Evangelical, Mainline Protestant, and Roman Catholic leaders convened Tuesday in Geneva to announce the release of a historic document on the ethics of Christian evangelism. The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) said Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct is the first document to receive unanimous endorsement from the WEA, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) of the Catholic Church, and the World Council of Churches (WCC).

The three-part document states that its intent is to "encourage churches, church councils, and mission agencies to reflect on their current practices … for their witness and mission among those of different religions and among those who do not profess any particular religion."

Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the PCID, said the text "will help us reduce unnecessary tensions and present the truth of God in a credible way to the world around us."

Geoff Tunnicliffe, secretary general for the WEA, said the document, which "covers very succinctly the essence of Christian mission," is the culmination of a five-year collaboration of theologians, practitioners, and Christian leaders.

"We might be surprised that the document does not say 'anything new,'" Tunnicliffe said. "After all, it states what many would consider to be obvious to the core of Christian mission. And yet, it has never been said before in this way! At least not so clearly and not within the context of collaboration between three Christian families of faith that jointly represent about 90 percent of all the Christians on the planet."

The organizations rarely meet together, let alone release joint documents. Documents ...

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