THE WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES NAIROBI ASSEMBLY AND AFRICA PERCEPTION VOLUME 3 No.

1 March 1976

Published by the Association of Evangelicals of Africa and Madagascar (A E.A.M.), Ralph Bunche Road, P.O. Box 49332, Nairobi, Kenya. Printed by Kesho Press, P.O. Box 40, Kijabe, Kenya.

The morning that he died, Dr. Byang Kato, General Secretary of the A.E.A.M., began writing the first draft of this report. He finished only the first two pages. Dr. Kato had not left us entirely without his overall evaluation of the WCC Assembly, however. The day before departing to the sea coast for a one week working holiday with his family, he had spoken at the annual conference of the Africa Inland Mission in Kenya. He gave them a summary of his impressions of the 5th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, which he had attended as an observer for the A.E.A.M. This message was recorded and has been transcribed. In addition Dr. Kato had written a guest editorial at the close of the Assembly for the THEOLOGICAL NEWS bulletin of the World Evangelical Fellowship. And on the final day of the Assembly he had written an article dealing especially with the problem of syncretism versus evangelism at the 5th Assembly. From these materials we have compiled and edited this composite report. Many people, not only in Africa but elsewhere, were looking forward to Dr. Kato's reaction to this first meeting of the WCC on African soil. His perception and leadership among evangelicals in Africa made his views significant. For that reason we have taken care to compile this report in Dr. Kato's own words, although that means that the style at times is more informal (where it is taken from an oral presentation) and lacks some of the documentary illustrations that would have characterised his written report. In his verbal report Dr. Kato used the device of direct quotation to paraphrase remarks made at the Assembly. Please note that we have retained this oratorical style and have used quotation marks for statements that are probably summaries of what was said rather than exact quotes. A separate section at the back of this PERCEPTION contains additional observations and notes on the Assembly. The Editor THE SCENE AT THE NAIROBI 5th ASSEMBLY The Fifth Assembly of the World Council of Churches brought into Nairobi over 600 journalists as compared to 676 delegates and 318 other participants. Obviously there will be a wide coverage of this first historic ecumenical gathering on African soil. This is not intended, therefore, to be a thorough reporting of the 18 days' events. Rather, it is a statement of my impressions of the Assembly and how much influence it is likely to have or not to have on Africa. It is a challenge to ecumenically minded people to think more biblically, and a warning to the non-ecumenical readers against the unscriptural trends of the World Council of Churches. Any good lessons of

the Assembly would be beneficial to all with an open mind. I do not claim an absolute objectivity as this is impossible. But as an official observer to the Assembly, I will try to be fair in reporting and interpreting what took place. The organisation of Nairobi ‘75 was no match for the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation in 1974. It was extremely difficult to find fellow participants unless one knew their hotel or where they sat. A number of changes were made in the programme and there was not enough information given to the participants. For example, a session was set up on 'Moratorium' to be addressed by a key WCC leader. Participants waited in vain for the supposed session. A Nairobi resident just saw his name as a speaker on a given subject at the WCC lecture series held separately during the Assembly, but had not been informed, let alone asked for his willingness to do so. On the other hand, we should realize that the Assembly was scheduled to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was reportedly due to Muslim pressure, and possibly the potential political involvement of the WCC, that it was shifted to Nairobi. It took less than a year for Nairobi to plan for the Assembly. Many delegates were highly impressed with the ultra-modern Kenyatta Conference Centre where the Assembly was held. The arrangements for meals at the Assembly and the transportation of delegates to their hotels was good. THE STRENGTH OF THE WCC IN AFRICA The impression is given sometimes that the WCC is a monolithic giant Organisation representing Christendom. That is far from being the case. Roman Catholics, of course, are not in the WCC. It has been reported that only about 20% of Protestant Christians in Latin America are in any way related to the WCC. In the case of Africa the following facts speak for themselves. Out of 45 countries in Africa, churches in only 18 of them have WCC membership. Only 39 denominations in these countries are related to the WCC in any way. According to the WCC official document (WORK BOOK for the Fifth Assembly), only three churches of Kenya are in the WCC. the Anglican, the Methodist, and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. (In Kenya, the Salvation Army and the Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria have also identified themselves as WCC members, apparently by headquarters action. IDOC No.14, 1975 says that Kenya has 49 historical denominations present. Nine are listed as the major churches, of which only one is a WCC member.) Four more churches in Africa joined the ranks of the WCC at this Assembly. Full members are the secessionist African Christian Church and Schools in Kenya, the African Israel Church Ninevah (with its emphasis on symbolism and rituals) -also in Kenya, and the Church of the Aladura in Nigeria. The African Church of the Holy Spirit in Kenya became an associate member. It has been indicated that these independent movements were attracted by the material benefits received from the WCC. The indigenous Church of the Aladura claims a membership of over a million and is well known for its emphasis on dreams, visions and prophecies. Syncretism does not seem to be a theological problem with them. Their dubious theological stance poses no

