Theological studies sponsored by the Worls Alliance of Reformed Churches

WARC’ s Department of Theology was created in 1959. Its main responsibilities are to strengthen theological sharing among member churches, to represent Reformed opinion in international [dialogues] and to facilitate cooperation in Reformed [theological education]. Research work on the Reformed tradition with special reference to its contemporary significance underlies the implementation of such mandates. Research happens through special studies undertaken in connection with general councils themes or theological topics identified by member churches or by the Department itself. In what follows you will find information about some of these studies.

[Ordination and the Ministry in the Reformed Tradition]
[The Theological Basis of Human Rights]
[Called to Witness to the Gospel Today]
[Who Are We Called to be? Reformed Self-Understanding]
[Christian Fundamentalism Today]
[Ordination of Women and Emerging Ecclesiologies]
[Islam in Asia and in Africa]
[Ethnicity and Nationalism]
[Gospel and Cultures]

Ordination and the Ministry in the Reformed Tradition

The 1954 General Council requested this study. Its main aim was "to restate the characteristic Reformed understanding for the ministry and ministries of the Church". The report saw the pattern of the ministry of the Church as an extension of the three "offices" of Christ (Prophet, Priest and King): Proclamation of the Word, Sacramental and pastoral functions and ministry of church order and discipline. As an interim report, it was presented to the 1959 Executive Committee in São Paulo, Brazil and referred to the Department of Theology for further study. It was sent to each member church of the Alliance, and to individual theologians, with questions concerning the next steps to be taken in the study, the adequacy of its theological basis and practical situations that should be taken into account. The interim Report was criticized on the following grounds: the ministry of the Church is not continuous with the ministry of Christ; the report was too clerical and traditionalist in its outlook; it tried "to set up a timeless doctrine of the ministry, when we can really deal with specific situations". The Ordination and the Ministry study was later on included in the Catholicity study.

Warc texts related to this study:

"Meaning of Eldership Seen as Vital Issue for Reformed Doctrine of the Ministry" (Lewis S. Mudge), Bulletin, 1(2), August 1960, pp. 8-11.



In 1960, The Alliance Executive Committee requested the Department of Theology to undertake a study on "Catholicity as it might be understood by Reformed Churches". The Catholicity study was among the early major researches undertaken by the Department of Theology under the inspiration of Lewis S. Mudge, its first Executive Secretary. Mudge published in the Bulletin of the Department of Theology two articles that were "deliberately written to be provocative". Responses by Jacques de Senarclens, Thomas F. Torrance, John Macquarrie, Markus Barth and others were published in the 1961 summer issue of the Bulletin. Hendrik Berkhof presented a paper on "The Catholicity of the Church" (1.The History and Present Meaning of the Idea; 2. Pleroma in the Letters to the Ephesians and Colossians; 3. Theological Consequences for the Concept of Catholicity; 4. A Few Ecumenical Consequences) to the 1961 summer meeting of the Alliance’s European Theological Committee. As a result, the European Area Council produced seven theses on the meaning of catholicity for Reformed Churches. The North American Area Council as well as Dutch theologians also joined the debate. Together with a series of essays by H. Berkhof (H. Berkhof, De Katholiciteit der Kerk, Nijkerk, The Netherlands, 1962. German translation: 1964), Lewis S. Mudge’s book One Church: Catholic and Reformed - Toward a Theology for Ecumenical Decision (London, Lutterworth, 1963. 96 p.) grew out of that study and raised questions later assigned to the consideration of the 1964 General Council. In connection with the study of Catholicity, The 1964 General Council requested the Department of Theology "to consider the question of oversight (Greek episkope) in the Church, with particular reference to union negotiations". The Alliance European Theological Commission was requested to take up this assignment. Its chairman, J.K.S. Reid, presented a report on the theme to the 1970 General Council (see below).

