Yesterday on Presbyweb, Hans Cornelder, linked to two news articles found at the Presbyterian News site. They are about the World Social Forum. The first one, "World Social Forum reflects ‘spiritual’ search, mission expert says," is mostly about the new spirituality, Rev. Jooseop Keum, program executive on mission and evangelism for the World Council of Churches, sees connected to the World Social Forum.
It should be noted that Keum, A South Korean Presbyterian, is one of the signers of the Cuba Conference on spirituality and liberation that was held in May of 2008 by both the World Council of Churches and the World Reformed Alliance of Churches.
In May of 2008 I posted an article entitled Biblical Christianity as Scapegoat. It was about that 2008 conference held in Cuba whose members published a statement entitled "Communiqué from the Workshop on Spirituality of Resistance, Liberation and Transformation." This particular 'Communique' was about changing Christianity and aligning with other spiritualites in order to create a superior spirituality more in line with a socialist viewpoint.
I quoted part of the paper: "Empire spawns its own destructive spiritualities, such as the “religious right,” and thus it seeks always to co-opt the powers of religion for imperial aims." And I wrote about this as an example of scape goating.
I also wrote about one of the signers of the communique, Professor Ivone Gebara of Brazil. Her religious beliefs are an example of the kinds of new spiritualites that particular group up-holds. I quoted from her book Longing for Running Water: Ecofeminism and Liberation. She wrote:
"Evil is the proclamation and imposition of my gods as eternal and exclusive, capable of saving all of humanity. Evil is the claim that some people know the will of God and are commissioned to teach it as irrefutable dogma, while others are obliged to humbly recognize and accept their own ignorance." (168)
That last part is, of course, a caricature of Christian evangelism.
Jooseop Keum is, as I stated above, one of the signers of the Communique. So when he states in this new report on the World Social Forum that “While we share our spiritual resources with the civil movements, we could also learn from them what the most urgent mission priorities are in the contemporary world,” what is he really saying? That a spirituality that is called Christian by its adherents but is instead anti-Christian should be in partnership with a new kind of political ideology? An ideology by the way which, in this case, involves Cuba and Venezuela.
That isn't really new, but is instead as old as the history of the Church. In fact, John, the author of Revelation gives the Church a picture of just those kinds of partnerships. It's the picture of a woman drunk with the blood of saints sitting on the back of a beast.
When I read these various statements by Church leaders and theologians, who should know better, I think of a Romanian Lutheran Pastor whose story,Tortured For Christ, I read many years ago. The story includes the pastor and his wife's trials under, first the Nazis, and then the Communist. This part of their story is during the early years of Communist control in Romania and it reminds me of the foolishness of people who want an alternative spirituality to under-gird the various socialists who inhabit the World Social Forum.
"Pastor Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand attend the "Congress of Cults" arranged by the Romanian Communist government. As many religious leaders come forward to swear loyalty to the new regime, Sabina Wurmbrand tells her husband to "wipe the shame from the face of Jesus."Richard, knowing the outcome of such an act, tells his wife that if he challenges the congress she will no longer have a husband. Her only reply is, "I don't need a coward for a husband." When the pastor steps forward, the delegates believe he will also praise the new leadership, but to their surprise, Richard tells the 4,000 delegates that their duty as Christians is to glorify God and Christ alone."
That is all Christian's duty and also pleasure.
You can read the whole Wurmbrand story here and here and here.