The Manila Manifesto
THE TWENTY-ONE AFFIRMATIONS
of the Manila Manifesto
1.We affirm our continuing commitment to the Lausanne
Covenant as the basis of our cooperation in the Lausanne
2.We affirm that in the Scriptures of the Old and New
Testaments God has given us an authoritative disclosure of his
character and will, his redemptive acts and their meaning, and
his mandate for mission.
3.We affirm that the biblical gospel is God's enduring
message to our world, and we determine to defend, proclaim and
4. We affirm that human beings, though created in the image
of God, are sinful and guilty, and lost without Christ, and that
this truth is a necessary preliminary to the gospel.
5. We affirm that the Jesus of history and the Christ of
glory are the same person, and that this Jesus Christ is
absolutely unique, for he alone is God incarnate, our
sin-bearer, the conqueror of death and the coming judge.
6. We affirm that on the cross Jesus Christ took our place,
bore our sins and died our death; and that for this reason alone
God freely forgives those who are brought to repentance and
7. We affirm that other religions and ideologies are not
alternative paths to God, and that human spirituality, if
unredeemed by Christ, leads not to God but to judgment, for
Christ is the only way.
8. We affirm that we must demonstrate God's love visibly by
caring for those who are deprived of justice, dignity, food and
9. We affirm that the proclamation of God's kingdom of
justice and peace demands the denunciation of all injustice and
oppression, both personal and structural; we will not shrink
from this prophetic witness.
10. We affirm that the Holy Spirit's witness to Christ is
indispensable to evangelism, and that without this supernatural
work neither new birth nor new life is possible.
11. We affirm that spiritual warfare demands spiritual
weapons, and that we must both preach the word in the power of
the Spirit, and pray constantly that we may enter into Christ's
victory over the principalities and powers of evil.
12. We affirm that God has committed to the whole church and
every member of it the task of making Christ known throughout
the world; we long to see all lay and ordained persons mobilized
and trained for this task.
13. We affirm that we who claim to be members of the Body of
Christ must transcend within our fellowship the barriers of
race, gender and class.
14. We affirm that the gifts of the Spirit are distributed to
all God's people, women and men, and that their partnership in
evangelization must be welcomed for the common good.
15. We affirm that we who proclaim the gospel must exemplify
it in a life of holiness and love; otherwise our testimony loses
16. We affirm that every Christian congregation must turn
itself outward to its local community in evangelistic witness
and compassionate service.
17. We affirm the urgent need for churches, mission agencies
and other Christian organizations to cooperate in evangelism and
social action, repudiating competition and avoiding duplication.
18. We affirm our duty to study the society in which we live,
in order to understand its structures, values and needs, and so
develop an appropriate strategy of mission.
19. We affirm that world evangelization is urgent and that
the reaching of unreached peoples is possible. So we resolve
during the last decade of the twentieth century to give
ourselves to these tasks with fresh determination.
20. We affirm our solidarity with those who suffer for the
gospel, and will seek to prepare ourselves for the same
possibility. We will also work for religious and political
21. We affirm that God is calling the whole church to take
the whole gospel to the whole world. So we determine to proclaim
it faithfully, urgently and sacrificially until he comes.
A. THE WHOLE GOSPEL
The gospel is the good news of God's salvation from the power of
evil, the establishment of his eternal kingdom and his final
victory over everything which defies his purpose. In his love
God purposed to do this before the world began and effected his
liberating plan over sin, death and judgment through the death
of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is Christ who makes us free, and
unites us in his redeemed fellowship. (Col 2:15; 1. Co
15:24-28; Eph. 1:4; Col. 1:19; Tit. 2:14)
1. OUR HUMAN PREDICAMENT
We are committed to preaching the whole gospel, that is, the
biblical gospel in its fullness. In order to do so, we have to
understand why beings need it.
Men and women have an intrinsic dignity and worth, because
they were created in God's likeness to know, love and serve him.
But now through sin every part of their humanness have been
distorted. Human beings have become self-centered, self-serving
rebels, who do not love God or their neighbour as they should.
