Edward R. Dayton 20 Jul 1989

Lausanne II in Manila was the second International Congress on World Evangelization. The Congress drew its name from the first International Congress which was held fifteen years ago in Lausanne, Switzerland.1 The years between these two Congresses were a dynamic time in the spread of the gospel around the world. In 1974 we were alarmed to hear that there were over two billion people who had never heard the gospel. In 1989 we were still challenged by two billion people who had yet to hear, but we were also encouraged by the large number of people groups within which there was now an evangelizing church. We were encouraged by the fact that a much greater percentage of the world had had an opportunity to hear the gospel. We are amazed by the fact that, in order for Christianity to stay equal with the population growth during this period, it was necessary to have a thousand new churches every day of every year!

Lausanne I and II
Lausanne I focused very much on the major issues that faced Christians in the task of world evangelization. The papers prepared for Lausanne I were distributed a year in advance of the Congress so that each participant had the potential opportunity to interact with the writer. The plenary presentations at Lausanne I utilized responses to the papers and the authors’ responses to the comments as the basis for presentation. This produced a wealth of well-thought-out material.

The philosophy behind the design of Lausanne II was different. Although the Planning Committee worked diligently to identify the major issues that were facing the church in its evangelistic intent, the plenary presentations were designed to be as much motivational and inspirational as informational. The music of Lausanne II was drawn from over twenty different languages.2 The musicians came from many different countries and many different cultural backgrounds. The intention was to expose one another to all of the richness of the church in its varied forms of worship and celebration (see the following article).

The “grass roots” people of the church were brought into the Plenary Hall through the medium of eighteen different video presentations. (As you read the plenary papers in chapters that follow, you will find the text for these video presentations intertwined with them.) These video presentations, combined with the multicultural music and worship brought a new dimension to our understanding of what God is doing and saying throughout the world.

The participation process for Lausanne II was one of encouraging local Participant Selection Committees to recommend a broad representation from the church within each country. The qualification for being recommended as a participant was that the participant “agree with the biblical teaching on the gospel and evangelization as presented in the Lausanne Covenant,” that the participant agree to be involved in work leading up to the Congress, and to return to his or her country to share the results with others. Participants were also chosen on the basis of the type of ministry they were carrying out and the people they were trying to reach. Fifty percent of the participants were under the age of forty-five. Twenty-two percent were women.

The results of the participant selection process were that large numbers of people discovered one another. Delegations from a particular country were made up of many people who had never met each other, and the opportunity to meet and share formed vital new links for future communication and cooperation. An interesting example was the sixty-seven members of the Russian delegation. These people were drawn from all over that huge country. Because of some visa problems, they spent two days together in Moscow before leaving for Manila and had a marvelous time of meeting one another.

Forty-five different networks (referred to as “tracks” at the Congress and in this volume) of people were identified before the Congress. Such networks as those interested in reaching Muslims, those interested in promoting tentmaker missionaries, those interested in women’s issues, those interested in ministering in urban areas were noted and key individuals in these networks were invited to recommend participants who were involved in such areas of interest.

Representatives from 173 countries attended the Congress.3 Each participant had an opportunity to attend nine workshops that were specifically designed for a particular track, or to move between the various tracks to get a broader overview. The material that was prepared for the 425 workshops provided an amazing amount of resources for future efforts of evangelization. The amount of these resources was far greater than could be included in one volume. Rather, summaries of the work of each track are given, starting on page 383.

The ultimate result of the planning of the Congress and the type of participants who were there was a marvelous “town meeting” of people from all over the world who could find new networks, new relationships, new challenges, and thus move toward the goal of the Lausanne movement: to “build bridges of cooperation and understanding between Christian leaders interested in world evangelization.”

Congress Structure
An outline of the ten day Congress program is shown on page 461. The three streams of content for the plenary sessions were drawn from the Congress subtbeme: “Calling the Whole Church to Take the Whole Gospel to the Whole World.” Each day had three parts, each aimed at focusing first on the whole gospel, second on the whole world, and third on the whole church.

Each day was begun by an exposition from the book of Romans led by Rev. John R. W. Stott, Rev. Ajith Fernando and the late Archbishop David Penman.4

There were three opportunities during the ten days for national groups to meet together, in addition to the nine opportunities for workshops.

The Future of the Lausanne Movement
A meeting of the Lausanne Executive Committee and representatives of the four Lausanne Working Groups and the track leaders from the Congress was held on January 21-25, 1990, at Arrowhead Springs, California. In preparation for this meeting, all of the various reports and papers that are included in this volume were analyzed, along with future plans from each of the participating countries. A meeting of the full (seventy-five-member) Lausanne Committee is planned for the summer of 1990.

Lausanne II in Manila needs to be understood as part of a process, rather than an event. Ideally, it was an accelerator of things that were already happening. The country reports that have subsequently come from all over the world indicate a great moving of the Spirit, a deepening of commitment to world evangelization, and a new sense of partnership in the task that lies ahead.

In addition to this volume, a wealth of material in the form of audiotapes, videotapes, Congress reports and other books is now appearing.

—Edward R. Dayton

  1. The papers of Lausanne I are published in Let the Earth Hear His Voice, ed. J. D. Douglas (Minneapolis: World Wide Publications, 1975).
  2. Sea Alleluia: The Music of Lausanne II available from Corean Bakke, 5255 North Paulina, Chicago, 111. 60640
  3. Because of security considerations, the presence of some countries was not made public knowledge. Many of these countries had not been represented at Lausanne I. The Congress was held at the beginning of the Glasnost era in Eastern Europe. Lasting impressions were made on many participants who had never been able to attend such a conference before.
  4. Archbishop David Penman was unwell at the Congress in Manila, On his return to Melbourne, he suffered a major heart attack and for some weeks hovered between life and death. On October 1 he died at the age of fifty-four years. From a human point of view, his death is a very great loss.He was a New Zealander by birth and he and his wife, Jean, had served as C. M. S. missionaries in Pakistan and Lebanon. He founded the IFES work in Pakistan. He gained a Ph.D. in Islamic studies from Karachi University. His election as Archbishop of Melbourne was unexpected. However, he set a cracking pace. He was committed to evangelism. In the midst of his many duties, he headed a team of people who visited parishes for evangelistic meetings. He took his team to South Africa recently at the invitation of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He established a Department of Evangelism in his Diocese.In Australia his interest was the relation of the gospel to society. He became a spokesman for multiculturalism, was a critic of government policy, and won the respect of civic leaders for his wide interests and his commitment to justice issues. Overseas he had many contacts, particularly in the Middle East, and from time-to-time had been involved in government and church conversations.

    Movements like Lausanne were close to his heart because it brought the gospel and people of different backgrounds and cultures together.

    He is greatly missed and widely mourned. His three Bible studies from Lausanne have been published by the Diocese of Melbourne as a memorial to his last act in a distinguished ministry.

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