Leaders of the Lausanne Movement, an evangelical Christian movement that promotes active worldwide evangelism, have called for a new Reformation and challenged participants in this year’s congress to repentance, renewal and integrity.
The Congress in Cape Town brought together more than 4,000 evangelical delegates from 198 countries. Despite a sophisticated cyber-attack, many more were able to follow its proceedings on the internet.
Among its themes were how to reach out to other world faiths; ministry in the world’s 10 mega-cities, each with more than 10 million inhabitants; issues around justice and social action; and HIV/AIDS.
The retiring chair of Lausanne’s theology working group, Chris Wright, aimed his address at the church.
“What hurts God most, is not just the sin of the world, but the failure, disobedience and rebellion of those he has redeemed,” Wright said. “We tend to spend all our time attacking and complaining about the world and ignoring our own failures.”
Wright referred to what he called “the idolatry of the church,” pointing out the three idols that are “especially seductive” for evangelical Christians: the idol of power and pride; the idol of popularity and success; and the idol of wealth and greed.
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“Reformation of the church is once again the desperate need,” he said.
Lausanne drew many Baptist participants to Cape Town. Tony Peck, general secretary of the European Baptist Federation, said, “The Lausanne movement has opened us up to a more holistic mission. What has also emerged is the Baptist concern for religious freedom and stories involving wider issues of freedom.”
Ross Clifford, vice president of the Australian Baptist Union, said, “Networking has been fundamental. It’s united a broad range of evangelicals. For the first time, everyone feels they have had a voice. In a globalized world, the issues are global and we need to tackle Islam and pluralism together.”
Regina Claas, general secretary of the German Baptist Union, spoke of the need to find new ways of mission for the 21st century. “There is a lot of life in the old, but the church needs to find new ways or we won’t have a future.”
This article appeared originally in The Baptist Times of Great Britain.