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WORLD ALLIANCE OF REFORMED CHURCHES (WARC) Printer Friendly Page

Capitalism: Cosmic Threat to Planet
By Mark Tooley
September 17, 2009

John Calvin: Green Socialist?
By John Tooley
September 25, 2007

 


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  • Views capitalism as the world’s leading cause of human poverty and environmental degradation
  • Calls for the creation of “a more just economy” that “sets clear limits to greed” and is consistent with “the integrity of Christian faith”
  • Advocates global governance and an enlarged international welfare system, where Western donors continuously redistribute wealth into statist Third World economies



The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) consists of 214 member churches (with a combined membership of approximately 75 million) in 107 countries around the world. These include the Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed, and United Churches whose historical roots date back to the 16th-century Reformation. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, WARC was created in 1970 by a merger of two bodies -- one representing Presbyterian and Reformed churches, the other representing Congregational churches. The organization works closely with the World Council of Churches.

[C]oncerned about the injustices inherent in the world’s economic arrangements as well as the blatant disregard for the environment,” WARC views capitalism -- fueled by “unrestrained competition,” “deregulation of the market,” “privatization,” and “lower taxes” -- as the leading cause of human poverty and environmental degradation across the globe. As such, the Alliance calls upon its member churches to serve as “agents of transformation” committed to stamping out the “economic and ecological injustices” that are part of the “idolatrous” free-market system.

WARC warns of “the seduction of globalization and the role that it plays in co-opting even the most radical movements while at the same time insulating the privileged from the violence it is based on and generates.”

Expanding on this theme, WARC denounces “the life-defeating and death-dealing blows of the economics of empire,” whose “all-encompassing global reality” is constantly “serving, protecting and defending the interests of powerful corporations, nations, elites and privileged people, while imperiously excluding -- even sacrificing -- humanity and exploiting creation.”

“The integrity of our faith is at stake if we remain silent or refuse to act in the face of the current system of neoliberal economic globalization,” says WARC, urging the creation of “a more just economy” and a "new international financial architecture" that “sets clear limits to greed” and is consistent with “the integrity of Christian faith.” WARC likens its own mission to that of Jesus, who also spoke "truth to power in word and symbolic action," while listening to the "voices of those who were forced into silence by the violence of the system."

To set the world right, WARC advocates global governance and an enlarged international welfare system, where Western donors continuously redistribute wealth into statist Third World economies – all in the interests of "economic and climate justice." Echoing the doomsday predictions of radical environmentalism, WARC states that “the ecological crisis and its rootedness in anti-people growth economies” has “exacerbated the need for organized political action for global transformation.”

In 2004 WARC drafted its so-called “Accra Confession,” a manifesto for worldwide collectivism which asserts that the “root causes of massive threats to life” are above all the product of an “unjust” and “immoral” economic system that is “defended and protected by political and military might.” “The policy of unlimited growth among industrialized countries and the drive for profit of transnational corporations,” says Accra, “have plundered the earth and severely damaged the environment” – leading, regretfully, to “climate change” and its allegedly devastating consequences.

According to Accra, since the 1980s “neoliberalism” has been mercilessly dismantling welfare states around the world, instead focusing on increased profits for the “owners of production” while excluding most people and treating nature as a “commodity.” For this trend, Accra blames the “government of the United States of America and its allies,” who “use political, economic or military alliances to protect and advance the interest of capital owners.”

Accra rejects the “current world economic order imposed by global neoliberal capitalism,” whose “rampant consumerism” and “competitive greed and selfishness” have already “cost the lives of millions and destroyed much of God’s creation.”

On 1 February 2006, Clifton Kirkpatrick, president of the WARC, and Douwe Visser, president of the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC), said in a joint letter, "We rejoice in the work of the Holy Spirit which we believe has led us to recommend that the time has come to bring together the work of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council into one body that will strengthen the unity and witness of Reformed Christians." The new body will be called the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

The World Communion of Reformed Churches was formed in June 2010, and is now the third largest Christian communion in the world, with more than 80 million members.


This profile draws heavily from John Tooley's articles, "Capitalism: Cosmic Threat to Planet" and "John Calvin: Green Socialist?"

 

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