The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches is meeting this week in Geneva (presumably the Politburo will meet shortly thereafter). The Presbyterian News Service’s Jerry Van Marter has a story up at the PCUSA site about discussions regarding the theme for the next meeting of the
Comintern General Assembly, which will be held in 2013 in South Korea:
But with the central committee poised to choose between two proposed themes — “God of life, lead us to justice and peace” and “In God’s world, called to be one” — for its 10th Assembly in October 2013 in Busan, South Korea, Altmann argued for the adoption of both.
“The proposed themes should not be seen as basically alternatives,” Altmann said in his address to the 150-member central committee, meeting 16-22 February here. “Each of these two perspectives is part of the one overall understanding of the ecumenical calling and commitment that unites our fellowship.”
Presumably that’s because the WCC is far more interested in unity in political goals than anything else.
The focus on justice and peace is necessary, said Altmann, because events such as the global financial meltdown and recently successful democracy movements in Arab countries “bring to our attention the risks of policies that affront human dignity and oppress whole populations.”
That’s why, Altmann said, “the eradication of poverty, the campaign against hunger and commitment to justice in international economic relations must remain on the WCC’s programme agenda.”
“Recently successful democracy movements in Arab countries”? A little premature there, don’t you think? I mean, we’re all glad Mubarak and that guy in Tunisia is gone, but they haven’t been replaced by anything that look remotely democratic yet. I also find it amusing that Altmann would bring that up given the WCC’s fixation on Israel as the world’s most supremely evil regime, and the complete lack of concern about human rights and oppression in places like China, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, etc.
As for the rest of it, that’s all fine and good, but the WCC has no answers to the world’s economic problems that don’t come straight out of a Marxist playbook. But I repeat myself.
He called for the WCC to “place even more intensively on its agenda our concern for the Middle East, especially also for the Holy Land.” He expressed particular concern for the Christian minorities in many Middle East countries, noting that the WCC’s efforts “contribute to creating and maintaining an atmosphere of mutual respect and recognition on which peace with justice can be built.”
Translation: Israel should pack up and move to Canada’s Northwest Territories, or Australia’s Great Victoria Desert, or somewhere else where the Joooos would never bother anyone ever again. Then the Middle East would be restored to an Edenic paradise, and Christians there would live happily ever after.
Tveit sounded the same note in his address a short time later. “We are focusing on what it means to be one through the perspective of ‘just peace,’ as we are preparing for the ecumenical peace convocation in Jamaica in May.”
That event marks the culmination of the WCC’s “Decade to Overcome Violence.”
“We are called to be one so that the world may believe,” Tveit said, “that peace is possible.”
Acttually, we are called to be one that the world may believe that Jesus Christ has been sent by God, and that God loves His people even as He loves His Son. But Tveit was probably just reading from a new WCC translation of John 17.
Tveit intimated that he, too, supports the dual themes for the next assembly. “The WCC in one way or another must know and focus on how, in everything we do, to respond to the call to be one in our role to bring reconciliation and peace into all contexts.
“I understand that the WCC can have a role far beyond our fellowship of member churches by being ‘the including other’ and not ‘the excluding other.’”
And what in the name of sweet Fanny Adams that means is anybody’s guess. I suppose it means that the Muslim Brotherhood will soon be offered WCC membership. Or something. I certainly hope that he doesn’t think the world is going to start actually listening to the WCC. There’s as much chance of that happening as there is of the Kansas City Royals winning the World Series this year.
UPDATE: You’d think the bureaucrats in Geneva read this blog. According to Reuters, it’s finally dawned on them that calling their decision-making body the “Central Committee” might not be the best form of public relations:
The World Council of Churches, the main global grouping of Protestant and Orthodox Christians, revealed on Wednesday it aims to scrap the communist-style name of its governing body, the Central Committee. The name, identical to that of the policy-setting body of the old Soviet Communist Party and of other anti-religious hard-left parties around the world, is long known to have embarassed many WCC member churches and their leaders.
News of the planned change — 63 years after the WCC was set up as the East-West Cold War was born — was outlined at a Geneva meeting of the committee by its moderator, Brazilian Lutheran Walter Altmann. “We should not underestimate (the change’s) importance in terms of visibility and of identification with our churches and partners,” he said. As far as he knew, no individual church had a “central committee”.
“But I do know that there are political parties that call their governing bodies by that name. It is certainly not the best name for an organisation like the World Council of Churches,” declared Altmann.
(Via the Religion News Service blog.)