It is not imaginable for the World Council of Churches (WCC) to have a future “without a much stronger emphasis on international affairs and peace with justice.”
So said Martin Robra, programme director for the study of ecumenism in the 21st century, at a consultation on 'Churches and the rule of law' this past week in Geneva.
The consultation, sponsored by the John Knox International Reformed Centre and the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) was held 28-31 October 2012 at the John Knox Center.
Mr Robra observed that churches “have been wrestling in recent decades with a more substantive understanding of the rule of law. They were challenged to redefine their thoughts concerning the role of states, of national and international law, the use of force, human rights and impunity.”
He suggested that the time has come for the WCC to focus on discussion of these matters in order to “harvest the results of its Decade to Overcome Violence and renew the mandate of the Churches’ Commission on International Affairs.”
Other speakers at the conference included the WCRC General Secretary Setri Nyomi, John Langlois of the World Evangelical Alliance, Elizabeth van der Heide of the Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism in the Netherlands, Carlos Lopez of the International Commission of Jurists, and Harmen van der Wilt, professor of international criminal law at the University of Amsterdam.
A book-length report of the proceedings is in preparation.
An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.