organizers said evangelicals need to return their focus to the term’s true definition: a person who believes in the authority of the Bible, salvation through Jesus’ work on the cross, personal conversion and the need for evangelism.

“We need to be wiser and better in the way we do ministry,” said Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.

“Faith and God and sin and grace and idolatry are about fundamental human reality, and everything else is a way of dealing with those issues. It is a complete terrible reversal when (people believe) religion is about politics when it’s the other way around.”

“No matter what happens to American evangelicalism, it is here to stay. It’s international, global and politically diverse,” he said, pointing out that evangelicalism is quickly spreading in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, Keller said, many evangelical leaders talked nervously of the future, but for different reasons than the ones that concern them now.

Some were fearful that religious academic institutions could lose accreditation or federal funding because many do not hire openly gay staff members. And several colleges and universities, including Wheaton, sued the government over an Obamacare mandate to cover certain forms of contraception.

Under Obama, many of these leaders felt like their religious freedoms were under attack, feeling pressure primarily from the Left.

Now, Keller said, many of them feel under attack from those on the Right if they support a more open immigration policy or foreign policy.