THE MANILA MANIFESTO
affirm our continuing commitment to the Lausanne Covenant as the basis of our
cooperation in the Lausanne movement.
affirm that in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments God has given us an
authoritative disclosure of his character and will, his redemptive acts and
their meaning, and his mandate for mission.
affirm that the biblical gospel is God's enduring message to our world, and we
determine to defend, proclaim and embody it.
We affirm that human beings, though created in the image of God, are sinful and
guilty, and lost without Christ, and that this truth is a necessary preliminary
to the gospel.
We affirm that the Jesus of history and the Christ of glory are the same person,
and that this Jesus Christ is absolutely unique, for he alone is God incarnate,
our sin-bearer, the conqueror of death and the coming judge.
We affirm that on the cross Jesus Christ took our place, bore our sins and died
our death; and that for this reason alone God freely forgives those who are
brought to repentance and faith.
We affirm that other religions and ideologies are not alternative paths to God,
and that human spirituality, if unredeemed by Christ, leads not to God but to
judgment, for Christ is the only way.
We affirm that we must demonstrate God's love visibly by caring for those who
are deprived of justice, dignity, food and shelter.
We affirm that the proclamation of God's kingdom of justice and peace demands
the denunciation of all injustice and oppression, both personal and structural;
we will not shrink from this prophetic witness.
We affirm that the Holy Spirit's witness to Christ is indispensable to
evangelism, and that without this supernatural work neither new birth nor new
life is possible.
We affirm that spiritual warfare demands spiritual weapons, and that we must
both preach the word in the power of the Spirit, and pray constantly that we may
enter into Christ's victory over the principalities and powers of evil.
We affirm that God has committed to the whole church and every member of it the
task of making Christ known throughout the world; we long to see all lay and
ordained persons mobilized and trained for this task.
We affirm that we who claim to be members of the Body of Christ must transcend
within our fellowship the barriers of race, gender and class.
We affirm that the gifts of the Spirit are distributed to all God's people,
women and men, and that their partnership in evangelization must be welcomed for
the common good.
We affirm that we who proclaim the gospel must exemplify it in a life of
holiness and love; otherwise our testimony loses its credibility.
We affirm that every Christian congregation must turn itself outward to its
local community in evangelistic witness and compassionate service.
We affirm the urgent need for churches, mission agencies and other Christian
organizations to cooperate in evangelism and social action, repudiating
competition and avoiding duplication.
We affirm our duty to study the society in which we live, in order to understand
its structures, values and needs, and so develop an appropriate strategy of
We affirm that world evangelization is urgent and that the reaching of unreached
peoples is possible. So we resolve during the last decade of the twentieth
century to give ourselves to these tasks with fresh determination.
We affirm our solidarity with those who suffer for the gospel, and will seek to
prepare ourselves for the same possibility. We will also work for religious and
political freedom everywhere.
We affirm that God is calling the whole church to take the whole gospel to the
whole world. So we determine to proclaim it faithfully, urgently and
sacrificially until he comes.
THE WHOLE GOSPEL
The gospel is the good news of God's salvation from the power of evil, the establishment of his eternal kingdom and his final victory over everything which defies his purpose. In his love God purposed to do this before the world began and effected his liberating plan over sin, death and judgment through the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is Christ who makes us free, and unites us in his redeemed fellowship.
OUR HUMAN PREDICAMENT
We are committed to preaching the whole gospel, that is, the biblical gospel in
its fullness. In order to do so, we have to understand why beings need it.
Men and women
have an intrinsic dignity and worth, because they were created in God's likeness
to know, love and serve him. But now through sin every part of their humanness
have been distorted. Human beings have become self-centered, self-serving
rebels, who do not love God or their neighbour as they should. In consequence,
they are alienated both from their Creator and from the rest of his creation,
which is the basic cause of the pain, disorientation and loneliness which so
many people suffer today. Sin also frequently erupts in anti-social behaviour,
in violent exploitation of others, and in a depletion of the earth's resources
of which God has made men and women his stewards. Humanity is guilty, without
excuse, and on the broad road which leads to destruction.
image in human beings has been corrupted, they are still capable of loving
relationships, noble deeds and beautiful art. Yet even the finest human
achievement is fatally flawed and cannot possibly fit anybody to enter God's
presence. Men and women are also spiritual beings, but spiritual practice and
self-help techniques can at the most alleviate felt needs; they cannot address
the solemn realities of sin, guilt and judgment. Neither human religion, nor
human righteousness, nor sociopolitical programs can save people. Self-salvation
of every kind is impossible. Left to themselves, human beings are lost forever.