In consequence, they are alienated both from their Creator and
from the rest of his creation, which is the basic cause of the
pain, disorientation and loneliness which so many people suffer
today. Sin also frequently erupts in anti-social behavior, in
violent exploitation of others, and in a depletion of the
earth's resources of which God has made men and women his
stewards. Humanity is guilty, without excuse, and on the broad
road which leads to destruction.
Although God's image in human beings has been corrupted, they
are still capable of loving relationships, noble deeds and
beautiful art. Yet even the finest human achievement is fatally
flawed and cannot possibly fit anybody to enter God's presence.
Men and women are also spiritual beings, but spiritual practice
and self-help techniques can at the most alleviate felt needs;
they cannot address the solemn realities of sin, guilt and
judgment. Neither human religion, nor human righteousness, nor
sociopolitical programs can save people. Self-salvation of every
kind is impossible. Left to themselves, human beings are lost
So we repudiate false gospels which deny human sin, divine
judgment, the deity and incarnation of Jesus Christ, and the
necessity of the cross and resurrection. We also reject
half-gospels, which minimize sin and confuse God's grace with
human self-effort. We confess that we ourselves have sometimes
trivialized the gospel. But we determine in our evangelism to
remember God's radical diagnosis and his equally radical remedy.
(Ac. 2:27; Ge. 1:26,27; Ro. 3:9-18; 2 Ti. 3:2-4; Ge.
3:17-24; Ro. 1:29-31; Ge. 1:26, 28; 2:15; Ro. 1:20; 2:1; 3:19;
Mt. 7:13; Mt. 5:46; 7:11; 1 Ti. 6:16; Ac. 17:22-31; Ro. 3:20;
Eph. 2:1-3; Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Co. 11:2-4; 1 Jn. 2:22, 23; 4:1-3; 1
Co 15:3,4; Jer. 6:14; 8:11)
2. GOOD NEWS FOR TODAY
We rejoice that the living God did not abandon us to our
lostness and despair. In his love he came after us in Jesus
Christ to rescue and remake us. So the good news focuses on the
historic person of Jesus, who came proclaiming the kingdom of
God and living a life of humble service, who died for us,
becoming sin and a curse in our place, and whom God vindicated
by raising him from the dead. To those who repent and believe in
Christ, God grants a share in the new creation. He gives us new
life, which includes the forgiveness of our sins and the
indwelling, transforming power of his Spirit. He welcomes us
into his new community, which consists of people of all races,
nations and cultures. And he promises that one day we will enter
his new world, in which evil will be abolished, nature will be
redeemed, and God will reign forever.
This good news must be boldly proclaimed, wherever possible,
in church and in public halls, on radio and television, and in
the open air, because it is God's power for salvation and we are
under obligation to make it known. In our preaching we must
faithfully declare the truth which God has revealed in the Bible
and struggle to relate it to our own context.
We also affirm that apologetics, namely "the defence and
confirmation of the gospel", is integral to the biblical
understanding of mission and essential for effective witness in
the modern world. Paul "reasoned" with people out of the
Scriptures, with a view to "persuading" them of the truth of the
gospel. So must we. In fact, all Christians should be ready to
give a reason for the hope that is in them.
We have again been confronted with Luke's emphasis that the
gospel is good news for the poor and have asked ourselves what
this means to the majority of the world's population who are
destitute, suffering or oppressed. We have been reminded that
the law, the prophets and the wisdom books, all the teaching and
ministry of Jesus, all stress God's concern for the materially
poor and our consequent duty to defend and care for them.
Scripture also refers to the spiritually poor who look to God
alone for mercy. The gospel comes as good news to both. The
spiritually poor, who, whatever their economic circumstances,
humble themselves before God, receive by faith the free gift of
salvation. There is no other way for anybody to enter the
Kingdom of God. The materially poor and powerless find in
addition a new dignity as God's children, and the love of
brothers and sisters who struggle with them for their liberation
from everything which demeans or oppresses them.
