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Evangelicals Identify With Many Ecumenical Concerns

February 22, 2006

Statement by WEA’s International Director on WCC General Assembly

"As the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches draws to a close in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the International Director of the World Evangelical Alliance, Geoff Tunnicliffe, has issued the following statement. He took part in the ecumenical gathering February 14 - 23 as an observer."
- Geoff Tunnicliffe

The World Evangelical Alliance deeply appreciates the offer from the World Council of Churches to observe the proceedings at the 9th General Assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil. As a parallel network representing almost 400 million evangelical Christians around the world, our community identifies with many of the themes raised at this assembly.

In particular, the focus on the scandal of global poverty, HIV and AIDS, injustice and violence against children at risk are deep felt concerns within our community.

In responding to these critical issues, the World Evangelical Alliance two years ago launched Micah Challenge, a global Christian campaign that seeks to raise a prophetic and powerful voice with the poor. With 18 national campaigns currently functioning and an additional 20 campaigns being launched this year, Micah Challenge has two primary aims.

First of all we want to deepen Christian engagement with the poor. Secondly, we want to influence leaders of rich and poor nations to fulfill their public promise to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and so halve absolute global poverty by 2015.

As evangelical Christians, the foundation for our engagement with these issues comes from a deep commitment to integral mission.

“Integral mission or holistic transformation is the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel. It is not simply that evangelism and social involvement are to be done alongside each other. Rather, in integral mission our proclamation has social consequences as we call people to love and repentance in all areas of life. And our social involvement has evangelistic consequences as we bear witness to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ.

If we ignore the world we betray the word of God, which sends us out to serve the world. If we ignore the word of God we have nothing to bring to the world. Justice and justification by faith, worship and political action, the spiritual and the material, personal conversion and structural change belong together. As in the life of Jesus, being, doing and saying are at the heart of our integral task.”

Here in Porto Alegre evangelicals are found in many of the church streams represented at the assembly. There are Pentecostal, Baptist, Anglican, Reformed and other Christians who also identify themselves with the evangelical movement. It is our hope that they will have a positive influence on the outcomes of the assembly.

In a world filled pain, hate and struggle we strongly affirm that the only solution is found in God’s transforming grace.

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Evangelical news agency idea. Wolfgang Polzer

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