Newsletters

November / December 2010

GOSPEL DEFENCE LEAGUE

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November/December 2010

printable pdf version of this newsletter available here

Dear Friends,

From 17-24 October 2010, the largest missions congress of all times, the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation, was held in Cape Town’s International Convention Centre. It was organised in collaboration with the World Evangelical Alliance. 4.200 delegates came from 197 nations, and global link sites allowed another 100.000 Christians to join in the proceedings at a further 700 venues across 95 nations. It was a huge event which made use of the most up-to-date multimedial and digital facilities. The conference theme was “God in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself,” (2 Corinthians 5:19) and the Bible Studies were based on St Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. The purpose was to “mobilise the whole Church to take the whole Gospel to the whole world.”

Cape Town gave the guests its well-known warmhearted welcome, and the delegates enjoyed not only outstanding Bible studies, sermons, discussions, prayers and encouragement, but also typical African exuberance with song, dance, drama and drums. Only the secular press kept almost totally silent.

“YES” to the Great Commission – “NO” to Dialogue

The Lausanne Movement takes its name from the city of Lausanne in Switzerland, where the first Congress on World Evangelisation was held in 1974 on the initiative of the great Evangelist Dr Billy Graham. He wanted Christendom to re-affirm the Great Commission of Christ, “to go and make disciples of all nations.” For at that time the World Council of Churches (the largest grouping of Christians in the world) was reinterpreting “Salvation” and “Mission” in Marxist political terms. It was promoting a “Moratorium on Missions” and causing thousands of missionaries to be withdrawn from the Third World. The vacuum which they left was then filled with Liberation Theology and other revolutionary ideas. In the end the WCC replaced Christian Missions with a “Programme of Dialogue with Representatives of the Religions and Ideologies of our Time.” 1)

Being unhappy about such corruption of Christianity, Dr Billy Graham called on the leading evangelicals of the world to gather for a congress in Lausanne. Dr. John Stott guided the assembly doctrinally. This first Congress on World Evangelisation took place from 18-25 July 1974 and had 2700 participants. It set a sign for the entire Church. It said “NO” to the WCC’s corruption of the concept of Mission and “YES” to the Biblical Great Commission. A second such Lausanne Congress was held in 1989 in Manila, and a third in 2010 in Cape Town. In each case the assembled Evangelicals recommitted themselves to making disciples of all nations, baptising and teaching them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:18-20)

From Pentecost to Edinburgh

The Third Lausanne Congress was planned for 2010 in honour of the centenary of a famous World Mission Conference held in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1910. At its opening ceremony in Cape Town, a documentary film, entitled “From Pentecost to Edinburgh” was screened, which showed the history of Missions through the ages. The Edinburgh World Mission Conference, then, is regarded as a forerunner of the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation. And though the World Council of Churches is now of a completely different orientation, it also claims the Edinburgh Conference of 1910 as its beginning.

Even now in 2010, the World Council of Churches (WCC) has not returned to Christ’s Great Commission. Contrary to the First Commandment, it has actually embraced an interfaith religion, which makes Biblical missions obsolete. In spite of this, the Lausanne Movement chose the General Secretary of the WCC, Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, to be the first dignitary to adddress the Cape Town assembly. By special invitation of Rev Doug Birdsall (Executive Chairman of the Lausanne Movement) Dr Tveit brought a delegation and a message of goodwill from Geneva. The WCC media reported ambiguously as follows: “WCC delegates join in celebrating reconciliation at Cape Town event.” - In his speech Dr Tveit said: “The distance between Lausanne and Geneva is not very far, and it should not be. Let us keep the road open, and the dialogue going, so that we learn from one another how we can participate in God’s mission together… without humiliating people of other faiths.” 2)

Reclaiming the Universities for Christ

Much of the emphasis of the congress was on the impact the Church should be making on the world. In his sermon entitled Legacy for the Future, Lindsay Brown, the International Director of the Lausanne Movement, emphasised the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, the truth of the Gospel, and the Great Commission. Christians, he said, need to evangelise not only in all parts of the world, but also in all parts of society, and especially in the realm of ideas. Every area of life belongs to Christ. We must reclaim the universities, he said, for when the universities are changed, the world will be changed.

This, of course, is every Christian’s dream. The universities, including their theological faculties, are mainly in the hands of secular Humanists. No wonder the Church is weak and morality low. For it is secular universities which turn out unbelieving ministers. And it is university trained church leaders who often hand over their young men to professors teaching paganism. - “We have a great Gospel,” Mr Brown said, “and we have the power of God.We need to be guided by the truth of the Bible, the Lordship of Christ, and the glory of God.”

A Timely Call

The call to Christ and the Great Commission, which was issued by the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation in Cape Town, is indeed the most important message for the world today. Things have not gone well in Church and society. Only fifty years ago there were still nations who could call themselves Christian, however feebly. Now there are none. South Africa was the last country to fall to secular Humanism. Fifty years ago the Swiss-American Dr Francis Schaeffer, who was also involved in the first Lausanne Congress, tried to rouse the Church. In his book “The Great Evangelical Disaster,” he called on the Church to arise from its sleep. “Make no mistake,” he wrote. “We as Bible-believing Christians are locked in a battle. This is not a friendly gentleman’s discussion. It is a life and death conflict between the spiritual hosts of wickedness and those who claim the name of Christ. It is a conflict on the level of ideas between two fundamentally opposed views of truth and reality. It is a conflict on the level of actions between a complete moral perversion and chaos and God’s absolutes. But do we really believe that we are in a life and death battle?” (pp.31,32)

We are in the midst of a world war of worldviews which is raging in every nation. But the Church has often avoided the fight and given way. Instead of standing four-square for God, it has followed the world. “Here is the great evan-gelical disaster,” said Francis Schaeffer “the failure of the evangelical world to stand for truth as truth. There is only one word for this – namely accommodation: the evangelical church has accommodated to the world spirit of the age.”

