Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World

The world in which we now live is multi-religious.  For the last five years, the World Council of Churches, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the World Evangelical Alliance have worked together to craft “Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct,” which provides recommendations for “conduct on Christian witness around the world.”   The document recommends the authoring bodies:

  1. study the issues set out in this document and where appropriate formulate guidelines for conduct regarding Christian witness applicable to their particular contexts. Where possible this should be done ecumenically, and in consultation with representatives of other religions.
  2. build relationships of respect and trust with people of all religions, in particular at institutional levels between churches and other religious communities, engaging in on-going interreligious dialogue as part of their Christian commitment . . .  interreligious dialogue can provide new opportunities for resolving conflicts, restoring justice, healing of memories, reconciliation and peace-building.
  3. encourage Christians to strengthen their own religious identity and faith while deepening their knowledge and understanding of different religions, and to do so also taking into account the perspectives of the adherents of those religions . . .
  4. cooperate with other religious communities engaging in interreligious advocacy towards justice and the common good and, wherever possible, standing together in solidarity with people who are in situations of conflict.
  5. call on their governments to ensure that freedom of religion is properly and comprehensively respected, recognizing that in many countries religious institutions and persons are inhibited from exercising their mission.
  6. pray for their neighbours and their well-being, recognizing that prayer is integral to who we are and what we do, as well as to Christ’s mission
So What?
While these recommendations are intended for three entities responsible for the document’s creation, they are also relevant to individual followers of Jesus.
  • What have you found to be the greatest challenge to extending Christian witness in a multi-religious world?
  • Which of the six recommendations do you find hardest to achieve on a regular basis?
  • How has your church helped you better understand and engage the multi-religious world in which you live?

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