We repent of any neglect of God's truth in Scripture and
determine both to proclaim and to defend it. We also repent
where we have been indifferent to the plight of the poor, and
where we have shown preference for the rich, and we determine to
follow Jesus in preaching good news to all people by both word
and deed. (Eph. 22:4, Lk. 15; 19;10; Ac. 8:35; Mk. 1:14, 15;
2 Co. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; Ac. 2:23,24; 2 Co. 5:17; Ac. 2:38,39;
Eph. 2:11-19; Rev. 21:1-5; 22:1-5; Eph. 6:19,20; 2 Ti. 4:2; Ro.
1:14-16; Jer. 23:28; Php. 1:7; Ac. 18:4; 19:8-9; 2 Co. 5:11; 1
Pe. 3:15; Lk. 4:18; 6:20; 7:22; Dt. 15:7-11; Am. 2:6,7; Zec.
7:8-10; Pr. 21:13; Zep. 3:12; Mt. 5:3; Mk. 10:15; 1 Jn. 3:1; Ac.
3. THE UNIQUENESS OF JESUS CHRIST
We are called to proclaim Christ in an increasingly pluralistic
world. There is a resurgence of old faiths and a rise of new
ones. In the first century too there were "many gods and many
lords". Yet the apostles boldly affirmed the uniqueness,
indispensability and centrality of Christ. We must do the same.
Because men and women are made in God's image and see in the
creation traces of its Creator, the religions which have arisen
do sometimes contain elements of truth and beauty. They are not,
however, alternative gospels. Because human beings are sinful,
and because "the whole world is under the control of the evil
one", even religious people are in need of Christ's redemption.
We, therefore, have no warrant for saying that salvation can be
found outside Christ or apart from an explicit acceptance of his
work through faith.
It is sometimes held that in virtue of God's covenant with
Abraham, Jewish people do not need to acknowledge Jesus as their
Messiah. We affirm that they need him as much as anyone else,
that it would be a form of anti-Semitism, as well as being
disloyal to Christ, to depart from the New Testament pattern of
taking the gospel to "the Jew first...". We therefore reject the
thesis that Jews have their own covenant which renders faith in
What unites us is our common convictions about Jesus Christ.
We confess him as the eternal Son of God who became fully human
while remaining fully divine, who was our substitute on the
cross, bearing our sins and dying our death, exchanging his
righteousness for our unrighteousness, who rose victorious in a
transformed body, and who will return in glory to judge the
world. He alone is the incarnate Son, the Saviour, the Lord and
the Judge, and he alone, with the Father and the Spirit, is
worthy of worship, faith and obedience of all people. There is
only one gospel because there is only one Christ, who because of
his death and resurection is himself the only way of salvation.
We therefore reject both the relativism which regards all
religions and spiritualities as equally valid approaches to God,
and the syncretism which tries to mix faith in Christ with other
Moreover, since God has exalted Jesus to the highest place,
in order that everybody should acknowledge him, this also is our
desire. Compelled by Christ's love, we must obey Christ's Great
Commission and love his lost sheep, but we are especially
motivated by "jealousy" for his holy name, and we long to see
him receive the honour and glory which are due to him.
In the past we have sometimes been guilty of adopting towards
adherents of other faiths attitudes of ignorance, arrogance,
disrespect and even hostility. We repent of this. We
nevertheless are determined to bear a positive and
uncompromising witness to the uniqueness of our Lord, in his
life, death and resurrection, in all aspects of our evangelistic
work including inter-faith dialogue. (1 Co. 8:5; Ps. 19:1-6;
Ro. 1:19,20; Ac. 17:28; 1 Jn. 5:19; Ac. 10:1,2; 11:14,18;
15:8-9; Jn. 14:6; Ge. 12:1-3; 17:1,2; Ro. 3:9; 10:12; Ac. 13:46;
Ro. 1:16:; 2:9,10; Ac. 13:38, 39; Jn. 1:1,14,18; Ro. 1:3,4; 1
Pe. 2:24; 1 Co. 15:3; 2 Co. 5:21; 1 Co. 15:1-11; Mt. 25:31,32;
Ac. 17:30, 31; Rev. 5:11-14; Ac. 4:12; Php. 2:9-11; 2 Co. 5:14;
Mt. 28:19,20; Jn. 10:11,16; 2 Co. 11:2,3, 1 Ti. 2:5-7)
4. THE GOSPEL AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
The authentic gospel must become visible in the transformed
lives of men and women. As we proclaim the love of God we must
be involved in loving service, as we preach the Kingdom of God
we must be committed to its demands of justice and peace.
