Together toward Life Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes

International Review of Mission, April 2012 | Go to article overview

Together toward Life Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes


Proposal for a new WCC Affirmation on Mission and Evangelism toward WCC's 10th Assembly in Busan, Korea, 2013

Working Draft 11

Approved by the CWME Executive Group, Geneva on 22 January 2012 To Be presented to the CWME Pre-assembly Mission Event in Manila, 22-27 March 2012

Submitted by the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME)

The Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME) has since 2006, after the WCC Porto Alegre Assembly, been working and contributing toward the construction of the new ecumenical mission affirmation. The new statement will be presented to the WCC 10th Assembly at Busan, Korea, in 2013. Since the integration of the International Missionary Council (IMC) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) in New Delhi, 1961, there has been only one official WCC position statement on mission and evangelism, which was approved by the central committee in 1982, "Mission and Evangelism: An Ecumenical Affirmation." It is the aim of this ecumenical discernment to seek vision, concepts and directions for a renewed understanding and practise of mission and evangelism in changing landscapes. It seeks a broad appeal, even wider than WCC member churches and affiliated mission bodies, so that we can commit ourselves together to fullness of life for all, led by the God of Life!

Together toward life: introducing the theme

1. We believe in the Triune God, who is the creator, redeemer and sustainer of all life. God created the whole oikoumene in God's image and constantly works in the world to affirm and safeguard life. We believe in Jesus Christ, the Life of the world, the incarnation of God's love for the world (John 3:16). (1) Affirming life in all its fullness is Jesus Christ's ultimate concern and mission (John 10:10). We believe in God, the Holy Spirit, the Life-giver, who sustains and empowers life and renews the whole creation (Genesis 2:7; John 3:8). A denial of life is a rejection of the God of life. God invites us into the life-giving mission of the Triune God and empowers us to bear witness to the vision of abundant life for all in the new heaven and earth. How and where do we discern God's life-giving work that enables us to participate in God's mission today?

2. Mission begins in the heart of the Triune God and the love which binds together the Holy Trinity overflows to all humanity and creation. The missionary God who sent the Son to the world calls all God's people (John 20:21), and empowers them to be a community of hope. The church is commissioned to celebrate life, and to resist and transform all life-destroying forces, in the power of the Holy Spirit. How important it is to "receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22) to become living witnesses to the coming reign of God! From a renewed appreciation of the mission of the Spirit, how do we re-envision God's mission in a changing and diverse world today?

3. Life in the Holy Spirit is the essence of mission, and the core to why we do what we do, and how we live our lives. Spirituality gives deepest meaning to our lives and motivates our actions. It is a sacred gift from the Creator, the energy for affirming and caring for life. This mission spirituality has a dynamic of transformation which, through spiritual commitment of people, is capable of transforming the world in God's grace. How can we reclaim mission as transformative spirituality which is life-affirming?

4. God did not send the Son for the salvation of humanity alone or give us a partial salvation. Rather the gospel is the good news for every part of creation and every aspect of our life and society. It is, therefore, vital to recognize God's mission in a cosmic sense, and to affirm all life, the whole oikoumene, as being interconnected in God's web of life. As threats to the future of our planet are evident, what are their implications for our participation in God's mission?

5. The history of Christian mission has been characterized by conceptions of geographical expansion from a Christian centre to the "un-reached territories", to the ends of the earth. …

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