As Word of Life Churches in the Czech Republic and Slovakia we would like to formulate a clear statement concerning Ulf Ekman´s decision to join the Roman-Catholic Church (RCC). His decision shocked many, including us. Although we have always honored and respected Ulf Ekman as a Christian leader, our highest authority continues to be the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God, and that is why we cannot agree with his decision. We want to make a clear stand in the matter also because we live in countries where many people belong to the RCC.
Although there are also honest Christians amongst Catholics, we can agree upon The Apostolic Creed, we have the same understanding of The Trinity, Christology, and some other doctrines, yet there are teachings in which we cannot agree at all. We believe in the necessity of a born again experience through repentance, faith in the Gospel and a personal conversion to Christ. We believe that Jesus teaches that there are only two ways in life, one that is broad and leads to eternal damnation, and the other one that is a narrow way leading to eternal life. We believe that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men, and that our prayers should be directed to no one else other than God Himself. We believe that the Church is not built upon Peter, but on Jesus Christ and on revelation that He is the Son of God. We believe that he established two sacraments (as the outer sign of inner godliness), a water baptism that is a public confirmation of one’s personal faith, and the Lord’s Supper which is done in remembrance of His death and resurrection, in which He is present but never sacrificed again.
The Word of Life churches in the Czech Republic and Slovakia continue to be Evangelical and Charismatic Churches. The same position was declared by the Word of Life Church in Uppsala, Sweden and all their leaders. In spite of the fact that Ulf Ekman is the founder of the Word of Life movement and that we appreciate the excellent work he has done on God´s field in the last 30 years, at this moment his path and the path of the Word of Life churches must be clearly parted.
The position of a senior pastor of Word of Life in Uppsala was already passed over to Joakim Lundqvist in June 2013 and soon after Christian Åkerhielm was given full responsibility for the international work. Ulf Ekman resigned from all positions in the Uppsala Church as well as resigning from the international work of Word of Life and retired in February 2014. His decision to join the Roman-Catholic church, that he has called his own personal journey, was officially announced in Uppsala on the 9th of March 2014. We are fully aware that it has been difficult for many to cope with the situation, but let us also stress that the work of God is not built on any man. We believe that when the work is firmly built on a solid foundation of the Word of God and a vision¸ that he entrusted us with¸ the work will stand.
The International Congress of Word of Life churches (WOLI) was held in March 2014 from the 13th to 16th, in which 450 pastors from around 30 nations gathered. The founder of the movement, Ulf Ekman, confirmed his decision to join the Roman-Catholic church in the opening session. The Congress took a unanimous decision to continue in the vision God gave us in line with clear Evangelic and Charismatic teaching. Christian Åkerhielm was appointed as a President of WOLI and Carl Gustaf Severin and Senior leaders of Word of Life Mission Centers were elected as members of the Board.
We are fully devoted to build God’s work in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in line with the vision God gave to us: „Equip God’s people with the Word of Faith, show them the spiritual weapons they have, teach them how to use them, and send them out into victorious battle for the Lord.“ The identity of Word of Life remains unchanged: To preach the Gospel to the lost, to teach the Word of Faith, to develop a life of the Spirit, mission and striving for unity but only based on the truths of the Word of God. We believe that the work of Word of Life has a bright future and that the Lord will raise up new workers for the harvest of the last times, all over the world.
On behalf of Word of Life churches in Czech Republic: Michal Vaněk, senior pastor of Word of Life Czech Republic On behalf of Word of Life churches in Slovakia: Peter Čuřík, senior pastor of Word of Life Bratislava, Slovakia Pavel Hoffman, MDiv, Word of Life Theological Seminary