WCC – World Council of Churches & Why is the SDA GC “blind” to the Implications of Participation?

I encourage you friend, to read through and watch the videos, to be informed 🙂
WCC founder- William Temple

In his 1938 explanatory memorandum on the WCC constitution, William Temple, who had chaired the Utrecht meeting, drew out the two main implications of the basis as formulated. First, the fact that the WCC is a fellowship, not a federation, of churches means that it cannot exercise any constitutional authority over the member churches. Second, the Council stands on faith in Jesus Christ as God and Saviour – in essence “an affirmation of the incarnation and the atonement“. But the basis is “not a credal test to judge churches or persons”; the churches will have freedom to interpret that faith in their own way.
William Temple
William Temple (15 October 1881 – 26 October 1944) was a bishop in the Church of England. He served as Bishop of Manchester (1921–29), Archbishop of York (1929–42) and Archbishop of Canterbury (1942–44).
A renowned teacher and preacher, Temple is perhaps best known for his 1942 book Christianity and Social Order, which set out an Anglican social theology and a vision for what would constitute a just post-war society. He is also noted for being one of the founders of the Council of Christians and Jews in 1942. He is the last Archbishop of Canterbury to have died while in office

Theological thought

Temple is noteworthy in being one of the first theologians to engage with the process theology and philosophy streams represented by thinkers such as Alfred N. Whitehead and Samuel Alexander, an approach most often deemed emergent evolution in his day (See George Garin, Theistic Evolution in a Sacramental Universe, Kinshasa, 1991). This attempt is most notable in his Gifford Lectures, mentioned above.[7]
Samuel Alexander – Emergent Evolution
Samuel Alexander OM (6 January 1859 – 13 September 1938) was an Australian-born British philosopher. He was the first Jewish fellow of an Oxbridge college.[2]
 Alexander are those of an “emergent quality” and the idea of emergent evolution:
As existents within Space-Time, minds enter into various relations of a perfectly general character with other things and with one another. These account for the familiar features of mental life: knowing, freedom, values and the like. In the hierarchy of qualities the next higher quality to the highest attained is deity. God is the whole universe engaged in process towards the emergence of this new quality, and religion is the sentiment in us that we are drawn towards him, and caught in the movement of the world to a higher level of existence.
— Space, Time and Deity [1920] Vol. II, p. 428
 
 
The question went largely unanswered and his work is mostly ignored (or, at best, little known) these days. Alexander’s views have also been described as panentheistic.[8]
Alexander was a contemporary of Alfred North Whitehead, whom he influenced, and mentored others who went on to become major figures in 20th century British philosophy.

What is the aim of the WCC?

The aim of the WCC is to pursue the goal of the visible unity of the Church. This involves a process of renewal and change in which member churches pray, worship, discuss and work together. For more information click to About us

How does a church become a member?

Applications for membership are submitted to the general secretary and are reviewed by the WCC Central Committee. There are various criteria to be met, as described in Rule I of the WCC Constitution: 

Churches which agree with the WCC basis are eligible to apply for WCC membership. 

Applicant churches are asked to give an account of their faith and witness as they relate to the purposes and functions of the WCC. A prospective member must evidence “sustained autonomous life and organization” and “constructive ecumenical relations” with other churches in its country. An applicant church must ordinarily have at least 50,000 members. Churches with more than 10,000 but less than and 50,000 members are eligible for membership without the right to participate in decision-making in an assembly. 

Applications may be formally accepted by the Central Committee through consensus for an interim period during which the WCC member churches are consulted. Following this process, the Central Committee assess whether a consensus of member churches has developed in favour of the application, in which event the applicant church shall be considered a new member church.

Is the Roman Catholic Church a member?

No, although there is no constitutional reason why the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) could not join; in fact it has never applied. The RCC’s self-understanding has been one reason why it has not joined. The WCC has close links with the RCC. A WCC/RCC joint working group meets annually. The WCC commissions on Faith and Order as well as on World Mission and Evangelism include Roman Catholics who are members with full voting rights. A Roman Catholic consultant works with WCC staff on mission issues and a Roman Catholic professor is part of the faculty at the Ecumenical Institute Bossey. For more information click to Roman Catholic Church

The basis of the WCC

 
 
The WCC’s 1948 inaugural assembly declared: “The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which accept our Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour”. Soon this formulation gave rise to questions, and requests for a clearer definition of the Christ-centredness of the churches’ common calling, a more explicit expression of the Trinitarian faith and a specific reference to the holy scriptures. The result was the re-formulation, adopted by the Third Assembly (New Delhi 1961), which still stands:
“a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour 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.”
Less than a confession of Christian faith and more than a formula, the basis serves as a point of reference for WCC members, a source or ground of coherence. Since the WCC is not itself a church, it passes no judgment upon the sincerity or firmness with which member churches accept the basis or upon the seriousness with which they take their membership. Thus, the basis itself comes under William Temple’s formula: “Any authority the Council will have consists in the weight which it carries with the churches by its own wisdom.”

