Evangelicals attending the World Council of Churches (WCC) assembly called on the WCC to include more evangelicals in the council’s program, planning, and structure. Yet at the same time, they reported that they “felt welcomed in the dialogue [at Canberra] and were able to contribute in concrete ways and at all levels.”

Their statements came out of two meetings attended by 110 persons “with evangelical perspectives” who were at the Canberra, Australia, assembly as delegates, observers, and visitors. Representing 23 countries, they were led by Canon Vinay Samuel, an observer from the Church of South India, who is executive secretary of Partnership in Mission International and chairman of the Evangelical Fellowship of India theological commission.

“As the assembly discussed the process of listening to the Spirit at work in every culture, we cautioned, with others, that discernment is required to identify the Spirit as the Spirit of Jesus Christ and thus to develop criteria for and limits to theological diversity. We argued for a high Christology to serve as the only authentic Christian base for dialogue with persons of other living faiths,” read one evangelical statement.

In a letter to the WCC program policy committee, the evangelical participants said the council should have an evangelical presence on every commission, “just as women’s and Orthodox perspectives are solicited,” and that the WCC should set up a monitoring group to assess progress in that area.

Wesley Granberg-Michaelsen, director of church and society for the WCC and moderator of a WCC task force on relations with evangelicals, noted that many of the WCC member churches have large evangelical constituencies. Granberg-Michaelsen, an ordained minister of the Reformed ...

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