When we gathered outside Nairobi last November—245 leaders of Christian denominations and organizations from 72 countries—church history was made. At the four-day Global Christian Forum meeting, all parts of the global Christian family were officially represented, including Pentecostal, evangelical, Orthodox, Catholic, and historic Protestant churches. As Assemblies of God minister Mel Robeck put it, “I am stunned—we have here what might be described as a new Pentecost.”
Let me try to explain what a unique breakthrough this was. For decades, judgments and prejudices have separated evangelicals from mainline churches, Pentecostals from Catholics, and Baptists from Orthodox churches—the list goes on. Organizations such as the World Council of Churches have worked to bring the hope of unity, but Catholics have participated only cautiously from the side, and evangelicals and Pentecostals have stayed away. In short, the global body of Christ persistently suffers from deep divisions, distrust, and even hostility between its various parts, seriously injuring its witness and mission.