Warc texts related to this study:

"Catholicity Study Prompts Reflection on Reformed tasks in Ecumenical Movement" (Lewis S. Mudge), Bulletin, 1(3), December 1960, pp. 6-9; Bulletin, 1(4), February 1961, pp. 9-12.

"Some Reformed Churchmen Speak their minds: Letters to the Editor on Catholicity", Bulletin, 2(1), Summer 1961. 16 p.

"The Catholicity of the Church - Dutch Theologians in Debate", Bulletin, 6(1), Autumn 1965, pp. 1-9.

"Catholicity as It Might be Understood by Reformed Churches" (Department of Theology Working Paper), August 1961. 33 p. Structure: I. The Ecumenical Movement and the Problem of Catholicity (The Ecumenical Movement Comes of Age; A New Look at the "Great New Fact"; The Question of Catholicity) - II. Christology and Ecumenical Theologizing (The Program of Ecumenical Study; The Christological Method; Christological Analysis and the New Humanity in Christ) - III. The History of Christian Thought: Two Points of Viewing (Tradition and Church History; Church History and Justification; Holy History and Holy Spirit) - IV. The Practical Business of Union (The Problem of World Confessional Alignments; Union Negotiations as They Now Stand; Some Axioms for Union Negotiations).

"Report on the Study of Episkope". Nairobi 1970 - Proceedings of the Uniting General Council of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (Presbyterian and Congregational). Geneva, WARC, 1970, pp. 184-195.


[The Theological Basis of Human Rights]

The 1970 General Council recommended that the Department of Theology undertake a study on "The Theological Basis of Human Rights and a Theology of Liberation". The study would include consideration of such questions as: "How can I be free? God liberating or oppressing? Can the Church be a liberating Church? What does freedom mean when applied to institutions? Freedom as creativity - a biblical concept?" Jürgen Moltmann wrote the initial paper. It "stimulated a wide response from groups of theologians and churches throughout the world". Between 1971 and 1975 many of the member churches, some officially and others unofficially, as well as a number of special committees and groups of theologians produced a variety of statements on several aspects of the issue in question. In a consultation held in London in February 1976, attended by 21 participants from 14 countries in all continents, the [final consensus statement], drafted by Jürgen Moltmann and Jan M. Lochman, was approved. According to Richmond Smith, then Executive Secretary, "up to the present [1982] the report has gone through several major reprintings in English, French, German and Spanish. What is more to the point, the report has been very favourably received through the Reformed family and far beyond". Following an initiative sponsored by the WARC in 1977, it was proposed that a limited research project be implemented, involving Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed theologians concerned with the study of the theological basis of human rights. An informal inter-confessional study-group met in Geneva in 1980 and produced a [Report of a Limited Research Project on the Theological Basis of Human Rights]. In the context of the 1982 General Council’s rejection of the apartheid system as a sin and the 1983 Executive Committee call for an worldwide ecumenical gathering of churches to bear witness to peace and justice (see [A Covenant for Peace and Justice, 1983]), the John Knox International Reformed Center organized in August 1987 a seminar on "Forms of solidarity: Human Rights" whose findings were published in its studies series (see below). In connection with the 1989 General Council debates on Christian witness in view of the ecological crisis, WARC published a "Proposal for enlarging the Universal Declaration of Human Rights" (see below). The Alliance 1994 Executive Committee meeting recommended that "measures be taken for the revival of the proposal to hold a consultation on the theological imperatives for human rights, and its implementation before the 1997 General Council." In the following year, the Executive Committee authorized "the holding of a small consultation on the theological imperatives of human rights, to revise the 1977 (sic) Theological Statement on Human Rights". A consultation held in 1997, with the assistance of the World Council of Churches and of the Lutheran World Federation, realized that a simple revision of the Theological Statement on Human Rights was not appropriate and that a new statement should be prepared.

Warc and John Knox Center texts related to this study:

"The Theology of Human Rights and the Theology of Liberation" (Interim Report), Reformed World, 33(6), June 1975, pp. 268-274.

