The World Council of Churches got evangelism when its Central Committee admitted two new denominations last August. The addition of the Pentecostal Brazil for Christ Church and the indigenous African Church of Christ on Earth gives the WCC a “blood transfusion,” said committee vice-chairman Pauline Webb.
The Brazil for Christ Church, according to its founder and president, joined the council to benefit from WCC efforts in social action and ecumenical relations. But, adds Manuel de Mello, the WCC can learn something about evangelism from his denomination: “We are in the jet age, but from the religious point of view, the World Council is still riding a bicycle.”
With 1.1 million members, the 17-year-old Brazil for Christ Church is the second largest Pentecostal group in South America. De Mello attributes its rapid growth to congregational participation in worship services.
The African church stresses revivals and healing services. Begun in 1921 by Simon Kimbangu, a Congo preacher and “prophet,” the church now numbers three million. It’s the only African church in the WCC not founded by Western missionaries.1
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