Evangelical leaders agree to collaborate in bringing faith, hope to Europe
Christian evangelical leaders of hundreds of organizations agreed recently in a conference in Hungary to strengthen cooperation among them to better address the economic and moral decline of Europe.
Some 500 participants in the HOPE•II congress, organized by Hope For Europe, met in Budapest to plan cooperative strategies to offset “deep poverty” and a “culture of death” in Europe, Jeff Fountain, congress director, told BosNewsLife.
Fountain told BosNewsLife, “Some 500 leaders returned home from the HOPE•II congress in Budapest a few days ago, buoyed with fresh perspectives” to lend “hope for Europe against a background of crisis and scandal embroiling European institutions.”
The participants in the four-day event came from some 40 European nations, and included artists, theologians, politicians, evangelists and pastors, according to BosNewsLife.
Some 20 talks were given by renowned Christian leaders, including world famous book authors such as Thomas Schirrmacher, Philip Jenkins, Os Guiness and Vishal Magalwadi, according to the congress website.
This is the second time Hope for Europe held its congress in Budapest (the first time was in 2002). The organization, which has ties with the European Evangelical Alliance, seeks to network Christians of different professions across Europe, the website said.
The congress opened on May 9, which marks “Europe’s forgotten birthday,” Fountain said during the congress, adding, “Few Europeans are aware that on 9 May 1950 the first move was made towards the creation of what is now known as the European Union,” BosNewsLife reported.
Fountain said this was the day when “French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman surprised the world…by announcing a plan for France, Germany and other European countries to pool together their coal and steel production as ‘the first concrete foundation of a European federation,’” according to BosNewsLife.
However Fountain said Schuman “would be appalled by the false ethic of greed in the financial sector, and the ‘culture of death’ expressed in youth suicides, abortions, euthanasia, low birth rates, rising murder rates, [and] signs of deep spiritual poverty,” BosNewsLife reported.
Noting that Schuman envisioned “a community of peoples deeply rooted in Christian values,” the Penn State University historian said Europe’s roots are strongly linked to Christianity, BosNewsLife said.
The keynote speaker of the event, Philip Jenkins urged Evangelicals to remind Europeans of their Christian roots. “Look around you…at street names, religious holidays, flags, monuments, and you can’t avoid seeing how much Europe is rooted in a deeply Christian past,” BosNewsLife reported.
Jenkins also debunked as “myth” the belief that Europe would one day be filled with Muslim migrants, noting that birth rates of Muslims in Europe, and across the world, have fallen from six to 1.6 within the last quarter century, according to the website.
Jenkins blamed the fall in birthrate, which is the steepest ever recorded, to Europe’s secular lifestyle which makes it difficult to maintain sustainability, the website said.
Failed humanistic vision
Other speakers at the event cited the failure of the “humanistic vision of society and economy,” and noted the need to bring back to Europe biblical truths, according to the website.
During the congress, five HOPE awards were also given to ministries for their contribution in promoting hope, the website said. The recipients of the awards are: TopCretien.com (a Paris-based website), the Santa Clara Church in Stockholm (for inner city work), Sergey and Mariana Glushko (Teen Challenge, Kyiv), Patricia Green (Berlin-based work against trafficking) and Shirinai Dossova (for witnessing to communists and Muslims).