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EFAC Australia

Evangelism

Glenn Davies describes Cape Town’s closing session.

Technology was a major feature of Cape Town 2010. Technology was employed to facilitate preparation for the Congress as well as to enhance the experience of the Congress for participants with prepared videos, impromptu videos and vox pops, highlighting the many facets of Congress.
Free wireless internet usage was available to participants, including access to on-line feedback forms and bar-coded name tags for easy electronic identification.
However, the technology was not just limited to those who came to Cape Town. Seven hundred GlobaLink sites across 95 countries have been relaying the platform addresses to audiences scattered across the globe.
Unfortunately there were a few hiccups with the internet and GlobaLink relays, which were difficult to identify and we were asked to pray for those investigating the problems.
Our prayers were answered by a volunteer steward, who happened to be a highly qualified IT problem solver. Within an hour he had identified the problem and within three hours he had fixed it.
However, once these matters were remedied and the internet systems were working well, we were told that there has been more internet traffic during Lausanne III than during the World Cup held in South Africa three months ago!

Bible exposition

The Bible exposition from Ephesians 6:10–24 gave Ramez Atallah (Bible Society in Egypt) the opportunity to remind the participants that our war is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers. He cited the internet hacking as the work of the Evil One and the power of prayer as one of our weapons.
Although the exposition was not as strongly exegetical as other studies during the week, Atallah spoke passionately about our responsibility to put on the armour of God which contains the essential values, beliefs and resources that God has supplied.
He was complemented by his wife, Rebecca, who shared a story of the evangelisation and regeneration of the Mokattam Garbage Village in Cairo, where the poorest of the poor live in appalling conditions recycling garbage to eke out a living. Here a layman shared the gospel with his garbage man, who became a believer, and this began a chain reaction of gospel conversations with many nominal Christians becoming active in their faith, so much so that the Coptic Church decided to ordain the layman and establish a church building for them in their village.

The final closing session

It was a treat of music, dance, video and inspirational addresses! Lindsay Brown, the International Director of the Lausanne Movement gave a stirring address on 2 Corinthians 4:1–7 in the light of what we had heard and learned during the week, stressing integrity and privilege of preaching the glory of God through Christ, so that we do not lose heart.
Archbishop Henry Orombi presided over the gathering, but since he had lost his voice, Doug Birdsall, the Executive Chair of Lausanne, administered the sacrament—so effectively we had lay administration, but no one seemed to mind! The 250 voice choir and the 30 member orchestra lifted out spirits with songs of praise and adoration, which became a fitting closing ceremony for such a significant Congress, finishing as we began by singing ‘Crown him with many crowns’.
As we said our farewells, we recognised that we may never see again the members of our table groups and others we had met. We were reminded that some may lose their lives for the sake of Christ, as did one young man shortly after attending Lausanne II. While the joy of a heavenly reunion awaits us, there remains the challenge of finishing the task of reaching all people groups with the gospel of God’s grace with its offer of forgiveness and gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
It has been a rare privilege to gather with so many believers from so many countries and cultures, and diverse denominations, all united in our allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ. While one can always quibble over some elements of the Congress (and I have), my assessment is that it will be seen as another landmark in world missions for reigniting, re-energising and recommitting Evangelicals to the Great Commission in the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

Glenn Davies is the Chairman of EFAC Australia. His Cape Town blog can found at: www.sydneyanglicans.net/ministry/evangelism/lausanne_the_final_day/

Gordon Preece teases out some of the tensions inherent in the Lausanne Movement.


Lausanne III in Cape Town was a fabulous smorgasbord of global Evangelicalism. But like any smorgasbord there were some dishes or flavours in tension with each other—you can have a bit too much of too many good things. These tensions go back to the origins of the Lausanne movement and Covenant in 1974, especially Articles Five and Six and their wrestling with the relationship between evangelism and social concern which I’ll quickly trace into the contemporary context.

