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Current Events >> Big Business or Christianity?

An interesting article on the most recent meeting of the World Council of Churches raises the question: What are most of the Chrsitian churches in the world doing?


An interesting article on the most recent meeting of the World Council of Churches raises the question: What are most of the Chrsitian churches in the world doing?

The article may be found here on MSNBC. It discusses the recent WCC convention, with the keynote speakers are urging a need to "go out" and accomplish something, or words to that effect. I do not know much about the WCC, except that it was formed shortly after WW II as an effort to unite the churches of the world in an ecumenical umbrella. From a numbers perspective, that has occurred. By any count the WCC is huge -- except that it is missing, for the most part, Pentecoastal and evangelical churches. Sadly for the WCC, most of the missionary growth within Christidom has come from these two groups.

To give you a flavor of the article, here is a brief quote:

Catholicos Aram I, the spiritual head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, sounded at times like a CEO, saying the WCC must become more ''efficient and credible'' and reverse an ''in-house mood of restlessness,'' with the group's income falling about 30 percent since 1999.

As a member of one of those evangelical churches who would never consider joining the WCC, the issues surround the entire question of purpose. Why does there need to be an ecumenical movement? The Bible appears to call for a unity of purpose of all churches, but I remember no discussion about a unified grouping of the churches of the world.

In fact, at the end of Romans, Paul frets over the offering the Asian churches have gathered. This offering is for the church in Jerusalem to help the poor survive famine and other disasters. Paul worries that it may not be accepted by the Jerusalem church in the grace in which it is offered. Not much unification there.

As to credibility, one of the obvious items that seems to be missing from the formula of the WCC is an effort toward those not part of the body. From what I understand the mandate and entire effort of the WCC is to bring all Christian churches together. While that should produce an amazing blessing, the Bible never suggests such a mandate nor the pooling of funds for such an effort. In fact, the Bible suggests the purpose of the church is focused away from itself, rather than in towards itself.

Consider Jesus' directions to the disciples just before the Ascension:

Acts 1:8 (KJV)
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The purpose for this witness is found in the last words of Jesus as recorded by Matthew.

Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Now, it appears to me that what Jesus is talking about is an effort to reach out beyond ourselves to tell non-believers about Jesus, sharing the Gospel with them based upon our own person experiences (our "witness") in an effort to bring them into God's kingdom. If this sharing produces repentance within the person so they accept Jesus into their lives, then the Christian body has the further obligation to teach them the fundamentals of Scripture so that they, too, become good Christians and are able to go forth and witness to others, repeating the process.

This is why the Pentecoastals and evangelicals are on the leading edge of missionary work. They believe in the truth of these two passages. This is where there "extra" money goes. They do not throw their funds into the programs of the WCC, they send forth missionaries to do the work of the Kingdom.

Maybe if the WCC stopped worrying about ecumenicalism and focused on missionary work, their churches would fair better in the world.

Maybe?

Jim A

 

Posted On: 2006-02-23 14:28:20 || Comments (0 ) || Add a Comment
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