Theological and historical background of the WCC basis

 01 January 2002
 
According to the WCC constitution, “agreement with the basis upon which the Council is founded” is a precondition for membership. Adopted by the inaugural assembly (Amsterdam, 1948), the original basis read simply, “The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which accept our Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour.” It had been formulated at a meeting in Utrecht in 1938 of the committee of 14 appointed by the Life and Work (L&W) and Faith and Order (F&O) conferences.
Fellowship of churches” had by 1948 become part of ecumenical terminology. The 1920 encyclical of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople had proposed “a koinonia of churches”. Although the English word “fellowship” lacks the rich biblical nuances of the Greek original, it does affirm the reality of a unity that is “given” and “previous”, and not just constituted by human decisions, and implicitly rejects the WCC as a potential “super-church”.
Which accept our Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour“, some claim, finds its source in the 1855 basis of the YMCAs, and later of the World Young Women’s Christian Association (1894) and of the World Student Christian Federation. More directly, invitations to the first world conference of F&O were addressed to churches “which accept our Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour”.
Some in both liberal and conservative circles expressed dissatisfaction with “Jesus Christ as God and Saviour”. Unitarians and the Society of Friends did not want to be committed to a definite doctrinal formula. To the more orthodox the phrase did not adequately affirm the humanity of Christ. It has “a heretical flavour which would have led to its rejection by any one of the ecumenical councils” (William Adams Brown).
In his 1938 explanatory memorandum on the WCC constitution, William Temple, who had chaired the Utrecht meeting, drew out the two main implications of the basis as formulated. First, the fact that the WCC is a fellowship, not a federation, of churches means that it cannot exercise any constitutional authority over the member churches. Second, the Council stands on faith in Jesus Christ as God and Saviour – in essence “an affirmation of the incarnation and the atonement“. But the basis is “not a credal test to judge churches or persons”; the churches will have freedom to interpret that faith in their own way.
From Utrecht on, some have argued against any basis. It could introduce an element of ecclesiastical judgmentalism and so corrode the koinonia. Others would prefer the Nicene or Apostles’ Creed as the basis.
Although the Amsterdam assembly viewed the basis as “adequate for the present purposes” of the WCC, it endorsed the need “for clarification or amplification of the Christian faith” within the Christological framework which the assembly had affirmed. A later study by the central committee concluded that there was no need to change the basis, though it was necessary to explain its meaning and also make clear that the incarnation and the Trinity were implicit in it. Accordingly the second assembly (Evanston 1954) accepted a description of the purpose and function of the basis: “less than a confession” but “much more than a mere formula or agreement“. The basis showed the nature of ecumenical fellowship, provided an overall orientation for the Council’s work, and indicated the general range of fellowship which the member churches sought to establish.
After Evanston another study led the central committee to present a new basis at the third assembly (New Delhi, 1961); it was adopted with 383 votes in favour, 36 against and 7 abstentions. It reads: “The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour 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 re-formulated basis incorporates five changes. “Confess“, versus the earlier “accept”, suggests commitment and emphasizes the experience of togetherness in fellowship. “The“, not “our”, with “Lord Jesus Christ” is less restrictive and points to the universality of Christ’s lordship. “According to the scriptures” to an extent meets the criticism that the earlier version tended towards Docetism or monophysitism and, at the same time, affirms the place of the Bible in the ecumenical fellowship. “And therefore seek to fulfill together their common calling” adds a dimension of dynamism to the understanding of fellowship and also underlines the ontological priority of what God in Christ has already accomplished. The final doxological formula sets the Christocentric affirmation in a Trinitarian setting, makes the basis totally acceptable to the Orthodox and adds a celebrative element to the fact of and aspiration for unity.
Most of the assembly delegates who took part in the discussion were of the opinion that the new basis was in full agreement with the Trinitarian doctrine as formulated by the first two ecumenical councils and in the Nicene Creed, and that it made more explicit the evangelical and scriptural rationale of the ecumenical movement. But there were alsocritical voices. They feared that, in going beyond the essential Christological criterion for membership, the WCC was moving in the direction of confessionism, or that any expansion would set a precedent for still further additions until the basis became “a burdensome doctrinal statement”. Other critics imagined that the new basis would block any future revision and leave uncorrected “the one-sided monophysite character of the original basis”.
The 1961 basis has endured. It continues to sufficiently define the WCC’s nature. But the one sentence and each of its key expressions are not static abstractions. They are coloured by the horizons which over 50 years of reflective experience have developed: the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, the scriptures as understood, prayed and witnessed, the fellowship of churches and their common calling, even the glory of the Triune God. None of these realities is quite experienced and understood as it had been by the fledgling member churches in 1948. In fact, this developmental continuity creates a “basis beyond the Basis”, evidenced in the central committee’s lengthy policy statement proposed to the eighth assembly (Harare, 1998): Towards a Common Understanding and Vision of the WCC
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