Evangelism is primary because our chief concern is with the
gospel, that all people may have the opportunity to accept Jesus
Christ as Lord and Saviour. Yet Jesus not only proclaimed the
Kingdom of God, he also demonstrated its arrival by works of
mercy and power. We are called today to a similar integration of
words and deeds. In a spirit of humility we are to preach and
teach, minister to the sick, feed the hungry, care for
prisoners, help the disadvantaged and handicapped, and deliver
the oppressed. While we acknowledge the diversity of spiritual
gifts, callings and contexts, we also affirm that good news and
good works are inseparable.
The proclamation of God's kingdom necessarily demands the
prophetic denunciation of all that is incompatible with it.
Among the evils we deplore are destructive violence, including
institutionalized violence, political corruption, all forms of
exploitation of people and of the earth, the undermining of the
family, abortion on demand, the drug traffic, and the abuse of
human rights. In our concern for the poor, we are distressed by
the burden of debt in the two-thirds world. We are also outraged
by the inhuman conditions in which millions live, who bear God's
image as we do.
Our continuing commitment to social action is not a confusion
of the kingdom of God with a Christianized society. It is,
rather, a recognition that the biblical gospel has inescapable
social implications. True mission should always be
incarnational. It necessitates entering humbly into other
people's worlds, identifying with their social reality, their
sorrow and suffering, and their struggles for justice against
oppressive powers. This cannot be done without personal
We repent that the narrowness of our concerns and vision has
often kept us from proclaiming the lordship of Jesus Christ over
all of life, private and public, local and global. We determine
to obey his command to "seek first the kingdom of God and his
righteousness". (1 Th. 1:6-10; 1 Jn. 3:17; Ro. 14:17; Ro.
10:14; Mt. 12:28; 1 Jn. 3:18; Mt. 25:34-46; Ac. 6:1-4; Ro.
12:4-8; Mt. 5:16, Jer. 22:1-5; 11-17; 23:5-6; Am. 1:1-2,8; Is.
59; Lev. 25; Job 24:1-12; Eph. 2:8-10; Jn. 17:18; 20:21; Php.
2:5-8; Ac. 10:36; Mt. 6:33)
B. THE WHOLE CHURCH
The whole gospel has to be proclaimed by the whole church. All
the people of God are called to share in the evangelistic task.
Yet without the Holy Spirit of God all their endeavors will be
5. GOD THE EVANGELIST
The Scriptures declare that God himself is the chief evangelist.
For the Spirit of God is the Spirit of truth, love, holiness and
power, and evangelism is impossible without him. It is he who
anoints the messenger, confirms the word, prepares the hearer,
convicts the sinful, enlightens the blind, gives life to the
dead, enables us to repent and believe, unites us to the Body of
Christ, assures us that we are God's children, leads us into
Christlike character and service, and sends us out in our turn
to be Christ's witnesses. In all this the Holy Spirit's main
preoccupation is to glorify Jesus Christ by showing him to us
and forming him in us.
All evangelism involves spiritual warfare with the
principalities and powers of evil, in which only spiritual
weapons can prevail, especially the Word and the Spirit, with
prayer. We therefore call on all Christian people to be diligent
in their prayers both for the renewal of the church and for the
evangelization of the world.
Every true conversion involves a power encounter, in which
the superior authority of Jesus Christ is demonstrated. There is
no greater miracle than this, in which the believer is set free
from the bondage of Satan and sin, fear and futility, darkness
Although the miracles of Jesus were special, being signs of
his Messiahship and anticipations of his perfect kingdom when
all nature will be subject to him, we have no liberty to place
limits on the power of the living Creator today. We reject both
the skepticism which denies miracles and the presumption which
demands them, both the timidity which shrinks from the fullness
of the Spirit and the triumphalism which shrinks from the
weakness in which Christ's power is made perfect.
We repent of all self-confident attempts either to evangelize
in our own strength or to dictate to the Holy Spirit. We
determine in the future not to "grieve" or "quench" the Spirit,
but rather to seek to spread the good news "with power, with the
Holy Spirit and with deep conviction". (2 Co. 5:20; Jn.
