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The Chinese Church was barely represented at The Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town in October 2010 as Chinese participants were unable to leave China. In 2011 plans were laid quietly for a special event for these Chinese church leaders, to be held elsewhere in East Asia. Over one hundred unregistered church leaders from mainland China arrived safely in Seoul, representing millions of Chinese believers.
The participation of the Chinese leaders in the 300-strong Asian Church Leaders Forum (ACLF) marked the first time since 1949 that such a group of Chinese Christian leaders had taken part in a multi-national gathering. It was a symbolic moment in church history. Speakers included Patrick Fung of OMF International; Daniel Bourdanné of IFES, Joshua Ting of CCCOWE, Thomas Wang of Great Commission Center, JaeHoon Lee of Onnuri Church and James Hudson Taylor IV, great-great-grandson of the British missionary pioneer to inland China.
Professor Liu Peng from the Chinese Academy of Social Science, spoke of Christianity’s potential to win the heart of China. There is a need for China to update its outdated religious policies ‘to adapt to a new modern era’ he said, concluding ‘Christianity is well suited to resolve China’s current moral crisis’. The primary responsibility for seizing this opportunity lies with the Chinese church itself.
Beijing Pastor Daniel Li urged that the Chinese Church work and pray to see 20,000 missionaries sent out from China by 2030. ‘Over the last 200 years, since the days of the earliest British pioneer Robert Morrison, some 20,000 missionaries have served in China.’ There was, he said, ‘a gospel debt to pay off’.
Japanese Bible Expositor Dr Eiko Takamizawa from Torch Trinity University, Seoul, brought tears to many eyes with a powerful message of gospel reconciliation between Japan, Korea and China. The worship team, drawn from these three nations, demonstrated a clear and poignant sense of unity.
The Cape Town Commitment, issuing from The Third Lausanne Congress, has circulated widely in China. It expresses what the Congress discerned the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church. On behalf of all those present at the Congress, Lausanne leaders have urged local and national churches to discern their place in its outworking. As a means of response, Pastor Ezra Jing of Beijing Zion Church led the Chinese in drafting and signing the ‘Seoul Commitment’. This calls the church in China to commit to loving the gospel of Christ; maintaining unity of the Spirit; working together wherever possible with the global church; and raising up younger leaders to take up the baton for world evangelization. Some 200 of the most gifted Chinese leaders under the age of 35 are being mentored, many of whom will participate in a global gathering of younger leaders planned for 2015.
- Photos from the Asian Church Leaders Forum
- Asian Church Leaders Forum Report by David Ro, Lausanne International Deputy Director for East Asia
- The Seoul Commitment