Karlsruhe, Germany, September 8-16, 2021
(later changed to August 31 – September 8, 2022)
“Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity”
The World Council of Churches (WCC) has announced the theme for its 11th World Assembly, to be held in Karlsruhe, Germany, from September 8-16, 2021: “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.”
“Reconciliation” and “Unity” in the Word of God
Bible-believing churches could embrace this theme, in that the work of Christ on the cross reconciles sinful men to a holy God, who cannot look upon sin. 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 says: “… God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ.… we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
The Bible also speaks of unity in Christ. Ephesians 4:13-15 says: “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”
Ephesians 2:13 tells us: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” We who were once at “enmity” with God, are now united to Christ. He is the vine, we are the branches (John 15:5); He is the head, we are His body (1 Corinthians 6:15-19). He is “the chief cornerstone,” we are His “lively stones” (1 Peter 2:4-6).
The “Gospel” of the WCC is not the Gospel of Scripture
In a January 10, 2019, press release announcing the theme of its upcoming Assembly, WCC General Secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit stated that the emphasis will be upon Christ’s love expressed by advocacy for “justice and peace, and unity.” Tveit added that the Assembly will further emphasize “The one human family needs love and needs to love to face our future together.”
Previous to this, it had been announced that the theme would be taken from 2 Corinthians 5:14: “For the love of Christ constraineth us.” This whole passage speaks of the spiritual reconciliation between God and man. Verse 17 states: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” And verse 21 tells us: “For he [God] hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
The WCC has made it clear that the “reconciliation” and “unity” of which it speaks is far different from that presented in the Bible. The theme of the WCC Executive Committee in Uppsala, Sweden, November 2-8, 2018, was “Behold, I make all things new,” from Revelation 21. Instead of rejoicing in the spiritual work of Christ culminating in a literal “new heaven and a new earth,” the meaning was twisted to bolster the WCC agenda for the immediate transformation of society into a grand socialist utopia.
General Secretary Tveit stated at that meeting that the clear meaning of this Scripture, in English, seemed “archaic” to him. It was not that he did not understand what the Bible is teaching. He stated correctly: “The perspective is the eschatalogical horizon, the new heaven and earth.” However, he continued immediately to say that the WCC had “turn[ed] … toward a more modern approach to the world … and urg[ed] the churches to focus more on the enormous challenges of this world” [emphasis his].
He ridicules those he says have their focus on “‘pie in the sky bye and bye,’” and cautions against being “too focused on the life after this one.” He concluded his address by stating: “… may God motivate and guide us in our planning and work, in anticipation of the coming unity of humankind. Thy kingdom come!”
The main emphases of Tveit’s address can be seen in the seven statements passed at this November 2018 meeting. None of them dealt with the true Gospel of Christ, but rather focused on such topics as Immigration, Climate Change, Universal Healthcare, and Economic Transformation.
Although some of these statements addressed matters we all should care about, it is apparent from reading them that the WCC is continuing on with its determined “progressive” agenda of seeking to bring its vision of “the Kingdom of God” on earth, while standing largely in opposition to the true “Kingdom of God,” as presented in the Bible.
“Progressive” Socialism is not Biblical
The strong advocacy for socialism can be seen in several of the Executive Committee’s releases, including its “Statement on the Urgent Challenge of Economic Transformation: 10 Years After the Global Financial Crisis.” It states that the WCC “renews its oft-repeated call for a new international financial and economic architecture for an economy of life that links finance to the real economy, accounts for social and ecological impacts, and sets effective constraints on greed.” It is of interest that no mention is made of the need for constraints on covetousness.
The WCC also advocates for such government-led socialistic programs as universal healthcare: “The WCC considers the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental human right,” and called on its members to fight for “effective national health structures.…”
Another socialist program promoted is for government welfare for those crossing national borders illegally, where money is forcibly taken from citizens and “redistributed” as the government thinks is best.
As a means of accomplishing these grand socialist programs, the WCC calls for government “taxation as a tool for promoting redistribution, accountability and sustainability, and regulating and democratising finance.”
“What saith the Scriptures?”
A. The true Gospel is spiritual. Matthew 1:21 tells us: “and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” The Apostle Paul tells Timothy that the “glorious gospel” was “committed to [his] trust.” He immediately proceeds to describe that “glorious gospel”: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief”” (1 Timothy 1:15). The gospel does not promise prosperity, good health, freedom from oppression and that we will enjoy social justice on this earth.
B. True justice and equity can only come from God alone. The terrible, heart-wrenching problems of humanity are the effects of sin. No government, social-justice effort, or humanitarian organization can remedy this, for sin is a spiritual problem that manifests itself in every realm of human life. Thus, humanity’s only hope of truly dealing with its spiritual problem is salvation in Jesus Christ.
When sinners are born again they receive a new nature and the effects of the new birth are evident in every area of life, bringing real, demonstrative, felt effects in every human institution. Families will be changed for the good—though Christ didn’t promise that every family would enjoy peace in this life (Matthew 10:34-36). Society and government will be changed for the good—though Christ didn’t promise that every strata of society and government would enjoy peace in this life (Matthew 5:10-11). These changes happen because saved individuals in society are made in the image of Christ and live Christ-like lives. As Christians grow more like Christ they sin less and do more righteousness. The effects of less sin and more righteousness are seen in everyday life.
C. In total reliance upon God, our main responsibility is to trust God and look to Him in prayer. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
D. The Bible advocates private property, not forced socialism. The Eighth Commandment in the Law of God presupposes private ownership of property: “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20). Ephesians 4:28 begins: “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good.…”
E. The command for all Bible-believing Christians, individually, to help those in need is repeated throughout Scripture. In Ephesians 4:28, just quoted, the verse concludes by showing that our work is not just for our own provision and our own self interest: “… that he may have to give to him that needeth.” In the Biblical account of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), we see a Samaritan helping a man from Jerusalem who had been attacked by thieves. Even though there was enmity between the Jews and the Samaritans, this man helped this stranger. Christ commanded His followers to: “Go and do thou likewise.” Philippians 2:3-4 tells us: “in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Galatians 6:10 says: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” This spirit will be in the heart of every true Christian.
F. When governments claim they are ending oppression by the powerful and wealthy, they almost always replace our God-given freedoms with government oppression and control of our lives. The Bible says that “The Lord is my Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1). It does not give that responsibility to the government. The “Liberation Theology” promoted by the WCC in nations around the world has largely led to more government oppression, economic decline and religious persecution.
G. As Christians are involved as good citizens in their respective countries, they should, as much as they are able, vote for candidates who advocate that which is right and good. They should speak against evil and for righteousness. Isaiah 58:1, says: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”
The International Council of Christian Churches, meeting in its 20th World Congress, from January 22-29, 2020, in Puerto Montt, Chile, calls on Bible-believing Christians and churches everywhere to reject the false gospel of the World Council of Churches, and to conduct themselves only according to the clear principles of the inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God, some of which have been mentioned above.
Manmade schemes to “bring in the Kingdom of God” will always fail. May the transformation we seek be that described by the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:13: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” Let us actively seek to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ to every creature. The theme verse of this 20th World Congress of the ICCC is 1 John 4:10: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” This is the only hope for our sin cursed world.