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THE ENSIGN MESSAGE

GOSPEL DEFENCE LEAGUE

By

P O Box 587, SEA POINT, 8060 RSA

TEL/FAX (021) 510-6854

Email:  dscarborough@telkomsa.net

April/May/June 2013

Dear Friends,

From 30 October to 8 November,  2013, the World Council of Churches  will hold its 10111  General Assembly in Busan, Korea.  The theme of the Conference  is  “God of Life, Lead us to Justice and Peace. ”  For this auspicious occasion, it has drafted a new statement on mission and evangelism,  titled  “Together  Towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes.

The Great Commission

The chief commandment  that Jesus Christ gave to His Church is the Great Commission.   After His Resurrection and before His Ascension, Jesus said to His disciples:  “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching  them to obey everything  I have commanded you.  And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-19}

This commandment  was particularly meaningful to the World Mission Conference of Edinburgh in 1910, a meeting of all the major Protestant denominations  and missionary societies of the USA and Northern  Europe. lt was a very hopeful event, and its participants were looking forward to  the Evangelisation of the World in this Generation. ” The Spirit was such that it was seen as the culmination  of 19111  century Protestant Missions.

The World Council of Churches,  though only founded in 1948, regards itself as the heir of this conference.  One of its first major actions was to bring the International Missionary Council into its fold in 1962.  It did not, however, encourage  it to Biblical Missions, but to reinterpret Missions in political terms until, by 1973, at its mission conference  in Bangkok, the WCC actually called for a  Moratorium  on Missions. ” Missionaries were withdrawn from all parts of the world, and their fatherless congregations  introduced  to liberation theology, to think and act in terms of a class and race struggle.  By the 1980s the major activity of the WCC was  combatting racism. ” All over the world it championed  so-called liberation  movements (e.g. the ANC, ZANU, MPLA, FRELIMO etc in Southern Africa) and supported marxist terrorists with church funds, while the cries of Christians persecuted  under Communism  were neither heard nor heeded.  When, in the 1980s and ’90s,  the liberation movements “became  legitimate governments,  their first action was to abolish public Christianity.

Since that time of”liberation” the WCC has had to re-evaluate its aims.  With racism supposedly  overcome, what is its true mission now?  For its forthcoming 10 111  General Assembly, the World Council of Churches  has published a Mission Statement (for acceptance by its member Churches) entitled:  “Together  Towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing  Landscapes.”  This document, however, does not signifY a return to the Bible.  Its content is strongly anti-Western and very disdainful of traditional missions and missionaries.   These noble servants of God, who literally laid down their lives for the Gospel, are falsely imputed to having been motivated by an attitude of paternalism and a superiority  complex…  ” What a missionary needs, says the WCC, is “a commitment  to struggle. ” He must  “resist the powers that obstruct the fullness of life. (p8} Mission should not be carried out  “by the powerful to the powerless, by the rich to the poor, or by the privileged to the marginalized.  Such approaches  can contribute to oppression. “- Churches are called to  “transform power structures. (p 7} Favouring a One World socialism and a One World religion, the WCC calls for “dialogue “with atheists and heathens,  “in order to discern how Christ is already present”  in them.  In short, the WCC advocates  the same revolutionary  “Liberation  Theology which it promoted in the 1970s and ’80s.

“Sin” is seen only in the social, political and economic  “structures. ” That is why these have to be “transformed. ” The Bible, however, says:   “All [mankind} have sinned and  fall short of the glory of God. ·· (Romans 3:23)  Therefore,  “God- who is perfectly merciful and also very just- sent his Son to assume the nature in which the disobedience had been committed, in order to bear in it the punishment  of sin by his most bitter passion and death. (The Belgic Confession,  Article 20).

The Lausanne Movement

Towards the latter  part of the 20th century, the world’s Evangelicals had become  very unhappy about  the WCC’s falsification of Missions.  In 1974,  they met in Lausanne, Switzerland, for a Congress on World Evangelization, led by Rev John  RW Stott  and the great  evangelist Billy Graham.  They  wanted  to create  an evangelical counter movement to the revolutionary ecumenical World Council of Churches.  They  wanted  to reaffirm the Great Commission and therefore drafted  a  “Commitment  ” which  was renewed at two subsequent Congresses, in Manila  1989 and in Cape  Town,  2010.

