World Evangelical Alliance postpones General Assembly
The World Evangelical Alliance has announced the postponement of its forthcoming General Assembly, citing disagreements among evangelicals in South Korea.
The General Assembly is held every six years and the next meeting had been due to take place in Seoul in October.
The WEA said the decision to postpone the assembly had been made "with reluctance" after the Christian Council of Korea, which was overseeing preparations, deemed it "untenable" to hold it there this year.
"The decision centred on recent internal divisions among the evangelical community and challenges they pose for holding an assembly there at this time," a statement from the WEA said.
"Four years ago when the [WEA] International Council chose to hold the WEA's next General Assembly there, it was with hope to encourage unity among Korean evangelical churches and within the global body of Christ."
WEA Secretary General Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe further elaborated in an interview with The Christian Post: "In recent months in particular there were some struggles within the Korean context, some divisions within the church, and because of that it presented them with difficulties in really hosting an assembly that was focused on Christian unity.
"They needed to focus more on some of the internal issues and resolving them before they could host a world assembly."
Mr Tunnicliffe said that although the divisions were more organisational than theological, there was not enough time to overcome the rifts before the assembly.
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"There has been a growing awareness of the challenges that the Korean church is facing in being united," he told The Christian Post.
"We've sought to find a way that it could still happen in Korea, but because it's coming in eight months and there is so much preparation that needs to take place, we thought that there wasn't enough time to really allow the Korean brothers and sisters to work out some of these challenges and host a big world assembly in the same year."
The International Council of the WEA is now looking at alternative locations, although it has not ruled out the possibility of the assembly still taking place in South Korea. However, Mr Tunnicliffe confirmed that the assembly would not be taking place this year.
The WEA holds General Assembly every six years to hear what the Spirit is saying to His Church. It brings together the 129 national alliances and fellowships to discuss new ways of working together and consult on plans and initiatives.
Planning for the next assembly is set to continue despite the postponement, and an announcement on the new date and location is due in the coming months.
"The WEA International Council is grateful for the important and energetic vision of the Church in South Korea, both within the country and in its mission initiatives worldwide," the WEA statement continued.
"The Council also prays for a new coming together of evangelical leadership, nurturing the Church in its life and witness, centered in Jesus Christ."