Different flavours of the Lausanne Covenant and global and local evangelicalism

Article Five robustly affirms God as creator of all, in his image. It is concerned not to confuse political liberation with salvation but also not to lose sight of the totally transformative, reconciling effects of the Gospel on individuals and society against all forms of oppression. This synthesised much evangelical thinking on mission since the 1960s and represented ‘a big step forward’.(1)
However, ‘the tension already present in the Lausanne Covenant between the above balanced statement from Article Five and the prioritized statement of Article Six that ‘in the church’s mission of sacrificial service evangelism is primary’ remained unresolved. This was despite several consultations of the Lausanne Theology Group and the eirenic efforts of its chair John Stott to encourage biblical balance and global understanding.
The conflict over various relative prioritisations of proclamation and social concern was evident in the Australian context in the infamously divisive Melbourne EFAC meeting in 1982. My then Sydney Anglican Rector returned from exile to tell his disbelieving humble curate (me) that John Stott was ‘a dangerous man’. Stott had spoken from Luke 4 about Jesus’ message of holistic, integral salvation for individuals and societies, arousing much reaction. This was reinforced by Melbourne Evangelicals affirming women’s ordination, over against the oppression of women in society and church. Stott did not return to these shores for 20 years.
Soon after, Lausanne’s Grand Rapids Consultation on the Relationship between Evangelism and Social Concern saw Stott seek to judiciously reconcile Articles Five and Six of the Lausanne Covenant. It describes three views of social action in relation to evangelism.
1. Christian social action is a consequence of evangelism since those involved in it are Christians … saved ‘for good works’ … one of the purposes of evangelism.
2. Social action is a bridge to evangelism since it expresses God’s love and … eliminates prejudices and opens the way for the proclamation of the gospel.
3. Social action is a partner of evangelism and is related to it in Christian mission like a husband and a wife in a marriage, two blades of a pair of scissors or the two wings of a bird.
However, the document still saw evangelism as having ‘limited’, ‘conceptual’ primacy: logically (or is it chronologically?) because it is by Christians who have been evangelised and discipled; and theologically since ‘evangelism relates to people’s eternal destiny and in bringing them good news of salvation Christians are doing what nobody else can do’.(2) Although allegedly theoretical, this still implied a subordinationist marriage between ‘male’ evangelism and ‘female’ social concern.
There was dissatisfaction with Grand Rapids’ albeit limited prioritisation of evangelism from missiologists from the Global South like Andrew Kirk and David Bosch (South America and Africa respectively) and the World Evangelical Fellowship’s Wheaton 1983 statement ‘Transformation: The Church in Response to Human Need’. The latter recognises that evangelism is essential: ‘only by spreading the gospel can the most basic need of human beings be met: to have fellowship with God’.(3) Seeing God’s Kingdom as ‘the goal of transformation’, this document provides in Rene Padilla’s view, ‘the strongest affirmation of commitment to integral mission in the last quarter of the twentieth century. It clearly affirms that ‘evil is not only in the human heart but also in social structures. The mission of the church includes proclamation of the gospel and its demonstration [or to use Sydney Anglican, John Dickson’s helpful phrase, Promoting the Gospel]. We must therefore evangelize, respond to immediate human needs, and press for social transformation’.(4)
Sadly, the latter emphasis was not sufficiently incorporated into Lausanne II in Manila which stressed the isolation of evangelism from social responsibility, but gave social justice a belated guernsey for a ten minute plenary at the end, although the Manila Manifesto still ratified the Lausanne Covenant commitment to socio-political involvement as an essential aspect of mission.