In 2010, a hundred  years after  the great  World Missions Conference of Edinburgh, the third  Lausanne  Congress met in Cape  Town.   It was a huge gathering of 4200  delegates from  197 countries.  In a gesture of exceeding graciousness the organisers had invited  Rev Olav  Fykse  Tveit,  the Norwegian General  Secretary of the World Council  of Churches, to come  with a delegation from  the WCC.   In his address Rev Tveit  said,  the geographic distance between Geneva (WCC headquarters} and Lausanne  was not very great, and he hoped that the theological distance of the two movements (WCC and Lausanne} would also soon be overcome. In later  talks he said that the Evangelicals had in any case already  adopted  a concept of Missions which  was not much  different from that of the WCC, stating:   “That which the Evangelicals  condemned  particularly sharply at the Bangkok Conference, has now become their own understanding of mission.

The New Watchword of Evangelical  Mission “Transformation.”

In the first (1974)   Lausanne  Commitment  ” it says (3rd Article): Jesus Christ has given Himself as the only salvation for sinners.  He is the only mediator between God and man.. All men are lost in sin, but God loves them all.  He does not want that anyone be lost, but that everyone  would come to repentance.  Whoever rejects Christ, however,  disdains the joy of salvation and condemns himself to eternal separation  from God. ” Since  this Biblical  statement was made, evangelical missions have changed.  They  have increasingly emphasised not only the transformation of the heart of man,  but also the transformation of society.  Economic and social  projects, such as community development, have become  ever more  important, even such  utopian  projects as halving world poverty  by a certain  date.   Missionaries still prioritise the saving  of souls,  but in wanting to build  the Kingdom  of God here and now, some  Missions are  pursuing  political  aims.   They speak  of a missional theology which  isholistic and incarnatory” and aims at the transformation of all areas  of life, i.e. of society, politics, culture, psychology, marketing, medicine etc.

Recently  at a Sunday Service  in Cape Town,  the minister  wanted  to encourage us to evangelism.  At a seminar he had learned  that a Christian should  not just   proclaim Christ,  but rather  Jive Christ.   A godly  woman,  he said,  instead  of telling others  of Christ,  might  invite her friends  to bake bread for the needy  in the community. Then   the beneficiaries would  ask:  Why are you doing  this?   And she would  answer: because  I am a Christian. – How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written,  ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! ‘” (Romans 10:14-15} What  kind of a seminar had the minister  attended?  Was it sponsored by the WCC/SACC?

“TransformaUon Theology (just like “Liberation Theology”) reads  the Bible from  the life situation of the ‘poor. ” It  “contextualises ” its message.  Though  Christian Missions do have a social  responsibility, this is not their primary  task.   Until men’s hearts are changed by the miracle  of Christ’s salvation, the economic, political and social conditions will never change.  For the Gospel  is  the power of God  for the salvation of everyone who believes. “(Romans 1: 16) –   Christ died  for our sins according to the Scriptures, he was buried, he was raised on the third day according  to the Scriptures. ” (I  Corinthians 15:3-4)   If men repent  of their sins and receive  the living Christ as personal  Lord and Saviour, they will be saved.   This message has the power  of God  Almighty contained in it, to completely change the lives of men and to make them  “a new creation. “(2  Corinthians 5:17)

May God  bless you richly,

D. Scarborough.

Footnotes:

  1. World Council  of Churches.  Together Towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing  Landscapes. Proposal  for a new WCC Affirmation on Mission and Evangelism, 2012. Internet.
  2. Beycrhaus, Prof Peter, Ein angenehmcr Traum  wird  wahr.   Die Bedeutung des  Dritten  lnternationalen Kongrcsscs fur Weltevangclisation in Kapstadt im Oktober  2010.
  3. The German  Professor Peter Beyerhaus,  Honorary President of the International Christian Network, authored a  ‘”Call to Revive the Biblical Understanding of “Missions. ” it is entitled World Evangelisation or World Transformation?”   It is to alert  Evangelical  Missions to contemporary unBiblical theological trends, and can he found  on the internet.
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