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7-15 May 2013
John Calvin would have been in the Occupy Wall Street movement, says Reformed church leader
The cause of demonstrators involved in the “Occupy Wall Street” movement would have been supported by John Calvin, the 16th century church reformer who helped shape modern-day Protestantism, says the General Secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC).
“I am sure he would have been in the streets of New York or London with a placard,” says Setri Nyomi of the French lawyer and theologian who wrote extensively about social and economic justice.
Nyomi makes his comments in a lecture delivered Tuesday at Princeton Theological Seminary in the United States. The Ghanaian theologian and Princeton graduate is delivering three lectures this week on the role of the church in the 21st century.
“Calvin expressed opposition to all forms of social oppression resulting from money”, Nyomi says. “Today, it is the global economic systems and practices that have more sophisticated forms of effects.”
Nyomi believes Calvin’s words resonate with life today. “The church of the 21st century needs to align itself with voices of justice … even if it means being out there in the streets,” he writes.
WCRC endorses economic justice as an expression of Christian faith. The Accra Confession, a foundational document for the organization, declares: “We believe the economy exists to serve the dignity and wellbeing of people … Therefore we reject the unregulated accumulation of wealth and limitless growth that has already cost the lives of millions and destroyed much of God’s creation.”
“This is not a convenient set of nice words to recite on Sunday and with which to soothe our consciences. It places demands on us,” Nyomi says. “A commitment on our part is called for.”
The document was adopted in Accra, Ghana in 2004 by one of WCRC’s predecessor organizations, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.
WCRC was created in June 2010 through a merger of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC). Its 230 member churches representing 80 million Christians are active worldwide in initiatives supporting economic, climate and gender justice, mission, and cooperation among Christians of different traditions.