In a historic move not ever seen before, Evangelicals, Catholics and Ecumenicals agreed on a faith document to tether together their universal mission on ethics. There have been very few times in the history of faith that so many groups have joined hands and agreed. Ethical violations from ministers and priests have caused this moment to come to life.
“Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World” is the first joint document of its kind in church history and seeks to identify not only the biblical call to evangelism but also the ethical mandates of Christian witness.
It offers recommendations for Christian conduct in the mission field and is a joined up response to criticisms leveled at Christians by some religious communities against what they perceive to be “unethical methods.”
WEA Secretary General Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe said it was a “historic document” and a “historic moment” for the three bodies, who together represent more than 90 per cent of the world’s total Christian population.
Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the WCC said the document was a testimony to their search for unity.
The preamble to the document starts by stating that mission belongs to the very being of the church.
“Proclaiming the word of God and witnessing to the world is essential for every Christian,” it reads. “At the same time, it is necessary to do so according to gospel principles, with full respect and love for all human beings.”
The 12 principles its sets out for Christian witness include acting in God’s love, living with integrity, compassion and humility, and rejecting violence.
The document then goes on to make six recommendations to Christians, church bodies, mission organizations and agencies.
These are: to study the document; build respect and trust with people of all religions; strengthen religious identity and faith whilst deepening knowledge and understanding of different religions; advocate justice and respect for the common good; call on governments and representatives to ensure religious freedom for all people; pray for the wellbeing of neighbours; and recognize that prayer is integral to the Christian life and Christian mission.
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