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The World Mission Conference 2018: an approach from Germany.


World Mission Conferences (WMC) have always included missionary calls and an analysis of the present-day situation, (1) andfrequently have provided important input for the debate on the mission of the churches throughout the world and in Gemany. The upcoming WMC in Arusha, Tanzania, therefore raises high expectations. The following considerations attempt to sketch the subject in the context of the situation in the German church and society and to point to possible links with what is known about the programme of the WMC.

Place and History

No WMC conference has been held in Africa since 1958, in Achimota, Ghana. (2) It is a good thing that it is possible for an ecumenical missionary highlight to take place on the continent once again, particularly because Africa is said to have considerable importance for the future of global Christianity. For a long time now, the African Christian presence has not been limited to the countries of this region. Strong migration movements over the last few decades have led to African diaspora congregations forming in FJurope and Germany. In some places, the church landscape in Germany has been changed considerably by these congregations and their religious practice. The signs of the Spirit at work and the visibility of discipleship are at the top of the agenda when discussions take place with them. On some occasions, this leads to a correction of the present perceptions of Africa, which are often far from the truth. It is to be hoped that in future, African philosophy, theology, and spirituality will receive the attention they deserve. The African WMC could provide helpful input.

Arusha as the conference venue is symbolically important. Halfway between Cairo and Cape Town, it is a symbol for inner-African routes connecting distant and culturally diverse places. In 1967, the then president Julius Nyerere made his Arusha Declaration here in search of a socialist model of society that fits African conditions. The guiding principles that he developed have lost their charisma in the meantime, but now that the disastrous consequences of globalization have become apparent, alternative approaches to development are gaining new relevance. From 1995 until 2015, the International Criminal Court sat here, dealing with the genocide in Rwanda. That means that burning issues of truth and reconciliation, of present-day reasons for racism and ethnocentrism, of conditions for a comprehensive re-creation of human dignity in a reconciled community have been on the agenda here. This points far beyond the African context.

The chosen venue is also meaningful from a German point of view, as it shows in an exemplary way how colonial and mission history are intertwined. When the German Kaiser-Reich registered claims in East Africa in the 1880s and subsequently set up colonial structures in German East Africa, this strengthened the activities of German mission organizations. Quite often, this was done at the express wish of the colonial powers. The Leipzig Mission sent its own missionaries from 1893 onwards to the neighbouring region of Kilimanjaro, and later to the region of Mount Meru, after agreements had been made with the Anglican Church Mission Society that was already active there. (3) This was also a way of setting up a Protestant mission profile against a growing Catholic presence.

In October 1886, there was a serious incident with disastrous consequences: two Leipzig missionaries, who had arrived with a troupe of colonial officers, were killed by Arusha warriors. During the punitive military expeditions which immediately followed, many people were killed, many were forcibly relocated, and many had their land taken away and given to South African settlers. Livestock were slaughtered, plantations destroyed, and forced labour and taxes put into place. (4) Planned mission work in the Arusha area could not begin until 1904, and then proved to be very difficult. The first baptism was at Pentecost 1907; two years later, the first Holy Communion service was celebrated, but it was not until 1919 that the first congregation was founded. (5) Later, one of the largest Lutheran churches in Africa, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), grew out of this and other mission activities; today this church is hosting the WMC. In 1993, Tanzanian--German mission history received a symbolic reappraisal. (6) From a German point of view, therefore, it is essential to broach the issue of the present-day importance of this and other mission histories in Africa at the WMC: for example, in the context of "Mission as a Sendee of Reconciliation" (7) and "Mission and Power." (8)

Conference Title and Subjects

In Trondheim in 2016, the World Council of Churches (WCC) central committee confirmed the conference tide suggested by the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME): "Moving in the Spirit--Called to Transforming Discipleship." This is neither a quotation from the Bible nor a call to prayer, as at former World Mission Conferences, but rather a motto for the conference linking various programmatic issues.

The reference to the (Holy) Spirit takes up debates from the previous WMC, which had the tide "Come Holy Spirit--heal and reconcile," and underlines the long-accepted importance of pneumatology in recent mission theology. (9) This is also a result of more intensive dialogue between WCC/CWME members and Pentecostal churches or charismatic networks in the worldwide Christian community. (10) Lasting traces of this dialogue are to be found in the basic document for the WMC, the WCC mission statement Together towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing landscapes (TTL). (11) The various dimensions of a mission in the Spirit and their wide-ranging impact are unfolded.