So we repudiate
false gospels which deny human sin, divine judgment, the deity and incarnation
of Jesus Christ, and the necessity of the cross and resurrection. We also reject
half-gospels, which minimize sin and confuse God's grace with human self-effort.
We confess that we ourselves have sometimes trivialized the gospel. But we
determine in our evangelism to remember God's radical diagnosis and his equally
GOOD NEWS FOR TODAY
We rejoice that the living God did not abandon us to our lostness and despair.
In his love he came after us in Jesus Christ to rescue and remake us. So the
good news focuses on the historic person of Jesus, who came proclaiming the
kingdom of God and living a life of humble service, who died for us, becoming
sin and a curse in our place, and whom God vindicated by raising him from the
dead. To those who repent and believe in Christ, God grants a share in the new
creation. He gives us new life, which includes the forgiveness of our sins and
the indwelling, transforming power of his Spirit. He welcomes us into his new
community, which consists of people of all races, nations and cultures. And he
promises that one day we will enter his new world, in which evil will be
abolished, nature will be redeemed, and God will reign forever.
This good news
must be boldly proclaimed, wherever possible, in church and in public halls, on
radio and television, and in the open air, because it is God's power for
salvation and we are under obligation to make it known. In our preaching we must
faithfully declare the truth which God has revealed in the Bible and struggle to
relate it to our own context.
We also affirm
that apologetics, namely "the defence and confirmation of the gospel", is
integral to the biblical understanding of mission and essential for effective
witness in the modern world. Paul "reasoned" with people out of the Scriptures,
with a view to "persuading" them of the truth of the gospel. So must we. In
fact, all Christians should be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in
We have again
been confronted with Luke's emphasis that the gospel is good news for the poor
and have asked ourselves what this means to the majority of the world's
population who are destitute, suffering or oppressed. We have been reminded that
the law, the prophets and the wisdom books, all the teaching and ministry of
Jesus, all stress God's concern for the materially poor and our consequent duty
to defend and care for them. Scripture also refers to the spiritually poor who
look to God alone for mercy. The gospel comes as good news to both. The
spiritually poor, who, whatever their economic circumstances, humble themselves
before God, receive by faith the free gift of salvation. There is no other way
for anybody to enter the Kingdom of God. The materially poor and powerless find
in addition a new dignity as God's children, and the love of brothers and
sisters who struggle with them for their liberation from everything which
demeans or oppresses them.
We repent of any
neglect of God's truth in Scripture and determine both to proclaim and to defend
it. We also repent where we have been indifferent to the plight of the poor, and
where we have shown preference for the rich, and we determine to follow Jesus in
preaching good news to all people by both word and deed.
THE UNIQUENESS OF JESUS CHRIST
We are called to proclaim Christ in an increasingly pluralistic world. There is
a resurgence of old faiths and a rise of new ones. In the first century too
there were "many gods and many lords". Yet the apostles boldly affirmed the
uniqueness, indispensability and centrality of Christ. We must do the same.
Because men and
women are made in God's image and see in the creation traces of its Creator, the
religions which have arisen do sometimes contain elements of truth and beauty.
They are not, however, alternative gospels. Because human beings are sinful, and
because "the whole world is under the control of the evil one", even religious
people are in need of Christ's redemption. We, therefore, have no warrant for
saying that salvation can be found outside Christ or apart from an explicit
acceptance of his work through faith.
It is sometimes
held that in virtue of God's covenant with Abraham, Jewish people do not need to
acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah. We affirm that they need him as much as
anyone else, that it would be a form of anti-Semitism, as well as being disloyal
to Christ, to depart from the New Testament pattern of taking the gospel to "the
Jew first...". We therefore reject the thesis that Jews have their own covenant
which renders faith in Jesus unnecessary.
