By Rev. Dr. J. C. Park, President of World Methodist Council
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ!
As I have come back home from the General Council of World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) which took place in Leipzig, Germany from June 29 to July 7 , 2017 , I would like to share with people called Methodists on the historic meaning of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in relation to our contemporary theological and missional issues.
First, I greeted the delegates of WCRC on behalf of the World Methodist Council. I expressed my joy and gratitude for them since they participated in the ecumenical process of the Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification by bringing their unique contribution to the cause of justice. We, the World Methodist delegates including Bishop Ivan Abrahams and Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, were present at the ecumenical service at Wittenberg to celebrate the co-signing of WCRC in the Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification. The doctrine which was the cause of church division has become the ground of a new ecumenical unity.
Second, I would like to remind you that our Wesleyan doctrine of justification and sanctification has been and will continue to be the reconciling understanding of the scriptural teaching of salvation by grace through ‘faith working by love.’(Gal 5:6) We believe that Scriptural Christianity consists of both the vertical dimension of new birth by the saving faith (sola fide) in Jesus Christ and the horizontal dimension of going on to Christian perfection by the power of the Holy Spirit pouring love into our hearts. This is indeed the great salvation which does not stop short at conversion but extends itself to call for holiness in community, world and universe. However, we affirm that justification remains the solid foundation of salvation and sanctification provides the eschatological telos of salvation envisioning new creation.
Third, the Ecumenical Forum for Peace, Reunification and Development Cooperation on the Korean Peninsula (EFK) hosted by WCC and WCRC from July 8 to July 10, 2017 was held in Leipzig which was the starting place of peaceful revolution in 1989. The 32 participants from 8 countries reaffirmed their commitment to peacemaking ministry in Korea. The recent escalation of the tension and conflict around the Korean Peninsula has called for the urgent action for resuming dialogue between North Korea and South Korea as well as between North Korea and U.S.A. I would like to invite the member churches of WMC to practice their solidarity for peace in Korea by sharing the prayer prepared by both the Korean Christian Federation (KCF) in North Korea and the National Council of Churches in South Korea. (Download : 2017 Easter Prayer North South Korea.pdf)
An invitation to the next World Methodist Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden (2021) will be extended to the chair of the KCF, Rev. Kang Myong-chul, and the North Korean delegation.
Peace and Grace,