Truth Became A Person – Day 1 at Cape Town
Day 1 of the Third Lausanne Congress focused on reminding ourselves of the absolute truth of Christ. In a world where most cultures promote a plurality of “personal truths” it is all the more important for Christians to understand how Christ is the visible image of the supreme, divine, cosmic truth.
A phrase that helps define how Christ embodies truth is that “truth became a person.”
Another design running throughout the entire congress is that we are all learning the personal stories and unique characteristics of the global church. The evening session highlighted the Church in Asia through personal narratives of China, India and songs from Pakistan to reflect the movement of God there.
The only standing ovation yet in the entire congress was reserved for an 18 year old North Korean woman who shared the story of her father’s persecution and eventual execution for sharing his faith. After she finished her story with a tearful plea to pray for Christians in North Korea, she gave a customary bow and exited the stage, but the crowd would not stop applauding or return to their seats until she was escorted back on stage and was embraced by one of the South Korean church elders. There was not a dry eye in the room.
Earlier in the evening the 684 US delegates and special guests met to discuss our shifting role in leading, influencing and financing global church institutions.
In a playful skit Lon Allison from the Billy Graham Center acknowledged that while much of the organizing and financing for the congress has come from the West, it is very intentional that only 4 of the 60 platform speakers who will address the congress are Americans; this congress is an intentional effort on our part to listen to and learn from the rest of the world.
Several leaders then briefly articulated the major issues they observed in our American churches and spoke of how they hope Lausanne will help us to confront them. They included racism, welcoming immigrants, raising up men in the church, and “going the distance” through long-term relationships.