Amsterdam 2000, the nine-day conference for preaching evangelists convoked by evangelist Billy Graham, is being called the most internationally representative gathering ever. Though the attendance of 10,287 is similar to the count at the Amsterdam 86 conference for itinerant evangelists, 37 more nations are represented at this year's meeting.The United States sent five times more attendees than any other country, at 2,767. But three-quarters of the evangelists come from the developing world. The other countries in the top five were India (495 attendees), Ghana (249), Kenya (204), and South Africa (182)."There is a great diversity here in Amsterdam," said John R.W. Stott, rector emeritus of All Souls Church in London. "But the unity here is even more remarkable."The attendance figures include 490 staff members and 693 stewards.But though the number of attendees is similar to the 8,160 evangelists and 2,000 others who attended Amsterdam 86, the $40 million cost is nearly double that of Amsterdam 86's $21 million budget. More than half of the difference, however, is due to inflation."It's a different world, and in many ways a more expensive world," says Franklin Graham, who delivered an address from his father, Billy Graham, Saturday night after the evangelist said he was too tired to speak to the conference via an exclusive satellite hookup.Meanwhile, Amsterdam continued its theology-heavy plenary sessions. Ajith Fernando, national director Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka, preached on the exclusivity of Christ. The belief is often confused with arrogance, he says, "but real arrogance is to reject what the Lord of the universe says about himself."Gerry Gallimore, a Jamaican who pastors Metropolitan Baptist Church of Miami, Florida, ...1
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