Application to workplace mission

Let’s see how this tension played out in practice in my own speciality, workplace mission. Lausanne II affirmed the role of the laity in the workplace, as part of the Great Commandment and its overflow into social concern, but only as a means to evangelism. There was no articulation of the intrinsic worthwhileness of what most Christians do with most of their lives as an expression of the creation commission to rule over the earth in Genesis 1:26–28 or as an act of holistic sacrificial worship with body and mind (Romans 12:1–2). This gospel utilitarianism leads to a sacred, clericalised view of Christian mission and ministry as a privatised, residential and recreational activity. It devalues the secular and public arenas of work and life and restricts the reach of the Gospel. The latter has empirical verification in Mark Russell’s The Missional Entrepreneur, a study of businesses set up by Christians in Thailand. Those set up as an excuse to evangelise, not only failed as businesses, in one case going bankrupt, but also evangelistically. The businesses that had an integrated approach with integrity, seeking to reflect the rule of God’s kingdom in their practices, were five times more effective in making disciples.
This Sacred-Secular Divide is addressed by Mark Greene in his latest booklet. Greene’s London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, set up by Stott, is a leading advocate for workplace ministry as crucial to churches expressing integral mission. It has had profound effects on the church in England through its re-imagining of church life in terms of whole-life discipleship.
In our workplace multiplex for about 800 delegates in Capetown I reaffirmed the creedal trinitarian framework of three Commissions or mandates I’d stressed as theologian for the Marketplace Ministry stream in Pattaya in 2004. I asked: ‘If Lausanne I gave us the Great Commission (of the Son) and Lausanne II gave us the Great Commandment (of the Spirit), would Lausanne III give us the Creation Commission (Genesis 1:26–28) of the Father and Creator?’ (though all three cooperate in each other’s leading work). Another way of putting this is to ask if the 10/40 window(5) of Lausanne II will be complemented by equal emphasis on the 9 to 5 window of workplaces of all types.
Evangelicalism’s constant quibbling over evangelism versus social concern can only be solved by going back to the trinitarian creeds beyond the modern Enlightenment and its Evangelical child’s internalisation of the Kingdom to the soul, not the body,(6) and privatisation of religion to bedroom but not also boardroom and ballot-box ethics. We need to have a balanced view of Christian and human life and work in the light of the divine Trinity’s life and work. The upside down pyramid that sees the laity serving the clergy or professional priestly and missional class needs to be turned right side up, for the clergy’s sake as much as the laity’s. Clergy, or better, paid church workers (representing Sunday or church gathered) serve or equip the laity (Ephesians 4:12 ff) (the people of God scattered on Monday) in the world—of work(s) (paid or unpaid) that we have been predestined and saved for (Ephesians 2:10). These ideas were incorporated in the Lausanne Draft Commitments taken down by Chris Wright, Stott’s successor as chair of the Lausanne Theology group. They will be released in December. Lindsay Brown, the director of Lausanne summed it up well: “Lausanne III seeks to reach all people groups and all spheres of society, for as Abraham Kuyper said—‘there is not one square inch of the universe over which Jesus does not say ‘This is mine’.”

Gordon Preece is Director of Ethos: Evangelical Alliance Centre for Christianity and Society and Senior Minister at Yarraville Anglican Church. A complete version of this article appears in EA’s Faith and Lif
e.


1. Rene Padilla, ‘From Lausanne I to Lausanne III’, Journal of Latin American Theology, vol. 5, no. 2, 2010, pages 19–20.
2. John Stott, Making Christ Known (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1996), 182–3.
3. Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden, The Church in Response to Human Need (Oxford: Regnum, 1987), page 260.
4. Ibid, page 254.
5. The 10/40 window is a term coined by missionary strategist Luis Bush for those regions of the eastern hemisphere located between 10 and 40 longitudes, particularly Islamic, Hindu and Chinese groups.
6. Padilla (pages 40, 30) critiques the NIV Study Bible’s commentary on its poor translation of Luke 17:12 ‘the kingdom of God is within you’ [as opposed to ‘amongst you’ i.e. in Jesus] probably indicating that the kingdom is spiritual and internal (Matthew 23:26) rather than physical and external (cf John 18:36)’. But how could Jesus say the kingdom of God was within the Pharisees? N. T. Wright elsewhere describes such translations and comments as ‘retrojections into the first century of a 19th century Romantic ideal of religion in which outward things are bad and inward things good’ (Jesus and the Victory of God [Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996], page 290).

Eric Cheung offers us his first-timers’ impressions of a global evangelical gathering.