"[The Theological Basis of Human Rights]" (1976 London Consultation), Reformed World, 34(2), June 1976, pp. 50-58.

"[A Christian Declaration on Human Rights]" (Jürgen Moltmann), Reformed World, 34(2), June 1976, pp. 58-72.

"[Report of a Limited Research Project on the Theological Basis of Human Rights]", Reformed World, 36(8), 1981, pp. 370-375.

Rights of Future Generations - Rights of Nature - Proposal for enlarging the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Lukas Vischer, ed.). Geneva, WARC, 1990, 68 p. Contents: Proposal for a resolution; I. "Human Rights, Rights of Humanity, and Rights of Nature (Jürgen Moltmann and Elisabeth Geisser); II. The Rights of Future Generations (Peter Saladin and Christoph Zenger); III. The Rights of Nature (Jörg Leimbacher); IV. Rights of Creation - Theological Perspectives (Christian Link); IV. The Role and Contribution of the Churches (Lukas Vischer); Appendix: The United Nations 1982 World Charter for Nature.

"A Covenant for Peace and Justice - A Statement of the Executive Committee of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches". Reformed World, 37(6), June 1983, pp. 179-182.

Forms of Solidarity - Human Rights. Geneva, Centre International John Knox, 1988 195 p. Essays, Bible studies and regional reports in English, German and French.

Reformed World, 48(2), June 1998. Texts on "Theology and Human Rights" by Alan D. Falconer, Jill Schaeffer and Clement John.

Reformed World, 48(3), September 1998. Texts on "Theology and Human Rights" by Russel Botman, Charles Harper, Julio de Santa Ana and Sun Soon-Hwa.


Called to Witness to the Gospel Today

The 1980 WARC Executive Committee meeting received a memorandum prepared by Lukas Vischer on behalf of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches. The memorandum requested the Alliance to work out a position paper on "certain distinctive theological issues which challenge the life and witness of the Reformed..." to be presented to the 1982 General Council. The Executive Committee called an international consultation in August 1982 to draft that paper. A special committee on Reformed Witness Today met during the 1982 General Council and reshaped the original draft in the light of ongoing debates. The General Council received the document and instructed that it be sent to all member churches for reactions and responses. The Document recognized the "manifold ways in which the Spirit is at work in our midst", e.g., opening new doors, helping churches to discover in new ways the challenge and relevance of the Gospel and helping churches and individual Christians to bear steadfast witness in situations of injustice, repression and persecution. At the same time, it identified three major challenges: "the Gospel of Jesus Christ himself", "the promising and threatening developments of the contemporary world" and "the encounter with other churches in the ecumenical movement". The response to these challenges required a common effort of reflection and action. The Document intended to be an invitation to such a common effort. It dealt with four themes: I. The Central Affirmation: Jesus Christ - Lord and Saviour; II. Re-thinking the Reformed Heritage; III. Communion in Christ - A Sign of Christ’s Presence in the World; IV Witness in a Threatened and Divided World. This study, under the coordination of C.S. Song until 1986, became the central Activity of the Alliance between Ottawa 1982 and Seoul 1989. The study text Called to Witness to the Gospel Today was published as the first volume of the series "Studies from the World Alliance of Reformed Churches". It was translated in several languages. Regional consultations related to the study were held in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe. The final findings of the study were presented in Section I "Towards a Common Testimony of Faith" of the 1989 Seoul General Council.

Warc and John Knox Center texts related to this study:

Reformed Witness Today - A Collection of Confessions and Statements of Faith Issued by Reformed Churches (Lukas Vischer, ed.). Bern, Evangelische Arbeitsstelle Oekumene Schweiz, 1982. 468 p. (Texts of confessions and statements from union negotiations from the following countries: Madagascar, South Africa, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Great Britain, Cuba, Canada, U.S.A., Ghana, Zambia, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand and Belgium.)

