At Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, the inaugural meeting of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) is taking place this week. This organization brings together two predecessor ecumenical organizations, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC). The Presbyterian Church in Canada has been a member of the former, while the Christian Reformed Church has been part of both and a founding member of the latter, once known as the Reformed Ecumenical Synod. The Acton Institute’s Jordan Ballor expresses his view on the new body’s social vision, as articulated in the Accra Confession: Unity or Unanimity at Reformed Council? Jeffrey Japinga responds to Ballor: Intersection of economics and faith is valid subject for church council, to which Ballor replies: Confessing the Wrong Side. This is an exchange worth following.
With the Uniting General Council of the new WCRC is still in progress, I will not speculate as to the status of statements and documents previously adopted by the predecessor organizations. That said, if the Accra Confession does indeed represent the social witness of the converging bodies, it is worth commenting on, because it is not dissimilar to other statements approved by denominational and ecumenical bodies alike. At some point I will write more fully about the Accra Confession. For the moment I will simply indicate two areas of agreement and two reservations I have with the statement, beginning with the former. First, I applaud the document for recognizing that the Christian faith has social, economic and political implications. Second, it is correct to note that God is a God of justice. Now the down side. First, I agree with Ballor that engaging in policy debates in the public square is not the primary task of the institutional church. Second, it’s not clear to me that this document should be labelled a confession at all. More to come.