Together towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes

International Bulletin of Mission Research, April 2014 | Go to article overview

Together towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes


The product of seven years 'preparation, a new statement on mission and evangelism was presented to the World Council of Churches (WCC) during its Tenth Assembly, held in Busan, Republic of Korea, October 30-November 8,2013. We reprint here (1) the Prologue, (2) extracts from the Introduction, including affirmations and questions that frame the discussion found in the body of the statement, and (3) the Concluding Affirmations, which are printed in full.

Elsewhere in this issue readers will find reflections on the Tenth Assembly itself and events leading up to it, offered by two persons who have played central roles within the WCC: S. Wesley Ariarajah, professor of ecumenical theology, Drew University School of Theology, Madison, New Jersey; and Jooseop Keum, director of the WCC's Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME) and editor of the International Review of Mission. Reflections by senior mission scholars on "Together towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes" as a missiological statement will appear in a forthcoming issue of the IBMR.

The full text of this important document appears in both PDF and HTML formats in the online edition of the IBMR, as well as atwww.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wcc-commissions /mission-and-evangelism/together-towards-life-mission-and-evangelism-in-changing-landscapes.

--Editors

A New WCC Affirmation on Mission and Evangelism

The Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME) has, since the WCC Porto Alegre Assembly in 2006, been working and contributing toward the construction of a 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." This new mission affirmation has been unanimously approved by the WCC central committee held in Crete, Greece on 5th of September 2012. It is the aim of this ecumenical discernment to seek vision, concepts and directions for a renewed understanding and practice 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 TOWARDS LIFE: INTRODUCING THE THEME

1. We believe in the Triune God who is the creator, redeemer and sustainer of all life.... 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.... 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, the core of why we do what we do, and how we live our lives.... 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.... 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.... What are the insights for mission and evangelism--theologies, agendas and practices--of [the] "shift of the centre of gravity of Christianity"?

6. Mission has been understood as a movement taking place from the centre to the periphery, and from the privileged to the marginalized of society. …

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