An analysis of official documents of the World Council of Churches issued at the 1966 Conference on Church and Society

The 1966 Conference on Church and Society held by the World Council of Churches took place last July at Geneva, Switzerland. There were participants from 70 countries, including all the Socialist bloc except Albania and Red China.

At the end of the Conference, the participants issued a formal message to thank God for bringing them together, and for granting them “this experience of the world community which is emerging in this age of advanced technology and social revolution.”

The word “revolution” was a leitmotif of the Conference, occurring and recurring throughout the various working papers which were only recently released in revised and edited form. Evidently, the World Council of Churches holds gradual evolutionary change to be inadequate in our times and even undesirable.

The participants’ message states, “we Christians cannot escape the call to serious study and dynamic action.” These are to be directed toward four issues: “Modern technology …; The need for accelerated development in Asia, Africa and Latin America …; The struggle for world peace …; The problem of just political and social order and the changing role of the state.”

Concerning point four, the participants’ message states, “Here a fundamental issue is the function of law in our revolutionary times and its theological foundation.”

The Conference message goes on to say:

As Christians, we are committed to working for the transformation of society. In the past, we have usually done this through quiet efforts at social renewal, working in and through the established institutions according to their rules. Today, a significant number of those who ...
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