Anyone present at uppsala this past summer had to be impressed with the this-worldly focus of the World Council of Churches assembly. The world around us, not the world above us, was given top concern. The world and its crises, not the individual and his condition, had center stage.

Isolationist piety and introverted faith were clearly of no interest here. The acute questions that haunted the assembly were relational ones: faith and ethics, faith and politics, faith and justice More than at the previous assembly in New Delhi, delegates were bent on demonstrating that the Gospel does not abandon the world and human life as a no-man’s-land beyond Christian concern and influence. They tried to show that the Christian Gospel has everything to do with this world and with human life in all its dimensions within the world.

How this is to be done is another matter, one over which the real arguments arise. But the concern itself is authentically biblical. Genuine faith always carries consequences in life, always bears fruit in practical affairs. The Scriptures abhor introverted faith. John the Apostle said something about a man who closes his heart to a brother in need—how can the love of God be in such a man (1 John 3:17). We need not be surprised that the threats to humanity within our modern world compel the older just as well as the younger generation to ask what the Christian faith has to say and do in the face of them, what the Christian Church can mean, in its words and actions, for this age.

We all know that the problem is not a new one. Anyone who has ever wrestled in earnest with the meaning of faith has come to grips with the relation between the first and second commandments. Anyone who has looked hard at his ...

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