Between advocacy and readiness to suffer

Religious liberty and persecution of Christians as topics at the World Evangelical Alliance General Assembly and its Mission Commission Consultation 2008


  • Christof Sauer


World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), conference, consultation, declaration, General Assembly, Mission Commission, Religious Liberty Commission, International Institute for Religious Freedom (IIRF), advocacy, suffering, persecution, martyrdom, religious freedom, religious liberty, evangelical theology


The World Evangelical Alliance, which represents 420 million Christians, held its General Assembly in Pattaya, Thailand in October 2008, with a global consultation of its Mission Commission in its wake. At both gatherings the complementary emphases of advocacy for persecuted Christians on the one hand and readiness to suffer for Christ on the other hand played a major role. The General Assembly gave more prominence to advocacy, while the Mission Commission Consultation emphasised more the willingness to suffer with Christ in God’s mission. The WEA Religious Liberty Commission and the International Institute for Religious Freedom played a major role in making advocacy one of the major issues at the General Assembly. A study process and small expert consultation on developing an evangelical theology of suffering, persecution and martyrdom for the global church in mission is in planning.

Author Biography

Christof Sauer

Prof. Dr. Christof Sauer serves as Research Director of IIRF in a part time position, being retired early for health reasons. He is one of two founding directors of the IIRF and served in that capacity until 2021. He also serves as director of the Cape Town Bureau of IIRF, where he lived from 2000–2020. He developed the International Journal for Religious Freedom.