Lausanne Reflection

 

Recently I was able to be a part of something big and exciting – Lausanne in Capetown! Lausanne is a congress of around 4,000 Christian leaders from around 200 different countries. They met for over a week in Cape-Town Africa to talk about what being a Christian means (and should mean) in our world today. Many of the most influential speakers in the Christian church were there, and it was a time of learning and listening.

Gordon-Conwell was a Globalink site, which meant there were some people from around the area coming to Gordon-Conwell and we all sat together and watched some of these presentations as well as discussed with each other the implications of what was being said.

Seeing that this is one of the most important events of Christianity in this century, I figured I better be a part of it. Man I loved it. I’ve always known my passion is for the world, and being at Gordon-Conwell and partaking in events like Lausanne confirm to me how missional I am in my very person. I do love the world, and I weep at the heartaches it faces, as well as rejoice in how God works, especially through our 2/3 majority world Christian brothers and sisters. Us North Americans need some help, and so conferences like these – where leaders from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Australia, etc come together and discuss issues and challenges and highlights of Christian witness today – really helps me to understand God in new and different (non-western) terms and ultimately I believe, more holistically.

For my Theology of Mission Class, I was required to write a 5-page reflection paper on Lausanne (how cool is that!) I’ve put that document on google documents. If you want to read some of what I learned from the conference, feel free to check it out, and maybe you will get a glimpse of why I am so excited about the “whole church bringing the whole Gospel to the whole world!”

You can watch all the presentations for yourself here: http://www.lausanne.org/cape-town-2010

And you can read my reflections here: http://bit.ly/97Bmwj

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6 thoughts on “Lausanne Reflection

  1. So if it’s the “whole church bringing the whole gospel to the whole world”, why was there no representation from the Roman Catholic or Orthodox churches?

  2. Hi Michael,

    Thanks so much for your lovely reflection on the Third Lausanne Congress! I’m sorry that we didn’t get to meet while you were in Cape Town. Everything is settling down here – the committee shall meet for a final debriefing at the CTICC tomorrow.

    There have been such wonderful stories of new commitments, deepened relationships, new ventures, and the furthering of the work of God’s Kingdom as a result of the Congress.

    I pray that the Lord will bless you and use you in your work and ministry – it is great to hear that you’re doing theological studies at Gordon-Conwell. A special place indeed!

    God bless,

    Dion
    (I look after the Lausanne social networking portfolio in my spare time. I was alerted to your great post by a fellow blogger).

  3. Dion,

    Thanks so much for your encouraging words. Lausanne has done a great job in updating and making resources available. Keep up the good work!

    Mike

  4. Gina I’m surprised by your comment. Lausanne at Capetown was only one meeting out of four for Lausanne. If you didnt know about Boston2010 I would encourage you to check it out (www.2010Boston.org), you would probably love it. This meeting is just as ecumenical and DOES include those from the RC and Orthodox churches, including Athanasios Papathanasiou from the Greek Orthodox church, Ian Douglas from the Episcopal Church, and Peter Phan, President of the Catholic Theological Society of America. If you are looking to hear this perspective, it is going on now in Boston.

    I will also say that the statement is a desire, not a reality. Capetown 2010 was one of the most (if not THE most) ecumenical Christian convention in our history. So the event should not be downplayed. Further, There were RC and Orthodox brothers and sisters there, but not participating, on their own accord. The whole church in this sense does not mean every denomination… it means everyone who aligns themselves with what Lausanne is moving towards.

    Furthermore, the issue is much more gray than you make it seem. The RC’s and the Eastern Orthodox have their own issues to deal with, you can check out this post for more details on that: http://vivificat1.blogspot.com/2010/10/sympathetic-skeptics-lay-orthodox.html

    You can also learn more about the ecumenical roots of Lausanne here, which includes Jews, Charismatics, Evangelicals and Catholics: http://www.seekgod.ca/lcje.htm and http://watch.pair.com/lcje.html

    Lausanne is passionate about the entire church, feel free to read about their passion here: http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2010/10/how_cape_town_2.html

    I’m surprised that you weren’t aware of these things, but hopefully this can help you see the whole picture of what Lausanne is all about. Certainly you would be excited about these developments. I’ve been so impressed by the humility of the Western theologians and their own presentations, and think Lausanne is making huge steps towards reconciliation even between denominations and “religious boundaries.”

  5. Hey Mike,

    Thanks for your reply. I went to much of 2010 Boston and am aware of the things you mentioned. I wasn’t trying to be a total antagonist in my comment. I’m not sure I 100% agree that Cape Town was the most ecumenical gathering, but I do 100% agree of it’s significance. Also, my opinion is not entirely clear because I wasn’t at Cape Town; I can only speak of what I’ve heard from friends and colleagues.

    I think largely I have an issue with many evangelicals having a narrow-minded view of the global church (many, not all). I know this is a big statement and would probably hurt a lot of evangelicals’ feelings. For example, a lot of evangelicals wouldn’t call Orthodox or Roman Catholics “brothers and sisters”. I think Lausanne and other prominent evangelicals don’t like to put the number of Christians world-wide in the billions because of this.

    Just my two cents.

  6. Gina,

    I’m glad to hear you went to Boston2010. I so wanted to go, did you have a favorite session or speaker?

    You have a good point. I would be willing to admit that it may not have been the most ecumenical meeting in history. Instead maybe it is more reasonable to say that it is one of the most global events in Christianity (“it” being the sum total of all Lausanne’s).

    I also grieve with you for those who claim evangelicalism and yet have an either ethno-geo-politico-socio-denominatio centric view of the global church (especially considering the historical thrust of the very term). I do believe that many at Lausanne also grieve this reality. So I think the conference was a step in the right direction. Hopefully not the pinnacle, but possibly a good foundation to go from in the 21st century. I was also encouraged when I attended the “renewing the evangelical mission” conference at GCTS last year, when I heard numerous speakers refer to catholics as our “brothers and sisters.” However, I would argue that just b/c someone claims catholicism or orthodox, this does not make them necessarily my brother or sister, but I also affirm the reality that it at the same time does not eliminate the possibility. For me, it is about much more than someone’s denominational preference. But I really appreciated your comment and agree with your critique.

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