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Salvador de Bahía

The last, 1996, WCC conference on mission of the century took place in Salvador de Bahía, Brazil, and was fully dedicated to the relation between gospel and cultures. After the change in world politics of 1989 and the increased influence of cultural and ethnic identities on violent conflicts, a renewed missiological reflection on culture was needed. Reaffirming Bangkok's position on inculturation, Salvador insisted on the richness of cultural variety as God's gift, but also on the gospel imperative to link the affirmation of one's cultural identity with an openness to other identities. Salvador recognized the fundamental equality of all cultures, but also their ambiguity. In its relation with cultures, the gospel may be illuminated, but also obscured. Churches in mission may have to confirm elements of their culture, but also to challenge others. In the face of the situation in the Eastern part of Europe in particular, Salvador reaffirmed the WCC's opposition to proselytism, and the need for cooperation in mission and common witness