A structure to embody the spirit of last summer’s Lausanne congress on world evangelization is beginning to take shape. Last month, forty-two of the forty-eight members of the Lausanne Continuation Committee for World Evangelization (LCCWE) met in Mexico City and charted preliminary directions.

There will be a general secretary, an eleven-member executive committee (its first meeting will be in Africa in August), an annual meeting of the LCCWE, and a Consultative Council of about 200 Lausanne participants who will meet every five years or so. Regional committees will seek to implement the Lausanne mandate “to pray, to plan, and to work together for the evangelization of the whole world.” At the same time, the LCCWE members intend to maintain a low profile, eschewing the building of a bureaucracy and keeping budget and staff minimal.

In a keynote address, LCCWE honorary chairman Billy Graham said he believes God has raised up evangelicalism “as a reaffirmation of historic first-century Christianity” in a time of theological defection by liberals and amid dazzling social and political changes worldwide. He noted the rise of Third World mission agencies able to send missionaries to countries where Westerners no longer can go, and he suggested the LCCWE should help the agencies as part of an over-all strategy for reaching the world. Evangelism, he maintained, should be the LCCWE’s paramount concern.

A few members, led by Anglican John R. W. Stott of London, in sometimes lively discussion lobbied for a broader approach, including greater emphasis on social concern. But in the end, the majority seemed agreed that evangelism was an effective glue that could hold everybody together while social issues could be divisive.

Among goals ...

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