15:26,27; Lk. 4:18; 1 Co. 2:4; Jn. 16:8-11; 1 Co. 12:3; Eph.
2:5; 1 Co. 12:13; Ro. 8:16; Gal. 5:22,23; Ac. 1:8; Jn. 16:14;
Gal. 4:19; Eph. 6:10-12; 2 Co. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:17; Eph. 6:18-20;
2 Th. 3:1; Ac. 26:17,18; 1 Th. 1:9-10; Col. 1:13,14; Jn. 2:11;
20:30,31; Jn. 11:25; 1 Co. 15:20-28; Jer. 32:17; 2 Ti. 1:7; 2
Co. 12:9,10; Jer. 17:5; Eph. 4:30; 1 Th. 5:19; 1 Th. 1:5)
6. THE HUMAN WITNESS
God the evangelist gives his people the privilege of being his
"fellow workers". For, although we cannot witness without him,
he normally chooses to witness through us. He calls only some to
be evangelists, missionaries or pastors, but he calls his whole
church and every member of it to be his witnesses.
The privileged task of pastors and teachers is to lead God's
people (laos) into maturity and to equip them for ministry.
Pastors are not to monopolize ministries, but rather to multiply
them, by encouraging others to use their gifts and by training
disciples to make disciples. The domination of the laity by the
clergy has been a great evil in the history of the church. It
robs both laity and clergy of their God-intended roles, causes
clergy breakdowns, weakens the church and hinders the spread of
the gospel. More than that, it is fundamentally unbiblical. We
therefore, who have for centuries insisted on "the priesthood of
all believers" now also insist on the ministry of all believers.
We gratefully recognize that children and young people enrich
the church's worship and outreach by their enthusiasm and faith.
We need to train them in discipleship and evangelism, so that
they may reach their own generation for Christ.
God created men and women as equal bearers of his image,
accepts them equally in Christ and poured out his Spirit on all
flesh, sons and daughters alike. In addition, because the Holy
Spirit distributes his gifts to women as well as to men, they
must be given opportunities to exercise their gifts. We
celebrate their distinguished record in the history of missions
and are convinced that God calls women to similar roles today.
Even though we are not fully agreed what forms their leadership
should take, we do agree about the partnership in world
evangelization which God intends men and women to enjoy.
Suitable training must therefore be made available to both.
Lay witness takes place, by women and men, not only through
the local church (see Section 8), but through friendships, in
the home and at work. Even those who are homeless or unemployed
share in the calling to be witnesses.
Our first responsibility is to witness to those who are
already our friends, relatives, neighbors, and colleagues. Home
evangelism is also natural, both for married and single people.
Not only should a Christian home commend God's standards of
marriage, sex and family, and provide a haven of love and peace
to people who are hurting, but neighbors who would not enter a
church usually feel comfortable in a home, even when the gospel
Another context for lay witness is the workplace, for it is
here most Christians spend half their waking hours, and work is
a divine calling. Christians can commend Christ by word of
mouth, by their consistent industry, honesty and thoughtfulness,
by their concern for justice in the workplace, and especially if
others can see from the quality of their daily work that it is
done to the glory of God.
We repent of our share in discouraging the ministry of laity,
especially of women and young people. We determine in the future
to encourage all Christ's followers to take their place,
rightfully and naturally, as his witnesses. For true evangelism
comes from the overflow of a heart in love with Christ. That is
why it belongs to all his people without exception. (2 Co.
6:1; Ac. 8:26-39; 14:27; Eph. 4:11; Ac. 13:1-3; Ac. 1:8; 8:1,4;
Co. 1:28; Eph. 4:11-12; Mt. 28:19; 2 Ti. 2:2; 1 Th. 5:12-15; 1
Co. 12:4-7; Eph. 4:7; Mt. 21:15,16; 1 Ti. 4:12; Ge. 1:26-27;
Gal. 3:28; Ac. 2: 17-18; 1 Pe. 4:10; Ro. 16:1-6,12; Php. 4:2,3;
Mk. 5, 18-20; Lk. 5:27-32; Ac. 28:30,31; Ac. 10:24,33; 18:7, 8;
24-26;1 Co. 7:17-24; Tit. 2:9,10; Col. 4:1; Col. 3:17,23,24; Ac.
