The Presbyterian Church in Korea, reunited on February 17 after a four-month schism, subsequently voted to withdraw from the World Council of Churches as part of the price of its reunion.

The vote represented a voluntary compromise on the part of the ecumenical party in the church who control the assembly and who still favor membership in the WCC but who accepted the withdrawal as a necessary step to bring the anti-ecumenical minority party back into the fellowship of Korea’s largest Protestant denomination.

Official commissioners reuniting at the February 17 assembly numbered 230 at the opening roll call. By the end of the three-day meeting the number had risen to 251, or 87 per cent of the attendance at the ill-fated Taejon General Assembly in September where ecumenical and anti-ecumenical commissioners split into two rival assemblies. Of the original 286 Taejon commissioners, 198 were present at the reunion.

A rough estimate of the relative strength of the reconciled parties in the reunited assembly is: ecumenical 150, non-ecumenical 50, and neutral 50.

Considerable debate preceded the vote to withdraw from the World Council of Churches. Since the more radical opponents of the ecumenical movement had rejected reunion and retained control of their own divided minority (anti-ecumenical) assembly, it was suggested that it might not be necessary for the united assembly to withdraw. But the commissioners finally agreed to honor the terms of the plan of reunion which brought them together and which included the promise of WCC withdrawal. There was only one dissenting vote.

They added, however, a statement declaring that the World Council of Churches was neither pro-communist, nor organized to promote theological liberalism or a ...

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