Pope Francis on December 14, 2017, met with the leadership of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) to discuss ways to work together to promote religious freedom around the world.
Bishop Efraim Tendero, WEA General Secretary and CEO, led the delegation. He was quoted by Vatican Radio that the group brought to the Pope a “call for closer partnership” in protecting religious freedom, promoting the distribution of bibles and addressing social justice issues. “We want to see this world to be a place where peace, justice and righteousness reign”, he said, “where everyone has a decent standard of living, and where Jesus Christ is recognized as Lord of all.”
According to Vatican Radio, the bishop admitted that major theological differences remain, but it’s increasingly important to “look for a common agenda”, rather than “focus on what differs and what pulls us apart”.
Pope Francis has reached out to Evangelicals over the past several years in an effort to mend fences and establish common areas of interest. Most recently, he welcomed Evangelical leaders visiting Rome for the 2017 Feast of Pentecost.
World Evangelical Alliance is a global ministry working with local churches around the world to join in common concern to live and proclaim the Good News of Jesus in their communities. WEA is a network of churches in 129 nations that have each formed an evangelical alliance and over 100 international organizations joining together to give a worldwide identity, voice, and platform to more than 600 million evangelical Christians. Seeking holiness, justice, and renewal at every level of society – individual, family, community and culture, God is glorified and the nations of the earth are forever transformed.
Christians from ten countries met in London in 1846 for the purpose of launching, in their own words, “a new thing in church history, a definite organization for the expression of unity amongst Christian individuals belonging to different churches.” This was the beginning of a vision that was fulfilled in 1951 when believers from 21 countries officially formed the World Evangelical Fellowship. Today, 165 years after the London gathering, WEA is a dynamic global structure for unity and action that embraces 600 million evangelicals in 129 countries. It is a unity based on the historic Christian faith expressed in the evangelical tradition. And it looks to the future with vision to accomplish God’s purposes in discipling the nations for Jesus Christ.