The ecumenical movement reaches another significant milestone this month with the convening of the third assembly of the World Council of Churches in New Delhi, India.
Some 625 official delegates will be on hand for the November 18-December 6 sessions, plus as many or more observers, advisers, fraternal delegates, and special guests.
“Jesus Christ, the Light of the World” is the theme of the assembly. Sub-themes are “Witness,” “Service” and “Unity.”
Key issues to be faced by delegates include the proposed integration of the WCC with the International Missionary Council and the application for WCC membership submitted by leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Soviet Union.
Much attention also is likely to be given a proposed change in the WCC’s basis of membership. Since its inception in 1948 the WCC has had as its basis of membership the following statement:
The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches who accept Jesus Christ as God and Saviour.
Last year the WCC’s policy-making Central Committee proposed the adoption at New Delhi of an amended basis of membership as follows:
The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of Churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour, according to the Scriptures, and therefore seek to fulfill their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Evangelicals have hailed the proposal as a trend toward a more explicit commitment to the cardinal doctrines of the historic Christian faith. [For an appraisal of the theological orientation of the American delegates to New Delhi, see page 10—ED.] But others have voiced anxieties that such revision could indicate a move toward creed making and even the eventual emergence of a long-feared super ...1
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