problem with the WCC whose trends are bending in that direction in any case. Although member bodies of the WCC are few in Africa, the All Africa Conference of Churches is closely associated with the WCC. The AACC has 114 member churches and councils of churches in 31 countries. They claim to represent about 40 million African Christians. The total figure of African Christianity is put at about 150 million. Even including the AACC, ecumenism still cannot speak for half of the Christians in Africa. This needs to be noted by our readers overseas. A secular journalist was surprised when I told him that well over 70% of Christians in Africa are opposed to moratorium which calls for the withdrawal of personnel and money from Africa. SPIRITUAL IMPACT Several delegates indicated that evangelical Christianity was more vocal at Nairobi than it was at the WCC Assembly at Uppsala in 1968. The evangelical flavour was, however, more notable in the documents produced by some group sections than in the programme of the Assembly. After experiencing Lausanne, Nairobi was a descent to a lower level spiritually. To go to Lausanne last year from the AACC Conference at Lusaka was like a breath of fresh air. The spiritual atmosphere at Lausanne was certainly the opposite of what I experienced at Lusaka. (See the AEAM PERCEPTION of July 1974.) From Lusaka we went up to the peak, and to Nairobi we descended, although the WCC at Nairobi was not as low as the AACC at Lusaka. The WCC 5th Assembly at Nairobi was more like a meeting of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) or some other economic or political meeting, than a Christian meeting. One participant said to me, "Coming from an evangelical background where the atmosphere is usually spiritual, it has been good to have a taste of this kind of secular emphasis. But I have found it too political for me." This is not to say that there was no Christian touch to it, nor no mention of the name of Jesus Christ or that there were no Christians there. There were many outstanding evangelical Christians. But the meeting had very little spiritual expression. To illustrate the point, I don't remember any time when the sessions were either opened with prayer or closed with prayer. The only form of prayer offered was as a written document. Although it was said at the outset that worship was to be an integral part of the whole Assembly, this was unnoticeable. Even the sessions set aside for "worship" were so dubious that it was hard to see the lesson being conveyed. For example, the United Bible Societies took the first session on morning worship. They presented the account of the prodigal son who later found his way home. A parable that was meant to teach the lostness of man in regards to salvation was presented to imply that those outside the ecumenical movement are the lost son. Perhaps it was my failure to understand the presentation, but was the simple picture story meant to be made so difficult that only a genius would understand? The parable was presented in music and drama. A little pamphlet contained the Scripture account and the songs. A narrated explanation was read by the Archbishop of Canterbury. On the pamphlet was a picture of a house and a mountain. From the house foot prints went off behind the mountain and then came back around the other side. There were people on top of the house

celebrating. (By the way, that was the terminology much used about salvation. You ‘celebrate salvation'. It has a kind of anthropocentric impact.) In the narration read during the course of the presentation the impression given is that the lost son is not really lost to the father as such. But he is lost to a kind of unity. In the context of the World Council of Churches, those who are still outside are the lost son and are being invited to come back home. The theological point of the account regarding salvation is lost. (See the Additional Notes at the back of this PERCEPTION for some quotations drawn from the narration of this WCC presentation.) Worship as such came in various forms; the Greek Orthodox had their time, etc. On the last day of the Assembly there was a closing time for worship. People were brought from all the different backgrounds. The Orthodox chanted their form of worship. When they finished they walked down and then there was a long list of documentary reports that followed as worship of the Assembly. It was reasonable. But towards the end of the 'worship' they ended up with a dance. As I was watching it brought to my mind the prophets in the Old Testament with the ecstasy worked up by the false prophets, jumping into dancing and all kinds of psychological expressions so they that might get into a kind of other-worldliness. The Assembly ended this 'worship' by dancing down in a procession led by Phillip Potter and other leaders of the WCC. They danced down the stairs and went about hugging and kissing everybody and moving among the Assembly. Similar dancing earlier in the Assembly had presented the theme: "Jesus Christ Frees and Unites." The study group on 'Spirituality' which I attended made no reference to the Bible for its concepts. Some implied that oriental transcendental meditation was the way to attain spirituality. An Asian Roman Catholic priest spoke very highly of a disciple of Krishna for the latter’s spirituality. Others suggested that man’s union with nature was the means to a discovery of spirituality. My destruction of 'sister' and 'brother' animals is sin against Mother Earth. My treating them with due respect is a part of the discovery of my true Spirituality. This type of nature worship was also reflected in one of the major papers: Professor Birch appealed to man to thank Mother Nature for each breath of air. There was a Eucharistic celebration which was an effort to bring people from different backgrounds to participate together. The Orthodox never would eat the Lord's Supper together with the others, however. But the sad thing was the lack of reference to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ as the events being symbolised by these activities. The displays in the Conference Centre reflected the non-spiritual nature of the Assembly. Instead of seeing Scripture verses on the walls or other things with a similar message, they turned to the other side to negate it. In one section called The Media there was a photographic exhibition with a message under each picture. The whole area was decorated with large photographs. Some of the pictures reminded me of the medieval period when they drew ugly pictures of Satan with horns. And there were pictures about sex and how you should teach your children early in life to that they may adequately enjoy sex. Some of the pictures raised the question of the identity of God. Is He an idea? One picture of a pregnant mother was captioned: "You’ll be a mother, a child of Christ, whether you can or you can't. That's the true meaning of marriage; we're sorry, but we can't see any other purpose for your life.” The one mention of evangelism derided it in the

