The World Evangelical Alliance has launched the commemoration of the 175th anniversary since its founding in London, England in 1846 growing to a group representing hundreds of million of Christians on the planet.
On Aug. 20, 175 years ago today, some 800 evangelical leaders from 11 countries representing 52 Christian denominations resolved to establish the WEA, which is now based in Deerfield, Illinois in the United States.
They described it as "a new thing in Church history – a definite organization for the expression of unity amongst Christian individuals belonging to different churches," WEA reports.
"The WEA continues to be a testimony for the fact that amid the incredible diversity, evangelicals be united together as one," said Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher, Secretary General of the WEA.
"In 1846, the churches came from the whole spectrum of the Protestant faith," he said.
Schirrmacher said they came from Reformation times, such as Anglicans, Lutherans, Reformed and Anabaptists; from the following centuries, such as Baptists, Methodists and later the Salvation Army.
"And today it also includes many newer churches formed in the 20th century, such as Pentecostals, Charismatics and Independents," said Schirrmacher.
He said that considering that each national Evangelical Alliance and each regional Alliance has its own unique history, and that evangelicals come from hundreds of ethnic groups and speak around 1,000 languages, "the WEA is as colorful as never before."
Schirrmacher noted, "As a global network that has its roots in the local churches in the neighborhoods, we continue to hold on to the central role of Jesus Christ as our personal savior."
He said the Bible is "our supreme constitution and the goal to transform the world by preaching and practicing the 'evangel', the gospel."
The WEA leader said that prayer was always foundational to the WEA, so it wants to begin the Jubilee by recognizing the diversity of the global body of Christ and the unique opportunities and challenges they face.
"We are very conscious that amid the ongoing pandemic and various other natural or man-made disasters, there is a great need for prayer today," said Schirrmacher.
"So we invite you to join us as we commemorate 175 years and as we continue to put every effort into fulfilling Jesus' prayer that all of us may be one, so that the world may believe." (the Gospel of John 17:21-23)
Since its founding, the WEA says it has grown into a truly global organization with national Evangelical Alliances established in more than 143 countries on all continents.
"The WEA has now become the second largest world Church body that speaks as a representative voice on behalf of evangelicals at the United Nations, to governments and media, contributing an evangelical perspective on issues that are relevant to the Church globally," it says.
"It remains engaged in many of the same areas, including prayer, mission and a range of human rights and social justice issues, all based on the foundation in Scripture."