The use of the word "moving" reminds us that from the beginning, active participants in worldwide mission have understood themselves as a movement, a dynamic counterpart to the rather static institutional church. Today we must search for this dynamism, and also enquire how far traces of it can be found in the current prophetic witness of the congregations and churches that stem from it. In addition, links can be made to the insights from the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, which has been a main focus of all WCC work since the last General Assembly in Busan, South Korea (2013). Finally, links are intended with the visible consequences of different migration movements throughout the world for the landscapes of the global Christian community. As a result, it will be even more necessary to ask about the connections between mission and the congregations that exist in the diaspora.

"Transformation" (12) relates to the extensive ecumenical debates of the last decade, (13) which were taken up in TTL where its emphatic aims have in part sparked strong reactions. (14) TTL shows clear references to global issues, to a holistic understanding of mission; this builds bridges toward other debates, with a stronger focus on social ethics in the ecumenical movement. This can be followed up during the WMC.

Discipleship was a subject of the WMC in Edinburgh in 2010 and the study processes associated with it. (15) The concept was also taken up in the Edinburgh Call and elsewhere. (16) A more recent reference, however, is to the Roman Catholic debate. (17) Pope Francis especially introduced the ecclesiologically filled concept of missionary discipleship, which has become prominent in both Roman Catholic and ecumenical debates. (18)

Finally, it seems that the Call as a specific and emphatic form of commissioning ecumenical co-workers cannot be left out of anv conference dde or its report. Presumably, this aims at claiming relevance and a binding commitment to the results achieved for other target groups. We can look forward to see whether there will be an explicit debate on this claim during the WMC.

These points prove that the conference tide will have the capacity to establish links to the current ecumenical and missionary discourse even beyond the context of TTL.

Resonance from a German Perspective

The following section will first raise the quesdon of resonance in church and society in Germany before taking up different aspects of the concepts of discipleship and transformation.

Moving in the Spirit and discipleship are issues of mission and church that have got into heavy seas in the current debate in Germany. On the one hand, developments are forging ahead that are often described bv terms such as "unstoppable secularization processes in modern societies" and "erosion of the influence of religion, faith, and church." The major churches are losing members, but continue to be seen as respected and strong organizations that still play a considerable role in society. At the same time, faith is increasingly regarded as an individual matter. On the other hand, events in Germany and throughout the world indicate that personal religious self-reaffirmation is taking place and has the power to mobilize forces for the return of religion and desecularization. (19) While more and more voices in society wish to push back the role of the Christian religion in society and public life, at the same time other religions, especially Islam, are becoming more visible as forces for orientation and mobilization. This means that a clarification of the missionary presence of churches is needed. In this situation, many people do not recognize Christian mission as a power for reconciliation and peace, but rather understand it as a form of religious aggressiveness, which because of its suspected religious intolerance may fuel conflicts further. Only in explicidy refraining from any missionary activity in the public sphere do they see a way forward to peaceful religious coexistence in Germany. At the same time, though, more voices are being raised even from outside the churches that speak against religious subjects being pushed out of the public sphere. In a context of religious tolerance, they point to the legitimacy of a clear and respectful Christian witness in inter-religious encounters as well. (20) Recently, a rising number of requests for baptism bv Muslim refugees can be observed throughout all Christian denominations. This requires appropriate guidance and support, including dialogue with Muslim associations in Germany, in order to avoid the suspicion that weaknesses in the position and status of the refugees are being misused.

In this context, some people--including within the church--have expressed opposition to any planned mission among Muslims in Germany. (21) Parallel to this, there are debates both in the political sphere and in the churches on what consequences baptism and a public change of religion could have in general and especially in the processing of asylum applications. (22) What is also of high missiological relevance is the unanimous declaration of the last Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), which after very intensive preparation and discussions called for explicit renunciation of any Christian witness toward the Jews that aims at their conversion to Christianity. (23) The churches have to declare their positions on these issues, not only because the importance of religion for peaceful co-existence is being discussed more and more throughout the world and in Germany. (24)