African context. There was a large photograph of an old man's ear, long lobes stretched down with his weighted ear ring. Underneath it said, "Through this ear, penetrating the magic field of forces formed by the carrion fly, safety pin and amulet, the missionary seeks to instill his white doctrine (italics supplied). One of the pictures was of an old sign saying "JESUS SAVES” in a tumble down garden. Under the picture the explanation spoke of how this gardener would have ‘Jesus Saves', and at the same time he is oppressing somebody which is wrong. At one place in the conference centre a long display board was mounted. People were allowed to write anything they wanted to say. Somebody wrote: "I have heard women's liberation and liberation from oppression. What about liberation from sin? I haven't heard it yet!”

LACK OF CONCERN FOR EVANGELISM The 5th Assembly of the World Council of Churches met for the first time in Africa. For 18 days I waited to see if something might happen that would turn their attention to the cry of the 300 million unconverted Africans. But no such miracle occurred. The World Assembly came with its admirable theme: "Jesus Christ Frees and Unites.” Spiritually concerned Africans exercised the caution of wait and see. Other African participants had on their agenda the primary goal of drawing the attention of the Assembly to the questions of the liberation struggle in the continent. A youth congress had been held in Arusha, Tanzania and another in Limuru, Kenya. Several proposals were drawn up for the Assembly, but none of the proposals showed concern for evangelism. The WCC spent lengthy hours every day dealing with every conceivable problem of man anywhere with hardly any reference to sin as man's fundamental dilemma. Admittedly, evangelicals did have some influence in the production of some .of the final documents that were approved. For example, in Section One on 'Confessing Christ' and in the amended Section Three on 'Seeking Common Humanity' evangelical views were reflected. But the objections raised on the floor of the Assembly showed that delegates would go back perhaps stronger in their syncretistic marxist presuppositions than they were before, if they came to the Assembly with those presuppositions. After all -- the whole conduct of the Assembly did not reflect whatever evangelical veneer there was on the final documents. We must give credit to some evangelicals who feel that their strategy is to work from within. To work from within they will just fight to be heard. They cannot fight to exclude anybody. And some of them are being heard, but it is very limited, to be honest. For example, John Stott was invited as a speaker. And do you know that he was flown in from London and back and in the end had only 8½ minutes to speak! One of his five points that the WCC needed to recover was The Lostness of Man Without Christ. Afterward he was severely criticised for this in groups, in meetings with the press, and in publications. Evangelical delegates, of course, came to his defence. A number of third world delegates brought in their cultural emphasis by speaking strongly in favour of dialogue which aims primarily at producing a common humanity where

religious frictions must not exist. Excellent papers on various topics were presented, highlighting dangers to man's survival: dangers of pollution, exploitation of nature, hunger, war and oppression of various types including that of women and children. The general impression one gets is that both the problem and the possible solution are found basically in the horizontal dimension of life. Man finds himself alone in the universe. The supernatural God, if He exists , does so as an absentee landlord. Here is a typical solution given to man's problems by Professor Birch of Australia. After graphically painting man's problems which raise the question of man's survival on earth, Birch then offered this solution: "What is needed is a fearless pursuit of the meaning of the unity of nature, man and God in the light of both science and a wider ecumenism that includes African and Asian cultural ideas." What a solution! It is purely anthropocentric. The good news of eternal life is denied to man. What a tragedy. The message of the Assembly was that man must fight for his salvation in this 'One World' where any differences are only relative. I am thankful for the evangelical contribution. But some of the contributions, I am afraid, might only help to cover up the issues. One does hope and pray that the WCC will change. But so far it remains only a wish. Evangelicals must rise. up to call Africa to Christ. THE UNITY EFFORT THAT IS TALKED ABOUT It is true that there was a good evangelical contribution in the whole Assembly. And it was done in good faith. But it is a part of the effort of the World Churches to accommodate anybody and everybody. Some things that are said are presented in this way, particularly if they relate to spiritual things. Some of it is couched in general terms with a vagueness that anybody can interpret to suit what he believes. If you are an evangelical you can easily see that it is saying what you as an evangelical would like to say. And if you are not evangelical, still the words are so carefully chosen that you will not feel offended.

