In Singapore this year, November 5 to 13, the Asian-South Pacific Congress on Evangelism will emerge as the first regional follow-up to the 1966 World Congress on Evangelism, held in Berlin.
Why did Billy Graham and other initiators select Asia for this first regional evangelism congress? A number of reasons are apparent:
1. Asian delegates to the World Congress on Evangelism expressed their desire to have a regional congress. Since then the desire has grown among church leaders throughout Asia.
2. Three-fourths of the world’s population is in Asia. To the concerned Christian, this means above all that the Christian community in Asia is faced with the greatest missionary challenge of today. “Christ Seeks Asia”—this is the theme of the November congress. The Rt. Rev. Dr. Chandu Ray of Pakistan, one of the congress planners, has said: “In Berlin the dominant feeling was unity in the task of evangelism.… We cannot postpone the translation of the Berlin aims.”
Of special note is the rapidly burgeoning youth population. Recent statistics show that nearly 80 per cent of the people from as far west as Pakistan to Japan in the east are under forty. This region of very old cultures has become phenomenally young. In 1980, according to current projections, Asian countries, excluding mainland China and Japan, will have 513 million young people between the ages of six and twenty-one. Many will not be in school and will not have jobs.
Behind these statistics is the reality of a troubled generation, ill equipped for the exceedingly competitive world it faces. Talks by politicians, parents, educators, and the young on the prospects of Asia’s youth throb with exasperation. There is the vision, apocalyptic almost, of anguished youth rising in ...1
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