World Evangelical Alliance
- The World Evangelical Alliance (formerly the World Evangelical Fellowship) traces its history to the Evangelical Alliance, founded in London in 1846 by delegates from more than 50 different Christian denominational bodies. The original organization was an association of individuals. It adopted a statement of belief that included affirmation of the authority of Scripture, the need and right of individual interpretation, the Trinity, human depravity, and salvation through Jesus Christ. The alliance quickly found international support and spread to all the Protestant-dominated countries of Europe and North America, and as far as Turkey and India. The United States branch did not open until 1867.In Europe, the alliance remained a vital organization, but its work in America was largely superseded by the Federal Council of Churches (formed in 1906), which in 1944 finally inherited the alliance's few remaining corporate assets. The alliance in America had divided during the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy of the early 20th century. In 1942, more conservative Protestants founded the National Association of Evangelicals.In the years following World War II, American Evangelical leaders began to seek an international network. On August 5 - 11, 1951, a call was issued for a meeting of interested persons at Woudschiten, near Zeist, the Netherlands. Those gathered founded the World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF). Brief doctrinal and purpose statements were adopted. Within two years, 12 national Evangelical fellowships from various parts of the world had affiliated with WEF. By the 1990s, the WEF had grown into a global network. It currently has more than 120 affiliated national/regional alliances, 104 organizational ministries, and six specialized ministries.In 2001, the fellowship voted to change its name to World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). It is currently headed by an International Executive Council, with leadership drawn from all parts of the world. Seven regional alliances coordinate the activity of national bodies in their region.The WEA operates in the middle of the spectrum between the separatist Fundamentalist International Council of Christian Churches and the liberal Protestant World Council of Churches.See also Ecumenical movement.Further reading:■ World Evangelical Alliance. Available online. uRL: http://www.worldevangelical.org■ David M. Howard, The Dream That Would Not Die: The Birth and Growth of the World Evangelical Fellowship, 1846-1986 (Exeter, U.K.: Paternoster, 1986)■ W. Harold Fuller, People of the Mandate (Carlisle, U.K./Grand Rapids, Mich.: Paternoster/Baker Book House, 1996).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.
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