So the effort was for unity, though one Jewish Rabbi, Arnold Jacob Wolf, in describing it lamented the fact that unity actually was missing. He said, "The real enemy of the World Council is neither Israel nor the Arab states, but disunity itself." The Assembly showed that they could accommodate divergent views, submerge obvious divisions, and yet appear to be united. The effort for unity was not only for the unity of Christians. The documents that were prepared in advance for Nairobi indicated that there was a search for a common humanity, a search for human unity. And it was evident at this Assembly, because when the leaders gathered there it was not only church leaders -- not only Protestants, Orthodox and Roman Catholics, but beyond Christendom as well. One day in the discussion on 'Seeking Community' there were seated on the platform not only Christian leaders, but there was a Sikh, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist, and this Jewish Rabbi. They were all involved in the discussion. There was a big applause, because we were at last successful in bringing these non-Christians to sit with us and share in the effort for unity.

Now admittedly, some evangelical Christians within the system are anxious to see that we share the gospel with people of other faiths. So they would understand the sharing of the gospel as the goal of this emphasis on dialogue. But in what I have observed, the emphasis is to seek a peaceful coexistence with non-Christian people, whom they call "men of living faiths". I asked Rabbi Wolf in one group discussion, "What is your understanding of dialogue?" He answered, "If dialogue were to mean seeking to convert me, I would not come to Nairobi! But I understand that this is certainly playing down any difference that there is and seeking a common humanity. We come together, and that's it." The day that the different religious leaders were on the platform there was no sign in any way indicating that Jesus is the only way and that these men were here in order to be confronted with the gospel. If that were to be the case, they would not have come or even have been invited. It would be impolite to invite them there only to shame them. But the idea was to have them there and talk to them in common language, so that everybody would agree. One of the documents that was presented in this 'Search For a Common Humanity' said, "There is more than a new and a sharper awareness of other faiths and communities of faith. There is a great urgency for seeking a community beyond our own.. Whether we like it or not, we find ourselves thrown in with all of humanity in a common concern for peace and justice. We cannot but accept Paul’s words about the Church to the whole world: "When one member suffers, the whole body suffers."We have been thrown together in an inter-dependent world in which the urgency is that of survival or not." The implication then, is that when a Buddhist suffers, we suffer too, because we are all members of that One Body. Now, this particular document was rejected by its Section and was sent back to the committee again and a more evangelical one was prepared. But when it was presented one speaker after another rose to oppose the evangelical revision, favouring the original document. Among them were some key leaders in the ecumenical institutes, mainly in the third world. And people were saying, “The kind of document that you talk about now of Jesus being the only way, is too western. If you emphasize the uniqueness of Jesus Christ ane discourage dialogue with men of other faiths, then you are bringing western imperialism upon us. You are neglecting the fact of our living with men of other faiths in different parts of the world where we are." And the thing is made racial. Many westerners immediately retreat when they hear something like that. They don't want to offend the man in the third world. Nevertheless the evangelically worded document was passed. But my conclusion was, although they passed the document, what would it mean to a person who had stood to speak strongly against it? THE PLAY “MUNTU”AND MORATORIUM The subject of moratorium as such was not discussed at the 5th Assembly. Nor did it come out in any of the documents that I saw. Perhaps those who criticise it are beginning to be heard. And I think people are becoming cautious, because as the movers of moratorium have found , the grass roots churches in Africa are opposed to it. They are either changing tactics, or slowing down, or using other terms. However, on the first business day of the Assembly, the All Africa Conference Of Churches sponsored, a play called “Muntu" with the sub-title "African Challenge”. The play presented in