Confessions and Confessing in the Reformed Tradition Today. Geneva, WARC, 1983, 24 p.

Called To Witness to the Gospel Today. Geneva, WARC, 1983, 52 p. (study text)

"[A Covenant for Peace and Justice] - A Statement of the Executive Committee of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches". Kappel, WARC Executive Committee Minutes 1983, pp. 42-46.

Testimonies of Faith - Letters and Poems from prison in Taiwan. Geneva, WARC, 1984. 96 p.

"Called to Witness to the Gospel Today - Cairo Consultation - 1984". Reformed World, 38(2), June 1984. Texts by Alan Boesak, Ansley Coe Throckmorton, Lukas Vischer, Peter D. Latuihamallo, Grégoire Ambadiang de Mendeng, N.K. Dzobo and C.S. Song.

"Called to Witness to the Gospel Today: Two Responses from Korea". Reformed World, 39(4), December 1986. Texts by David Kwang-Sun Suh and Keun-Won Park.

Towards a Common Testimony - Confessing the Faith Today. Geneva, IRC John Knox, 1989. 299 p. (Part I: Confessing Today; Part II: Confessions and Confessing in the Reformed Tradition; Part III: Reflexions on Confessing Today - Contributors include: J. D. Douglass, A.I.C. Heron, A. F. P. Sell, C.S. Song, L. Vischer and D. Willis).

Covenanting for Peace and Justice - Reflections by WARC Church leaders. Geneva, WARC, 1989, 109 p. (Texts by: Choan-Seng Song, Walter Brueggemann, Lukas Vischer, Saindi Chiphangwi, José Belo Chipenda, David M. Gill, Károl Tóth, Joachim Guhrt, Douglas John Hall and Lars Lindberg).

"Towards a Common Testimony of Faith", Seoul 1989 - Proceedings of the 22nd General Council of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (Presbyterian and Congregational) (E. Perret, ed.). Geneva, WARC, 1990, pp. 171-178.

"Response to ‘Called to Witness to the Gospel Today’ - by a team of theologians and laypersons from Taiwan". Reformed World, 41(1), March 1990, pp. 23-32.


Who Are We Called to be? Reformed Self-Understanding

The World Alliance 1989 General Council noted that "our sense of Reformed identity seems less secure than in the past" and requested "fresh exploration of our common Reformed ethos". The Department of Theology submitted to the Executive Committee the proposal for a study process on the Reformed Self-Understanding. Following the agreement of the Executive Committee, the Department of Theology issued a call for papers and organized, between 1993 and 1994, a series of regional meetings held in West Africa, Southeast Asia, Caribbean-North America, Europe, Latin America and Pacific. The findings of individual contributions and regional meetings were reviewed and summarized in the course of a consultation held in Auburndale, USA, in 1994 and were fed into section I of the 1997 General Council.

Warc texts related to this study:

Who Are We Called to Be?" - West Africa Regional Consultation - Ghana, 9th - 13th February, 1993. WARC, n.d., 63 p.

Reformed World, 43(1-2), March and June 1993. Articles on Reformed self-understanding by: F. Balasundaram, Karel Blei, Margrethe Brown, Lydia A. Eleblu, Lynn Japinga, George Sabra, Enyi B. Udoh, Lewin L. Williams and Henry Wilson (ed.).

"Who Are We Called to be?" - Regional Reports and Individual Papers on Reformed Self-understanding. Geneva, WARC, 1993, (mimeo).

Being Reformed Christians in Asia Today (Yeow, Choo Lak and Henry Wilson, editors). Singapore, ATESEA, 1994, iv/58 p. Contributors: Kamol Arayaprateep, M. P. Kody, Yeow Choo Lak, Lydia N. Niguidula, Wilhelmus A. Roeroe, C. Sangzuala and Henry Wilson.


