Theologians Meet to Share Visions for a New World

As part of the preparation for WCC delegates’ attendance in the coming World Social Forum, 180 theologians from all parts of the world joined the World Forum on Theology and Liberation in Porto Alegre, Brazil from 21st to 25th January.

Based on both the World Social Forum slogan, "Another world is possible", and the theme of the February 2006 assembly in Porto Alegre of the World Council of Churches, "God, in your grace, transform the world", the theologians explored how another world is possible in a theological context.

"The other world we are thinking of is the one we have, not a world beyond," said Rev. Orlando Santos de Oliveira, the primate of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil at the opening session.

"The only possible theology is one that engages with a liberating God on a concrete pastoral basis, in dialogue with new religious and social movements and the society we live in," Rev de Oliveira declared the importance of applying theology in the social life of this modern age.

The president of the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba, Rev. Dr Ofelia Ortega echoed that our task is the fulfilment of the Agape of God which is based on grace and transforming justice.

Turning the WCC assembly theme around, Ortega stressed human responsibility for the act of transformation, "God, in your grace, help us to obey your call to be agents for transforming your world."

Dr Walter Altmann, president of the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil (IECLB) brought out a message of hope for the new possible world, "The community of faith is a community of hope."

For Altmann, the genuine Christian contribution to another world is to live as "fruits of hope", based in God's grace, and as "creators of hope" who hold fast to the "final, eternal hope" in the face of all that threatens hope in today's world.