drama the ills that have befallen Africans. And one of the big ills is western missionary Christianity. According to the play, mission Christianity has been used alongside other forces in introducing colonialism into Africa. The missionary led the way, having the Bible in one hand and the gun in the other. While he was preaching, his imperialistic colleagues were exploiting the African by enslaving him and taking away his land. After watching that play one European said, 'If this is what we have done by sending missionaries here, then we had better not send them any more. And we had better not send money to support them any more." So that was moratorium in practice. Apparently it was decided not to open the matter up to discussion. It came through that play. Because to me the message portrayed by the play was this: Missionaries are no good, and mission work has made very little contribution to progress in Africa. Rather, it has brought a lot of evil. The play showed that Arabs too, had their part in slavery. And African dictators are oppressing through military rule. Missionaries did build schools and hospitals. But the technology and education introduced only helped to bring more confusion to the African. Having lost sons, daughters, land and the good order of life, the African is brought back at the end of the play to the good old days. The old way of worship is called back.. Ancestor gods are revered because they gave children. But the white God took away the children of Muntu by means of slavery. If the play told me anything, it said to me that missionaries should go home. African traditional worship should be reinstituted. Nothing, including Christianity, has the answer for the African. As the author of the play told me in an interview a few days later, the play was meant to tell the African that his salvation lay in his own hands. Man is intrinsically good and should work hard to liberate himself from oppression. The 5th Assembly of the WCC certainly reflected this spirit of 'self-salvation'. THE POLITICAL ATMOSPHERE The ‘mission’ of the WCC is secular and seems to be highly political in thrust. The political emphasis at the WCC Assembly was leftist. Having sat through the Assembly I came out feeling that it would take a miracle to save most African countries from communism. The stage is all set. There are things spoken of in the book of Revelation which may be near at hand, though I realize that we cannot be dogmatic about some things. The marriage between political and ecclesiastical systems seems something that is very likely in our own age. There was much sympathy with communism in the Assembly. Two incidents illustrate this. Angola was discussed. A strongly worded motion was presented condemning South Africa and calling them to pull out of Angola. When that motion was passed an addition was brought to the effect that we have condemned South Africa and we all agree on it, but should we not advise the leaders in Angola to also stop employing troops from other powers? They did not mention the Soviet Union. They just said, "Let us advise them to be truly independent.” And there was strong "No! No! No! No!” throughout the hall. And they said, "If we do that we are usurping their independence.'' They forgot what had just been passed. They don’t feel that if they tell them to reject South Africa they are usurping their independence. But if you tell them to say ‘No’ to the Soviet Union, then you are interfering with their position. And so the addition was rejected.

The motion stood. 'We condemn South Africa’, but let the Soviet Union and Cuban soldiers remain. A second evidence of sympathy with the eastern powers was in connection with a motion on the Helsinki Agreement. The western and European powers, together with the Soviet Union, met earlier in 1975 and drew up an agreement by which they would warrant fundamental human rights, including allowing people to worship as they want. When this was discussed a Swiss delegate put forward an amendment that the attention of the Soviet Union should be called to the agreement they had made, because of religious persecution there. Religious persecution in the Soviet Union is well known. Two letters had been written to the Assembly by Christians in Russia asking for help. These were published in the Assembly news paper. But no sooner had the motion for the amendment been made than Metropolitan Jevenaly, delegate of the Orthodox Church of Russia, stood up at the microphone. And for the first time I heard him speak with Christian sentiment. "This World Council of Churches meeting does not seem to me to be a Christian meeting at all. It seems to be a political movement! Because I see for us to take sides like this and choose one country to condemn is not allowing ourselves Christian fellowship." He was forgetting that before that time most of the statements had been political. But because his own country was named now he said the WCC was political and was not religious. And when he spoke vehemently he put the leaders on the platform in disarray. Some of the Russians claimed that they have no problem. Still, the Assembly voted and the motion passed. But then someone said, "That motion was out of order." Then they talked again and withdrew the motion. And then they said, "Let's go for tea break." When they went for tea break some of us were observant. And Nikodim, who by the way is one of the presidents of the World Council of Churches now, went with other Russian delegates to the platform to meet Potter and other leaders,. There was a big discussion. And when we came back after tea the whole meeting changed its tone altogether. They kept on dragging, and then it was moved, "Let us put the matter to the hands of a small committee.” A hearing was held that night where the Soviet delegates were very hot that their country should not be criticised. The next morning a very mild motion not specifying the Soviet Union was passed: That people of all countries should respect the religious liberty of all people. I was surprised at how some people, especially from the United States, would stand up and speak strongly against their government. For example, when they were discussing oppression in South America one American stood up and added more saying, "Our government has been involved in bringing about oppression in Peru, in Chile, and other places. Let us include those things in the motion." And they included them and it passed. But here was the Soviet Union, very patriotic, and would not give in an inch. And that was the only attack on the Soviet Union. Almost every paper dealt with capitalism and the western world and how much they have sinned. In the group discussions many white people were very apologetic of all they are doing, as if all the ills in the third world have been caused by the western world. Now in saying that, I am in no way excusing capitalism or the western world. I realize that they do wrong. But I am just saying that it was very imbalanced. LACK OF THEOLOGICAL CONTENT

