New York, NY - May 14, 2012
On May 10th, Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) which represents some 600 million Evangelical Protestants, met in Beijing with a senior minister of the Chinese government, General Minister Wang of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA).
The two hour meeting focused on issues of mutual concern to the Chinese Government, the China Christian Council (CCC) and the WEA. Building on previous visits, a small delegation from the WEA met to continue in dialogue on matters of importance to Christians both in China and the rest of the world.
This meeting culminated a series of meetings which began in Shanghai with senior leaders of both the CCC and the Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM). The dialogue covered a wide range of topics, including the challenges of rapid church growth, Bible engagement, business ethics, religious liberty, gendercide, and human trafficking. Along with Dr. Tunnicliffe were Dr. Brian Stiller (WEA Global Ambassador) and Rev. Godfrey Yogarajah (Executive Director, Religious Liberty Commission).
Tunnicliffe noted, "I very much appreciate the willingness of Chinese church leaders to engage in a frank and respectable conversation on issues of importance to them and the global Evangelical community."
In meeting with General Minister Wang, WEA leaders explained the core beliefs of the Evangelical Protestant community and their desire to be productive citizens contributing to the well-being of families, communities and nations. The discussion included WEA’s strong support of religious freedom, recognizing the importance that living in obedience to Jesus requires Christians everywhere to live in harmony with people of other faiths, or of no faith.
General Minister Wang expressed great appreciation for WEA and its desire to work in partnership with the Church in China. He commented on his own interest in knowing more about Evangelical Protestants, noting that it was critical to have a working relationship with the WEA as Evangelicals are the fastest growing segment of the global Church.
In addition to meeting with national leaders, meetings were held with local church leaders in Shanghai, Xi’an and Beijing. They underscored the challenges the church faces in the exploding urban centers, including leadership development, theological education and pastoral care in a rapidly changing society.
Understanding that Church life in China is complex, the WEA is committed to building bridges of understanding, serving as a trusted voice and connector to the Evangelical family around the world.
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The WEA is the largest global evangelical body with a network of churches in 129 nations and an alliance of 100 international organizations representing over 600 million Christians worldwide. It representatively speaks as a trusted voice on behalf of global evangelicalism, connects diverse Evangelical church networks and ministries for effective collaborative action, and actively equips their needs with valuable resources to optimize their impact. For more info e-mail at [email protected] or go to Worldea.org.