In the background of these developments we see debates that mainly focus on terms such as the "refugee crisis" and "Islamist terror," which have revealed far-reaching feelings of insecurity and polarization in society. For many years, the problems of massive refugee movements from other parts of the world were mainly kept outside the borders of the European Union and therefore were not part of public consciousness in Germany. Now that in 2015 and 2016, several hundred thousand people, the vast majority with Muslim backgrounds, have been taken into the country, a fundamentally different situation has arisen. The acdve welcome culture toward those in need of protection has met in other sections of the population with militant xenophobia, not only rhetorical. This has been echoed recendy in the results of regional elections. Violent attacks perpetrated by refugees or asylum seekers, or attributed to them--consciously promoted by the agitation of right-wing populist parties--have created a climate of insecurity and wholesale suspicion: more and more frequently, foreigners from African countries, the Middle East, and Asia are collectively portrayed as militant Islamists with a propensity for violence, contempt for democracy, and the suppression of women. Terrorist attacks in neighbouring countries and in Germany--the latest one, in December 2016, being the attack on a Christmas market in Berlin--have made the situation much worse. The model of a multicultural society that supports migration has lost its orientation toward the power of giving; people draw lines against all that is foreign much more clearly and publicly now, and understand Western Christian enlightened values as the strong and enduring foundation of their own society. How to reach coexistence in security, freedom, and tolerance remains the key question for many people in Germany now. Political debates are determined by totally different answers to this question, and it is foreseeable that they will also determine the important general elections coming in the autumn of 2017.

This also means a complex situadon for the churches. (25) Church leadership and synods have clearly supported the policy of taking in war refugees, in spite of massive criticism. Many people who are actively supporting the integration of refugees come from church congregations. Countless diaconal institutions offer professional support to refugees and to volunteers who are helping them. But it has become clear that there are also people in the churches who express their fear of all that is foreign and need information and counseling. Within the church there are discussions about dialogue with people who have openly xenophobic positions, and about how to react to the constant tightening of asylum laws--for example, by offering church asylum to an increasing number of refugees.

The churches are also facing other important questions due to the growing presence of people with different faiths, mainly Muslims. How far can religious tolerance--a basic pillar of religious freedom--go when people criticize or ignore basic values of their own communities out of religious conviction? And does the practice of inter-religious dialogue as we know it have a chance at all in a situation of a growing religious polarization? What about the tendency to have a rather indifferent attitude toward religious behaviour and view it as belonging to private life, when strong claims are being made for religions to play a role in public life? How can the difficulties of giving an account of one's own Christian faith be overcome in encounters with people who seem to consider their own faith to be beyond question?

It will have become clear by now that churches and Christians in our country are in a tense social situation which makes it necessary for them to work out their positions and to make clear what forms of Christian witness should be practised in their congregations when encountering people of different faiths or those without a religious affiliation. The reception process of the ecumenical document Christian Witness in a Multi-religious World has given decisive impetus here. (26) First, the document emphasizes the witness to their faith that Christians owe to all people, but that distances itself from an understanding of mission that makes people of other faiths fear that they are mere objects of strategic mission efforts. Second, it links this witness with religious tolerance and respect for the faith of others and with a call to strive together for a peaceful and just community. The WMC can provide important orientation here from other contexts.

This leads us to the Jubilee Year 2017, which will be celebrated in the Protestant churches in Germany and elsewhere as a commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. A Reformation Decade has been observed since 2007, increasingly focusing on Luther and his role, and also seriously examining the dark sides of the Reformation. Among these were the fatal consequences of Luther's anti-Semitic positions--which led to the Synod Declaration on the so-called Mission to the Jews mentioned above. In contrast to former Jubilees, it is today generally accepted that Martin Luther's 95 Theses posted in Wittenberg marked the beginning of a movement that eventually enabled the Reformation in its different forms to become a "World-Citizen." (27) The global and ecumenical importance of this Jubilee has been emphasized again and again in the run-up and through the special activities to mark the beginning of the Jubilee Year. (28) This Jubilee has - surprisingly - attracted a high degree of attention in the public sphere in Germany. This often focuses on the formative impact of the Reformation on language, culture, and society in Germany, Europe, and beyond. However, this is often combined with questions about where the vitality of basic Reformation insights can be found today. Various theological emphases have been attempted: for example, bringing the relationship between justification and freedom up to date. (29) The EKD magazine for the Reformation Jubilee has the programmatic title Gott neu verirauen (Trusting God Anew) (30) and emphasizes the search for God; it calls for "God to be brought into the debate in a new way in an increasingly secular society." (31)

Thematic Connections

As the newly formed term "transforming discipleship" will soon develop its own dynamics, I would now like to consider suggestions for it and links to debates related to the subjects of discipleship and transformation.

