The Reformation of the 16th century was a revolution of mythic proportions. Scholars and pastors with fresh scriptural insights took advantage of revolutionary changes in the arts, science, humanities, politics, travel, and commerce to turn the Western world upside down. It marked both a return to biblical roots and a leap into the future. In the 21st century, what major changes in the church should Christians be hoping and working for? In the final installment of the Global Conversation, four key leaders from four continents reveal their hopes.
During my most recent visit to Ethiopia, I joined students at Addis Ababa University for a meeting of the Evangelical Students' and Graduates' Union of Ethiopia. The students are part of a remarkably courageous Ethiopian church that survived the repressive regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam. Believers had to go underground between 1974 and 1991 while the regime tortured and murdered tens of thousands. But afterward, the church emerged irrepressible and vibrant in witness.
At the meeting I attended, worship alone lasted an hour. Then came a time of prayer followed by biblical preaching, lasting about two-and-a-half hours. I could tell from the students' singing, dancing, and praying that most of them combined elements of their Orthodox Church background with their evangelical identity. Most could recite long portions of Scripture by heart, a habit they had learned under Communist rule. Some 700 students were present, and I was told that another 50 had gone to a village for rural evangelism. Later that night we sat and ate injera, the traditional Ethiopian flatbread, with bare hands from deep bowls.
The Ethiopian students could not have been more different in culture, experience, tradition, ...1
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