ADVERTISING
 
Tuesday, August 14   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 
Flecha
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
New season
What kind of contents do you enjoy most?






SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Evangelical Focus in Rome
 

‘A clear evangelical identity strengthens our dialogue with society’

Efraim Tendero (World Evangelical Alliance) and Jaume Llenas (Spanish Evangelical Alliance) agree in their disapproval of ecumenism and emphasise mission: “If we stop sharing the gospel, we stop being evangelical Christians”. A second report from the 2016 Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly.

AUTHOR Joel Forster ROME 21 APRIL 2016 14:48 h GMT+1
efraim tendero, italy, wea Efraim Tendero, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, during one of the session in Rome. / J. Forster

Bishop Efraim Tendero became the first World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General to visit an Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly. His views and those of Spanish Evangelical Alliance Secretary General Jaume Llenas were heard by about 200 people.



After suffering a flight delay of 24 hours, Bishop Efraim Tendero arrived just in time to the Alfa & Omega church in the outskirts of Rome where the Italian Evangelical Alliance (AEI) was closing the first day of its annual assembly (8-9 April).



The theme chosen by the AEI for the weekend was: “Evangelical faith and Roman Catholicism: Where are we? Where are we going?”



This second report about the 2016 Italian Evangelical Alliance general assembly summarises the opinions of Bishop Efraim Tendero (Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance) and Jaume Llenas (Secretary General of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance). Read about the sessions led by Italian evangelical leaders in the first report.



 



EFRAIM TENDERO: “DISTINCTION MARKS OF EVANGELICALS”



In a session after dinner, Efraim Tendero briefly outlined his convictions. He started giving  some details about his first year leading the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). He expressed his desire to listen and understand the reality of evangelical Christians in different countries and cultural contexts. [Bishop Efraim Tendero commented more on this idea in an exclusive interview he gave to Evangelical Focus, which will be published in the coming days.]



 



Bishop Tendero explained his view of what evangelicals believe. / J. Forster

Tendero referred to his visit to Israel (March 2016) and the talks he had with government officials to propel the “full recognition” of evangelicals - churches are not allowed to register their own marriages there, among other limitations. When asked by a Jewish religious leader to stop all forms of mission towards Jews for a period of time, Tendero answered: “If we stop sharing the gospel, we stop being evangelical Christians”.



Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ should always be the priority for evangelical Christians, Tendero underlined. He then went on to suggest 5 other distinction marks which describe who evangelical Christians are:



- “We believe in the authority of the Bible as the Word of God.



- We believe in God in three persons.



- We believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ.



- We believe in salvation only through faith in Jesus Christ.



- We believe in the centrality of mission in the Church.”



“This five points make us evangelical Christians”, Tendero concluded, and this is why “Roman Catholics cannot be considered as evangelicals.” They have a “tradition which is added to the Bible and they believe in the merits [for salvation] besides of Jesus.”



What about the differences ‘inside’ Evangelicalism? “One of the obstacles to the expansion of the Gospel is the lack of unity among evangelicals”, Tendero said. “We do not have a Pope, we have the priesthood of all believers, under one head which is Christ. The WEA is the visibilisation of the unity of evangelicals.”



Nevertheless, “at times it seems that every evangelical church has its own Pope”, he added with irony.



 



THE NEED FOR UNITY AMONG EVANGELICALS



On Saturday, the WEA Secretary General opened the sessions again. Following th reflection of the day before, he shared three foundations for the unity among evangelical Christians: “the triune God demonstrated it, the nature of the Church dictates it and the magnitude of the task (the mission) demands it”, he said. “A friend says that if we are not able to work together, we are like two ants fighting each other to see who eats the elephant.”



Tendero called to “concentrate on agreement”, searching the “shared purpose and the common denominators” all evangelical churches have. This implies, as Jesus said, to “die to one self.”



Working together can happen on different levels, be it through simple networking, through collaboration or even organisational union.



