Eight years ago the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association and the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association called a Congress on the Church’s Worldwide Mission. The EFMA and the IFMA have as members most of the faith mission boards and agencies and the smaller evangelical denominations in the United States. This Wheaton (Illinois) congress was United States oriented, and was limited in the sense that the large denominations and their churches on the mission fields were not represented. Yet the gathering was significant, its results—including the “Wheaton Declaration”—encouraging.
Later that same year, 1966, the World Congress on Evangelism drew eleven hundred persons from some one hundred countries to Berlin. In a real sense the Lausanne congress is a followup of Berlin. But Berlin dealt quite specifically with evangelism per se, especially the theology of evangelism, and was not in a technical sense a missions-oriented gathering. It did not concern itself chiefly with the fulfillment of the missionary mandate throughout the whole world.
Now the focus shifts to Lausanne, Switzerland, for the Congress on World Evangelization (see the article “Lausanne May Be a Bomb,” page 12), to convene in July. Participants will come from almost every church group and nation; twenty-seven hundred have been invited, from more than a hundred and fifty countries. They will be evangelical in their theology, clear in their conception of the mission of the Church, and committed to finishing the task of world evangelization in this century.
One critic has called the Lausanne congress a “jet age junket,” and has questioned whether such a gathering merits the expenditure of large sums of money and whether the results will be worthwhile. No ...1
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