Our Hope is Justice
For a Just Church and a Just World
Declaration of the Initiative "Church from Below" (IKvu)
[This declaration of the Initiative "Church from Below" (IKvu) passed on October 17, 1999 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web.]
Our Hope is Justice
This motto describes the goal of the initiative Church from Below: to contribute to a more just church and a more just world. The IKvu feels obliged and encouraged by the great prophetic tradition of our faith. This tradition encounters us in Jesus' life and message. Jesus believed in one God who turns to all people and takes sides for the small and despised. We can only testify to God's justice that makes persons just and accepts sinners without reserve in engagement for a world where no one is excluded or disadvantaged. The option for the poor and oppressed was originally developed and defended in the theology of liberation. This option must also become a standard of theology and church practice in Germany. The IKvu champions this.
Liberation in the One World
The IKvu proclaims the goal of the "conciliar process for justice, peace and preservation of creation". Together with partners in other groups and countries, the IKvu follows the vision of a world where awareness of limits increases, limits of growth, mobility and people themselves. In this world, personal self-determination harmonizes with the participation of individuals in society. Consciousness of the mutual dependence of all people should grow along with sustainable development corresponding to the needs of future generations. Free from existential threat, people will become free from restrictions by gender roles and social class and thus able to live the freedom to which God calls us.
Liberation in the Church
The Ikvu understands itself as an initiative for the renewal of the church. According to our conviction, the church is the community of believers of all Christendom. The elites are intensely committed to conserving existing structures. Against this, we set a renewal from below, from the experience of lived Christianity near the distresses of the age. When the church opens itself to the operation of the spirit, it will allow pluralism without losing itself in arbitrariness. The opened church will experience the diversity of church traditions and confessional orientations as enrichment. People should spell out and translate the traditioned faith in their cultural context and their respective living conditions. Our conversion or repentance as a church is necessary for this translation. Courage is required to correct historical errors and developments that hinder the church today from satisfying the imperatives of justice, impair its credibility and impede its testimony for the gospel.
Utopia and Resistance
The church should resist the increasing economization of all areas of life under the slogan globalization. The church should recognize and proclaim that this development runs counter to the gospel of Jesus Christ and threatens to take the bottom out of faith. Therefore the church should not succumb to the illusion of a "brave new world" where everything is and must be calculated and utopias are no longer vital. To the seeming feasibility of all things and the omnipotence of the market, the church should form a counter-balance to defend humanliness. The church should rediscover that criticism of the powerful is a main item of the Jewish-Christian inheritance for humanity. The church should seek cooperation with new coalition partners. However the opened church can only credibly do its service for more justice in the world when it creates justice in its interior.
The IKvu wants to overcome the anxiety of little faith of the church about itself and resolutely head for God's kingdom and God's justice. Conscious of our inadequacy, we want to be in solidarity with the slighted and forgotten of our time. Our hope is justice!