The first-ever dos and don’ts for evangelism endorsed by evangelicals, mainline Protestants and Catholics will now be available online after the World Evangelical Alliance and its partners launch the document in Switzerland Tuesday.
The Rev. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, international director of WEA, will be among the world Christian leaders who will announce the public launch of the code of conduct, which for the first time ever has achieved such a broad Christian backing, in Geneva on June 28, WEA said in a statement.
“We are very pleased and grateful to God for all those who have worked so hard on the production of this text. The WEA fully endorses this document and recommends it for study and application to all our member alliances, churches, organizations and individuals,” said Tunnicliffe, whose organization represents over 600 million evangelical Christians worldwide.
Titled “Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct,” the document is enormously significant in light of the accusation that the Church and missions seek to “unethically” convert non-Christians, especially in the developing world.
It took five years of cooperation between the WEA, the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Council for Inter Religious Dialogue, and the World Council of Churches to reach an agreement on the ethics of Christian mission and evangelism and “the need for every Christian, every church and every Christian organization to live and preach the gospel in accordance with the life and teachings of Jesus,” WEA said.
The launch function will be held at the WCC offices and will include, in addition to Tunnicliffe, PCID President Cardinal Tauran and WCC General Secretary Dr. Olav Tveit.
“It is a historic text both for its content and because this is the first time since the 16th century that the three main bodies representing nearly all of world Christianity jointly endorse one document and recommend it to their respective constituencies,” added WEA, a network of churches in 128 nations that have each formed an evangelical alliance and over 100 international organizations joining together to give a worldwide identity and voice.
Following the press announcement Tuesday, the WEA will make the document available on its website.
The text was finalized in Thailand in a meeting in January 2011 that was presided over by Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. This was achieved two meetings and five years after the project for the development of a comprehensive code of conduct was launched in 2006.
The first meeting was held in 2006 in Lariano, Italy, on “Conversion: Assessing the Reality” which also included representatives from Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Yoruba. This was followed by an intra-Church consultation on “Towards an Ethical Approach to Conversion: Christian Witness in a Multi-religious World,” held in Toulouse, France, in 2007.
Together, the three bodies represent most of the world’s Christians.
The WCC brings together 349 churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 560 million Christians and including most of the world’s Orthodox churches, scores of Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed churches, as well as many United and Independent churches.
The Catholic Church represents over 1.1 billion Catholics around the world.