7. THE INTEGRITY OF THE WITNESSES
Nothing commends the gospel more eloquently than a transformed
life, and nothing brings it into disrepute so much as personal
inconsistency. We are charged to behave in a manner that is
worthy of the gospel of Christ, and even to "adorn" it,
enhancing its beauty by holy lives. For the watching world
rightly seeks evidence to substantiate the claims which Christ's
disciples make for him. A strong evidence is our integrity.
Our proclamation that Christ died to bring us to God appeals
to people who are spiritually thirsty, but they will not believe
us if we give no evidence of knowing the living God ourselves,
or if our public worship lacks reality and relevance.
Our message that Christ reconciles alienated people to each
other rings true only if we are seen to love and forgive one
another, to serve others in humility, and to reach out beyond
our own community in compassionate, costly ministry to the
Our challenge to others to deny themselves, take up their
cross and follow Christ will be plausible only if we ourselves
have evidently died to selfish ambition, dishonesty and
covetousness, and are living a life of simplicity, contentment
We deplore the failures in Christian consistency which we see
in both Christians and churches: material greed, professional
pride and rivalry, competition in Christian service, jealousy of
younger leaders, missionary paternalism, the lack of mutual
accountability, the loss of Christian standards of sexuality,
and racial, social and sexual discrimination. All this is
worldliness, allowing the prevailing culture to subvert the
church instead of the church challenging and changing the
culture. We are deeply ashamed of the times when, both as
individuals and in our Christian communities, we have affirmed
Christ in word and denied him in deed. Our inconsistency
deprives our witness of credibility. We acknowledge our
continuing struggles and failures. But we also determine by
God's grace to develop integrity in ourselves and in the church.
(2 Co. 6:3,4; Php. 1:27; Tit. 2:10; Col. 4:5,6; Pr. 11:3; 1
Pe. 3:18; 1 Jn. 1:5,6; 1 Co. 14:25,26; Eph. 2:14-18; Eph.
4:31-5:2; Gal. 5:13; Lk. 10:29-37; Mk. 8:34; Mt. 6:19-21; 31-33;
1 Ti. 6:6-10,17,18; Ac. 5:1-11; Php. 1:15-17; 1 Co. 5:1-13; Jas.
2:1-4; 1 Jn. 2:15-17, Mt. 5:13; Mt. 7:21-23; 1 Jn. 2:4; Eph.
8. THE LOCAL CHURCH
Every Christian congregation is a local expression of the Body
of Christ and has the same responsibilities. It is both "a holy
priesthood" to offer God the spiritual sacrifices of worship and
"a holy nation" to spread abroad his excellences in witness. The
church is thus both a worshipping and a witnessing community
gathered and scattered, called and sent. Worship and witness are
We believe that the local church bears a primary
responsibility for the spread of the gospel. Scripture suggests
this in the progression that "our gospel came to you" and then
"rang out from you". In this way, the gospel creates the church
which spreads the gospel which creates more churches in a
continuous chain-reaction. Moreover, what Scripture teaches,
strategy confirms. Each local church must evangelize the
district in which it is situated, and has the resources to do
We recommend every congregation to carry out regular studies
not only of its own membership and program but of its local
community in all its particularity, in order to develop
appropriate strategies for mission. Its members might decide to
organize a visitation of their whole area, to penetrate for
Christ a particular place where people assemble, to arrange a
series of evangelistic meetings, lectures or concerts, to work
with the poor to transform a local slum, or plant a new church
in a neighboring district or village. At the same time, they
must not forget the church's global task. A church which sends
out missionaries must not neglect its own locality, and a church
which evangelizes its neighborhood must not ignore the rest of
In all this each congregation and denomination should, where
possible, work with others, seeking to turn any spirit of
competition into one of cooperation. Churches should also work
with para-church organizations, especially in evangelism,
discipling and community service, for such agencies are part of
the Body of Christ, and have valuable, specialist expertise from
which the church can greatly benefit.