With regard to the theme of discipleship, the conference title leaves open the question of the subjects--or rather how individual discipleship practice relates to that of groups, local congregations, or new movements. But there is clearly a distance from concepts which emphasize conversion, growth of church membership, or other so-called successes of mission. The stress is on a serious form of Christian discipleship, and a call to costly discipleship (32) is issued, which, through the power of the Spirit, can change itself and wishes to transform its environment. This accent saves it from any (mis)understanding of learning processes that concentrate on individual and inward-looking spiritualitv or are limited to Christian congregations. This connects it with the socially related debates on discipleship that took place here in our country--particularly during the 1970s and 1980s--on a Christian lifestyle or the political opposition of the churches. Later on, it was mainly groups who were involved in the Conciliar Process for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation who kept these topics alive in church debates. It must also be said that for years now, people who are searching for a consistent life of faith have increasingly become members of religious and ecclesial communities with relatively binding rules.

It seems now that in missiological debates and when debating reform processes in regional churches over the past ten years, the conditions and possibilities of committed Christian existence today have rarely been discussed under the heading of discipleship. (33) Here is not the place to search for the reasons for this. It is to be hoped that the debates at the WMC will lead to discussions on the relevance and potential of this term. This could lead to a fresh look at new forms of more individualistic faith practice, which are often far removed from traditional movements and places, in order to discover their potential for transforming discipleship. (34)

Also, it could offer a subject for dialogue between people who belong to the church and the growing group of people not affiliated to any religion. (35) This is also important, as questions about supposedly Christian and religious values are now being raised more urgendy in a pluralistic society, but as a rule only receive vague answers. Here the concern would not so much be to strengthen our own capacity to give an account of our faith, (36) but rather to search anew for common values and aims, which are dear to people's hearts and give orientation to their lives. The next thing would be to examine whether we can speak of a common practice of discipleship that transcends church and denominational borders--whether relating to Christ or not. And, inspired by the understanding of witness as defined in Christian Witness in a Multi-religious World, can we imagine a kind of Jesus-discipleship that is open to crossing inter-religious borders in action, commitment, or spirituality if we believe the Spirit is also active in people of other faiths?

Above all, there are definite signs that awareness will grow in Germany, too; that being a disciple of Christ has its price, both for individuals and for churches. I am thinking of expressing one's faith in secular public premises; the claim that we can have a say in public life in spite of shrinking church membership; the willingness to give an account of our faith in encounters with people for whom Christian witness is strange or suspect; showing a clear profile in supporting values of our democratic society that have recently been massively challenged; and resistance to dehumanizing and militant rejection of everything that is foreign. Some of these aspects of a committed Christian lifestyle are a constant reality and experience under much more dramatic circumstances for persecuted brothers and sisters in faith in other parts of the world. (37)

On the other hand, results of the latest church membership survey show that non-commitment to a firm discipleship practice is what keeps the many more distanced people in their membership of mainline Protestant congregations. (38) Calls for a Christian lifestyle marked by more obligation and commitment would tend to make these people leave the church.

These implicit aspects of discipleship reflect, in my opinion, that it is important to pay attention to debates taking place in the context of the WMC so that these additional ecumenical insights can help us to gain a better understanding of positions which either support or show reservation towards today's implications of Jesus' call for a lifelong committed discipleship.

With the word "transforming" and its relationship to transformation, the conference theme has taken up a key concept in present-day debates at several levels. In 2011, the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) triggered unexpectedly strong reactions with its Flagship Report: "World in Transition. A Social Contract for Sustainability" (Welt im Wandel. Gesellschaftsvertrag fur eine gro[beta]e Transformation). It is no longer simply a case of alteration or change, but rather of new, far-reaching forms that have yet to be found. The concept of transformation is primarily used in sociological and scientific fields. But more and more questions are now being asked about what resources religion and spirituality can contribute to transformation processes. (39) The basis for this is the insight of influential political players that religious factors and world views have not been taken into consideration so far, or that they have been seen in a rather undifferentiated way in international politics and even in development cooperation. A "blind spot in development thinking" has been acknowledged here; the role of religions in development discourse has gained a new profile as "underestimated driving forces of transformation." (40) It is clear that the increased political interest in religions is mainly due to their possible contribution in either preventing or aggravating worldwide conflicts in the context of an increasingly militant Islam. Nevertheless, the initiatives go far beyond this and offer development and mission agencies room to participate in new public debates. (41)