What unites us
is our common convictions about Jesus Christ. We confess him as the eternal Son
of God who became fully human while remaining fully divine, who was our
substitute on the cross, bearing our sins and dying our death, exchanging his
righteousness for our unrighteousness, who rose victorious in a transformed
body, and who will return in glory to judge the world. He alone is the incarnate
Son, the Saviour, the Lord and the Judge, and he alone, with the Father and the
Spirit, is worthy of worship, faith and obedience of all people. There is only
one gospel because there is only one Christ, who because of his death and
resurrection is himself the only way of salvation. We therefore reject both the
relativism which regards all religions and spiritualities as equally valid
approaches to God, and the syncretism which tries to mix faith in Christ with
God has exalted Jesus to the highest place, in order that everybody should
acknowledge him, this also is our desire. Compelled by Christ's love, we must
obey Christ's Great Commission and love his lost sheep, but we are especially
motivated by "jealousy" for his holy name, and we long to see him receive the
honour and glory which are due to him.
In the past we
have sometimes been guilty of adopting towards adherents of other faiths
attitudes of ignorance, arrogance, disrespect and even hostility. We repent of
this. We nevertheless are determined to bear a positive and uncompromising
witness to the uniqueness of our Lord, in his life, death and resurrection, in
all aspects of our evangelistic work including inter-faith dialogue.
THE GOSPEL AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
The authentic gospel must become visible in the transformed lives of men and
women. As we proclaim the love of God we must be involved in loving service, as
we preach the Kingdom of God we must be committed to its demands of justice and
primary because our chief concern is with the gospel, that all people may have
the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Yet Jesus not only
proclaimed the Kingdom of God, he also demonstrated its arrival by works of
mercy and power. We are called today to a similar integration of words and
deeds. In a spirit of humility we are to preach and teach, minister to the sick,
feed the hungry, care for prisoners, help the disadvantaged and handicapped, and
deliver the oppressed. While we acknowledge the diversity of spiritual gifts,
callings and contexts, we also affirm that good news and good works are
of God's kingdom necessarily demands the prophetic denunciation of all that is
incompatible with it. Among the evils we deplore are destructive violence,
including institutionalized violence, political corruption, all forms of
exploitation of people and of the earth, the undermining of the family, abortion
on demand, the drug traffic, and the abuse of human rights. In our concern for
the poor, we are distressed by the burden of debt in the two-thirds world. We
are also outraged by the inhuman conditions in which millions live, who bear
God's image as we do.
commitment to social action is not a confusion of the kingdom of God with a
Christianized society. It is, rather, a recognition that the biblical gospel has
inescapable social implications. True mission should always be incarnational. It
necessitates entering humbly into other people's worlds, identifying with their
social reality, their sorrow and suffering, and their struggles for justice
against oppressive powers. This cannot be done without personal sacrifices.
We repent that
the narrowness of our concerns and vision has often kept us from proclaiming the
lordship of Jesus Christ over all of life, private and public, local and global.
We determine to obey his command to "seek first the kingdom of God and his
THE WHOLE CHURCH
gospel has to be proclaimed by the whole church. All the people of God are
called to share in the evangelistic task. Yet without the Holy Spirit of God all
their endeavours will be fruitless.
GOD THE EVANGELIST
The Scriptures declare that God himself is the chief evangelist. For the Spirit
of God is the Spirit of truth, love, holiness and power, and evangelism is
impossible without him. It is he who anoints the messenger, confirms the word,
prepares the hearer, convicts the sinful, enlightens the blind, gives life to
the dead, enables us to repent and believe, unites us to the Body of Christ,
assures us that we are God's children, leads us into Christlike character and
service, and sends us out in our turn to be Christ's witnesses. In all this the
Holy Spirit's main preoccupation is to glorify Jesus Christ by showing him to us
and forming him in us.
involves spiritual warfare with the principalities and powers of evil, in which
only spiritual weapons can prevail, especially the Word and the Spirit, with
prayer. We therefore call on all Christian people to be diligent in their
prayers both for the renewal of the church and for the evangelization of the
conversion involves a power encounter, in which the superior authority of Jesus
Christ is demonstrated. There is no greater miracle than this, in which the
believer is set free from the bondage of Satan and sin, fear and futility,
darkness and death.
miracles of Jesus were special, being signs of his Messiahship and anticipations
of his perfect kingdom when all nature will be subject to him, we have no
liberty to place limits on the power of the living Creator today. We reject both
the scepticism which denies miracles and the presumption which demands them,
both the timidity which shrinks from the fullness of the Spirit and the
triumphalism which shrinks from the weakness in which Christ's power is made
We repent of all
self-confident attempts either to evangelize in our own strength or to dictate
to the Holy Spirit. We determine in the future not to "grieve" or "quench" the
Spirit, but rather to seek to spread the good news "with power, with the Holy
Spirit and with deep conviction".