The church is intended by God to be a sign of his kingdom,
that is, an indication of what human community looks like when
it comes under his rule of righteousness and peace. As with
individuals, so with churches, the gospel has to be embodied if
it is to be communicated effectively. It is through our love for
one another that the invisible God reveals himself today,
especially when our fellowship is expressed in small groups, and
when it transcends the barriers of race, rank, sex and age which
divide other communities.
We deeply regret that many of our congregations are
inward-looking, organized for maintenance rather than mission,
or preoccupied with church-based activities at the expense of
witness. We determine to turn our churches inside out, so that
they may engage in continuous outreach, until the Lord adds to
them daily those who are being saved. (1 Co. 12:27; 1 Pe.
2:5,9; Jn. 17:6,9,11,18; Php. 2:14-16; 1 Th. 1:5,8; Ac. 19:9,10;
Col. 1:3-8; Ac. 13:1-3; 14:26-28; Php. 1:27; Lk. 12:32; Ro.
14:17; 1 Th. 1:8-10; 1 Jn. 4:12; Jn. 13:34,35; 17:21,23Gal.
3:28; Col. 3:11; Ac. 2:47)
9. COOPERATING IN EVANGELISM
Evangelism and unity are closely related in the New Testament.
Jesus prayed that his people's oneness might reflect his own
oneness with the Father, in order that the world might believe
in him, and Paul exhorted the Philippians to "contend as one
person for the faith of the gospel". In contrast to this
biblical vision, we are ashamed of the suspicions and rivalries,
the dogmatism over non-essentials, the power-struggles and
empire-building which spoil our evangelistic witness. We affirm
that co-operation in evangelism is indispensable, first because
it is the will of God, but also because the gospel of
reconciliation is discredited by our disunity, and because, if
the task of world evangelization is ever to be accomplished, we
must engage in it together.
"Cooperation" means finding unity in diversity. It involves
people of different temperaments, gifts, calling and cultures,
national churches and mission agencies, all ages and both sexes
We are determined to put behind us once and for all, as a
hangover from the colonial past, the simplistic distinction
between First World sending and Two-Third World receiving
countries. For the great new fact of our era is the
internationalization of missions. Not only are a large majority
of all evangelical Christians now non-western, but the number of
Two-Thirds World missionaries will soon exceed those from the
West. We believe that mission teams, which are diverse in
composition but united in heart and mind, constitute a dramatic
witness to the grace of God.
Our reference to "the whole church" is not a presumptuous
claim that the universal church and the evangelical community
are synonymous. For we recognize that there are many churches
which are not part of the evangelical movement. Evangelical
attitudes to the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches differ
widely. Some evangelicals are praying, talking, studying
Scripture and working with these churches. Others are strongly
opposed to any form of dialogue or cooperation with them. All
are aware that serious theological differences between us
remain. Where appropriate, and so long as biblical truth is not
compromised,cooperation may be possible in such areas as Bible
translation, the study of contemporary theological and ethical
issues, social work and political action. We wish to make it
clear, however, that common evangelism demands a common
commitment to the biblical gospel.
Some of us are members of churches which belong to the World
Council of Churches and believe that a positive yet critical
participation in its work is our Christian duty. Others among us
have no link with the World Council. All of us urge the World
Council of Churches to adopt a consistent biblical understanding
We confess our own share of responsibility for the brokenness
of the Body of Christ, which is a major stumbling-block to world
evangelization. We determine to go on seeking that unity in
truth for which Christ prayed. We are persuaded that the right
way forward towards closer cooperation is frank and patient
dialogue on the basis of the Bible, with all who share our
concerns. To this we gladly commit ourselves. (Jn. 17:20,21;
Php. 1:27; Php. 1:15,17; 2:3,4; Ro. 14:1-15:2; Php. 1:3-5; Eph.
2:14-16; 4:1-6; Eph. 4:6,7; Ac. 20:4; Jn. 17:11, 20-23)
C. THE WHOLE WORLD
The whole gospel has been entrusted to the whole church, in
order that it may be made known to the whole world. It is
necessary, therefore, for us to understand the world into which
we are sent. (Mk. 16:15)
10. THE MODERN WORLD
Evangelism takes place in a context, not in a vacuum. The
balance between gospel and context must be carefully maintained.