The term "transformation" has also left interesting traces in theological debates. The publication of Jurgen Moltmann's Ethics of Hope in 2010, in which he introduces the important concept of a transformative eschatology, can be seen as an important benchmark. (42) This term has become especially important for the representatives of the current debate on public theology, which shapes ethics here today. (43)

The use of corresponding terminology in the evangelical mission movement is important in our context. Since the Wheaton Conference of the Lausanne Movement (1983), this term has had a key meaning for those who feel committed to a mission that is at the same time evangelistic and has a social dimension: in other words, integral, holistic, or incarnadonal mission. (44) The dynamics described here include all dimensions of individual and collective life, a process which leads to the realization of the kingdom of God. Transformation is therefore no alternative term for evangelization, mission, or diakonia, but rather describes the process of the holistic saving action of God. These concepts have found considerable acceptance in the German evangelical landscape, (45) but have also led to internal evangelical controversies. (46)

Finally, let me point to an international project that is being carried out in the context of work on Reformation and the One World. I am talking about the not yet completed process "Reformation--Education--Transformation" (R-E-T). Two consultations have already discussed the question, asking what contributions the churches, especially those from the Reformation tradition, have made in the past to educational processes which have had a transformative influence on the societies concerned. (47) What has become clear, at least so far, is that in the past two hundred years, the international Protestant mission movement has definitely changed the world, not only due to the fact that over long periods it had the dimensions of an educational movement with influence beyond the borders of congregations and churches. However, it has also become clear that revolutionary social developments were frequendy such that they were in no way initiated or shaped by the churches, but rather that the churches were compelled to react to them. As a result, churches, congregations, and individuals were forced to make massive changes in their discipleship practice.

This is also true for the processes that are linked with various concepts of secularism and their effects upon the churches, especially in the countries of the global North. It must be said that this aspect has so far not been considered sufficiently in TTL and its accompanying documents. In some parts of the worldwide mission movement, it seems that there are rather undifferentiated, critical, and deprecating perceptions of secularization processes. Mission is often understood here as a power for the reformation of secularizing tendencies. A rational analysis would be meaningful from a German - and European! - point of view: what does it mean to want to be a missionary church, a church in the discipleship of Jesus Christ, in an ever more secularized context? How can we succeed, even as a minority in terms of numbers, to serve and to be close to the people in their suffering and hopes? Why it is necessary to show our presence in the public sphere, to get involved, to be able to contribute to the necessary transformation of our societies? Why it is unavoidable as churches in democratic societies to take up a clear position in the midst of the plurality of world views and religious offers? This kind of clarifying input demonstrates our confidence that the Spirit of God continues to be at work in the churches of the global North. (48)

Prospects: The WMC as a Godsend?

In the long history of mission and ecumenism, events such as the upcoming WMC have always been expected to set the course for the future on important issues. Whether a single conference can achieve this nowadays may be doubted, as the enthusiasm for such large ecumenical events has dwindled. Nevertheless, let me risk an assertion here: it could be that the occasion, the place, (49) the point in time, and the theme of the WMC could prove to be a godsend from a German perspective.

Thirteen years since the last WMC, in Athens, almost a decade since the conferences on the 100th anniversary of Edinburgh 1910, and five years since the WCC General Assembly in Busan, it is necessary to take stock. Where has the healing and reconciling power of Christian mission borne fruit, and where have churches and other mission activists not been able to cope with the challenges of drastically changed landscapes? The reception of TTL offers a helpful framework for this. (50)

In 2018, the waves of the Reformation Jubilee will have subsided. The first insights will have been gained about where the basic insights of Reformation can make an impact today and what this can mean for the joint mission of Protestant churches in Germany in the future. It could be a specific contribution from Germany to bring these insights into the dialogue with representatives of worldwide ecumenical mission. At the same time, the world missionary diversity of voices could be helpful if there is some kind of Reformation euphoria, by pointing to how extremely different the relevance and consequences of the Reformation are in the various provinces of global Christianity. Preparations for the WMC in 2017 could be somewhat overlaid by other events in Germany. The opportunity of receiving new ideas with relevance for present-day challenges in a tense situation both in church and society could, however, mean that it is an important occasion for individuals, congregations, mission organizations, and churches in this country.

