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WEA announces appointment of next Secretary General

Efraim Tendero (Philippines) will be succeeded by Thomas Schirrmacher (Germany), who has been in charge of the World Evangelical Alliance’s area of Theological Concerns.

FUENTES WEA AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus 02 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2020 11:02 h
World Evangelical Alliance.

The International Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has announced the name of who will be the organisation’s next Secretary General, starting in March 2021.

The German Thomas Shirrmacher has been chosen by the Search Committee “from among more than a dozen candidates”, the WEA said in a statement on 29 October.  

He will assume the leadership from Efraim Tendero, who served in the role since 2015. Tendero described Schirrmacher as “the person who is best prepared to lead the global body of evangelicals into the future”. He added: “I have full confidence that he will lead the WEA as empowered by the Holy Spirit in advancing the Good news of the Lord Jesus Christ to all nations, and effecting personal, family and community transformation for the glory of God”.

“I am humbled that so many esteemed leaders are putting their trust in me. Having been part of the leadership for a long time, I already feel very much at home in the WEA”, Thomas Schirrmacher.

In the WEA, Schirrmacher has hold the position of Associate Secretary General for Theological Concerns, which includes the areas of Theology, Theological Education, Intra-faith and Interfaith Relations, Religious Freedom and Research.

[photo_footer]   Thomas Schirrmacher. / WEA [/photo_footer] 

Previous work

Outside the WEA, Schirrmacher is founder of the Martin Bucer European Theological Seminary and Research Institutes. He has studied theology “at colleges in Switzerland, the United States, Netherlands and also received a degree from India. He holds several degrees in various disciplines and a number of earned doctorates to his name”. The theologian has authored over one hundred books.  

After serving as a pastor and co-pastor in the Bonn area (Germany) during two decades, “in 2015, was consecrated as an episcopal leader serving the Communio Messianica, a global body of believers from another faith background”.


Advocating for religious freedom

Schirrmacher has also been “a strong advocate for religious liberty for all” and a “a great concern for the persecuted church”, the WEA said.

He is President of the International Council of the International Society for Human Rights and Director of the International Institute for Religious Freedom.

He was one of the promoters of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) that was founded by the WEA more than two decades ago.

He is married to Christine Schirrmacher, an Islamic Studies at the Universities of Bonn and Leuven, and WEA Commissioner for Islamic Affairs.


Close relationship with two Popes

According to his personal website, Schirrmacher “met the old as well as the new Pope, the Ecumenical Patriarch as well as many other patriarchs on behalf of religious freedom. The German major newspaper Die Welt calls him one of the three leading experts on religious freedom globally and ‘Pope Francis’ most loved Protestant’”.

He was one of the main leaders behind the “first ever joint statement by the Vatican (Pontificial Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue), the World Council of Churches and World Evangelical Alliance on world mission and human rights, published mid 2011”.

In 2017, Thomas Schirrmacher co-authored an article published on Evangelical Focus in which he responded to “strong criticism from evangelical Christians over our friendly interaction with senior Roman Catholic leaders”. At the origin of the debate was the conversation around the statement of evangelical theologians “Is the Reformation Over?”.  Two signatories of this document responded to his arguments in the context of a larger debate about how the WEA should conduct its relationships with the Vatican (see here, here and here).




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