Geneva conclave of ecumenical churchmen will reflect WCC attitudes on political involvement


Ought the Christian Church as a corporate institution to champion a specific political program? Is economic revolution a proper ecclesiastical goal? Should Christians welcome socialism as an aspect of the Kingdom of God? Is Karl Marx a latter-day Christian prophet?

When the World Conference on Church and Society meets in Geneva, Switzerland, July 12–16, under the auspices of the World Council of Churches, millions of churchgoers will gain a clearer impression of the political attitudes of the ecumenical movement, which is already the center of mounting controversy over organizational Protestantism’s “meddling” in secular affairs.

Since the prestige of the institutional church has already been widely undermined in our generation by theological and moral confusion, many evangelical spokesmen insist that world ecumenical endorsement of direct political engagement as an authentic ecclesiastical mission, and beyond that the official encouragement of a socialist society, may provoke a disruptive break in ecumenical cooperation. Some view the prospect of a politically active world church as the final stage of the unevangelical secularization and the spiritual irrelevance of corporate Christianity.

Moreover, the possibility that differences over official ecumenical commitments in social ethics may increasingly pull apart the world Christian community is conceded by the Rev. Paul Albrecht of Geneva, secretary of the section on social questions at the Evanston (1954) and New Delhi (1961) assemblies and now executive secretary of the Department on Church and Society of the WCC Division of Studies.

“God is a ‘politician’,” contends Professor ...

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