Christian Fundamentalism Today

The consultation on "Christian Fundamentalism Today" was planned and carried out jointly by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity of the Roman Catholic Church. It was held in Mülheim, Germany, in 1993 and gathered together 24 participants from 12 countries. According to a preparatory document, the consultation intended "to analyse and discuss the phenomena of fundamentalism. The primary focus will be Christian fundamentalism. The consultation will assess the impact of Christian fundamentalism within Christian world communions and their ecumenical relations".

Warc text related to this study:

Christian Fundamentalism Today - The Papers and findings of the WARC/LWF/PCPU Consultation - 22 to 26 February 1993 (Henry Wilson, ed.). Geneva, WARC, 1994. pp. 108. ISBN: 92-9075-015-4. Contents: Fundamentalism: The Indian Experience (George Matthew); Fundamentalists, Protestant and Catholic: An Ecumenical Challenge? (Thomas F. Stransky); A Mainline Protestant Perspective (Kirsten Nielsen); Fundamentalism, Churches, Church Relations: A Roman Catholic Perspective (Remi E. Hoeckman); A Conservative Evangelical Perspective (Heinrich Schäfer); An Interpretative Lutheran Reflection (Kirsten Nielsen); An Interpretative Reformed Perspective (Malachie Munyaneza); An Interpretative Roman Catholic Reflection (Teresa Gonçalves).


Ordination of Women and Emerging Ecclesiologies

The ordination of women in Reformed churches was the theme of a consultation held in Geneva in 1992 by the World Alliance’s [Department of Partnership of Women and Men], then known as PACT. Contributions from biblical, systematic, historical and contextual perspectives were published in the book "Walk, My Sister" - The Ordination of Women: Reformed Perspectives. According to that meeting, Reformed churches should undergo major structural changes in order to incorporate the gifts of women. The question of ecclesiological exclusion, of those who have no access to church offices because of race, caste or social status, was further explored in the consultation held in Kampen, the Netherlands, in 1993 under the theme "Challenges from the Emerging Ecclesiologies to Ecclesial Renewal". The consultation, according to Henry Wilson, then Executive Secretary of the Department of Theology, "was an attempt to look at the question of church renewal, not just in general terms, but from the perspective of those whom our churches so often exclude".

Warc texts related to this study:

"Walk, My Sister" - The Ordination of Women: Reformed Perspectives (Ursel Rosenhäger & Sarah Stephens, ed.). Geneva, WARC, 1993. pp. 176. Exegetical studies by Nirmala Vasanthakumar, Isabel Apawo Phiri, Sang Chang, Elsa Tamez and Ursel Rosenhäger; Systematic theological studies by Henry Wilson, Esther Suter and Najla Abou Sawan; Historical study by Jane Dempsey Douglass; Social and cultural approaches by Martha Essem and Perpetua Numfor (Cameroon), Samuel Dansokho (Senegal), Susan Chuang (Taiwan), Osmundo Ponce (Guatemala/Colombia) and Amaal Tawfiek (Egypt); Conclusion by Jana and Milan Opocenský.

New Wine - The Challenge of the Emerging Ecclesiologies to Church Renewal (Henry Wilson & Nyambura J. Njoroge, ed.). Geneva, WARC, 1994. 112 pp. ISBN 92-9075-016-2. Main Contributions: Reinventing the Church: Base Christian Communities in Latin America (Guidoberto Mahecha), A New Vision of the Church: The Challenge of the African Independent Churches (F. Kimani Githieya), In the House of the Lord are Many Mansions (Doreen Hazel), Minjung Experience, Minjung Church (Kim Sung Jae), Womanist/Feminist Challenges for Wholeness (Isabel Apawo Phiri), Ubi Christus Ibi Ecclesia: Some Christological Themes Relevant in Formulating New Ecclesiologies (Pamela Dickey Young), We Are Not Alone (John Parry).


