For Immediate Release
One of the most effective ways to share the gospel in South Asian countries where Christians are heavily persecuted is to demonstrate Christian love and to show a new way of living, participants at the annual World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission meeting concluded.
The May 19-20 conference in Bangkok, Thailand featured a round table discussion on religious liberty in Asia, with attendants from India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia.
Reports from all these countries revealed that the church is growing despite a strong resistance to the gospel, and that an effective way of evangelizing is living out the truth. A representative from Bangladesh, for example, indicated that many joined the Christian churches saying, "We see you live a totally new life and it really appeals to us."
Commission members also made plans for the future and talked about issues like the WEA's involvement in the UN, the need to have an Institute on Religious Liberty in Europe, the problem of information overload, the growth of radical Islam, the isolation of evangelicals in society, the strong anti-Christian trends in Europe, and statements by "evangelicals" that do not represent the views of the WEA.
Anneta Vyssotskaia, a Russian religious liberty expert, expressed a fear that the west is "secularizing itself" by not clearly living out the Christian life in society.
"I can see the same spirit of fear that was behind the secularization we had in the Soviet Union " she said.
On a positive note, participants heard of the great interest generated in the International Day for Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) in November, and of the new visionary leadership in the World Evangelical Alliance.
The Commission also noted positive feedback on the writings of Elizabeth Kendall, an expert analyst on religious liberty, and the many new doors that are opening up for First Step Forum.
There are currently about 10 national Religious Liberty Commissions around the world. John Langlois of Guernsey will continue as Chairman and Johan Candelin of Finland will continue as Executive Director.
World Evangelical Alliance (WEA)
World Evangelical Alliance is made up of 127 national evangelical alliances located in 7 regions and 104 associate member organizations. The vision of WEA is to extend the Kingdom of God by making disciples of all nations and by Christ-centered transformation within society. WEA exists to foster Christian unity, to provide an identity, voice and platform for the 420 million evangelical Christians worldwide.
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Rev. Johan Candelin (Finland)
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