We were exhorted by Os Guiness to remember the importance of truth in a plural world, heard from Tim Keller about the importance of taking the Gospel to the cities, learned from Femi Adeleye of Nigeria of the harm and false teaching of the prosperity gospel which is rampant across the world, heard from Antoine Rutayisire from Rwanda how only the Gospel can bring healing and reconciliation to a country torn apart by genocide.
We also heard riveting testimonies from people around the world including:
-Christians suffering from AIDS
-a Nigerian pastor who has routinely been beaten and had his life threatened for preaching the name of Christ
-a widow whose husband was martyred while on a medical mission in Afghanistan earlier this year who challenged us to be the aroma of Christ to those who are perishing so that they might seek and find the true bread of life
-an orphan from North Korea whose father was arrested and most likely killed by the North Korean government for his gospel ministry who now has a heart for the people of North Korea and is seeking to return to that country to spread the love of Christ, despite enormous dangers to her.
-a woman from India who works with International Justice Mission to free people caught in modern day slavery and many, many more stories of those laboring for the cause of Christ, people of “whom this world is not worthy.”
Some of you may have heard that the delegation of nearly 200 people from China was not allowed by their government to attend the conference. This reminder of the religious persecution faced by those around the world today spurred us on to pray for their protection and witness, while simultaneously being encouraged that the gospel of Jesus Christ will go forth, even under difficult circumstances.
Also very noticeable at the conference was the emphasis on the shift of the center of Christianity to the global south: to Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Christianity is no longer a Western religion, and the Western church was humble in seeking encouragement and partnership with those around the world while recognizing the need to hold fast to the truth of Scripture; to not be ensnared by the false idols of materialism, consumerism, and secularism; and to see that God truly is raising up for Himself a people from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation.
We were encouraged by letters from Billy Graham and John Stott, both who were pivotal in starting Lausanne decades ago, but who were not able to physically participate in this Congress due to their health and age. We were encouraged as Hebrews 13:7 states to “remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”
I was personally encouraged to meet and fellowship with people from around the globe who claimed the name of Christ and sought to make His name known in their countries and around the world. Meeting Christians whose lives are in danger for even speaking the name of Christ was humbling, but knowing that they are ministering the word of God in those contexts and were more zealous for the gospel than I have ever been was a challenge and exhortation to me unlike any I have ever experienced. It was incredible to see how God’s kingdom is expanding and Christianity is growing to reach every part of the world.
The closing worship ceremony last Sunday was a foretaste of heaven as people from around the globe gathered to take communion, hear the truth of God’s word, and worship our risen Lord together. Singing “In Christ Alone” together was a moving experience, and meditating on the words “for every sin on Him was laid,” knowing that the thousands present represented the billions of people on earth, making the cost of our salvation and the worth of Christ more real to me than ever before. We ended the conference by singing “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” as was sung at the 1910 World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland and anticipation of the day when we will together with the whole world celebrate the lamb upon his throne!