In late October 2010, I had the privilege of attending the Third Lausanne Congress for World Evangelisation. Set in picturesque Cape Town and held in an ultra-modern, state-of-the-art conference facility, there were high expectations that this congress would achieve something great in Christian history. However, to be completely honest, before being selected to participate, I did not know much about the Lausanne Movement. The inaugural Lausanne Congress was held before I was born and the last congress took place whilst I was in high school. Moreover, as a Sydney Anglican clergyman, I am naturally deeply suspicious of everything.
Despite all this, Lausanne possesses something strangely attractive. The Lausanne Movement, shaped by John Stott and Billy Graham, has become a global phenomenon that evangelical leaders all over the world embrace. Those committed to the Lausanne Covenant have dedicated themselves to collaborate in the work of world evangelisation. As the rallying point of this movement, the Lausanne congress has the ultimate aim of changing the world by providing a valuable forum for evangelicals to connect, share and learn from some of the most creative and influential leaders including John Piper, Tim Keller and Os Guiness.
The congress projected high expectations for what we would achieve. From the outset, Doug Birdsall (Lausanne III Chairman) described the congress as ‘the most representative and diverse gathering of Christian leaders in the nearly two thousand year history of the Christian movement’.(1) The opening ceremony saw some not-too-subtle historical references to the Council of Nicaea. There were over 4000 leaders from 198 countries, representing nearly every stream of global Christianity. Birdsall reiterated that the congress represented ‘the demographic, theological and cultural reality of the church of Jesus Christ’.(2)
At the very least, the congress confronted participants with the enormity and reality of the task of world evangelization and spurred us onto action. We were forced to work very hard as we thought through various issues and were given every opportunity to develop strong Christian fellowship. The first thing that struck me as I entered the main auditorium was the hundreds of tables filling the hall. The set-up was a stroke of genius. Rather than being lost in a sea of seats and remaining anonymous in a cavernous hall, each participant was placed on a table of people who shared similar passions and gifts. Together, we studied the Bible inductively, discussed issues raised by the speakers, and developed deep friendships and fellowship.
My table hosted a UK clergyman who was about to become a bishop, two denominational leaders from different parts of Africa, a Finnish lady who had a significant broadcasting ministry, and myself. Throughout these morning Bible studies and plenary sessions, we worked hard at engaging with one another in productive and occasionally heated discussions. This was brilliant!
In the afternoons, participants were given the opportunity to choose from a myriad of ‘multiplexes’ and ‘dialogue sessions’ to help us think through and enact the practical ideas flowing out of the morning teaching sessions. The busy schedule continued into the night. In the evening sessions, we were given reports of how God has been working in different areas of the world. On top of all these sessions, there were more networking opportunities over meal times. We spent much of the lunches, dinners and suppers developing friendships and discussing the ministries within our different networks and contexts—the congress was a haven for extroverts!
The Third Lausanne Congress for World Evangelisation was in many ways a success, but it was not flawless. Although we were united with the purpose of world evangelisation, there were palpable tensions between factions with differing passions, emphases and even theological nuances. I discovered this uncomfortable reality even from my first few discussions. I was surrounded with people who are completely foreign to me: people from entirely different cultural backgrounds, theological understandings and ministries. It was easy to offend and it made the task at hand much more difficult.
With a gathering of over 4000 leaders with a cacophony of ideas and egos, the congress was under the constant threat of being rendered ineffective and in danger of fracturing. One example of such tension which existed between leaders is the opposing views regarding the place of social justice in world evangelisation. Some believed that social justice is a necessary part of the gospel so that, practically speaking, alleviating poverty may be understood as an integral part of evangelism. Others, however, maintained that whilst social justice is important, it acts to demonstrate the message and the power of the gospel rather than being part of the gospel itself. It was in this context that John Piper issued a most profound challenge during one of his talks: ‘For Christ’s sake, we Christians care about all suffering; especially eternal suffering. Christ is calling us to pull these together.’(3)
Grappled with this central question was a highlight for me. It demanded clarity on what is the message that saves souls for eternity and served to refocus our thoughts on evangelism. There were other issues that plagued the congress, but significantly, they highlighted for me that Lausanne was and is a great example of working through differences for the sake of unity in the gospel and Christ. However, I must iterate that it was not so much ecumenism, rather it was evangelicals seeking to work together for the purpose of evangelism.
The congress has positively marked my thinking and will change my future ministry. Sometimes God takes us way out of our routines and comfort zones and opens our eyes to things we would never have normally considered. Lausanne III was that for me. Lausanne has challenged me to view global Christianity and global mission in a different light. I now have a newfound understanding that as Sydney Anglicans we truly are a small fish in need of participating in God’s global mission. I was reminded that whilst we are to continue to work hard in our local church evangelising our local community, we must not lose sight of the fact that we are part of the global church. As a result of my experience, I have a renewed commitment to participate, engage and minister in collaboration with the global evangelical church. The practical outworking of this commitment is still a work-in-progress. I was confronted by the enormity and reality of the task of world evangelization at the Third Lausanne Congress, but it has also filled me with thankfulness that God has blessed us with so many dear brothers and sisters all over the world with whom we have the privilege of bringing others into his kingdom.

