The explosion of evangelical Christianity in Africa has transformed Africa into "the church of the future," according to Lausanne Movement leaders.
The Laussanne Movement is arguably the most significant evangelical Christian force in modern church history. It was started by Billy Graham in 1974 with the Congress on World Evangelization held in Lausanne, Switzerland. From this Congress, John Stott served as chief architect of "The Lausanne Covenant," widely regarded as one of the most significant documents in modern church history. A second Lausanne Congress took place in Manila, Philippines in 1989. The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization (Cape Town 2010) drew over 4,000 leaders from 198 nations and was probably the widest-representative church gathering ever held.
The Cape Town event recognized the growing influence of evangelical Christianity in Africa. In fact, an official at the Lausanne Conference held in Cape Town said that the African church has grown by 3000% and that Africa represented "the church of the future."
Atheism was characterized as a religion at the October 2010 Cape Town conference, where attendees were warned about the growing tide of unbelief.
Evangelists Plan 10-Year Strategy to Create a Christian Planet in the Face of a Growing Tide of Unbelief.
Non-belief continues to be targeted by the Lausanne Movement evangelicals in their new "Cape Town Commitment," to be implemented in a ten-year strategic plan that will be finalized by 140 religious leaders from six continents who will be meeting in Boston on June 20-24. Doug Birdsall, Executive Chairman of The Lausanne Movement said,
"We gathered Christian leaders from 198 nations in October. The Cape Town Commitment captures what we discerned as critical issues facing the church. Our goal in the Boston summit is to turn ten days of Congress discussion into a roadmap for The Lausanne Movement over the next ten years."
The mission of God continues to the ends of the earth and to the end of the world. The day will come when the kingdoms of the world will become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ and God will dwell with his redeemed humanity in the new creation. Until that day, the Church’s participation in God’s mission continues, in joyful urgency, and with fresh and exciting opportunities in every generation including our own.
In its mission to convert the entire world into a Christian kingdom, The Laussane Movement's Cape Town statement warns against "aggressive atheism" and secularism:
It should be our greatest grief that in our world the living God is not glorified. The living God is denied in aggressive atheism. The one true God is replaced or distorted in the practice of world religions. Our Lord Jesus Christ is abused and misrepresented in some popular cultures. And the face of the God of biblical revelation is obscured by Christian nominalism, syncretism and hypocrisy. [Emphasis added.]
The truth the Bible teaches. The whole Bible teaches us the whole counsel of God, the truth that God intends us to know. We submit to it as true and trustworthy in all it affirms, for it is the Word of the God who cannot lie and will not fail. It is clear and sufficient in revealing the way of salvation. It is the foundation for exploring and understanding all dimensions of God’s truth. We live however, in a world full of lies and rejection of the truth. Many cultures display a dominant relativism that denies that any absolute truth exists or can be known. If we love the Bible, then we must rise to the defence of its truth claims. We must find fresh ways to articulate biblical authority in all cultures. We commit ourselves again to strive to defend the truth of God’s revelation as part of our labour of love for God’s Word. [Emphasis added.]
Such love also demands that we seek to make the gospel known among every people and culture everywhere. No nation, Jew or Gentile, is exempt from the scope of the great commission. Evangelism is the outflow of hearts that are filled with the love of God for those who do not yet know him. We confess with shame that there are still very many peoples in the world who have never yet heard the message of God’s love in Jesus Christ. We renew the commitment that has inspired The Lausanne Movement from its beginning, to use every means possible to reach all peoples with the gospel. [Emphasis added.]
7 Mountains Dominionist Theology Embraced by Lausanne Movement
The document goes on to describe what is generally referred to as the seven mountains of culture that dominionist Christians seek to dominate in order to create a Christian kingdom. These "seven mountains" (also known as seven spheres of culture) are described in the National Day of Prayer Task Force's mission as (1) Government, (2) Military, (3) Media, (4) Business, (5) Education, (6) Church and (7) Family. These seven mountains of Christian dominionist theology are identified elsewhere as (1) Government, (2) Arts and Entertainment, (3) Media, (4) Business and Finance, (5) Education and Science, (6) Church and (7) Family (see the Christian dominionist vision of a new America in which their 7 Mountains are dominated by what is loosely called "Christian dominionism" — a philosophy embraced by the New Apostolic Reformation Christians, Christian reconstructionists and others who believe that culture must be aggressively taken over by Christianity, leaving no room for other faiths, secularism or non-belief). Quoting from the Cape Town Commitment, the evangelist movement identified the latter definition of these mountains in its plan to "bear witness." Targeted in the plans were "aggressive atheists" and secular nations.
Briefly summarized (see full text below), the objectives of The Lausanne Movement over the next ten years include:
- There would be no wall of separation, as government would be based on absolute "biblical truth" and no pluralism.