Very little theological content was put in anything. Papers, like that presented by Prime Minister Manley from Jamaica, were purely idealistic with theories of political systems. After Professor Birch's paper about the world heading for disaster, one would expect a strong eschatological note, such as Jesus coming again to intervene in man's history. Nothing like that was mentioned there, or in any of the papers. The emphasis was on man with his problems, and man trying to solve his problems. The Assembly presented an optimistic view of man. From the play "MUNTU” to the highly idealistic professional papers with little or no theological content, the emphasis was man himself solving his problems. Although the problem of sin did come in for mention towards the end of the Assembly, very little room was allowed for discussion on it, let alone God's provision for sin. The Assembly was demoralising to any spiritually concerned Christian. Some Bible study groups did have a good time. Where such was the case, the credit was due to evangelicals present there. But others made no reference to the Scriptures. The legacy the Assembly left in Africa was a de-emphasised spiritual impact on our churches. The challenge of evangelism was shelved, while the emphasis on dialogue with a view to establishing a happy world community free of religious tensions prevailed in the Assembly debate. INFLUENCE IN AFRICA What then are some of the things that we would see influencing the churches in Africa? These are my observations: 1. First, the WCC movement gives encouragement to political liberation in different countries. That subject featured heavily in the Assembly. I was surprised, though, that the African voice was not as vocal there as I thought it would be. But the emphasis on political liberation was there nevertheless, and it will be given impetus. A motion was passed emphasising the Program to Combat Racism. Somebody tried to inject an amendment to say, "Let us exclude the use of violence." But that amendment was quashed because they said, "If you want to help people, just give them money. Whether they use that money for arms or food is not your concern." 2. The WCC will be strong in East Africa now, especially in Kenya, because Bishop Okullu and Rev. John Gatu were elected to the Central Committee. A Ghanian lady judge was appointed as one of the presidents, and ecumenism is very strong in Ghana. 3. I believe there will be more alliance between the church and politics in Africa. This was seen somewhat at the laying of the foundation stone of the new 1.6 million dollars AACC headquarters in Nairobi during the Assembly. The stone was laid by His Excellency Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. There was hardly any Bible message. In fact, Kenyatta’s talk contained more about Jesus Christ than that was said by any of the Christian leaders. Two flags were hoisted at the ceremony: the Kenya flag and the KANU political party flag, but no Christian flag of any kind. Not that it says all that much, but I can see in Africa more and more coming together of the ecumenical movement and the political systems.

4. Theological confusion will continue to reign, as there is very little emphasis on theology. If there is any talk of theology now within the ecumenical movement, they talk of 'doing theology'. They don't want thinking. The emphasis is on existentialism, talking about experience. Phillip Potter was asked, "Why does the WCC not theologize? Why is there no theological basis for the discussions?" And Dr. Potter replied that their concern is to communicate with people. In other words, it must be felt that the Bible does not deal with them in their situation. Study the problem without the Bible, and then maybe we can find a veneer of theological justification for the answers we propose. From this then, I would conclude that both the need and the opportunity are very wide for the A.E.A.M. in Africa. Greater participation by concerned evangelical Africans looks hopeful. A number of African delegates at the Assembly talked to me and expressed their dismay with the WCC. Just as the Assembly was finished we received letters from evangelical fellowships in two more countries in Africa requesting full official membership in the A.E.A.M. Decisions taken at the A.E.A.M.,Theological Conference just before the Assembly began prepared us to launch out on a new programmes in this time of' opportunity. As we emphasise theological education and theological societies, move ahead now to establish English graduate schools of theology in addition to the French one at Bangui, and strengthen existing schools by an A.E.A.M. Theological Accrediting Association, we will be meeting the need that faces us in Africa. Africans themselves need to deal with these issues, to do their own thing. But church leaders and churches need to be enlightened. They need to understand what the issues are. They need to be courageous, to speak their mind -- to speak the truth in love and in politeness of course, but to be firm in what they believe and in their articulations. National Evangelical fellowships need to be strengthened so that evangelicals may work together in the task the Lord has given to us. BYANG H. KATO **************** ADDITIONAL OBSERVATIONS AND NOTES ON THE ASSEMBLY QUOTATIONS FROM THE NARRATIVE ON THE PARABLE OF THE LOST SONS "Haven't we seen families which are so oppressive that the only solution is separation? Patterns of behaviour can become unjust.. Should we endure oppression however painful and souldestroying it might be? Could you find your own identity if you had to live under such conditions? In society . . . we all must have the right to fail or to succeed. This biblical parable should never be used for a quick and easy condemnation of the son who felt he just had to leave his parents. Even some of our churches have used it as an excuse for suppressing the genuine desire for freedom. The younger son had reason to leave home. I can't condemn him, and I hope neither will you." "I do not blame the older son for feeling as he does. I understand that he refuses to celebrate with someone who hurt his father so much and who is accepted without a word of rebuke. The older son has reason to be angry. I can't condemn him, and hope neither will you."

