World Evangelical Alliance

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World Evangelical Alliance
Classification Protestantism
Leader Efraim Tendero, Secretary-General
Associations 129 national evangelical alliances
Region Worldwide
Headquarters New York, United States
Origin 1846
Members 600 million
Official website worldea.org

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is a global organization of evangelical Christian churches founded in 1846 in London, England. It brings together 129 national alliances of churches, 104 member associations and 6 boards. It is the largest international organization of evangelical churches, and is now headquartered in New York, United States. The World Communion of Reformed Churches is a major partner organization. This organization brings together a part of the churches evangelical Christian.

History[edit]

The World Evangelical Alliance was formed in London, England with 10 countries in 1846.[1]  · [2] Their shared vision was "a new thing in church history, a definite organization for the expression of unity amongst Christian individuals belonging to different churches." In 1951, 21 countries, under the leadership of American theologians Harold Ockenga and J. Elwin Wright, participated in the rebirth of the WEA, which became the World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF).[3] · [4] In 2001, after the General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur, WEF became the World Evangelical Alliance.[5] As of 2005, the WEA is experiencing a collegiate management under the leadership of its Canadian leader, Geoff Tunnicliffe. Offices were opened in Vancouver, Canada (Leadership), San Francisco (Information Technology), Washington (Publications), and Geneva (International Relations). As of 2010, the central office is in New York, United States [6]

Composition[edit]

The WEA includes 129 national alliances of churches. Some of the national alliances haveProtestant churches which are not traditionalEvangelical churches in the strict sense (anabaptism).[7] The World Communion of Reformed Churches, which has 80 million members, is one of the main networks in the organization. Moreover, the WEA includes a certain percentage of individualevangelical Christian churches.

Leadership[edit]

The WEA is headed by a Secretary-General whose function is to administer and represent the Alliance. Efraim Tendero, born in Philippines, is the Secretary-General since March 1, 2015.[8][9]

List of former leaders[edit]

This list contains the former leaders of the WEA since 1951.[10]

  • Roy Cattell (England) and J. Elwin Wright (USA), co-secretaries, (1951-1953)
  • A.J. Dain (England) and J. Elwin Wright (USA), co-secretaries, (1953-1958)
  • Fred Ferris (USA), International Secretary, USA, (1958-1962)
  • Gilbert Kirby (England), International Secretary, (1962-1966)
  • Dennis Clark (Canada), International Secretary, (1966-1970)
  • Gordon Landreth (England), interim International Secretary, (1970-1971)
  • Clyde Taylor (USA), International Secretary, (1971-1975)
  • Waldron Scott, (USA) General Secretary, (1975-1980)
  • Wade Coggins, (USA) Interim General Secretary, (1981)
  • David M. Howard, International Director (1982-1992)
  • Agustin Vencer, International Director (1992-2001)
  • Gary Edmonds, Secretary General (2002-2004)
  • Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General (2005–2014)

Commissions[edit]

In 1974, the WEA creates 6 commissions to better achieve its mandates. [11]· [12]

  • Theological Commission

Function: Reflect on issues of evangelical theology, and the important issues concerning the churches and society in the world.[13]

  • Missions Commission

Function: Coordinate activities of evangelism and Christian humanitarianism.[14][15]

  • Religious Liberty Commission

Function: Monitor religious freedom in the world and participate in the defense of persecuted Christians. In the United Nations, the Commission shall field observation reports.[16]

  • Women's Commission

Function: Identify and address the special needs of women. The commission works with advocacy organizations women's rights.[17]

  • Youth Commission

Function: Equipping children for their development and protect their rights.[18]

  • IT Commission

Function: Sharing knowledge on Information technology and promote the quality of Christian websites.[19]

Membership[edit]

The World Evangelical Alliance embraces member-bodies whose identity and vocation are rooted in historic biblical Christianity. WEA affirms and seeks the biblical unity of Christ's body, the Church, celebrating the diversity of practices and theological emphases consistent with the WEA Statement of Faith, recognizing the existing dynamic tension between unity and diversity.

There are four types of membership, each with its distinct qualifications and responsibilities:

  • Regional & National Alliances are regional evangelical fellowships and their national fellowships/alliances.
  • Global Partners are independently incorporated organizations which work in harmony with WEA structures and serving the WEA constituency.
  • Associate Members are independently incorporated organizations with their own specific ministries and accountability, an international scope of ministry, and the capacity and authority to serve in and beyond the WEA community.
  • Church Networks & Denominations are networks of churches (located in one or a number of countries), in agreement with the Statement of Faith and objectives of the World Evangelical Alliance.

General Assemblies[edit]

A General Assembly takes place every six years in a country that differs depending on the year.[20] It is a time of healing and gathering for national alliances and associations.[21] It allows the execution of administrative procedures and the training of leaders of each country. The last General Assembly was to be held in 2014 in Seoul in South Korea, but was postponed to a later date.[22]

Global engagements[edit]

Development[edit]

The fight against poverty is a major concern of the WEA.[23] Publications and meetings of the Alliance are the means used to influence and inspire development initiatives and actions humanitarian in churches, NGOs and political.[24] It is the origin of the Micah Challenge, an initiative to educate Christians and promote decision making among leaders.[25]

Ecumenical Participation[edit]

