YLG 06: Daily News Brief

I sat down to slowly read through again all the daily news briefs we got at the YLG 06. I appreciate the hard work that went into getting them out. It’s also interesting to read what the editors chose to highlight. As one who was happily quietly interacting here and there with participants, organizers, speakers and mentors, I was blessed by on the ground insights too. For now, I thought I’d highlight what I feel was significant for me (which was captured in the Daily News Briefs) and thus hope to see these thoughts deepened and fleshed out more in the future of Lausanne.

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“The Lausanne Covenant is also distinct among confessional statements in the liberty it allows for those who subscribe to it. Even as it affirms one Savior and one gospel, the document welcomes a “wide diversity of evangelistic methods” (III). Likewise it celebrates a freedom for cultural expressions of Christian faith—churches should be “deeply rooted in Christ and closely related to their culture” (X).

Liberty is also allowed given on matters of theological contention among biblicist evangelicals. For example, the Covenant avoids the hot-button term “inerrancy,” choosing instead to claim the Bible is “without error in all that it affirms” (II). The phrase “eternal separation from God” is used rather then an explicit statement on the nature of hell (III).

Throughout the Covenant, the reader encounters a tremendous sense of charity. Christ’s command to “love thy neighbor” is understood to compel a zeal for reaching the un-evangelized and a special concern for the marginalized and the oppressed. The document rejects the bifurcation of evangelism and social engagement by asserting that both are “part of our Christian duty. For both are necessary expressions of our doctrines of God and man, our love for our neighbor, and our obedience to Jesus Christ” (V).”The Lausanne Covenant

“Ramez Atallah, program chair for the forthcoming Lausanne III World Congress, took the stage after Birdsall and also highlighted the spirit of humility that he believes pervades the Lausanne Movement. Since 1974 Atallah has been impressed by Lausanne leaders who embody “leadership, Jesus-style.” As was the case with the former Archbishop of Kenya, they do not use their impressive titles to puff themselves up.

Atallah shared what he believes are three distinctives of Lausanne: integrity, vision and cooperation. “Integrity,” said Atallah, “is threatened by worldly pragmatism.” To counteract this threat, Lausanne “takes Christian theology seriously.” Atallah called for “theologically-based strategy and strategic theological reflection.”

Lausanne has always helped Christians develop a world vision. Atallah questioned whether the Lausanne Committee, as a primarily evangelical Protestant network, can actually say it engages the “whole Church.” But he unquestioningly affirmed the vision of taking the whole gospel to the whole world. Atallah said the Lausanne Covenant’s emphasis on a holistic gospel that recognizes the necessity of social responsibility was a major breakthrough, one that made many “proud to be evangelicals.”

“Cooperation is threatened by selfish individualism,” Atallah said. He asked rhetorically whether anyone had ever heard of an evangelical ministry merger. Because ministry duplication is such a rampant problem in the Church and genuine cooperation in such scarce supply, Atallah believes “we need Lausanne more than ever.””Lausanne: An Orientation

“After nearly twenty-five years of either teaching or working in administrative roles in the Indian school system, Mathew’s passion to follow the Lord’s leading in world missions drew him and his wife to Uganda. In 2004 he started his current post at Uganda Christian University. Today, he teaches nearly one thousand students each week about the worldviews of various cultures and peoples. And although he has only lived in Uganda for a short period of time, he considers it his home.

“I have a pilgrimage theology,” he says. “We are all on a pilgrimage and where we are is our home. Hebrews 11 tells us that we are strangers and aliens passing by; however, as we do that, we want to bless the world.”

Mathew’s hope for the participants at this Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering is threefold: (1) that they would become stronger in their commitment to Jesus Christ, (2) that they would be placed on a road that would make them true world Christians and (3) that they would have a deeper commitment to missions.

“Whatever area we are in, we need to be world Christians,” he said. “We need to be concerned about the Church worldwide and have a heart as big as the world.””C.V. Mathew: Becoming A World Christian

“Butler opened his presentation by speaking of the importance of Jesus’ high priestly prayer found in John 17 and explained that although unity has always been the goal of God, from the Fall onward human relationships have been marred.

“If we want to understand why we are not seeing hundreds of millions coming into the kingdom, it isn’t because of a lack of wealth [or]….a lack of prayer,” Butler said. “It is not a question of holiness or adequate leadership. Jesus’ personal credibility has been destroyed by divisions in the body of Christ.””Partnership and Passion

“”It was at Lausanne that I learned that theology must serve the Kingdom of God…or else it is a selfish academic enterprise,” said Kuzmic. The conference impressed upon him the need for a holistic gospel and the marriage of mission and theology. “All theology must be missiologically focused,” he emhasized, “and all missions must be theologically grounded.”

… In a land searching for and even fighting for a sense of identity, Kuzmic and his students preached a message of reconciliation grounded in the gospel. “Our primary identity is in Christ…and that’s why we have a message of reconciliation.”

Kuzmic lamented the prevalence of “half-gospels” that do not take seriously the cross or human pain. These half-gospels, he said, lead to self-sufficiency, competition, duplication, and an “emotionally-driven Christianity that has no transformative effect.” Addressing the world’s complex problems requires a whole gospel.

… To comprehend the whole gospel we must first understand, according to Kuzmic, that “the Great Commission begins with the Great Foundation.” This foundation is expressed in the verses preceding what is typically thought to be the Great Commission. Christ’s commandment to disciple the nations does not begin with “go.” Rather it is anchored in Christ’s astonishing declaration of cosmological sovereignty. “All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me,” Jesus said, as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew.

When the Great Foundation and the Great Commission are held together, Christians are emboldened to preach biblical truth in all spheres of life. “Let’s be holistic gospelers,” concluded Kuzmic.”Ich bin ein Lausanner

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