Eric Cheung is the Associate Minister (for evangelism!) at St Paul’s Castle Hill, Sydney.


1. Doug Birdsall, ‘Opening Celebration, October 17’, Lausanne III
2. Ibid.
3. John Piper, ‘Bible Exposition: Ephesians 3. Part 2’, Lausanne III

Have Evangelicals made any progress since Manila? David Williams investigates.


The first Lausanne congress in 1974 has been described as the place where evangelicals re-discovered their social conscience. The relationship between evangelism and social action was hotly debated, particularly as a result of the input of majority world theologians like Rene Padilla and Samuel Escobar. Article Five of the covenant stated:
We affirm that God is both the Creator and the Judge of all men. We therefore should share his concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for the liberation of men and women from every kind of oppression. Because men and women are made in the image of God, every person, regardless of race, religion, colour, culture, class, sex or age, has an intrinsic dignity because of which he or she should be respected and served, not exploited. Here too we express penitence both for our neglect and for having sometimes regarded evangelism and social concern as mutually exclusive. Although reconciliation with other people is not reconciliation with God, nor is social action evangelism, nor is political liberation salvation, nevertheless we affirm that evangelism and socio-political involvement are both part of our Christian duty.(1)
Alongside this commitment to social responsibility, the Lausanne covenant also affirmed in Article Six that ‘in the Church’s mission of sacrificial service evangelism is primary.’(2) Article Five and Article Six beautifully encapsulate the tension behind the conversation at Lausanne 1974.
In the years following the first Lausanne conference, holistic or integral mission has become accepted orthodoxy for many evangelicals. Chris Wright, convenor of the Theology Working Group for Lausanne 2010, endorses the following quote in his book The Mission of God:
There is no longer a need to qualify mission as ‘holistic’, nor to distinguish between ‘mission’ and ‘holistic mission.’ Mission is, by definition, ‘holistic’ and therefore ‘holistic mission’ is, de facto, mission.(3)
Despite this assertion, it was clear at Cape Town that the debate over holistic mission is still alive and kicking. This was most evident in John Piper’s bible study on Ephesians 3.(4) Piper expounded the cosmic purpose of God, who makes known his wisdom to the demonic powers of the universe through the mystery of the gospel. Jews and Gentiles together are objects of God’s wrath. God’s abundant, overflowing love puts the Lord Jesus Christ between us and God’s wrath. This reality confronts us with two truths: first, when the gospel takes root in our souls, it compels us to share Christ’s love. Second, when the gospel takes root in our souls, it awakens us to the horror of eternal perishing and impels us to proclaim ‘flee the wrath to come.’ Piper sought to recapture the language of the primacy of evangelism from Article Six of the Lausanne covenant with the following proposition: ‘For Christ’s sake, Christians care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering.’
This emphasis was also apparent in Ajith Fernando’s exposition of Ephesians 1 and Vaughan Roberts’ exposition of Ephesians 4. Fernando stressed the vital importance of proclamation of God’s word, stating that ‘evangelism has never been popular, but people without Christ are lost for eternity.’ Roberts pointed to a famine of the Word of God today, arguing that there is no greater mission need than those who will minister God’s Word in the church and the world. Strikingly, the same theme was heard in a series of testimonies from majority world missionaries operating from contexts of poverty who have prioritised proclamation and disciple-making.

