Statement on launching the year of WCC Assembly

Statement of the KoreaHost Committee
for the 10th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches
– On the occasion of launching the year of WCC Assembly 

We give thanks and glory to God for allowing the churches in Korea to host the 10th Assembly of the WCC that is to be held in Busan, Korea in 2013. The WCC, which was officially formed in 1948 in Amsterdam is an ecumenical fellowship of churches around the world with 349 member churches in 140 countries representing 560 million Christians around the world. Throughout its history the WCC has promoted the values of church unity and fellowship, common mission and service, and witness to justice and Peace of God’s gospel.In spite of their relatively short history the Korean churches have been given the honor of hosting the next Assembly of the WCC. This privilege implies that the Korean churches are now called to serve the world church with a sense of responsibility. An Assembly of the WCC is not simply a gathering for business and decision taking. It is an opportunity for theworld churches to reaffirm that the all the churches around the world are members of thesame one body of Christ. It also provides the space for the common witness and mission of the world church in presenting a gospel-based Christian response to the challenges and issues of the contemporary time. In order to better serve this meaningful and historic ecumenical gathering, the Korean Planning Committee has worked long and hard, with much prayer and patience to organize a Korean Assembly Preparatory Committee (KAPC) comprised not only of WCC member churches in Korea but the wider spectrum of Korean Christianity.  

It is true that some among the Korean churches and also others around the world have expressed their reservations and critique of the WCC. This was because some of the theologians angroups who took part in the work of the WCC had sometimes expressed radical political positions or theological stance like religious pluralism or biased missiological thinking focused only on human liberation that differed from the traditionaltheological thinking. We, therefore, call upon the WCC to reclaim a more balancedtheologiical position, listening to the voices of concern and critic coming from some evangelical churches in Korean churches as well as in the world. It is our sincere hope that the evangelical churches took an opportunity to learn the ministry on human rights, justice and social engagement that the evangelicals had overlooked in their ministries of the pastfrom the Busan Assembly of the WCC. At the same time, we do hope that the ecumenical movement would also learn from evangelicals the committed faith, the spirituality of piety and the reverence for the authority of the Bible so that all may come to a more fuller understanding and passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The article 1 of the WCC Constitution affirms itraison d’etre saying, “The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Savior according to the scriptures, and therefore seek to fulfill together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” The Korean churches will workhard, pray earnestly, and serve with all our strength to ensure that the Busan Assembly of the WCC truly becomes a momentum where our faith in Jesus Christ according to the scriptures is firmly affirmed and the churches recommit themselves to respond together to the challenges of our time of history for the sake of the glory to the Truine God, so that the Assembly becomes a “festival of faith in the Holy Spirit.”

The church of Christ is perfect in every way. However, the people who make up this church on earth are frail and fallible. While God has continuously warned us not to “turn aside to the right or to the left” (Deuteronomy 5:32) humanity has revealed again and again that in our frailty and fallibility we continue to turn to the left or right according to the political or historical situation in which we find ourselves. However, we believe that in spite of all our shortcomings God will lead us to overcome these limitations so that “all things work together for good to those who love God.” (Romans 8:28) Although we have often divided ourselves as “evangelicals” or “ecumenicals” according to our theological perspectives and convictions there is no denying the fact that in Christ we are already “one”. Our “one-ness” is a sovereign gift that has been given to the church by the Holy Spirit. Each local church exists within the universal, Catholic Church. When each local congregation is linked to one another in holy fellowship they can come to realize the true catholicity of the church. The fullness of the calling to which we have been called as churches is for the whole Churches’ whole Proclamation of the whole Gospel to the whole World.

The Korean churches have a responsibility for spiritually challenging and contributing to the life of the WCC through the Busan Assembly. We sincerely seek to share our historical experiences of committed faith, dynamic spirituality, evangelical faith, commitment to mission and evangelism, responsible witness in the society and self-giving service with thechurches around the world through the Assembly of the WCC in Busan. We also pray that the Busan Assembly will be an occasion where the fruits of peace and reunification will heal the divided Korean peninsula. We also hope that it will be a time of God’s favor and grace which heals the multi-fold crises, tensions, pains and confusion that all of God’s creation ispresently suffering so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the life, justice and peace of Jesus Christ will heal and restore creation to its wholeness.

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21)