Finally, a WMC offers opportunities to get to know the responses of other churches to problem situations which may be comparable with our own and to become aware of transforming discipleship moved by the Spirit in ecumenical and missionary fellowship. Thinking together about its Christ-centred character could make this WMC a further encouraging step on the way towards ecumenically oriented and evangelical mission movements drawing closer together. In the face of growing challenges for a missionary presence of churches throughout the world, it would also be auspicious if the growing cooperation with sections of the Catholic Church could also be strengthened, among other things through reaching agreements on missionary discipleship. This is also one of the central tasks of a WMC: to understand and value the diversity of Christian witness in different contexts, to stand up against competition and fragmentation, and to develop perspectives for a growing community in mission and for the fellowship of a transforming discipleship in Christ. Trusting that the prayers for the presence of God's Spirit among those who attend will be heard, these expectations for the WMC are not too high!

Christoph Anders

Rev. Christoph Anders is director of the Association of Protestant Churches and Missions in Germany (EMW). He has worked at the Berlin Mission as the theological secretary for Cuba/Latin America and East Asia and is a commissioner of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism.

(1) See, most recently, Jooseop Keum, Kenneth R. Ross, Kyriaki Avtzi, and Roderick R. Hewitt, eds., Ecumenical Missiology: Changing landscapes and .New Conceptions of Mission (Oxford: Regnum Books International, 2016), 6-146.

(2) This article was translated by Cynthia and Rudolf Lies.

(3) I am grateful, for the information that follows, to Rev. Ravinder Salooja, director of the Leipzig Mission, and his as yet unpublished manuscript "Arusha und die Evangelisch-Lutherische Mission zu Leipzig" (2016).

(4) Ibid., 1.

(5) Ibid., 2.

(6) Just under 100 years later a moving service takes place in Akeri on the occasion of the 100 years' jubilee of the work of the Leipzig Mission in Tanzania with a gesture of reconciliation between Paul Akyoo, bishop of the Meru diocese, and Joachim Schlegel, director of the Leipzig Mission, during which a Makonde crucifix is handed over as symbol of reconciliation. This crucifix is now placed in the chapel of the Leipzing Mission and reminds us of the necessity of continuous reconciliation activities." Ibid., 1.

(7) Direct links to the outcome of the last World Mission Conference in Athens 2005 could be drawn; see Jacques Matthey, ed., Come Holy Spirit, Heal and Reconcile! Called in Christ to be Reconciling and Healing Communities: Report of the WCC Conference on World Mission and Hvangelism, Athens, Greece, 9-16 May 2005 (Geneva: WCC, 2008).

(8) This has been attempted especially at the Edinburgh 2010 meetings in memory of the first World Mission Conference in Edinburgh in 1910. The conference's Common Call states, "Disturbed bv the asymmetries

and imbalances of power that divide and trouble us in church and world, we are called to repentance, to critical reflection on systems of power, and to accountable use of power structures." Edinburgh 2010: The Common Call, printed most recently in Keum, Ross, Avtzi, and Hewitt, eds., Ecumenical Missiology, 144f; see also "Evangclisches Missionswerk in Deutschland (EMW): Christus heute bezeugen," in Weltmission heute 77 (2013): 126ff; the thematic part of the ENW annual report on Edinburgh 2010 attempts to link mission and power with vulnerability and the challenge of reconciliarion. See most recendy Atola Longkurner, Jorgen. S. Jorgensen, and Michael Bichl, Mission and Power. History, Relevance and Perils (Edinburgh Series), Oxford: Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, forthcoming 2017.

(9) See various articles on this by Kirsteen Kim. The latest is "Responding to the Changed landscape of the 21st Century: The Process and Content of Together towards Life," in keum, Ross, Avtzi, and Hewitt, eds., Ecumenical Missiology, 381-98.

(10) A joint working group is mandated to work on this continually.

(11) From 2(112,; printed and commented on most recently in Keum, Ross, Avtzi, and Hewitt, eds., Ecumenical Missiology, 354ff.

