Lausanne leader says future bright for world Christianity
The head of The Lausanne Movement said recently in Cape Town, South Africa that despite the great challenges faced by the global church, there is also great opportunity, and he hoped that at their next congressional meet, those unreached by God’s Word will be zero.
Doug Birdsall, chairman of The Lausanne Movement said this on the opening day of the third Lausanne Congress of World Evangelization, or Cape Town 2010, where some 4,500 evangelical delegates gathered, Christian Today said.
Of note, some 230 delegates from house churches in China were not allowed by their government to attend the congress. Many Chinese delegates were stopped at the airport, their passports and luggage confiscated, Mission Network News reported. (See http://theundergroundsite.com/index.php/2010/10/beijing-stops-chinese-christians-from-attending-lausanne-conference-14047).
Wayne Pederson, president of HCJB Global said, “It’s interesting that this is happening because the conference is focusing on evangelism in the developing world, such as China, India, and Bangladesh and some of the least reached areas of the world,” according to Mission Network News.
Lausanne will also discuss HIV/AIDS, poverty and how to deal with other faiths. On Monday the agenda was Asia and apologetics—with a discussion about truth in a society that is pluralistic. The topic in the evening was global religious freedom and the suffering church, Mission Network News reported.
At the opening ceremony Birdsall said the conference was “the most diverse gathering of Christians ever,” and hoped their presence would convey to the world an expression of Christian unity, Christian Today said.
Birdsall also cited the importance of authentic global conversation and said Christians need to discern ways to prophetically share the gospel to people around the world, especially those of different faiths, according to Christian Today.
Birdsall looked back to the heritage of the leaders of the first Lausanne gathering held in 1974, mentioning Billy Graham, Rene Padilla, John R. W. Stott and Gottfried Osai Mensah, according to Christianity Today.
At the same time, he said the purpose of remembering is to face the challenges of the present, analyze the current times, and strategically plan how to build a better tomorrow, Christianity Today said.
Birdsall cited as priorities the need to work on further translation of scripture to reach those who still do not know about the gospel and who have never had a bible in their own language, according to Christianity Today.
Birdsall asked, “How can it be that 2000 years after the time of Christ and 36 years after the call to take the Gospel to all nations at that Congress there are still those who have not heard?” Christian Today reported.
Of the absentee delegates from China Birdsall said, “God make them a blessing in their hour of need and their hour of a sense of isolation … when their heart’s desire was to be here with us,” according to Christian Today.
He asked delegates to list to God’s voice noting, “We have come to dream. We believe that the future is as bright as the promises of God,” Christian Today reported.