INTERNATIONAL RECONCILIATION COALITION
The International Reconciliation Coalition was founded by John Dawson (author of two best-selling books, Taking Our Cities for God and Healing America’s Wounds) in 1990. The IRC is a network of individuals, churches and organizations committed to dealing with conflict using Biblical means – Confession, Repentance, Reconciliation and Restitution. The Coalition is a fellowship of between 800-1000 Pastors, Leaders and Intercessors comprising a worldwide network of like-minded, culturally diverse, praying servants from all streams within God’s church. It exists to provide: Advocacy, Research, Networking, Training and a variety of Prayer, Intercession and Reconciliation Initiatives and Consultations.
WHY GET INVOLVED IN RECONCILIATION:
- It demonstrates God’s love.
- It robs Satan of ancient strongholds.
- It triggers the harvest.
WHAT IS OUR GOAL?
That people be reconciled to God.
WHAT IS THE MAIN HISTORICAL HINDRANCE?
The sectarian spirit within the Church.
WHAT ARE TODAY’S POSSIBILITIES?
Growing repentance over historic sins has led to unprecedented affection and respect between today’s believers across the denominations and movements. Jesus said that when this occurs… “the world would believe that the Father sent Me.” John 17:21
WHEN WILL THEY SEE?
When the united Church carries the ministry of reconciliation beyond its walls.
BE PART OF SOMETHING BIG
The International Reconciliation Coalition is a rapidly growing worldwide network that deals with conflict in a Christian way. Our focus is on the corporate as well as the personal.
THE WOUNDS OF NATIONS
Individuals can hurt each other through selfish and unjust behavior, but it is also possible for a wound to be sustained by a nation or a people group within a nation. Animosity and bitterness sometimes fester unresolved for generations. The Native Americans, for example, the host people of North America, have been severely wounded by government, the church and society.
If we have broken our covenants with God and violated our relationships with one another, the path to reconciliation must begin with individual acts of confession.
Paradoxically, the greatest wounds in human history, the greatest injustices have not happened through the acts of some individual perpetrator; rather through the institutions, systems, philosophies, cultures, religions and governments of humankind. Because of this, we, as individuals, are tempted to absolve ourselves of all individual responsibility.
However, unless somebody chooses to identify themselves with corporate entities, such as the nation of our citizenship or the subculture of our ancestors, the act of honest confession will never take place. This leaves us in a world of injury and offense in which no corporate sin is ever acknowledged, reconciliation never begins and old hatreds deepen.
WHY INVOLVE CHRISTIANS?
We believe that the followers of Jesus are to step into this impasse as agents of healing. Within our ranks are representatives of every category of humanity. Trembling in our heavenly Father’s presence, we see clearly the sins of humankind and have no inclination to cover them up. Thus we are called to live out the biblical practice of identificational* repentance, a neglected truth that opens the floodgates of revival and brings healing to the nations.
The Judeo-Christian ethos present in many national cultures gives us some basis for hope. We believe that reconciliation ministries are primarily the responsibility of the living church because there is no substitute for the atonement for sin provided by Jesus. During the great seasons of revival the Christian community has always placed considerable emphasis on open acknowledgment on sin and called for changed attitudes and just actions. Today’s Christians have the potential to demonstrate a model of reconciliation in the troubled wold of 2000 and beyond.
* Identification: As used in this sense, signifies the act of consciously including oneself within an identifiable category of human beings.
TAKING ACTION TOGETHER
People working within the Coalition sometimes begin this process by organizing events and ceremonies in which representatives of offended subcultures have an opportunity to express regret and/or extend forgiveness. However, we recognize that the human story is filled with complex issues and that today’s generation has inherited the task of both honoring the righteous ancestors and seeking forgiveness for ancestral sins.
It is our hope that our children will not have to deal with the hatred and alienation that have marked the experience of this and past generations. Our inclination is to uncover the ancient and modern wounds of injustice, pride and prejudice and to heal them in a biblical way – that is to say without self-righteous accusation or dishonest cover-up.
FOUR HEALING STEPS
We believe in confession, repentance, reconciliation and restitution.
Let’s define these terms:
CONFESSION: Stating the truth; acknowledgment of the unjust or hurtful actions of myself or my people group toward other persons or categories of persons. (This is often seen as our main them but this is simply because it is the place to begin and contemporary Christians have neglected it…)
REPENTANCE: Turning from unloving to loving actions.
RECONCILIATION: Expressing and receiving forgiveness, and pursuing intimate fellowship with previous enemies.
RESTITUTION: Attempting to restore that which has been damaged or destroyed and seeking justice wherever we have power to act or to influence those in authority to act.
WOUNDS OF THE WORLD
- INDIGENOUS TO IMMIGRANT PEOPLES
Such as the Aboriginal to European-Australians
- RESIDUAL ANTAGONISMS, WHEN THERE IS JUSTICE UNDER THE LAW BUT THE WOUND CONTINUES
Such as between black and white Americans because of the legacy of slavery or the hearing and hearing impaired because of a perception of society’s continuing insensitivity.