(12) This wording is a reference to the fundamental study in mission theology by David Bosch, published in 1991: Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (Marvknoll, NY: Orbis, 2008). It is nearlv impossible to find an appropriate German translation for the link of the both active and passive structure in the English title. The translation published in 2011 has the title Mission im Wandel.

(13) See the motto of the WCC Assemhlv 2006 in Porto Alegre, Brazil: "God, in Your Grace: Transform the World," and the Mission Declaration of the LWF "Mission in Context" (2004) with its three programmatic terms: "Transformation, Reconciliation, Empowerment." These were used later in a declaration with a parallel structure on "Diaconia in Context." See

(14) For example, the paragraphs on Transformative Spirituality ([section]29-35). See "Evangelisches Missionswerk in Deutschland," 421ff.

(15) Theme 9 in Edinburgh 2010 had the exact wording "Mission Spirituality and Authentic Discipleship"; see Edinburgh 2010: Witnessing to Christ Today, Vol. II (Oxford: Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, 2010), 222ff. Links can also be found in remarks on theme 5, "Eorms of Missionary engagement." The conference report states: "...a shared theological understanding that the call to discipleship is a costly call, involves vulnerability, and requires us to joyfully enter into the life of Christ which led to Gethsemane and the cross as necessary steps on the road to resurrection and glory. We challenge churches and agencies engaged in mission to be less concerned with numbers and more concerned with the depth and quality of the Christian discipleship being lived out in our world"; see Kirsteen Kim and Andrew Anderson, eds., Mission Today and Tomorrow: Edinburgh 2010, Regnum Edinburgh 2010 Series (Oxford: Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, 2011), 152.

(16) Remembering Jesus' way ot witness and service, we believed we are called by God to follow this way joyfully, inspired, anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit, and nurtured by Christian disciplines in community. As we look to Christ's coming in glory and judgment, we experience his presence with us in the Holy Spirit, and we invite all to join with us as we participate in God's transforming and reconciling mission of love to the whole creation." See part 9; see also Wonsuk Ma and Kenneth R. Ross, "Mission Spirituality and Authentic Discipleship, Introduction: The Spiritual Dimension of Mission," in Mission Spirituality and Authentic Discipleship, Regnum Edinburgh Centenary Series 14 (Oxford: Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, 2013), 1-9.

(17) The Roman Catholic Church officially cooperates with CWME through the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

(18) Especially in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. See also, among others, Steven Bevans, "Transforming Discipleship: Missiological Reflections," International Review of Mission 105, no. 1 (2016).

(19) For comprehensive studies, see Detlef Pollack and Gergelv Rosta, Religion in der Moderne. Ein inlernationaler Vergleich (Frankfurt/Main, 2015).

(20) See below tor the discussion on the 2011 ecumenical declaration "Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct":

(21) See the 2015 study "Wcggemeinschaft und Zcugnis im Dialog mit Muslimen" (Companionship and witness in dialogue with Muslims) of the Evangelical Church in Rhineland:

(22) Sec most recently the debates at the missiological conference in Elstal, near Berlin. Documented in Michael Bichl and Klaus Vellguth, eds., MissionRespekt. Cbristliches Zeugnis in okumeniscber U'eite (Meckenhcim, 21116).

(23) Title: Christen and Juden tils Zeugen tier Treue Cottes. Adopted in November 2(116 in Magdeburg (Christians and Jews as witnesses to God's faithfulness); passed at the svnod in Magdeburg in 2016; for the svnod debate and the preparation material, see

(24) On the initiatives of the federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, see below.

(25) In Germany, the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant (area) churches with a Lutheran, Reformed, and Lnited protile are regarded as the two big churches. The so-called Tree churches (Baptists, Methodists, Mennonites, Pentecostals, etc.) are smaller in numbers. Mv locus is on the Protestant churches, though you can find the phenomena beyond them as well.

(26) Some results from the wide ecumenical process have been published since:

(27) See numerous publications on the thematic year 2016: Reformation und die Eine Welt (Reformation and the One World)--among them, the EKD magazine at; also EMW, ed., Reformation: global. Bine Botschaft bewegt die Welt (Jahrbuch Mission, Hamburg, 2015) and Michael Biehl and I'lrich Dchn, eds., Refortnationen. Momentaufnabmen aits einer globalen Bewgung (Hamburg, 2015). Most recently, Konrad Raiser, 500 Jabre Reformation weltweit (Bielefeld, 2016).

