Translated from Vatican News (25. February 2021)

Protestant theologian and scholar of sociology of religion Thomas Schirrmacher (60) will be inaugurated on Saturday as the new Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), the representative body of evangelical Christians worldwide. He is the first German to hold this office.

At the virtual ceremony, evangelical bishop Efraim Tendero of Manila, who has led the WEA for the past six years, will also be bid farewell. The WEA sees itself as a “network of evangelically minded Christians” and was founded in 1846 in London as an interdenominational unification movement. It says it represents 600 million primarily theologically conservative Protestants in 129 countries and is headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois.

Interdenominational unification movement

Schirrmacher has served the WEA in various capacities since 1999, most recently serving as its associate Secretary General, Chair of the Theological Commission and Ambassador for Human Rights. In recent years, he has also maintained intensive contacts with the Catholic Church and Orthodoxy, as well as with the major world religions.

He is considered one of the architects of the joint statement issued in 2011 by the Vatican, the World Council of Churches and the WEA, “ Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World.” The statement documented a new collaboration among partners who had not had too much to say to each other in the past. In 2018, the Vatican and WEA published the result of a six-year doctrinal conversation on Scripture and Tradition and the importance of the Church for salvation. (kap/kna – mg)

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