The World Council of Churches launched the good ship Oikoumene at Amsterdam in 1948. Now, twenty-seven years later, the passengers will hold their fifth docking at Nairobi in November.
We have studied the Ecumenical Review and the material prepared and sent to the delegates to evaluate the ship’s seaworthiness and to determine its course for the next decade. We pray that a new unity of purpose and objectives based on Scripture will be developed. The WCC should explain clearly where it stands on some basic issues. For example, will the World Council answer questions raised by the International Congress on World Evangelization that convened in Lausanne, Switzerland, a year ago? We thought the WCC intended to discuss the Lausanne Covenant, but the preliminary literature includes nothing substantive.
A year ago The Ecumenical Review, which is edited by Philip Potter, the general secretary of the WCC, devoted its July issue to the forthcoming assembly. Paul Verghese, former staff member and now a member of the Central Committee, wrote on the main theme of the assembly: “Does Jesus Christ Free and Unite?” In his article he clearly stated the basic issue:
Where, for example, do we locate the powers of darkness from which we seek liberation? If the primary positive element is personal belief in God and Christ, then the primary evidence for locating the enemy is the non-profession or denial of Christian faith. Thus communists, atheists, adherents of other religions, liberal Christians, secular humanists, and all others who refuse to confess Jesus Christ as personal saviour constitute the army against which the fight is carried on.
On the other hand, for those who regard socio-economic liberation as the primary positive element in the ...1
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