Islam in Asia and in Africa

The World Alliance 1989 General Council encouraged member churches "to engage fearlessly in dialogue with persons of other faiths with a view to better mutual understanding, and for the renewal of society". In response to this recommendation, the Department of Theology organized two consultations on Muslim-Christian relations. The first one, on Islam in Asia, was held in Bangkok, in 1991, in cooperation with the Lutheran World Federation. It was an expression of ecumenical cooperation between two world communions who have been "committed to fostering interreligious understanding and dialogue between different religious communities". It brought together 26 Christian representatives "knowledgeable about the world of Islam and with a deep commitment to promoting Christian-Muslim relations in their respective contexts". The Second consultation, on Islam in Africa, took place in Malawi, in 1994. It gathered 22 people from 9 African countries. Its purpose was "to assess the different types of relationship that exist between Christians and Muslims in different African countries and to learn from one another’s experiences".

Warc texts related to this study:

Islam in Asia - Perspectives for Christian-Muslim Encounter (Paul Rajashekar and Henry Wilson, ed.). Geneva, LWF-WARC, 1992, pp. 227. ISBN: 3-906707-09-5. Main presentations and regional reports: Theological and Historical Rationality Behind Christian-Muslim Relations (Charles Amjad-Ali), Resurgent Islam: Its Political Implications for Asia (Andreas D’Souza), Islamic Resurgence and Asian Culture and Society (Hilario M. Gomez). Reports on Christian-Muslim relations in Bangladesh (M. Eugenia), India (Andreas D’Souza), Indonesia (Ng Kiok Nam), Pakistan (James Channan), Philippines (Robert Day McAmis), Sub-Saharan Africa (Hans Haafkens), Middle East (Jan Henningsson), Europe (Jan Slomp). Bible studies by Olaf Schumann.

Islam in Africa - Perspectives for Christian Muslim Relations (H. S. Wilson, ed.). Geneva, WARC, 1995. 106 pp. ISBN 92-9075-022-7. Contents: Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa (J. Haafkens), Christian-Muslim Relations in South and South-East Asia (H. S. Wilson); Country Reports: Cameroon (Alfred Ondo), Ghana (Johnson Mbillah), Kenya (Lawrence P.K. Mbagara), Malawi (T. A. G. Mwambila), Morocco (Hans U. Reitzel), Nigeria (Agwu Kalu), South Africa (Samson A. Khumalo), Sudan (Elom Sowu).


Ethnicity and Nationalism

In response to the historical changes that took place in Europe in 1989, the Department of Theology organized two consultations. The first one was held at Pensier, Switzerland in 1990. Its theme was "Christian Community in a Changing Society". It dealt with the meaning of those "sudden and drastic changes in societies around the globe" and tried to discern the challenges that the new historical situation presented to the witness and service of the churches. The second consultation, held also under the impact of the ethnic crisis in Bosnia and Rwanda, took place in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1994. Organized in cooperation with the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation, the meeting focused on one of the main characteristics of the post Cold-War Era, namely the resurgence of the question of ethnicity and nationalism related, among other factors, to the reorganization of nation-states. The World Alliance, wrote Henry Wilson, then Executive Secretary of the Department of Theology, attempted in that consultation "to engage its member churches in evaluating the emerging social and political forces". According to Théo Tschuy, the Colombo meeting "called on the churches to reassess their history critically and to evaluate their own involvement and their inadvertent support for nationalism and ethnocentric ambitions". The following papers presented to the consultation were published in The Ecumenical Review: "Understanding Ethnicity and Nationalism" (by Jayadeva Uyangoda), "A Vision of Embrace - Theological Perspectives on Cultural Identity and Conflict" (by Miroslav Volf); "Ethnicity and Nationalism in Sudan" (by James Mabor Gatkuoth) and "Hungarian Minorities in Europe: A Case Study" (by Robert J. Pátkai).

