This article is part of a larger series, Has the WCC Kept the Faith?

I tell this story because I was asked to do so. It is an account of how, standing firm convictionally, I saw the leading organization of the world Christian-unity movement slide away from me. My attitude to it had then to change, just because my view of God’s truth had not changed.

Once, perhaps pompously, I spoke of my relation to the World Council of Churches and local enterprises linked with it as one of qualified involvement. Now my understanding of biblical ecumenism requires me to stand outside those structures and speak of the need for repentance. I call my position, again perhaps pompously, one of prophetic detachment. My narrative is offered as a case study. It has three parts.

Doing the do-gooders good

Part one began in 1944, when I was converted to Christ in my first term at Oxford. Both the student evangelical movement to which, under God, I owed my soul and the evangelical Anglicans, with whom, as a cradle Anglican, I then formed links, nurtured me in an isolationist mindset. I was taught to view professed Christians who were not wholly with us on matters like biblical inspiration and authority or personal conversion as hardly Christian at all. Against this my judgment slowly rebelled.

While I saw myself as much closer, doctrinally and devotionally, to evangelicals of other church allegiances than to nonevangelicals in my own denomination, I could also see that many “catholic” and “liberal evangelical” Anglicans loved my Lord, even though some of their beliefs made me wince. I became an ecumenical evangelical with a bilateral stance, stretching out my right hand to fellowship with the world evangelical movement, whatever ...

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