World Evangelical Alliance postpones Seoul assembly

The Rev. Geoff Tunnicliffe (left), international director of the World Evangelical Alliance, and World Council of Church general secretary, Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit meet in Geneva, March 2010. (Photo: WCC)

The World Evangelical Alliance has announced that its general assembly planned for Seoul, South Korea in October is to be postponed.

"The decision centered on recent internal divisions among the evangelical community and challenges they pose for holding an Assembly there at this time," the WEA said in a statement on Tuesday.

The WEA said it had taken the decision "with reluctance."

It said that four years ago when WEA's International Council chose to hold the next General Assembly in Seoul, "it was with hope to encourage unity among Korean evangelical churches and within the global body of Christ."

"In recent months in particular there were some struggles within the Korean context, some divisions within the church, and because of that it presented them with difficulties in really hosting an assembly that was focused on Christian unity.

"They needed to focus more on some of the internal issues and resolving them before they could host a world assembly," Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, CEO and secretary general for the WEA, said in an interview with The Christian Post.

The WEA statement said a broad grouping of evangelical Korean churches, led by the Christian Council of Korea (CCK), began working together in the planning of the Assembly.

"As well, the WEA initiated program development and operational start up with hopes that the Assembly would be a valuable moment for the developing of alliances worldwide and the witness of the Church in unity.

"However the Council has decided it is seemingly untenable for the Assembly to be hosted there this year, and with CCK it was mutually agreed that it would be postponed."

The WEA, which represents some 600 million evangelicals worldwide, holds General Assembly every six years.

In November 2013, the Geneva-based World Council of Churches, which represents a similar number of Christians and brings together mainly, Anglican, Orthodox and Protestant traditions, held its once-every-seven years Assembly in Busan, South Korea.

The WEA sent representative and greetings to the WCC meeting outside which one evangelical groupings from Korea staged protests against what they viewed was a watering down of the Gospel and an internationalist agenca by ecumenical organizations.

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