There is a “mission unity in the WEA”, based on “the fellowship in the Gospel, the defence and confirmation of the Gospel and the furtherance of the Gospel”. And then, there is a “unity on common concerns”, Tendero continued, such as “poverty alleviation, Human Rights issues, terrorism, nuclear weapons, sustainable development, integrity in political electoral processes, etc.”



The Secretary General closed by saying that “Missional witness (preaching the Gospel) and the Salt and Light Witness (Preserves and transforms society)” need to go hand in hand.



 



Some of the participants in the AEI Assembly in Rome. / J. Forster



 



ROUND TABLE: HOW IS SITUATION IN THE 21st CENTURY?



The AEI annual meeting closed with a final round table (read about the other sessions), in which Bishop Tendero and Jaume Llenas (Spanish Evangelical Alliance, AEE) joined AEI’s President Giacomo Ciccone to discuss their points of view on the topic “Evangelicals and Roman Catholicism in the 21st century.”



Giuseppe Rizza had introduced the discussion pointing out two trends: “The fact that the centre of Christianity has shifted from the North to the South” is one. The other: “While secularism says religion is part of the past, it is obvious that we are living in a very religious century.”



 



LLENAS: “NO COMMON SOURCES OF AUTHORITY” WITH CATHOLICISM



“When we relate to Roman Catholicism we need to think: Why? And, for what?”, AEE Secretary General Jaume Llenas said. “For Catholics, the Church equates to the institution, and therefore, they would say we evangelicals are not Church.” Meanwhile, “we believe there is some Church inside Roman Catholicism, but we do not see the Church as a human institution. This is the first problem we have.”



The second common obstacle, Llenas continued, is that “there are no common sources of authority. This means that when we have dialogue with them, it leads to nowhere most of the time. We mainly are losing time. The ecumenical chat is frustrating”.



Dialogue needs to be seen from a new perspective: “We have to go to a new concept: the dialogue with society. We have to talk to the whole society. We need to penetrate society, and there, in the society, we also will find Catholics.”



 



Jaume Llenas, giving the Spanish point of view. / J. Forster



“When we talk to Catholics in a religious context, we seem to be on different levels: they are higher. But the conversation in society it is different.” Llenas used the example of a hotel. Roman Catholicism may be staying in the luxurious ‘suite’, while evangelical Christians have a regular room. “But the conversation should not happen in the ‘suite’, but in the ‘bar’ down in the ‘hall’, where we all are equal.”



 



DIALOGUE WITH SOCIETY, NOT ONLY WITH CATHOLICS



Another obstacle to a real and honest dialogue is that “the Roman Church wants to preserve its position and privileges. But this is changing and almost finished.”



A problem for the future of Catholicism is that its “tradition is not part of the faith, but its centre”, the Spanish representative said. “If you listen carefully, it is ‘tradition + tradition’. Even the Bible is ‘tradition’ for them. The authority of the Roman Church is not the Bible, it’s Magisterium of the Church”.



But the “reality is there are no traditional people left in Europe. We are post-modern, and the Catholic churches have a membership of post-modern people, and this is why the boat is sinking.”



The AEE leader went further to say that this also affects the evangelical churches. “Christendom as a cultural era is also finishing for us. And we are not connecting with society”, he warned.



“When we fear, we usually go back to the ‘good old times’, to a certain ‘golden era.’ But we are not going back enough”, Llenas said, referring to the importance of rediscovering the Reformation and the Early Church. The identity is only to be found in the “centre of our calling, the mission of God.”



Llenas concluded by saying that the Spanish Evangelical Alliance fully agrees with the WEA Singapore 1986 document and the 2007 EEA text, two statements which pointed out the need to be careful in the dialogue with Roman Catholicism.



“We do not agree with doing joint proclamarion with Roman Catholics. This only confuses people. But I see space to do good together, for co-belligerance not only with Catholics, but also with many other groups in society.”



 



A general view of one of the sessions. / J. Forster



 



TENDERO: THE PHILIPPINES AS AN EXAMPLE



When Efraim Tendero took the word in the round table, he started by giving an example of the Philippines. “There we are 10% evangelicals, and Catholics are 80%. We have good relationships, but we have no ecumenical relationships.”