"Some of us are not able to accept their brothers and sisters. I could see a conservative asking for the floor and telling us that he is unable to accept any sister or any brother who think they could justify violence as a means of achieving peace, unity and justice. We all should keep in mind this parable which says - "Both". I speak in defense of a father who above all wants his children to be united. Unity is only possible if the members of God's family grant to each other to be who they are. As far as the task of the Christian church in this world is concerned, we will be able to be a uniting power among men as soon as we begin to live as people who are constantly being brought together by our father in heaven so that we also be together with our brothers and sisters on earth." IS THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH JOINING THE WCC? One of the hopes of leaders of the World Council of Churches was that the Roman Catholic Church would join the WCC at the 5th Assembly. These leaders were happy to report at the Assembly that friendly relations continue with Rome. However, the growth in links between the two bodies has slowed down. Pope Paul VI sent his greeting to the 5th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches. He said the Catholic Church will continue to encourage the ecumenical movement and where possible to cooperate with the WCC. Without saying so, the message was clear: ‘We will cooperate, but not join.’ The emphasis was that the Roman Catholic Church is working for the same things as the WCC, and that they will work parallel rather than united. This did not satisfy the Policy Reference Committee of the WCC who stated that the Assembly looks forward eagerly to the day on which the Roman Catholic Church will find it possible to join the World Council of Churches. Roman Catholic participation at other levels is, however, still increasing. Cooperation in Bible translation and distribution is listed by the WCC as one example of this. They also point to participation of the Catholic Church as a full member in some regional, national and local councils. Just since the 5th Assembly the Pacific Conference of Churches voted in its meeting January18-21 to receive the Roman Catholic Church into membership. This was the first time the Catholic Church has joined an already existing regional conference of churches. WHAT DOES THE WCC MEAN BY ‘EVANGELISATION’? Many evangelical. modifications were accepted in two of the 5th Assembly Section reports. One modification that was not accepted, however, is the assertion that man without Christ is lost. This does not appear in any statement adopted by the Assembly. Bishop Mortimer Arias of Bolivia who addressed the Assembly in the only session set aside for this subject criticised the WCC for neglecting evangelism. He did not assert, however, that man without Christ is lost. Much of what he said about evangelism was good. But then he said that all of the WCC's activities were really evangelism. "All this is mission and can be an integral part of a true evangelism in the world." Dr. Peter Beyerhaus notes that it was in this sense that General Secretary Potter justified the total lack of reference to evangelisation in his report. In answer to a question Dr. Potter said that his whole report, dealing with a variety of physical and social problems of man, was a single call to evangelisation in its full sense.

Bishop Arias talked about social action being part of evangelism. He said that tin miners in Bolivia who worked for the welfare of their land belonged to Christ even if they don't acknowledge it. "These people did not consider themselves members of the Church. All that was missing was the naming of the Name. And we had to recognize that perhaps these people had more of Christ in them than we who spoke in his name . . . . To evangelize is to help men to discover the Christ hidden in them and revealed in the Gospel!" WHAT SHOULD SUPPORT BELIEF AND ACTION? Bruce Nicholls of India commented that the 'Bible Study Groups' discussed the cultures of the participants rather than the Bible. The speakers who addressed the Assembly quoted profusely from human authors and documents, but remained silent on the Word of God Mr. Nicholls said, "It was disturbing that no attempt was made to deal with Biblical principles or passages of Scripture in any of the social issues debated." A.E.A.M. NEWS RELEASE ON MORATORIUM PUBLISHED IN WCC ASSEMBLY NEWSPAPER The A.E.A.M. Theological Commission which met in Nairobi the week before the WCC Assembly opened issued a news release on the subject of Moratorium. This was published in the official newspaper of the 5th Assembly. In part it said: "(We) ask for theological clarification of the current call for moratorium referring to a temporary or permanent withdrawal from the churches in Africa of overseas personnel and finance. "We express our concern that any valid interpretation of moratorium must be based on clear Biblical principles of mission. Do the advocates of moratorium imply that salvation is found in any religion and social structure and that no person is eternally lost? How can we justify withdrawing one part of the Body of Christ temporarily or permanently from evangelistic partnership in Africa when more than half of the population of this continent have little or no knowledge of Christ?”

Byang Kato’s Assessment
Encounter January 1976, p. 10 Dr. Byan.g H. Kato was a young man with remarkable insights and wide experience. Nigerian by birth, he was the General Secretary of the Association of Evangelicals of Africa and Madagascar. Author of a penetrating analysis of liberalising trends in theology on the African continent. “Theological Pitfall in Africa” (Evangel Press, Kenya, 1975), he attended the WCC’s fifth assembly as an observer. He gave us the following interview at the close of the assenibly. ENCOUNTER: Dr. Kato. in what capacity did you attend this assembly? KATO: I am here as an observer on behalf of our ten million Christians involved in A.E.A..M. in Africa.