Warc texts related to this study:

Christian Community in a Changing Society (H.S. Wilson, ed.). Geneva, WARC, 1991. 92 p. ISBN: 92-9075-012-X. Main Contributions: Biblical Views on "Church-State" Relations and their influence on Existing Political Ideologies (Norman K. Gottwald), A Historical Survey of Reformed Views on the Relationship between Church and State (Eberhard Busch), "’Foedus’ and ‘Vocatio’: The Reformed Orientation Towards Political Life" (Mario Miegge); Case studies on Church-State relations: German Democratic Republic (Johannes Langhoff), Czechoslovakia (Pavel Ruml), Northern Ireland (Daphne Gilmour), Lebanon (George Sabra), South Africa (Douglas Bax), South Korea (Chung-Hyun Ro).

The Ecumenical Review, 47(2), April 1995, pp. 189-224.

"[Ethnicity and Nationalism: A Challenge to the Churches]". The Ecumenical Review, 47(2), April 1995, pp. 225-231."Ethnicity and Nationalism: A Challenge to the Churches", with an introduction by Henry Wilson. Reformed World, 45(3), September 1995, pp. 113-124. "Ethnicity and Nationalism: A Challenge to the Churches", in Théo Tschy, Ethnic Conflict and Religion, Geneva, WCC, 1997, pp. 150-156, ISBN: 2-8254-1190-6.


Gospel and Cultures

The regional conference on "Called to Witness to the Gospel Today" held in Cairo, Egypt, in 1984, referred to culture as one of the urgent reasons that "compels us now to engage in theological effort and credible witness". In response to the "urgent need... to develop theological understanding of cultures based on actual experiences in specific cultural contexts", the Department of Theology organized a consultation on "Theological Explorations into Cultures". It took place in Bali, Indonesia, from March 25-29, 1985. Of 26 participants, 23 represented 16 (out of 27) member churches of the Alliance in Indonesia. Papers presented dealt with the following themes: "An Approach to other Cultures - The Case of the Church in Bali"; "African Ancestor Cult: A Theological Appraisal"; "A Christian Reflection on Beauty in the Japanese Cultural Context"; "Experiments of Inculturation in the Toraja Church"; "Indigenous and Reformed - The Meeting between Christianity and Pre-Literary Religions and Islam on an Eastern Indonesian Island".

The WARC 1993 Executive Committee decided, on the recommendation of the Department of Theology, to undertake a study process on Gospel and Cultures in close cooperation with the World Council of Churches. The findings of this study would be fed into the 1996 WCC world conference on mission (held in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil) as well as into the 1997 General Council of the Alliance. After an exploratory meeting held in Auburndale, USA, in 1994, and a study involving "individuals, congregations, small groups, theological faculties and institutions" in different regions of the world, a major conference took place in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia, in 1996. The [Gospel and Cultures] Study had four main foci: Authentic witness within each culture (Mission); local congregations in pluralistic societies (Education); empowerment of identities in community by the gospel (Liberation); one gospel - many expressions (Cross-cultural sharing). Participants from 23 countries attended the meeting. The Bible studies and a series of regional approaches to the theme of this study process were published in Gospel and Cultures - Reformed Perspectives, edited by Henry Wilson.

Warc texts related to this study:

"Theological Explorations into Cultures (Bali Consultation I)", Reformed World, 38(6), June 1985.

"Theological Explorations into Cultures (Bali Consultation II)", Reformed World 38(7), September 1985.

Gospel and Cultures - Reformed Perspectives (Henry Wilson, ed.). Geneva, WARC, 1996, 159 p. ISBN 92-9075-030-8. Contributors include: R. Arce Valentín, K. Blei, M. Brown, A. Case-Winters, C. Duraisingh, S. Dansokho, P. Holtrop, C. S. Song, E. Templeton and H. Wilson.

Debrecen 1997 - Proceedings of the 23rd General Council of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (Presbyterian and Congregational) (Milan Opocenský, ed.). Geneva, WARC, 1997, pp. 186-188.



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