“As an evangelical I do not believe in ecumenical relationships”, Tendero emphasised.



To illustrate this, the WEA Secretary General explained how the name of the “WEA Ecumenical Relationships Group” group had been changed to “Inter-faith Relationships Group” (when dialoguing with other religions) and “Intra-faith Relationships Group” (when talking to other Christians faiths.)  The aim was to show that “these dialogues are not ecumenical.”



 



EVANGELICALS CAN BE “OVERWHELMING MINORITY”



“In the 20 years of experience in Philippines I have initiated inter-faith dialogues, with different religions, focusing on social questions in which we have to work together. We are smaller, but when we meet in the ‘hall’, we are all on the same level”, he added. 



“We might be a minority with these dialogue with other religions and with other parts of society, but with the guidance of God, we can be an ‘overwhelming minority’”, the WEA Secretary General added.



Evangelical Christians need to have a clear identity in the Gospel. “When we relate to other religions, our position of strength is to know who we are”, Tendero concluded.



 



CICCONE: IMPORTANCE OF DOCTRINE



Giacomo Ciccone closed the panel by saying that the biblical doctrines which define the evangelical faith are “not just a checklist.” “Our declaration of faith cannot just be a number of empty titles”, the AEI President responded to those who say there are only minor differences with Roman Catholicism.



 



Giacomo Ciccone, during the AEI assembly. / J. Forster

“With acronyms and short messages we lose the deep sense of doctrines like the authority of the Bible, and the Christology. We cannot reduce these points, they are connected to each other. Take the 5 Solas for example, we cannot just take one and leave the others out, because they are an organic body.”



“Honesty” is important when approaching the dialogue with Catholicism. It might be difficult to find the heart of what Roman Catholicism teaches when looking at different internal movements, but it is “easier” to just look at the “official documents, the real essence of Catholicism. This is what we need to evaluate before what is said or anything else.”



“As the AEI we said it in the past: we have not agreed with the WEA in severals debates.” But the “Italian Evangelical Alliance is part of the WEA, and very happily. We are honoured to be part of the people of God in 130 countries.”



Adding to the views of the World and Spanish Alliances, Ciccone said: “We see a distinction between spiritual unity, on the one side, and co-belligerence and dialogue, on the other.” And “we are very determined to dialogue, debate and do co-belligerence with Catholics.” An example of this was the active participation of the AEI in a massive pro-family demonstration in 2015, where most of the organisation were Roman Catholics.



“But the spiritual unity needs to be based on biblical categories”, the AEI President concluded.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - ‘A clear evangelical identity strengthens our dialogue with society’
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow

A team of Steiger mission is starting conversations about the gospel in the middst of the football celebration in Russia.

 
Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
Coexistence in the church - a model for society Coexistence in the church - a model for society

“Gospel, identity and coexistence” were the themes of the General Assembly of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance. Two days in Palma de Mallorca to reflect about the role of evangelical churches in society.

 
'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Being a peacemaker Being a peacemaker

Ken Sande, Founder and President of Relational Wisdom 360, develops a practical systematic theology for pursuing peace and resolving the conflicts of real life. 

 
“No one should have to leave their values at the door” “No one should have to leave their values at the door”

Author Krish Kandiah talks with politician Tim Farron about the Christian faith, politics and secularism.

 
What are the essential characteristics of a godly leader? What are the essential characteristics of a godly leader?

Clinical Pastoral Counsellor Emoke Tapolyai reflect on three characteristics Christians who have been given leadership roles should develop.

 
Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’ Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’

How can we reach those who call themselves ‘Christians’ but have not experienced a conversion to Christ? Forty missiologists and mission practitioners came together for a Lausanne Movement global consultation in Rome.

 
Trailer: “The Peace Between” Trailer: “The Peace Between”

A film about the experience of refugees in Europe. Churches, small groups and individuals are encouraged to use it during Refugee Week: 17-24 June.

 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.