Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Full, Vocal Unity Achieved At WCC

Perhaps it is his impending nuptials that lead Tom Pietsch, the young Lutheran seminarian and blogger at “Always Yes”, to muse on global warming and all things apocalyptic. I have been meaning to blog on this one myself for a while, as it is (believe it or not) an ecumenical “issue”.

You will all be aware that the 9th Pow-Wow of the World Council of Churches took place in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in February. One has not come to expect very much of these events, at least in terms of concrete ecumenism. A quick glance through the agenda and the resolutions of the Assembly will make this immediately clear.

For eg., here is Dr Sam Kobia, the General Secretary (ie. effective head) of the WCC speaking to ABC Radio National’s Encounter:

Sam Kobia: As the World Council we have been dealing with this for the last 30 to 35 years. It’s good to see that now the evangelicals finally have realised that this is an issue that also they should be involved in. Let this assembly identify [it] as the one issue that Christians of different persuasions and representing different traditions can speak with the one, strong, Christian voice, because I think if there is an issue around which we can say we are agreed … we can even speak with a voice without having to go into theological debate. I think [it] can be the rallying point around which we can speak with one strong voice.

What is he talking about? Is “it” the full, visible unity of the Church? Is “it” the desire to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations? Is “it” a far more modest goal such as a common date for Easter among all the Churches?

No. Here is the unedited version:

Sam Kobia: I welcome very much the evangelicals to the platform of dealing with the issue of climate change. … Let this assembly identify climate change as the one issue that Christians of different persuasions and representing different traditions can speak with the one, strong, Christian voice.

So there you are. Not the Eucharist, not the Church, not the Gospel, not the Word of God, but: climate change. I guess we should be thankful that the Christian communities of the world have finally found something they can all speak about together “with the one, strong Christian voice.”

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