On June 5, 2010, Geoff Tunnicliffe, the International Director of the WEA, appeared alongside the leaders of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches (WCC) in a press conference, entitled “Christian unity today”, at the Edinburgh 2010 Conference. The gathering marked the centennial of the 1910 World Mission Conference.[26] On 17 October 2010, Olav Fykse Tveit, the general secretary of the WCC, gave an invited address to the 3rd Lausanne Conference.[27] In the address he said, "we are called to participate in the one mission of God".[27] The World Evangelical Alliance, Geoff Tunnicliffe, the International Director and other WEA leaders were involved at each level in the development of the programme, and helped choose its participants.[28] On 22 January 2015, the WCC and WEA announced plans for closer cooperation, worship and witness.[29][30] In June 2015, the WEA reported that discussions with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity were finalised, and that "the open questions of the 16th century are almost answered".[31] The WEA representatives also reported that "still open is the question to what extend [sic] evangelical Christians who stem from the reformation churches have full access to salvation according the catholic view".[31]

Criticism[edit]

Neglect of the suffering church in China[edit]

The WEA was criticised for its positive assessment of the situation of the churches in China, after meeting with government approved representatives. China Aid and Church in Chains claimed, "There are many Christians in China who are not free to worship, do not have Bibles of their own and are not free to organise their own affairs and this situation is not mentioned in your press release... our concern is that you have turned your back on these brothers and sisters."[32][33] One exemplary case of abuse, that of the imprisoned Uyghur Christian, Alimujiang Yimiti, was raised in the criticism, but the WEA did not respond in detail.[32][33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ WEA, Introduction WEA's website, USA, accessed August 11, 2015
  2. ^ Microsoft Encarta, "Évangélisme", Encyclopedia Encarta, France, 2008
  3. ^ Sébastien Fath, Du ghetto au réseau. Le protestantisme évangélique en France, 1800-2005, Édition Labor et Fides, France, 2005, page 161
  4. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica, Evangelical Alliance (2015) (consulted 26/12/2015)
  5. ^ Donald M. Lewis, Richard V. Pierard, Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History & Culture in Regional Perspective, InterVarsity Press, USA, 2014, page 114
  6. ^ WEA, WEA at the United Nations, WEA's website, USA, accessed August 11, 2015
  7. ^ WEA Networks & Church Denominations Official website of the WEA, USA accessed December 30, 2015
  8. ^ Anugrah Kumar, World Evangelical Alliance Inaugurates Filipino Bishop Efraim Tendero as New Secretary General Newspaper The Christian Post, USA, February 21, 2015
  9. ^ Manila Times, Bishop Tendero voted new WEA head, Newspaper Manila Times, Philippines, January 26, 2015
  10. ^ WEA, History, WEA's website, USA, accessed August 11, 2015
  11. ^ Brian Stiller, Evangelicals Around the World: A Global Handbook for the 21st Century, Thomas Nelson Publishing, USA, 2015, page 214
  12. ^ Norman E. Thomas, " Missions and Unity: Lessons from History, 1792-2010", USA, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2010, pages 137-138
  13. ^ WEA, Introduction, WEA's website, USA, accessed August 11, 2015
  14. ^ WEA, Who We Are WEA's website, USA Accessed August 11, 2015
  15. ^ Richard Tiplady, One World Or Many?: The Impact of Globalisation on Mission, William Carey Library, USA, 2003, page 6
  16. ^ WEA, Introduction, WEA's website, USA, accessed August 11, 2015
  17. ^ WEA, Introduction, WEA's website, USA, consulted August 11, 2015
  18. ^ WEA, Introduction Official WebWEA's website, USA, accessed August 11, 2015
  19. ^ WEA, Introduction, WEA's website, USA, accessed August 11, 2015
  20. ^ Brian Stiller, Evangelicals Around the World: A Global Handbook for the 21st Century, Thomas Nelson Publishing, USA, 2015, page 213
  21. ^ Patrice de Plunkett, ""Les évangéliques à la conquête du monde", Editions Perrin, France, 2009, page 93
  22. ^ WEA, WEA Announces Postponement of Upcoming General Assembly, WEA's website, USA, 11 February 2014
  23. ^ Ronald J. Sider, Diane Knippers, "Toward an Evangelical Public Policy: Political Strategies for the Health of the Nation", USA, Baker Books, 2005, page 242
  24. ^ Matthew Clarke, "Handbook of Research on Development and Religion", Australia, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013, pages 426-427
  25. ^ Bruce Ellis Benson, Peter Goodwin Heltzel, Evangelicals and Empire: Christian Alternatives to the Political Status Quo, Brazos Press, USA, 2008, page 76
  26. ^ "Ecumenism helps Catholics move beyond a 'theology of exclusion'". Ekklesia website. 2010-06-10. Archived from the original on 2015-02-24. Retrieved 2015-02-24. 
  27. ^ a b "Greetings to the 3rd Lausanne Congress for World Evangelization". World Council of Churches website. 2010-10-17. Archived from the original on 2015-02-23. Retrieved 2015-02-23. 
  28. ^ "Cape Town 2010 FAQS". Lausanne Cape Town Conference 2010. 2011. Archived from the original on August 7, 2011. Retrieved 2015-02-23. 
  29. ^ "WEA and WCC representatives explore possibilities of working together". World Council of Churches website. 2015-01-22. Archived from the original on 2015-02-23. Retrieved 2015-02-23. 
  30. ^ "WEA and WCC Representatives Explore Possibilities of Working Together". WEA website. 2015-01-22. Archived from the original on 2015-02-23. Retrieved 2015-02-23. 
  31. ^ a b "Evangelicals Finalise Pontifical Council Dialogue". WEA website, WEA Theological News. 2015-06-01. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-12-26. Retrieved 2015-12-26. 
  32. ^ a b "CHINA: Growing Criticism of WEA "misleading" statement". Church in Chains. 2010-01-08. Archived from the original on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  33. ^ a b "ChinaAid Responds to World Evangelical Alliance's Statement on their Visit to China". ChinaAid website. 2009-12-20. Archived from the original on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2015-02-25. 

External links[edit]