- The workplace will become an evangelistic mission field.
- The media will be saturated with "the biblical worldview."
- There will be an increasing Christian message in arts, music, movies, plays and other forms of entertainment.
- Science, technology, and healthcare will embrace "biblical truths." Healthcare will embrace "the sanctity of human life;" i.e., no termination of pregnancies and no assisted suicide.
- Christians are encouraged to attend or teach at secular universities in order to influence them with "biblical truth." Christ-centered schooling is honored as a form of academic excellence.
- Everyday conversation and culture will be filled with the Christian viewpoint, where Christ is the truth of the universe and the center of all human life.
Editorial Note – The 7 Mountains are identified in red and are not a part of the language quoted from The Cape Town Commitment.
IIA. Bearing witness to the truth of Christ in a pluralistic, globalized world [THE CHURCH MOUNTAIN]
1. Truth and the person of Christ
Jesus Christ is the truth of the universe. Because Jesus is truth, truth in Christ is (i) personal as well as propositional; (ii) universal as well as contextual; (iii) ultimate as well as present.
A) As disciples of Christ we are called to be people of truth.
- We must live the truth. To live the truth is to be the face of Jesus, through whom the glory of the gospel is revealed to blinded minds. People will see truth in the faces of those who live their lives for Jesus, in faithfulness and love.
- We must proclaim the truth. Spoken proclamation of the truth of the gospel remains paramount in our mission. This cannot be separated from living out the truth. Works and words must go together.
B) We urge church leaders, pastors and evangelists to preach and teach the fullness of the biblical gospel as Paul did, in all its cosmic scope and truth. We must present the gospel not merely as offering individual salvation, or a better solution to needs than other gods can provide, but as God’s plan for the whole universe in Christ. People sometimes come to Christ to meet a personal need, but they stay with Christ when they find him to be the truth.
2. Truth and the challenge of pluralism
Cultural and religious plurality is a fact and Christians in Asia, for example, have lived with it for centuries. Different religions each affirm that theirs is the way of truth. Most will seek to respect competing truth claims of other faiths and live alongside them. However postmodern, relativist pluralism is different. Its ideology allows for no absolute or universal truth. While tolerating truth claims, it views them as no more than cultural constructs. (This position is logically self-destroying for it affirms as a single absolute truth that there is no single absolute truth.) Such pluralism asserts ‘tolerance’ as an ultimate value, but it can take oppressive forms in countries where secularism or aggressive atheism govern the public arena. [Emphasis added.]
A) We long to see greater commitment to the hard work of robust apologetics. This must be at two levels.
- We need to identify, equip and pray for those who can engage at the highest intellectual and public level in arguing for and defending biblical truth in the public arena.
- We urge Church leaders and pastors to equip all believers with the courage and the tools to relate the truth with prophetic relevance to everyday public conversation, and so to engage every aspect of the culture we live in.
3. Truth and the workplace [THE BUSINESS MOUNTAIN]
The Bible shows us God’s truth about human work as part of God’s good purpose in creation. The Bible brings the whole of our working lives within the sphere of ministry, as we serve God in different callings. By contrast, the falsehood of a ‘sacred-secular divide’ has permeated the Church’s thinking and action. This divide tells us that religious activity belongs to God, whereas other activity does not. Most Christians spend most of their time in work which they may think has little spiritual value (so-called secular work). But God is Lord of all of life. ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, said Paul, to slaves in the pagan workplace.
In spite of the enormous evangelistic and transformational opportunity of the workplace, where adult Christians have most relationships with non-Christians, few churches have the vision to equip their people to seize this. We have failed to regard work in itself as biblically and intrinsically significant, as we have failed to bring the whole of life under the Lordship of Christ.
A) We name this secular-sacred divide as a major obstacle to the mobilization of all God’s people in the mission of God, and we call upon Christians worldwide to reject its unbiblical assumptions and resist its damaging effects. We challenge the tendency to see ministry and mission (local and cross-cultural) as being mainly the work of church-paid ministers and missionaries, who are a tiny percentage of the whole body of Christ.
B) We encourage all believers to accept and affirm their own daily ministry and mission as being wherever God has called them to work. We challenge pastors and church leaders to support people in such ministry – in the community and in the workplace – ‘to equip the saints for works of service [ministry]’ – in every part of their lives.
C) We need intensive efforts to train all God’s people in whole-life discipleship, which means to live, think, work, and speak from a biblical worldview and with missional effectiveness in every place or circumstance of daily life and work.
Christians in many skills, trades, businesses and professions, can often go to places where traditional church planters and evangelists may not. What these ‘tentmakers’ and business people do in the workplace must be valued as an aspect of the ministry of local churches.
