WCC General Secretary addresses global Pentecostal gathering

By agency reporter
September 12, 2016

“We all sin against the Holy Spirit if we ignore climate change”, said the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), during the opening day of the 24th Pentecostal World Conference, in São Paulo, Brazil, on 7 September 2016.

“We have to remind ourselves that the Holy Spirit is the life-giver, active in creation from the very beginning till today. The Holy Spirit sustain[s] us and all creatures every day”, he said.

“The world desperately needs people like you who believe in the transformative power of the Holy Spirit to invest in the future of the world for our children”, he added.

“As Pentecostals believing in the power of the Holy Spirit, I will invite you to receive the invitation issued by the Ecumenical Patriarch, Pope Francis, the General Secretary of the WCC and other ecumenical leaders to pray and care for God’s creation”, said Tveit at the Pentecostal World Fellowship (PWF) dinner, where he was invited by the Rev Dr Prince Guneratnam, chairman of the PWF, to bring greetings.

Representatives of the Global Christian Forum, World Evangelical Alliance, Pontifical Council to Promote Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation also addressed the global Pentecostal gathering.

“You have as Pentecostals been brave in your preaching that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a transformative message. You have been strongly emphasising that our faith is also to hope for more than what we can see just now”, affirmed the WCC General Secretary.

Tveit expressed gratitude for fostering a fruitful collaboration in Christ between the WCC and the PWF, “particularly through the Global Christian Forum, but also through your participation in our assembly in Busan.”

Like the PWF, the WCC was founded in the aftermath of World War II. For the past 15 years the WCC has maintained a platform for dialogue with Pentecostals.

“The joint consultative group has helped nurture our growing together in Christ. It will continue in the years ahead, examining how the Holy Spirit is working in the church to form disciples that transform the world”, said Tveit.

The Rev Dr Isak Burger, former PWF vice chairman, emphasised that “over the last ten years there was an increasing openness and acknowledgement of the greater value of the body of Christ; that, we as the Pentecostal movement, we are not the church, but we are part of the church”, he said.

Burger, who has been a member of the advisory committee of the PWF since 1993, also said that “the moments we have had here in São Paulo with representatives of the main ecumenical bodies are part of an ongoing process and a significant step to acknowledge the greater body of Christ”.

In his speech, Tveit also pointed to “a new era of mutual recognition” between the Pentecostal and the ecumenical movements, saying they are compelled by faith to walk together, pray together and serve together if they are to truly be an answer to Christ’s prayer “that all may be one, so the world might believe” (John 17:21).

“I hope we will listen together to what the Spirit is calling us to become today. The churches in the world need to emphasise –

like you – more of our faith in the Holy Spirit. The world needs our faith in the Holy Spirit to believe that change to the better is possible”, Tveit noted.

“I ask you to search your hearts and minds, individually and together, to ask: How can we be partners with the Holy Spirit, creating and sustaining life in God’s Creation and in the Church?”, he asked.

* The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2012 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 110 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.

* World Council of Churches http://www.oikoumene.org/en

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