THE HUMAN WITNESS
God the evangelist gives his people the privilege of being his "fellow workers".
For, although we cannot witness without him, he normally chooses to witness
through us. He calls only some to be evangelists, missionaries or pastors, but
he calls his whole church and every member of it to be his witnesses.
task of pastors and teachers is to lead God's people into maturity and to equip
them for ministry. Pastors are not to monopolize ministries, but rather to
multiply them, by encouraging others to use their gifts and by training
disciples to make disciples. The domination of the laity by the clergy has been
a great evil in the history of the church. It robs both laity and clergy of
their God-intended roles, causes clergy breakdowns, weakens the church and
hinders the spread of the gospel. More than that, it is fundamentally
unbiblical. We therefore, who have for centuries insisted on "the priesthood of
all believers" now also insist on the ministry of all believers.
recognize that children and young people enrich the church's worship and
outreach by their enthusiasm and faith. We need to train them in discipleship
and evangelism, so that they may reach their own generation for Christ.
God created men
and women as equal bearers of his image, accepts them equally in Christ and
poured out his Spirit on all flesh, sons and daughters alike. In addition,
because the Holy Spirit distributes his gifts to women as well as to men, they
must be given opportunities to exercise their gifts. We celebrate their
distinguished record in the history of missions and are convinced that God calls
women to similar roles today. Even though we are not fully agreed what forms
their leadership should take, we do agree about the partnership in world
evangelization which God intends men and women to enjoy. Suitable training must
therefore be made available to both.
takes place, by women and men, not only through the local church (see Section
but through friendships, in the home and at work. Even those who are homeless or
unemployed share in the calling to be witnesses.
responsibility is to witness to those who are already our friends, relatives,
neighbours, and colleagues. Home evangelism is also natural, both for married
and single people. Not only should a Christian home commend God's standards of
marriage, sex and family, and provide a haven of love and peace to people who
are hurting, but neighbours who would not enter a church usually feel
comfortable in a home, even when the gospel is discussed.
for lay witness is the workplace, for it is here most Christians spend half
their waking hours, and work is a divine calling. Christians can commend Christ
by word of mouth, by their consistent industry, honesty and thoughtfulness, by
their concern for justice in the workplace, and especially if others can see
from the quality of their daily work that it is done to the glory of God.
We repent of our
share in discouraging the ministry of laity, especially of women and young
people. We determine in the future to encourage all Christ's followers to take
their place, rightfully and naturally, as his witnesses. For true evangelism
comes from the overflow of a heart in love with Christ. That is why it belongs
to all his people without exception.
THE INTEGRITY OF THE WITNESSES
Nothing commends the gospel more eloquently than a transformed life, and nothing
brings it into disrepute so much as personal inconsistency. We are charged to
behave in a manner that is worthy of the gospel of Christ, and even to "adorn"
it, enhancing its beauty by holy lives. For the watching world rightly seeks
evidence to substantiate the claims which Christ's disciples make for him. A
strong evidence is our integrity.
that Christ died to bring us to God appeals to people who are spiritually
thirsty, but they will not believe us if we give no evidence of knowing the
living God ourselves, or if our public worship lacks reality and relevance.
Our message that
Christ reconciles alienated people to each other rings true only if we are seen
to love and forgive one another, to serve others in humility, and to reach out
beyond our own community in compassionate, costly ministry to the needy.
Our challenge to
others to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Christ will be
plausible only if we ourselves have evidently died to selfish ambition,
dishonesty and covetousness, and are living a life of simplicity, contentment
We deplore the
failures in Christian consistency which we see in both Christians and churches:
material greed, professional pride and rivalry, competition in Christian
service, jealousy of younger leaders, missionary paternalism, the lack of mutual
accountability, the loss of Christian standards of sexuality, and racial, social
and sexual discrimination. All this is worldliness, allowing the prevailing
culture to subvert the church instead of the church challenging and changing the
culture. We are deeply ashamed of the times when, both as individuals and in our
Christian communities, we have affirmed Christ in word and denied him in deed.
Our inconsistency deprives our witness of credibility. We acknowledge our
continuing struggles and failures. But we also determine by God's grace to
develop integrity in ourselves and in the church.