ENCOUNTER: How do you feel about the Assembly, now that it is nearly over? KATO: Well, the Assembly has certainly disturbed me in a number of ways. But before I come to these disturbances. I would first of all like to give some commendable observations I have noticed here. In the first place I think that it has been the first time that the Evangelicals who are involved in the WCC have had enough courage to express their views. Though those views have not been incorporated all the time, they have been able at least to make their presence felt visibly. For example, in section I where they discussed “Confessing Christ Today”, many Evangelicals were in the discussions, and as a result the document which came out was fairly evangelical in its outward presentation. Some have also spoken up in the plenary meetings of the Assembly. So one appreciates that aspect. Now to come to the things that have disturbed me. As I see it, the whole thing seems to be based on man and on man solving his own problems. Man has problems, and he just has to look around for the answers. It seemed to me that there is a basic Marxist presupposition that underlies a number of papers as well as the way that the discussions have come out here. I won’t go into details here, but I would say that this has been more like a meeting of the United Nations than a Christian Assembly. Certainly I haven’t felt a spiritual impact here. ENCOUNTER: Could you tell us how you feel the assembly will influence Christianity in Africa? KATO: Well, for one thing, the African voice has been very weak here. I don’t know whether it was the kind of delegates that were sent or what, but one has not felt a strong vocal presentation here. And that appears to me that since Africans have not been outspoken in issues maybe they take things as they come. There is a lot of non-biblical presupposition that has come out of the discussions, this would be taken up and employed as well as implemented by the Churches. I have some concern that the assembly will present to Christians the idea that Christianity is like a man struggling to find his own solutions to his problems. There is certainly not enough of the Vertical Dimension. I think that this will have some negative influence in Africa. And then I think that there will be an effort to emphasise Unity at any cost. One has seen there how they have tried, in the name of unity, to accommodate people of different opinions, and to try to talk down one and another, not minding what their particular scriptural interpretations are. I think that the spirit of ecumenism is going to be promoted in the churches and the emphasis on establishing church unions is certainly going to be encouraged in Africa after this assembly. When you come to the area of liberation, well, the emphasis here tends to be more and more to the leftist side, the communistic side. To illustrate the point that I have made in mind, let me mention the way in which the assembly openly and categorically condemned South Africa for involvement in Angola. I think that the assembly was right, for I think that every nation should have its integrity. I mean a territorial integrity without interference from other places. But the one thing that disturbed me is that it is an open secret that in Angola MPLA is very much dependent on communist forces, and so a motion was brought in that this should also be brought to the

notice of the Angolan leaders, and they should be advised not to depend on mercenaries, or to allow people to be brought in to fight for them there. But when that motion was introduced, the assembly did not listen to that, rather they skipped the point and did not name anyone else. Now in order to do that they are rally interfering with the independence of Angola. It was evident that they applied different standards for other countries. I think this was inconsistency. I would say even that there appears to me to be a measure of support for Marxism. I feel that in Africa, if we are not careful there will be strong influences from the WCC in this direction, for it looks as if they condemn everything western, including Christianity itself, and I am afraid that many Christians may be led to follow Marxist presuppositions. ENCOUNTER: What are you going to do to counter these influences in Africa? KATO: Well, the first thing I anticipate doing is to write up a report of this assembly just as I did with the Lusaka Conference of the AACC last year and just lay the cards on the table. This will inform Christians regarding some of these trends and the general impressions that I gained at this assembly. And then our theological commission of the A.E.A.M. which met here a couple of weeks ago will also be busy. We hope that people will be writing articles on different subjects related to the contemporary issues in Africa today pointing out the Biblical perspective. We hope that through these writings Christians will come to understand the issues. As I have occasion to visit places and states I will also share with people the Biblical foundations on these current issues. ENCOUNTER: Against the back ground of all that you have said, what would you say are the priorities for Christians in Africa today? KATO: In Africa today there are many problems, of course, facing man, and there are things that Africans need to look into, but as a Christian with a Christian perspective I would say that the No.1 thing for Africa today is the knowledge of Jesus Christ. To tell people that Jesus Christ died for them, that they must accept Him as their Saviour, to teach them what the implications of becoming a Christian means, so challenging Christians to live their life in obedience to God’s Word. This includes a rejection of racism, tribalism, immorality, drunkenness and all things that make a Christian appear as if he were a man of the world. I think that we need to teach Christians to live the life of separation today. To me this is the No. 1 thing, because Jesus tells us: “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul?” And so when I think of the three hundred and fifty million people in Africa who are without Jesus Christ as compared to about only between 25 and 50 million who do know the Lord Jesus Christ, it really burdens my heart and causes me to almost weep as I see here in the assembly resolutions no references to that fact. It is true that some small groups did mention it, but nothing like that came from the platform of the assembly. I think of the play “Muntu”, the so-called “African Challenge” which was presented at the beginning of the Assembly. Well, it was called “African Challenge”, but again only on the social

and anthropocentric manner, just dealing with man. They touched on different issues, but failed to point out that Jesus Christ is the final answer after all is said and done. And so one would weep. I would just pray that Evangelical Christians in Africa would take up the ball from this point and really push forward with evangelism and mission in our continent.