The Cape Town Commitment

Near its close, the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation issued a statement, the Cape Town Commitment. Only the first part was distributed, but not discussed. Its title is: “For the Lord we Love: Our Commitment of Faith.” It “is framed in the language of love. Love is the language of covenant. The Biblical covenants, old and new, are the expression of God’s redeeming love and grace reaching out to lost humanity and spoiled creation.” The subsections are headed: “We love because God first loved us.” - “We love the living God.” - “We love God the Father.” - “We love God the Son.” - “We love God the Holy Spirit.” - “We love God’s Word.” - “We love God’s World.” “We love the Gospel of God.” - “We love the people of God.” - “We love the Mission of God.” - The second part of the Cape Town Commitment is called: “For the World we Serve: Our Commitment to Action.” This will be sent to the delegates when all the conference contributions have been evaluated.

Tremendous enthusiasm for Missions was generated at the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation in Cape Town. Great friendships were forged. Remarkable networks were established. - We therefore pray that all 4200 participants will carry its spirit and its blessings back to their 197 home countries and from there into all the world – always remembering what Francis Schaeffer said: “Unless the Bible is without error, not only when it speaks of salvation matters, but also when itspeaks of history and the cosmos, we have no foundation for answering questions concerning the existence of the universe and its form and the uniqueness of man. Nor do we have any moral absolutes, or certainty of salvation, and the next generation of Christians will have nothing on which to stand.”

May the Motto of this great Conference be a prophecy for times to come: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

With all good wishes for a blessed Advent and Christmas,

D. Scarborough.

Footnotes:

  • P Beyerhaus, Reich Gottes oder Weltgemeinschaft, pp 208ff. At a WCC world mission conference in Bangkok 1972/73 demands were made to sever the ties between Western Churches and indigenous congregations by withdrawing missionaries. Pagan religions were to be viewed in a new light and ‘mission’ replaced with ‘dialogue.’.
  • World Council of Churches, 17.10.2010, “All this is from God”: Mission as Ministry of Reconciliation; - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 20.10.2010, “WCC delegates join in celebrating reconciliation at Cape Town Event.”

OUR WORLD BELONGS TO GOD (continued)

A Contemporary Testimony of the Christian Reformed Church, USA, 1986

Drafted in view of the secularisation of modern life and culture.  

REDEMPTION  

  1. While justly angry 1 God did not turn His back on a world bent on destruction; He turned His face to it in love. 2 With patience and tender care He set out 3 on the long road of redemption to reclaim the lost as His people 4 and the world as His kingdom.
    1. Genesis 3:9-15 - “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’… ‘Who told you that you were naked?… ‘What is this that you have done?’
    2. John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
    3. Luke 1:68-75 - “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people…. To give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 3:23-37)
    4. Revelation 11:15 - “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.’
  2. Although Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden 1 and their work was burdened by sin’s effects, God held on to them in love. He promised to crush the evil forces they unleashed.
    1. Genesis 3:15-19 - “The LORD said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! … I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.’ To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’”
  3. When evil filled the earth, 1 God judged it with a flood, but rescued Noah and his family 2 and animals of all kinds. He covenanted with every creature that seasons would continue and that such destruction would not come again until the final day.
    1. Genesis 6-9 - “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time… So God said to Noah, ‘I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them…’ The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days… Then God said to Noah, ‘Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you…’ Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: ‘I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you… I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.’”
    2. 1 Peter 3:18-22 - “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit… The water (of the flood) symbolises baptism that now saves you also – not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience towards God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand – with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.”
  4. The Creator pledged to be God 1 to Abraham and his children, blessing all nations through them as they lived obediently before him. He chose Israel as his special people 2 to show the glory of his name, 3 the power of his love, 4 and the wisdom of his ways. He gave them his laws through Moses, 5 He led them by rulers and teachers, so that they would be a people whose God was king.
    1. Genesis 12:1-3 - “The LORD said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you… and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
    2. Deuteronomy 7 - “When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations… Make no treaty with them. Do not intermarry with them. Break down their altars and burn their idols in the fire. For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”
    3. Romans 9 - “It is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring… What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the ‘stumbling stone.’”
    4. Micah 6:8 - “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
    5. Psalm 103:7 - “He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel.”
  5. When Israel spurned God’s love 1 by lusting after other gods, by trusting in power and wealth, and by hurting the weak, God scattered his people among the nations. Yet he kept a faithful few 2 and promised them the Messiah: a prophet to speak the clear word, a king to crush the serpent’s head, a priestly servant willing to be broken for sinners. 3 And he promised the gift of the Spirit 4 to bend stubborn wills to new obedience.
    1. 2 Chronicles 36 - “And the people of the land took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and made him king in Jerusalem in place of his father.” - He was followed by a number of kings who did evil in the sight of the LORD, such as Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah.
    2. Isaiah 10 - “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees… What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches? … Shall I not deal with Jerusalem and her images as I dealt with Samaria and her idols? … In that day the remnant of Israel… will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God.”
    3. Isaiah 53 - “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him (His Son) the iniquity of us all… He poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors; for he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
    4. Jeremiah 11 - “Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God.”
      Jeremiah 31 - “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt… I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty. ‘This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, for I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
God remembered His promise to reconcile the world to Himself; He has come among us in Jesus Christ, the eternal Word made flesh. He is the long awaited Saviour, fully human and fully divine, conceived by the Spirit of God and born of the virgin Mary.

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To be continued with “CHRIST”… (Scripture texts taken from the NIV)



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