THE LOCAL CHURCH
Every Christian congregation is a local expression of the Body of Christ and has
the same responsibilities. It is both "a holy priesthood" to offer God the
spiritual sacrifices of worship and "a holy nation" to spread abroad his
excellences in witness. The church is thus both a worshipping and a witnessing
community gathered and scattered, called and sent. Worship and witness are
We believe that
the local church bears a primary responsibility for the spread of the gospel.
Scripture suggests this in the progression that "our gospel came to you" and
then "rang out from you". In this way, the gospel creates the church which
spreads the gospel which creates more churches in a continuous chain-reaction.
Moreover, what Scripture teaches, strategy confirms. Each local church must
evangelize the district in which it is situated, and has the resources to do so.
every congregation to carry out regular studies not only of its own membership
and program but of its local community in all its particularity, in order to
develop appropriate strategies for mission. Its members might decide to organize
a visitation of their whole area, to penetrate for Christ a particular place
where people assemble, to arrange a series of evangelistic meetings, lectures or
concerts, to work with the poor to transform a local slum, or plant a new church
in a neighbouring district or village. At the same time, they must not forget
the church's global task. A church which sends out missionaries must not neglect
its own locality, and a church which evangelizes its neighbourhood must not
ignore the rest of the world.
In all this each
congregation and denomination should, where possible, work with others, seeking
to turn any spirit of competition into one of cooperation. Churches should also
work with para-church organizations, especially in evangelism, discipling and
community service, for such agencies are part of the Body of Christ, and have
valuable, specialist expertise from which the church can greatly benefit.
The church is
intended by God to be a sign of his kingdom, that is, an indication of what
human community looks like when it comes under his rule of righteousness and
peace. As with individuals, so with churches, the gospel has to be embodied if
it is to be communicated effectively. It is through our love for one another
that the invisible God reveals himself today, especially when our fellowship is
expressed in small groups, and when it transcends the barriers of race, rank,
sex and age which divide other communities.
We deeply regret
that many of our congregations are inward-looking, organized for maintenance
rather than mission, or preoccupied with church-based activities at the expense
of witness. We determine to turn our churches inside out, so that they may
engage in continuous outreach, until the Lord adds to them daily those who are
COOPERATING IN EVANGELISM
Evangelism and unity are closely related in the New Testament. Jesus prayed that
his people's oneness might reflect his own oneness with the Father, in order
that the world might believe in him, and Paul exhorted the Philippians to
"contend as one person for the faith of the gospel". In contrast to this
biblical vision, we are ashamed of the suspicions and rivalries, the dogmatism
over non-essentials, the power-struggles and empire-building which spoil our
evangelistic witness. We affirm that co-operation in evangelism is
indispensable, first because it is the will of God, but also because the gospel
of reconciliation is discredited by our disunity, and because, if the task of
world evangelization is ever to be accomplished, we must engage in it together.
means finding unity in diversity. It involves people of different temperaments,
gifts, calling and cultures, national churches and mission agencies, all ages
and both sexes working together.
determined to put behind us once and for all, as a hangover from the colonial
past, the simplistic distinction between First World sending and Two-Third World
receiving countries. For the great new fact of our era is the
internationalization of missions. Not only are a large majority of all
evangelical Christians now non-western, but the number of Two-Thirds World
missionaries will soon exceed those from the West. We believe that mission
teams, which are diverse in composition but united in heart and mind, constitute
a dramatic witness to the grace of God.
Our reference to
"the whole church" is not a presumptuous claim that the universal church and the
evangelical community are synonymous. For we recognize that there are many
churches which are not part of the evangelical movement. Evangelical attitudes
to the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches differ widely. Some evangelicals are
praying, talking, studying Scripture and working with these churches. Others are
strongly opposed to any form of dialogue or cooperation with them. All are aware
that serious theological differences between us remain. Where appropriate, and
so long as biblical truth is not compromised, cooperation may be possible in
such areas as Bible translation, the study of contemporary theological and
ethical issues, social work and political action. We wish to make it clear,
however, that common evangelism demands a common commitment to the biblical
Some of us are
members of churches which belong to the World Council of Churches and believe
that a positive yet critical participation in its work is our Christian duty.
Others among us have no link with the World Council. All of us urge the World
Council of Churches to adopt a consistent biblical understanding of evangelism.
