The World Council of Churches (WCC) is an organization formed as a fellowship of churches that believe in the doctrine of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of mankind. The Council was formally organized in Amsterdam in 1948. The goal of the WCC is to provide a forum to promote tolerance and unite various Christian denominations. The World Council of Churches is not an organized church and does not espouse any particular religious doctrine other than the belief that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. The council assembly, the controlling body of the WCC, meets approximately every six years at various international locations.
Formation of the WCC
The Council grew out of two movements of the late 1930s: The Faith and Order movement and the Life and Work movement. The Faith and Order movement sought to address church organization and beliefs and the Life and Work movement addressed practical issues that impacted the lives of believers. In 1938, representatives from both movements gathered in the Netherlands with the plan to create a unified constitution and merge into one council. However, World War II put these plans on hold until the following decade.
The WCC assembly appoints a central committee who selects 26 executive committee members and six co-presidents. This elected team carries out the work of the WCC between meetings of the assembly. The WCC maintains a headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The Council began with 147 denominations, but has now grown to include 345 member denominations.
WCC Inclusions and Exclusions
Two notable denominations are not members of the WCC: The Roman Catholic Church and the American Southern Baptist denomination. However, the Eastern Orthodox church and many Protestant denominations in the U.S. are included as members.
Ecumenical Goals of the WCC
The WCC promotes Ecumenism as an overarching goal of the organization. Ecumenism is defined as the effort to merge all denominations into a unified eucharistic fellowship. However, in recent years, the WCC has been accused of promoting political radicalism and doctrinal deviations.
Criticisms of the WCC
Vocal critics claim that the Council appears to publicly embrace liberal socialistic and communistic principles while decrying the evils of capitalism and free market philosophies. traditionally conservative views. The Council also promotes total world disarmament, a traditionally leftist view. In other words, the WCC seeks to ban guns and weapons both in the US and across the globe.
Another criticism of the Council is their rather loose requirements for membership. For example, several member denominations do not believe in the triune God; the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The Council has changed references to “witnessing” to “dialogue,” promoting the notion that all religions are valid and deserve active dialogue instead of imposing one belief system of Christianity on other denominations and doctrines. The WCC does not verify membership information so the only way that a denomination’s doctrine is known is by their own declarations on the WCC membership application.
Critics claim that the Council is an organization seeking to unify not only Christian religions, but to unify all religions under one umbrella. Many critics see the World Council of Churches as a tool of the AntiChrist to bring about the New World Order.
Related Resource: What is the National Council of Churches?