- PEOPLE GROUP CONFLICTS
Such as the Kurds vs. the Turks or the Hutus vs. the Tutsis
- NATION-STATE RIVALRIES
Such as the border disputes between Pakistan and India
- INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENTS
Such as the Timorese resistance to Javanese Indonesians as a result of colonialism
- CIVIL WARS
Such as Bosnia or Kosovo
- ALIENATION BETWEEN GENERATIONS
Such as a generation returned from war dealing with the counter-cultures of their teenage children
- SOCIETAL CONFLICTS
Such as the Leftist vs. Rightist ideologies on the environment or abortion
- GENDER-BASED ABUSES
Such as the forced prostitution of Korean, Chinese and Philippine women by the Japanese military during the 1940’s.
- INDUSTRY, TRADE AND LABOR DISPUTES
Such as migrant farm workers vs. agribusiness enterprises
- SOCIAL-CLASS DIVISIONS
Such as those caused by the Indian caste system, socialist governing elites, land and business dynasties or aristocratic cultures
- INTER-RELIGIOUS CONFLICTS
Such as between Christians and Jews
- INTER-CHRISTIAN CONFLICTS
Such as sectarian divisions
- CHRISTIANITY TO PEOPLES
Such as when elements of Christian civilization have misrepresented God’s character, putting a stumbling block between those peoples and their Creator; an example is the impact of the Conquistadors on Amerindian peoples
WHAT WE DO TOGETHER
(Staff and Volunteers)
- WE IDENTIFY, LIST AND PUBLISH TODAY’S CONFLICTS AND THEIR CAUSES
This is done both through our International Office and regionally, as interdenominational pastors and leaders form reconciliation alliances and map the wounds of each city, state or nation.
- WE MOBILIZE LEADERSHIP IN RESPONSE TO PAST, PRESENT OR PENDING CONFLICTS AND IDENTIFY AND NETWORK CONTRIBUTING SPECIALISTS
Such as Langston Gatsi of Zimbabwe consulting on Bantu/Khoisan divisions.
- WE APPOINT COORFDINATORS TO SERVE THE RECONCILIATION VISION IN REGIONS AND COUNTRIES
Such as Ester Tanumihardjo working in Indonesia during the 1998 civil unrest and ethnic conflict.
- WE RECOGNIZE AND SUPPORT AD HOC COALITIONS DEALING WITH SPECIAL ISSUES
Such as “Reconciliation Walk”, 900th Anniversary of the Crusades dealing with the root of division between the followers of Islam and Western Christians.
- WE MOBILIZE PRAYER JOURNEYS FOR TRANS-REGIONAL RECONCILIATION EVENTS
To places such as the Historic West African slave ports or the sites significant to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and Portugal. Praying on site with insight.
- WE MAINTAIN A NETWORK DATABASE FOR AFFILIATED AND CONTRIBUTING DENOMINATIONS, UNIVERSITIES AND CHRISTIAN AGENCIES
This is organized around reconciliation themes in order to serve focus groups such as the gender reconciliation task force based in Australia.
- WE HOST OR CO-SPONSOR REGIONAL OR INTERNATIONAL CONSULTATIONS
Such as the first Global Conference of Christian Indigenous Peoples, Rotorua, New Zealand, 1996.
- WE HONOR RECONCILERS AND EHRI INITIATIVES THROUGH AND ANNUAL AWARDS PROCESS
Such as 1996, John Mulinde for organizing the national conferences that have addressed the issues dividing Uganda.
- WE PUBLISH BREAKING NEWS ABOUT POSITIVE PROGRESS IN ORDER TO BRING SUPPORT, ENCOURAGEMENT AND HOPE TO ACTIVE RECONCILERS
Such as the “Reconciler” magazine serving the indigenous peoples of North America.
- WE DEVELOP AND DISTRIBUTE INSPIRATIONAL AND INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS THAT ENCOURAGE RECONCILIATION INITIATIVES AND LIFESTYLES
Such as “A Matter of the Heart:, a book on healing Canada’s divisions, “Sins of Our Fathers”, which deals with the mixed legacy left by Great Britain, or “Healing America’s Wounds-A Call to Repentance and Reconciliation”, a dramatic two part documentary video series and book.
- WE ORGANIZE SEMINARS AND SCHOOLS FOR THE TRAINING OF FUTURE RECONCILERS
Such as the City Coordinators course for leaders or the schools for redeeming culture, both aimed at breaking down barriers to evangelism.
Our purpose is not primarily to coordinate, but to be advocates to educate Christians, and to communicate about and commend reconciliation efforts.
HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?
Formal organization is kept to a minimum. People who trust each other form an alliance around a major reconciliation issue and take action together. We help such people find each other.
Do you have a heartfelt concern for a reconciliation issue?
Do you have skills that you could contribute to the national and international movement?
Begin by reading our reconciler’s handbook Healing America’s Wounds. This is available at your local Christian bookstore or through our office at the address below. As you read about the experiences of other reconcilers, think about how your own unique identity could contribute to the healing of the nations.
CONTACT US AT:
North American Office
P.O. Box 831
La Mesa., CA 91944-0831
“BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN PEOPLES – HEALING THE WOUNDS OF SOCIETY”