We, the signers of this document, met in Accra, Ghana, from February 24 to 26, 2011, to bear witness to our dual citizenship as believers and as members of African societies and nations. We decided to meet and reflect on this dual citizenship at a time when these responsibilities stand out in high relief across this continent. Representing many different Christian traditions, we came from nations such as Côte d’Ivoire, where a civil war threatens and where religious loyalties seem no more united than political ones; from Nigeria, where religious extremists out of several traditions breach the peace, and the government struggles to maintain order; and from the newest nation now emerging, South Sudan, where hopes rise among diverse people of faith for a more just and reconciling public life. None of us was from North Africa, but our hearts and prayers go out to our fellow Africans there, who have taken popular action to reject tyranny and to build better commonwealths.
At the same time, we recognize that governments and societies are provisional arrangements, for by faith we live in our countries while we look “forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:9–10). As Christians we feel a particular burden to put forward a positive vision of how we worship the living God and point the way to God’s reign, while giving due regard and respect to the governments under which all people, of all faiths, live together as fellow citizens, and to honor our rulers without ceasing to serve and to fear God (1 Pet. 2:16–17). We are deeply convinced that faith gives its noblest expression in settings where all are free to follow their religious convictions and freely to serve the common good (Gal. 5:13), where government secures the peace and good order taught by all the world’s great faiths, and where government affords its citizens the right to live freely and recognizes their power to hold it accountable.