Val Pauquet +27 (0)71 546 7263 [email protected]
LAUSANNE LEADERS CALL CHURCH TO A NEW REFORMATION; CHRISTIAN LEADERS CHALLENGED TO PURSUE HUMILITY, INTEGRITY, SIMPLICITY;Cape Town 2010 Participants Further Encouraged to Repent of Prosperity Gospel
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, 24 October 2010 – The Lausanne Movement leadership took a bold stand on Saturday, calling the Church of Christ to a new Reformation and challenging 4200 participants from 198 countries at the Cape Town 2010 Congress to repentance, renewal and a return to humility, integrity and simplicity in their personal lives and ministries.
Following a program focus on the truth and reconciling power of the gospel message during the first two days of the Congress and a spotlight on the world and all its confusion of religions and needs during the second two days, the final two days of the Congress ending Sunday focuses on the Church of Christ itself.
'The greatest problem for God in his redemptive mission for the world is his own people,’ said Chris Wright, International Director of Langham Partnership International and retiring Chair of the Lausanne Theology Working Group. ‘What hurts God most, is not just the sin of the world, but the failure, disobedience and rebellion of those he has redeemed.
‘We tend to spend all our time attacking and complaining about the world and ignoring our own failures,' Dr Wright continued. ‘If we are going to take Christ to the world, we need to be like Christ - not the people we are trying to fix. We need the Holy Spirit of God to engage a work of purifying the people of God; unless reformation happens in our hearts, there is little hope for us.’
Dr Wright referred to what he called ‘the idolatry of the Church,’ pointing out the three idols that are 'especially seductive' for evangelical Christians: the idol of power and pride; the idol of popularity and success; and the idol of wealth and greed. Though hard-hitting, his words touched a note among the crowd, who took ownership of their personal responsibility and opportunity to turn back in repentance to humility, integrity and simplicity.
'Reformation of the Church is once again the desperate need,' Chris Wright urged, with respect to the proper Christian response to these idols. 'It needs to start among those in the worldwide community who claim the name “evangelical,” but who are characterized by these and other failures and abuses.'
Dr Wright emphasized that before Christian leaders go out into the world, we must first clean up our own backyard. He called for 'a radical return to the Lord, to repent and believe the gospel - as the prophets called for in all the generations of Old Testament Israel, and as Jesus called his hearers to do. It was a word that came - not to pagan unbelievers - but to those who already claimed to be God’s covenant people. So it comes to us.’
Chris Wright admonished participants representing the Church around the globe that, ‘Before we go out to the world, we must come back to the Lord; if we want to change the world, we must first change our own hearts and our ways; as we take the words of the gospel to the world, we must also take with us words of confession to God; before we get off our seats to seek the lost, we must get on our knees to seek the Lord.
‘Let us be what we are: HIS people in Humility, Integrity and Simplicity - for God’s sake, for our mission’s sake, for the world’s sake,’ Dr Wright concluded.
At the same Saturday morning plenary, Femi Adeleye, Associate General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), specifically addressed issues pertaining to the 'prosperity gospel'. He stressed the need to recognize that the prosperity gospel contradicts the life and teachings of Jesus, and needs to be rejected.
‘The prosperity gospel is a “false gospel,” that makes money, material possessions, physical well-being and success an end in themselves,’ Mr Adeleye said. 'Why should we align with a gospel that deprives the poor of the dignity they deserve? It is a seduction that has spawned divisions in the Church.
‘Our pilgrimage is between two points of nakedness, so we should travel light and live simply,’ he said, challenging anyone who has aligned with this gospel to repent and return to the simplicity and compassion of Christ.
Cape Town 2010 closes with a global communion service on Sunday evening. The Lausanne Movement is a worldwide movement that mobilizes evangelical leaders to collaborate for world evangelization. For more information, please go to www.lausanne.org
Editor’s note: for more information, or for media access to photographs, news releases and audio/video clips, email [email protected], or go to www.lausanne.org/news-releases or www.lausanne.org/conversation
Val Pauquet +27 (0)71 546 7263 [email protected]
Cape Town 2010 being held 16-25 October is the latest global congress sponsored by The Lausanne Movement, begun by Billy Graham in 1974. The Congress is possibly the most representative gathering of the Christian church in history. Apart from the 198 countries meeting in South Africa, it extends to another anticipated 100,000 individuals at nearly 700 GlobaLink sites in more than 95 countries around the world.