Welcome to the September issue of Lausanne Global Analysis.
Whether you are planning to read the full articles or just the executive summaries, we hope that you find this issue stimulating and useful. Our aim is to deliver strategic and credible analysis, information and insight so that as a leader you will be better equipped for the task of world evangelization. It’s our desire that the analysis of current and future trends and developments will help you and your team make better decisions about the stewardship of all that God has entrusted to your care.
In this issue we analyse the widespread persecution of Christians, as we look ahead to the annual International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, and examine the lessons that can be learned from the work of the Holy Spirit in quietly building the church in North Korea and in developing peace in the wake of post-election violence in Kenya. Additionally, the implications for theological education globally are explored through a focus on ministerial education in Russia over the last 20 years.
Charles Tieszen, adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary and specialist in Christian-Muslim relations, says that religious persecution is a global problem and not only a Christian concern. Nevertheless, Christians are the single most widely persecuted religious group in the world today. He reminds us that, “the Church is meant to be Christ’s suffering body in the world”. He adds that the Church must continue to reflect theologically on the persecution it endures even as it advocates for the religious freedom that all of humanity deserves.
For the last 70 years, Christianity has not been tolerated in North Korea. While the rest of the world seems riveted by North Korea’s nuclear programme, there is a much more significant but largely untold story of what God is doing in the ‘Judaea of the East’. Christians around the world need to be aware of God’s quiet work as he calls out laborers and opens the doors for them to enter the country. The global Church also needs to prepare to assist when unification comes and the people in the North are free to worship openly. That assistance, says the author, should not harm the quiet work that the Holy Spirit is now doing.
Alexey Gorbachev, Rector of Eurasian Theological Seminary in Moscow, Russia, describes the development of ministerial and theological training in Russia in the 20 years since the collapse of Communism. Today that training is passing through a “developmental and cultural crisis”, he says. Ministerial training, he adds, should be changed to equip the saints to serve God in their daily life—at their jobs, in their households, and in their communities. He concludes that “the achievements of the last 20 years in theological, biblical and leadership training in Eurasia should be preserved and developed further, but used within the framework of the concept of priesthood of all the believers, which will enable ‘the whole Church to take the whole gospel to the whole world’”.
Paul Borthwick, Senior Consultant with Development Associates International, and Jean Paul (JP) Ndagijimana, National Director for World Relief in Kenya, describe the Christian peace-building initiatives that started in Kenya after the post-election violence of 2008. Those initiatives continue to this day—bearing fruit in the peaceful elections this year. The Church around the world can learn lessons from what has happened in Kenya, they emphasize. A spirit of reconciliation and repentance has been fostered by times of confession, while pastors are also encouraged to preach against tribalism and teach forgiveness and restoration of relationships. These pastors have “carried the message of peace-building and reconciliation in their hearts to their communities. Let us all pray that God will continue working through his servants in reinforcing peace as the country moves forward”.
Please send any questions and comments to [email protected]. The next issue of Lausanne Global Analysis will be released in November.