We confess our
own share of responsibility for the brokenness of the Body of Christ, which is a
major stumbling-block to world evangelization. We determine to go on seeking
that unity in truth for which Christ prayed. We are persuaded that the right way
forward towards closer cooperation is frank and patient dialogue on the basis of
the Bible, with all who share our concerns. To this we gladly commit ourselves.
THE WHOLE WORLD
The whole gospel has been entrusted to the whole church, in order that it may be made known to the whole world. It is necessary, therefore, for us to understand the world into which we are sent.
THE MODERN WORLD
Evangelism takes place in a context, not in a vacuum. The balance between gospel
and context must be carefully maintained. We must understand the context in
order to address it, but the context must not be allowed to distort the gospel.
connection we have become concerned about the impact of "modernity", which is an
emerging world culture produced by industrialization with its technology and
urbanization with its economic order. These factors combine to create an
environment, which significantly shapes the way in which we see our world. In
addition, secularism has devastated faith by making God and the supernatural
meaningless; urbanization has dehumanized life for many; and the mass media have
contributed to the devaluation of truth and authority, by replacing word with
image. In combination, these consequences of modernity pervert the message which
many preach and undermine their motivation for mission.
of the world's population lived in cities; in AD
it is thought that more than
will do so. This worldwide move into the cities has been called "the greatest
migration in human history"; it constitutes a major challenge to Christian
mission. One the one hand, city populations are extremely cosmopolitan, so that
the nations come to our doorstep in the city. Can we develop global churches in
which the gospel abolishes the barriers of ethnicity? On the other hand, many
city dwellers are migrant poor who are also receptive to the gospel. Can the
people of God be persuaded to relocate into such urban poor communities, in
order to serve the people and share in the transformation of the city?
brings blessings as well as dangers. By creating links of communication and
commerce around the globe, it makes unprecedented openings for the gospel,
crossing old frontiers and penetrating closed societies, whether traditional or
totalitarian. The Christian media have a powerful influence both in sowing the
seed of the gospel and in preparing the soil. The major missionary broadcasters
are committed to a gospel witness by radio in every major language by the year
We confess that
we have not struggled as we should to understand modernization. We have used its
methods and techniques uncritically and so exposed ourselves to worldliness. But
we determine in the future to take these challenges and opportunities seriously,
to resist the secular pressures of modernity, to relate the lordship of Christ
to the whole of modern culture, and thus to engage in mission in the modern
world without worldliness in modern mission.
THE CHALLENGE OF AD
The world population today is approaching
billion. One third of them nominally confess Christ. Of the remaining four
billion half have heard of him and the other half have not. In the light of
these figures, we evaluate our evangelistic task by considering four categories
First, there is
the potential missionary work force, the committed. In this century this
category of Christian believers has grown from about
million today, and at this moment is growing over twice as fast as any other
major religious group.
are the uncommitted. They make a Christian profession (they have been baptized,
attend church occasionally and even call themselves Christians), but the notion
of a personal commitment to Christ is foreign to them. They are found in all
churches throughout the world. They urgently need to be re-evangelized. Thirdly,
there are the unevangelized. These are people who have a minimal knowledge of
the gospel, but have had no valid opportunity to respond to it. They are
probably within reach of Christian people if only these will go to the next
street, road, village or town to find them.
are the unreached. These are the two billion who may never have heard of Jesus
as Saviour, and are not within reach of Christians of their own people. There
are, in fact, some
peoples or nationalities in which there is not yet a vital, indigenous church
movement. We find it helpful to think of them as belonging to smaller "people
groups" which perceive themselves as having an affinity with each other (e.g. a
common culture, language, home or occupation). The most effective messengers to
reach them will be those believers who already belong to their culture and know
their language. Otherwise, cross-cultural messengers of the gospel will need to
go, leaving behind their own culture and sacrificially identifying with the
people they long to reach for Christ.
There are now
such unreached people groups within the
larger peoples, so that the task is not impossible. Yet at present only
of all missionaries are engaged in this kind of outreach, while the remaining
are working in the already evangelized half of the world. If this imbalance is
to be redressed, a strategic redeployment of personnel will be necessary.
factor that affects each of the above categories is that of inaccessibility.
