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Evangelical groups have joined efforts spearheaded by Roman Catholic, Orthodox and mainstream Protestant churches to create a common code of conduct for religious conversions that would preserve the right of Christians to spread their religion while avoiding conflict among different faiths.

The code aims to ease tensions with Muslims, Hindus and other religious groups that fear losing adherents and resort to punishments as extreme as imprisonment and even death for converts from their faith and foreign missionariesThe World Evangelical Alliance appears ready to join the World Council of Churches and the Vatican in supporting a code of conduct to guide activities seeking converts to Christianity.

The Rev. Geoff Tunnicliffe, WEA general secretary, “gave his full approval” to the organization’s involvement in the process so far sponsored by the WCC and the Vatican, said the Rev. Thomas Schirrmacher, head of the WEA’s International Institute for Religious Freedom. The WEA is an association of organizations and churches with a membership of some 420 million Christians worldwide.

Schirrmacher was one of the speakers at an August 8-12 consultation in Toulouse, France, where some 30 Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Pentecostal and Evangelical theologians and church leaders from Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States, gathered to outline the content of the code of conduct, which is expected to be finalized by 2010.

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