المؤلف: Peter Houston
Category: الإعلام والتكنولوجيا, Social Justice, الشهادة الشخصية
There is excitement in much of the Christian world about the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, which opened in Cape Town yesterday. Twitter is all a twitter. Activity on Facebook is hot! Articles are being carried about the opening ceremony in Christian Today (http://www.christiantoday.com) and other Christian publications.
But essentially it is in an in-house concern... Unlike the opening ceremony of the Soccer World Cup 2010 in South Africa that was carried live on every major TV and radio station, and made the front page in newspapers, Google the Lausanne Congress and you come up with little apart from Christian interest links. A small exception? The Cape Times (18 October 2010 – Edition 2) carried a short paragraph on page 5 under the banner “No Chinese for Christian talks” about Chinese Christians being prevented by their goverment from attending the Cape Town conference. Even for many Christians going about their daily business, unconnected to the internet, social networks and glossy Christian publications that are out of their price range, the Third Lausanne Congress will pass them by...
Should this concern us? Well, for a start this meeting of Christian leaders in Cape Town and the topics they are engaging with has been the most accessible to ordinary believers of any Christian conference to date. The reason – the global coverage of the internet and ever increasing accessibility to ordinary people. The main conference topics were published online as advance papers and people of all theological persuasions could interact with them. Beyond that, Christians could post their own thoughts on various subjects online as Lausanne Conversations. This proved to be highly popular and drew contributions from thoroughly diverse sources across world nations, breaking the past dominance of Western theologians/voices. Doug Birdsall, Chairman of The Lausanne Movement, said: “This is the first Congress of its kind in the digital age, and we’re praying it will herald a new moment for the Church.”
As far as the Lausanne Congress not getting much notice outside of itself?! This is fairly typical of the way of the world. A few thousand years ago the birth of a baby, Jesus, went largely unnoticed in a stable in Bethlehem. A small band of no-name brand shepherds paid him homage, but then only as a result of a mysterious angelic visitation. Certainly the movers and shakers of society did not concern themselves with his birth. His adult life gained some attention, and a few followers, but could hardly have been said to have caused a major ripple in the Roman Empire. His death on a cross at the hands of the Romans was an embarrassing end to a promising Jewish messianic figure, who many had hoped would bring salvation from Roman oppression.
While the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost changed the final verdict of the Cross, and demonstrated to his followers a very different form of Messiahship and Salvation, John, looking back, wrote “The Word (Jesus) was in the world, and though God made the world through him, yet the world did not recognize him” (John 1v10). The world failed to recognise Jesus, the Word Incarnate, in its midst then. So the world will also fail to pay much attention to, and recognise the importance of, the Third Lausanne Congress as it seeks to make Christ Jesus – the Light of the World - known to all nations.
But here is a sure and profound truth, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.” (John 1v5). The Light was not put out through the darkness of suffering and death. Instead it was rekindled at the Resurrection, revealed at the Ascension and spread like wildfire at Pentecost. And continues to spread! Let’s pray for Christ the Light to shine bright in and through and beyond the Cape Town proceedings.
(You can follow the Lausanne Congress on Twitter at https://twitter.com/capetown2010#or https://twitter.com/lcwe or on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/pages/Lausanne-Movement/or at http://www.lausanne.org/conversation)