Hungary Meeting: Evangelical Christians Face "Increasingly Hostile" World
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife reporting from Budapest
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY, (BosNewsLife)-- The world's top evangelical leaders continued discussing strategies Wednesday, June 20, on how to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a 21st century world, they say, "has become a place increasingly hostile toward evangelical Christians."
Nearly 400 representatives from 60 countries linked to the 'Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization ( Lausanne )' arrived in the Hungarian capital Budapest to "begin praying, planning and working together" for the third millenniums first international congress on world evangelization.
That meeting, known as 'Lausanne III: Cape Town 2010' will be held October 16-25 of 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa, organizers said. Executive Chairman of the Lausanne movement, Doug Birdsall, challenged attendees during a plenary session to, like King David, "fulfill the purposes of God" in their generations, despite difficulties and reports of persecution in several countries.
He admitted that "the world has become a place increasingly hostile toward evangelical Christians," but said believers can be inspired by Christians like 18th century Adoniram Judson, who worked in Burma .
After having lost his wife and children, Judson was asked about the future of Christianity, to which he replied, "It is as bright as the promises of God," Birdsall recalled. However, he cautioned that the sense of hope "must be tempered with humility" and their work "must be anchored in the work of the Lord," and not of men and women.
Birdsall stressed the Budapest conference is about much more than sharing statistics and data, but rather about "gaining wisdom and vision from church leaders around the world in relation to global evangelization," according to remarks after the discussions and seen by BosNewsLife News Center in Budapest.
American evangelist Billy Graham wrote in a letter to the participants that although, "The world has changed, the church has changed [and] younger leaders have been raised up, the Gospel has not changed." He stressed that, "the need for evangelism is more urgent than ever before."
The first International Congress on World Evangelization ( Lausanne I) was held in 1974 in Lausanne , Switzerland . The gathering was convened under the leadership of Graham and drew over 2,700 evangelical leaders from 150 countries, organizers said.
The focus of the meeting was both practical and theological, producing The Lausanne Covenant, a document that provides theological underpinnings for intentional collaborative world evangelization. The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization grew out of the 1974 Congress, and remained a movement in world evangelization since that time.