The Cape Town Commitment

The main output of the third Lausanne Congress is called the Cape Town Commitment.(5) Part One of the document was released on the last day of the conference. Part Two will be completed in December and will be a call to action arising out of the listening process of the conference. However, since Part One of the Cape Town Commitment was written before the conference started, the debate about the nature of mission that took place at the conference is not captured in this document.
This is especially significant because of the kind of document that the Cape Town Commitment purports to be. At?the conference the document was introduced to us as expressing the ‘core elements of our Biblical faith.’ This is a huge statement. If the document had been written as ‘a conversation about evangelical missiology’ it could provide a reference point for discussion and debate. But to present it in such creedal terms as a ‘declaration of belief’ means that it must bear very close scrutiny.
The Cape Town Commitment is framed in the language of love, structured around ten statements each beginning ‘We love …’. There is much that is good within these ten statements and a number of contemporary missiological issues are given attention. These include the fraudulent nature of prosperity teaching, the significance of Bible translation and the need to critique secular worldviews, to give just three examples. Creation care and environmental advocacy also feature at several points. However, the focus on God’s wrath and the reality of hell so powerfully articulated by Fernando and Piper is largely absent from the document.
However, it is not only conservatives who are unhappy. Blogging after the conference, Rene Padilla has written of his frustration that the pre-written conference statement was not debated and that there was no opportunity to change or develop the document. His particular concern, as in 1974, is that the language of primacy remains evident, when in his opinion it should be completely removed. So he argues that the distinction between ‘strengthening, inspiring and equipping the Church for the evangelisation of the world in our generation’, but only ‘exhorting Christians about their responsibility to participate in matters of public and social interest’ reflects an unhelpful and non-holistic balance.(6) He would prefer the language about social action to be as strong as the language about evangelism.
1974, 2010. What has changed?

David Williams is Director of Training and Equipping, CMS Australia, and leads the team at the CMS Australia Federal Training College, St Andrew’s Hall, Melbourne.


1. http://www.lausanne.org/covenant
2. Ibid.
3. Wright, C. J. H. The Mission of God, IVP, 2007:323, quoting Jean-Paul Heldt, “Revisiting the Whole Gospel: Towards a Biblical Model of Holistic Mission in the 21st Century” Missiology?32 (2004): page 157.
4. http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/conversations/detail/10970
5. http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/conversations/detail/11544
6. http://www.kairos.org.ar/blog/?p=469. Thanks to Peter Blowes, CMS Australia, for explaining this Spanish-language blog.

David Williams wonders what God is doing amidst the changing nature of the worldwide Church.

Many commentators and bloggers have noted that the third Lausanne Congress reflected the changing centre of world Christianity. With representation from 198 countries, Lausanne was one of the most diverse gatherings of Christians in history. The organisers of the congress made a genuine attempt to ensure that the delegates represented the new centre of Christianity around the world. The centre of Christianity has moved from the West to the ‘Global South’—to Africa, Asia and Latin America. As an example of this, there were at least as many delegates from Uganda as from Australia.
However, Lausanne went a step further and worked hard to ensure that leadership at the conference also reflected the changing nature of the world church. It was a common experience to go to a plenary session or a major conference seminar and to find that all those presenting from the platform were African, Asia and Latin America. Anglo males were a reasonably rare sight.
However, it is too simplistic to say that the centre of the world church has moved from the West to the Global South. The reality is that world Christianity is polycentric—it has many centres.(1) Instead of saying that the centre of global Christianity has moved, we do better to think that the centres of world Christianity are moving. This reality was clearly evident at Lausanne. It was very clear that the demographic, cultural and spiritual centres of Christianity have moved from the West to the Global South. However, there was also plenty of evidence that the intellectual, organisational and financial centres remain in the West, predominantly in the United States. For example, while many countries made generous and sacrificial contributions towards Lausanne 2010, the conference could not have happened without American money. And although there was wide diversity of leadership on the conference platform, there remained a strong sense that those who put them there came from the West.
It was also evident that the dominant worldview controlling the conference agenda was Western. This was most obvious in a plenary session where delegates were exhorted to reach the remaining unreached people groups of our world. An extensive survey had been conducted in the lead up the conference identifying those people groups that are larger than 50,000 people who currently have no real gospel witness. These people groups were listed out in a glossy brochure and delegates were asked to commit their churches or organisations to reach these unreached groups.
The business of counting, categorising and systematising is a peculiarly Western enterprise, reflecting a predominantly rationalistic and scientific worldview. However, there was a sub-theme at Lausanne that told a story that is much harder to measure and impossible to categorise. Movements of migrant people, displaced by war or searching for better economic opportunities, are carrying the gospel to places that are otherwise impossible to reach.
Lausanne told two stories of world evangelisation. The official story mapped out a strategic plan that would mobilise the rich to take the gospel to the poor. The unofficial story narrated the movement of the poor, spread around the world by circumstances beyond their control, carrying the gospel with them. God is using both stories, because both stories belong to Him.

