The Social Thought of the World Council of Churches

The Social Thought of the World Council of Churches

The Social Thought of the World Council of Churches

The Social Thought of the World Council of Churches

Excerpt

The present survey is an investigation of the Movement's criticism of the economic order, the political institutions and the international developments of our times. It is not a theological study.

The theological premises and implications of the organized effort to achieve ecclesiastical unity, engaging the hopes of most of the Protestant churches and winning the qualified collaboration of some Orthodox groups, have been examined in an extensive, if somewhat specialized, literature. That ecclesiastical phenomenon is commonly known as the Ecumenical Movement; its historic culmination is the World Council of Churches which was formally constituted on August 23, 1948. In its sifting of the meaning of the Christian religion, the Ecumenical Movement has considered and expressed judgments on many of the social issues of the day. The present study seeks to order these judgments, indicate their inspiration in the common Ecumenical tradition, trace the evolution of this tradition and evaluate its strength. It is an essay, then, in a neglected chapter in the history of social criticism, an effort to organize the evidence of social concern and to analyse the demands for social order on the part of a religious movement of impressive proportions.

The demand for control of economic processes which will serve justice and freedom, for the rule of law in international relations which will assure peace, is voiced in all the languages of the globe and is based on the most diverse claims. The demand, however exploited to political advantage, undoubtedly manifests humanity's common insistence; it is expressed in protests against unemployment, against racial discrimination, against insufficient housing and medical care, against all refusals of national independence, against all invasions of human rights, against the burden . . .

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