(28) The meeting of Pope Francis and representatives of the LWF in Lund in October 2016 was noted globally as a symbol of the ecumenical dimension.

(29) See the programmatic publication with the titleJustification and Freedom.


(31) Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, Chair of the Council of EKD, in his foreword to the magazine.

(32) The actual debate in the CWME refers to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Nachfolge (Giitcrsloh, 1994); The Cost of Discipleship (New York: Touchstone, 1995).

(33) This was described by Wolfgang Huber in 2016, and from what 1 can see nothing much has changed. Wolfgang Huber, "Nachfolge heute"--Vortrag bei der Jahrestagung der Internationalen Bonhoeffer-Gesellschaft, Deutsche Sektion, in Berlin: Leading on from Bonhoeffer, he has suggested further developing the term "discipleship" into that of freedom. For this reason, the 2006 paper where he had in particular initiated a process of reform was given the title "Church of Freedom."

(34) Meetings in factory halls, internet groups, strong interest in literature on Christian spirituality; see the upcoming yearbook Mission 2017 with the title Places of Faith.

(35) According to current statistics, one third of the German population.

(36) It is one of the encouraging signs of the last few years that the interest in faith courses continues to be strong,

(37) Evangelical groups in Germany point out these discouraging facts and their implications for Christian discipleship.

(38) See EKD, Engagement und Indifferenz. Kirchenmitgliedschaft als soziale Praxis, V. KKD-Krhcbung iiber Kirchenmit-gliedschaft (Commitment and Indifference. The social practice of church membership. Fifth survey on church membership) (Hannover, 2014).

(39) Sec as an exemplary study the magazine Religion und Spiritulitat Ressonrcen fur die Gro[beta]e Transformation! (Religion and Spirituality. Resources for Major Transformation), in politisebe okologie 34, no. 12 (2016).

(40) The title of an essav bv Wolfram Stierle, in Religion und Spirilnalilat, 26ff.

(41) See the task force Werte, Religion und Entwicklung (Values, Religion and Development) set up bv the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2014:

(42) Jurgen Moltmann, Ethik der Hoffnung (Gutersloh, 2010); Ethics of Hope (London: SCM, 2012).

(43) Prominent representatives, W. Huber und H. Bcdford-Strohm, are at present in Germany; for its international reach, see the Global Network for Public Theology.

(44) In paragraph 11 of the conference declaration, the following definition is given: "According to the biblical view of human life, then, transformation is the change from a condition of human existence contrary to God's purpose to one in which people are able to enjoy fullness of life in harmony with God (John 10:10; Col. 3:8-15; Eph. 4:13). This transformation can only take place through the obedience of individuals and communities to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whose power changes the lives of men and women by releasing them from the guilt, power, and consequences of sin, enabling them to respond with love toward God and toward others (Rom. 5:5), and making them 'new creatures in Christ' (2 Cor. 5:17)." See also the worldwide commitment of the Micah-Nerwork:

(45) See the series of transformation studies published, among others, by T. Eaix and J. Reimer.

(46) A highlight was the initiative by P. Beyerhaus in 2013: "Weltevangelisierung oder Weltveranderung? Tubinger Pfingst-Aufruf zur Erneuerung eines biblisch-heilsgcschichtlichen Missionsverstandnisses" (Evangelizing the World or Changing it? The Tubingen Pentecost Call for Renewing the Biblical Mission Understanding of Salvation).

(47) This process was carried out by the Evangelisches Missionswerk in Dcutschland und Brot fur die Welt/Evangelischer Ejntwicklungsdienst together with a number of international partners in 2015 and 2016; see the comprehensive materials at

(48) See the results of a conference by WCRC, WCC, CWM, and BMW on the topic "Mission in Secularised Contexts," Berekfurdo, Hungary, February 2016 (to be published).

(49) See the observations at the beginning of the text.

(50) See "Evangclisches Missionswerk in Deutschland"; most recendy, Geevaighese Coorilos, "Okumcnische Missionstheologie--gestern, heute, morgen. Eine Perspektive der Kommission fur Weltmission und Evangelisation," in Okumenische Rundschau 65, no. 4 (2(116): 462ff.
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Author:Anders, Christoph
Publication:International Review of Mission
Article Type:Conference news
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jun 1, 2017
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