David Williams is Director of Training and Equipping, CMS Australia, and leads the team at the CMS Australia Federal Training College, St Andrew’s Hall, Melbourne.


1. See for example Jehu Hanciles, Beyond Christendom (Orbis, 2008).

Stephen Hale presents his package of Cape Town highlights.

The Lausanne Movement had a stunning beginning in 1974, followed by a difficult mid-life around the time of the Manila Congress in 1989. The Movement seems to have re-invigorated itself to play a key role in being a catalyst for world evangelisation. Cape Town 2010 was a remarkable gathering with 4000 delegates from 198 countries.
Cape Town didn’t just talk about the big shifts in global Christianity, it captured and represented them. There was a strong and continuing presence upfront of speakers and presenters from the majority church. The big shift from North to South, West to East was visible and obvious. When people talked of mission being ‘from everywhere to everywhere’ you could really sense that God is at work in all sorts of remarkable and surprising ways.
The genius of Cape Town 2010 was the decision to share the study of the Word and major themes in Table Groups. Over four thousand people met each morning in more than 800 table groups of five or six people. I had the privilege of leading one of these groups. In my English-speaking group were two from Europe, two from North America and one charming young Indian evangelist. It meant that a significant chunk of time was set aside for interaction and consequently there was a pervasive sense of community.
One of the surprising sub-presentations was on the Anglican Communion. I went along mainly to meet people, but I was deeply moved to hear Archbishop Robert Duncan—Anglican Church in North America—talk of how God was greatly blessing an amazing new church planting movement coming out of the wreckage of the dispute within the Episcopal church. His four themes were:
1. Standing in God’s truth raises God’s allies.
2. Humility builds God’s partnerships.
3. God does lift up the lowly.
4. Personal conversion deepens Gospel suffering and sacrifice.
His overall thrust is that God is scattering the proud and lifting up the lowly.
There were too many strands and ideas at the Congress to capture here, but some highlights for me were:
We live in an ABC culture, ‘Anything But Christianity’ (Oz Guiness).
To hear God speak we need to share the Word of God together. It needs to be read, taught and shared together.
Mission energy and initiative now lies in the global South and East.
God seems to be raising up a new generation of evangelists in Australia. They are mainly young and mainly Asian.
Discipleship should be our number one priority. This is just as big a challenge in Australia as it is in Africa, South America and Asia.
The evangelism and social concern debate is no longer the major issue. We need to be involved in both, with evangelism as our major priority.
Worship is more pervasively charismatic seemingly everywhere. At the same time there is a re-discovery of liturgy, the arts and drama.
If we are going to reach Australia for Christ we will need to partner with people of other nations to help us to connect cross-culturally.
Leadership development is still critical and has re-invigorated my commitment to Arrow Leadership Australia and the Arrow Alliance.
Overall it was a great blessing to be at Cape Town. God is at work in our world and we have much to be thankful for and to be challenged by.

Stephen Hale is Senior Minister of St Hilary’s and St Silas’ Anglican Church, Kew. He was previously the Bishop of the Eastern Region of the Diocese of Melbourne. Stephen is also Chair of the Australian Board of Arrow Leadership.

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