Many countries do not grant visas to self-styled missionaries, who have no other
qualification or contribution to offer. Such areas are not absolutely
inaccessible, however. For our prayers can pass through every curtain, door and
barrier. And Christian radio and television, audio and video cassettes, films
and literature can also reach the otherwise unreachable. So can so-called
""tent-makers" who like Paul earn their own living. They travel in the course of
their profession (e.g. business people, university lecturers, technical
specialists and language teachers), and use every opportunity to speak of Jesus
Christ. They do not enter a country under false pretences, for their work
genuinely takes them there; it is simply that witness is an essential component
of their Christian lifestyle, wherever they may happen to be.
We are deeply
ashamed that nearly two millennia have passed since the death and resurrection
of Jesus, and still two-thirds of the world's population have not yet
acknowledged him. On the other hand, we are amazed at the mounting evidence of
God's power even in the most unlikely places of the globe.
Now the year
has become for many a challenging milestone. Can we commit ourselves to
evangelize the world during the last decade of this millennium? There is nothing
magical about the date, yet should we not do our best to reach this goal? Christ
commands us to take the gospel to all peoples. The task is urgent. We are
determined to obey him with joy and hope.
Jesus plainly told his followers to expect opposition. "If they persecuted me",
he said, "they will persecute you also". He even told them to rejoice over
persecution, and reminded them that the condition of fruitfulness was death.
predictions, that Christian suffering is inevitable and productive, have come
true in every age, including our own. There have been many thousands of martyrs.
Today the situation is much the same. We earnestly hope that glasnost and
perestroika will lead to complete religious freedom in the Soviet Union and
other Eastern bloc nations, and that Islamic and Hindu countries will become
more open to the gospel. We deplore the recent brutal suppression of China's
democratic movement, and we pray that it will not bring further suffering to the
Christians. On the whole, however, it seems that ancient religions are becoming
less tolerant, expatriates less welcome, and the world less friendly to the
situation we wish to make three statements to governments which are
reconsidering their attitude to Christian believers.
Christians are loyal citizens, who seek the welfare of their nation. They pray
for its leaders, and pay their taxes. Of course, those who have confessed Jesus
as Lord cannot also call other authorities Lord, and if commanded to do so, or
to do anything which God forbids, must disobey. But they are conscientious
citizens. They also contribute to their country's well-being by the stability of
their marriages and their homes, their honesty in business, their hard work and
their voluntary activity in the service of the handicapped and needy. Just
governments have nothing to fear from Christians.
Christians renounce unworthy methods of evangelism. Though the nature of our
faith requires us to share the gospel with others, our practice is to make an
open and honest statement of it, which leaves the hearers entirely free to make
up their own minds about it. We wish to be sensitive to those of other faiths,
and we reject any approach that seeks to force conversion on them.
Christians earnestly desire freedom of religion for all people, not just freedom
for Christianity. In predominantly Christian countries, Christians are at the
forefront of those who demand freedom for religious minorities. In predominantly
non-Christian countries, therefore, Christians are asking for themselves no more
than they demand for others in similar circumstances. The freedom to "profess,
practice and propagate" religion, as defined in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, could and should surely be a reciprocally granted right.
regret any unworthy witness of which followers of Jesus may have been guilty. We
determine to give no unnecessary offence in anything, lest the name of Christ be
dishonoured. However, the offence of the cross we cannot avoid. For the sake of
Christ crucified we pray that we may be ready, by his grace, to suffer and even
to die. Martyrdom is a form of witness which Christ has promised especially to
CONCLUSION: PROCLAIM CHRIST UNTIL HE COMES
"Proclaim Christ until he comes". That has been the theme of Lausanne II. Of course we believe that Christ has come; he came when Augustus was Emperor of Rome. But one day, as we know from his promises, he will come again in unimaginable splendour to perfect his kingdom. We are commanded to watch and be ready. Meanwhile, the gap between his two comings is to be filled with the Christian missionary enterprise. We have been told to go to the ends of the earth with the gospel, and we have been promised that the end of the age will come only when we have done so. The two ends (of earth space and time) will coincide. Until then he has pledged to be with us.
So the Christian
mission is an urgent task. We do not know how long we have. We certainly have no
time to waste. And in order to get on urgently with our responsibility, other
qualities will be necessary, especially unity (we must evangelize together) and
sacrifice (we must count and accept the cost). Our covenant at Lausanne was "to
pray, to plan and to work together for the evangelization of the whole world".
Our manifesto at Manila is that the whole church is called to take the whole
gospel to the whole world, proclaiming Christ until he comes, with all necessary
urgency, unity and sacrifice.