Friday, July 13, 2007

Don't Betray the Gospel, Evangelicals told

by Daniel Blake

Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2007, 9:25 (BST)

Chris Wright, International Director of Langham Partnership International and Chair of the Lausanne Theology Working Group, has warned that the world church must become more “biblical” or else risk “a betrayal of the gospel”.

Dr Wright was in Budapest, Hungary last month for the Lausanne International Leadership meeting to launch the process that will lead to a third major Lausanne Congress in October 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.

The leadership meeting gathered more than 300 people from all over the world, representing several generations of leaders, a Langham Partnership release has stated.

Lausanne's commission of ‘the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world’ would require the “whole Bible” too, he warned during the meeting.

He explained that a holistic mission demands holistic use of the Bible.

“For it is in the whole Bible that we hear the heartbeat of God himself – for the last and the least as well as the lost; for those who are dying of hunger, HIV/Aids and war, as well as those who are dying in their sins; for the landless, homeless, stateless and family-less as well as those who are without Christ, without hope and without God in the world," he said.

World renowned theologian and evangelist Rev John Stott is a unique link between the Langham Partnership International and the Lausanne movement. Not only is he the founder and honorary president of Langham Partnership, he was also one of the major figures alongside Billy Graham at the first Lausanne Congress in 1974.

That Congress gave birth to the epochal Lausanne Covenant and the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelisation. Many Langham scholars were represented and took part in the gathering as well.

More than three decades on from the historic origins of Lausanne, Dr Wright is now looking for the Church to reassess its position to ensure it is going forward with the correct focus to fulfil the Great Commission.

“My concern,” stressed Dr Wright, “is not just that the world church should become more evangelical, but that world evangelicals should become more biblical.”

He concluded: “We need repentance and renewal in the church, as well as renewed passion for world mission. Otherwise, we may become as the Lausanne Covenant put it, ‘a stumbling block to evangelism…a betrayal of the gospel.’”

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