D) We urge church leaders to understand the strategic impact of ministry in the workplace and to mobilize, equip and send out their church members as missionaries into the workplace, both in their own local communities and in countries that are closed to traditional forms of gospel witness.
E) We urge mission leaders to integrate ‘tentmakers’ fully into the global missional strategy.
4. Truth and the globalized media [THE MEDIA MOUNTAIN]
We commit ourselves to a renewed critical and creative engagement with media and technology, as part of making the case for the truth of Christ in our media cultures. We must do so as God’s ambassadors of truth, grace, love, peace and justice.
We identify the following major needs:
A) Media awareness: to help people develop a more critical awareness of the messages they receive, and of the worldview behind them. The media can be neutral, and sometimes gospel friendly. But they are also used for pornography, violence and greed. We encourage pastors and churches to face these issues openly and to provide teaching and guidance for believers in resisting such pressures and temptations.
B) Media presence: to develop authentic and credible Christian role models and communicators for the general news media and the entertainment media, and to commend these careers as a worthy means of influence for Christ.
C) Media ministries: to develop creative, combined and interactive use of ‘traditional’, ‘old’ and ‘new’ media, to communicate the gospel of Christ in the context of a holistic biblical worldview.
5. Truth and the arts in mission [THE ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT MOUNTAIN]
We possess the gift of creativity because we bear the image of God. Art in its many forms is an integral part of what we do as humans and can reflect something of the beauty and truth of God. Artists at their best are truth-tellers and so the arts constitute one important way in which we can speak the truth of the gospel. Drama, dance, story, music and visual image can be expressions both of the reality of our brokenness, and of the hope that is centred in the gospel that all things will be made new.
In the world of mission, the arts are an untapped resource. We actively encourage greater Christian involvement in the arts.
A) We long to see the Church in all cultures energetically engaging the arts as a context for mission by:
- Bringing the arts back into the life of the faith community as a valid and valuable component of our call to discipleship;
- Supporting those with artistic gifts, especially sisters and brothers in Christ, so that they may flourish in their work;
- Letting the arts serve as an hospitable environment in which we can acknowledge and come to know the neighbour and the stranger;
- Respecting cultural differences and celebrating indigenous artistic expression.
6. Truth and emerging technologies [ELEMENTS OF THE EDUCATION/SCIENCE MOUNTAIN AND FAMILY MOUNTAIN]
This century is widely known as ‘the Bio-tech Century’, with advances in all the emerging technologies (bio, info/digital, nano, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and robotics). This has deep implications for the Church and for mission, particularly in relation to the biblical truth of what it means to be human. We need to promote authentically Christian responses and practical action in the arena of public policies, to ensure that technology is used not to manipulate, distort and destroy, but to preserve and better fulfil our humanness, as those whom God has created in his own image. We call on:
A) Local church leaders to (i) encourage, support and ask questions of church members who are professionally engaged in science, technology, healthcare and public policy, and (ii) to present to theologically thoughtful students the need for Christians to enter these arenas.
B) Seminaries to engage with these fields in their curricula, so future Church leaders and theological educators develop an informed Christian critique of the new technologies.
C) Theologians, and Christians in government, business, academia and technical fields, to form national or regional ‘think tanks’ or partnerships to engage with new technologies, and to speak into the shaping of public policy with a voice that is biblical and relevant.
D) All local Christian communities to demonstrate respect for the unique dignity and sanctity of human life, by practical and holistic caring which integrates the physical, emotional, relational and spiritual aspects of our created humanity.
7. Truth and the public arenas [THE GOVERNMENT MOUNTAIN, THE BUSINESS MOUNTAIN, THE EDUCATION/SCIENCE MOUNTAIN]
The interlocking arenas of Government, Business and Academia have a strong influence on the values of each nation and, in human terms, define the freedom of the Church.
A) We encourage Christ-followers to be actively engaged in these spheres, both in public service or private enterprise, in order to shape societal values and influence public debate. We encourage support for Christ-centred schools and universities that are committed to academic excellence and biblical truth.
B) Corruption is condemned in the Bible. It undermines economic development, distorts fair decision-making and destroys social cohesion. No nation is free of corruption. We invite Christians in the workplace, especially young entrepreneurs, to think creatively about how they can best stand against this scourge.
C) We encourage young Christian academics to consider a long-term career in the secular university, to (i) teach and (ii) develop their discipline from a biblical worldview, thereby to influence their subject field. We dare not neglect the Academy.
That list of the Lausanne's objectives are EXACTLY the same as the objectives of Islamic extremists. I can't express the emotion I feel for what these people are doing to Africa. Even if they left today it will take generations to undue the damage of hate and fear they have instilled in the people there. In a world with more justice they would be convicted of crimes against humanity for what they are doing.
Totally agree with you MM.