We must understand the context in order to address it, but the
context must not be allowed to distort the gospel.
In this connection we have become concerned about the impact
of "modernity", which is an emerging world culture produced by
industrialization with its technology and urbanization with its
economic order. These factors combine to create an environment,
which significantly shapes the way in which we see our world. In
addition, secularism has devastated faith by making God and the
supernatural meaningless; urbanization has dehumanized life for
many; and the mass media have contributed to the devaluation of
truth and authority, by replacing word with image. In
combination, these consequences of modernity pervert the message
which many preach and undermine their motivation for mission.
In AD 1900 only 9% of the world's population lived in cities;
in AD 2000 it is thought that more than 50% will do so. This
worldwide move into the cities has been called "the greatest
migration in human history"; it constitutes a major challenge to
Christian mission. On the one hand, city populations are
extremely cosmopolitan, so that the nations come to our doorstep
in the city. Can we develop global churches in which the gospel
abolishes the barriers of ethnicity? On the other hand, many
city dwellers are migrant poor who are also receptive to the
gospel. Can the people of God be persuaded to relocate into such
urban poor communities, in order to serve the people and share
in the transformation of the city?
Modernization brings blessings as well as dangers. By
creating links of communication and commerce around the globe,
it makes unprecedented openings for the gospel, crossing old
frontiers and penetrating closed societies, whether traditional
or totalitarian. The Christian media have a powerful influence
both in sowing the seed of the gospel and in preparing the soil.
The major missionary broadcasters are committed to a gospel
witness by radio in every major language by the year AD 2000.
We confess that we have not struggled as we should to
understand modernization. We have used its methods and
techniques uncritically and so exposed ourselves to worldliness.
But we determine in the future to take these challenges and
opportunities seriously, to resist the secular pressures of
modernity, to relate the lordship of Christ to the whole of
modern culture, and thus to engage in mission in the modern
world without worldliness in modern mission. (Ac. 13:14-41;
14:14-17; 17:22-31; Ro. 12:1,2)
11. THE CHALLENGE OF AD 2000 AND BEYOND
The world population today is approaching 6 billion. One third
of them nominally confess Christ. Of the remaining four billion
half have heard of him and the other half have not. In the light
of these figures, we evaluate our evangelistic task by
considering four categories of people.
First, there is the potential missionary work force, the
committed. In this century this category of Christian believers
has grown from about 40 million in 1900 to about 500 million
today, and at this moment is growing over twice as fast as any
other major religious group.
Secondly, there are the uncommitted. They make a Christian
profession (they have been baptized, attend church occasionally
and even call themselves Christians), but the notion of a
personal commitment to Christ is foreign to them. They are found
in all churches throughout the world. They urgently need to be
re-evangelized. Thirdly, there are the unevangelized. These are
people who have a minimal knowledge of the gospel, but have had
no valid opportunity to respond to it. They are probably within
reach of Christian people if only these will go to the next
street, road, village or town to find them.
Fourthly, there are the unreached. These are the two billion
who may never have heard of Jesus as Savior, and are not within
reach of Christians of their own people. There are, in fact,
some 2,000 peoples or nationalities in which there is not yet a
vital, indigenous church movement. We find it helpful to think
of them as belonging to smaller "people groups" which perceive
themselves as having an affinity with each other (e.g. a common
culture, language, home or occupation). The most effective
messengers to reach them will be those believers who already
belong to their culture and know their language. Otherwise,
cross-cultural messengers of the gospel will need to go, leaving
behind their own culture and sacrificially identifying with the
people they long to reach for Christ.
There are now about 12,000 such unreached people groups
within the 2,000 larger peoples, so that the task is not
impossible. Yet at present only 7% of all missionaries are
engaged in this kind of outreach, while the remaining 93% are
working in the already evangelized half of the world. If this
imbalance is to be redressed, a strategic redeployment of
personnel will be necessary.
A distressing factor that affects each of the above
categories is that of inaccessibility. Many countries do not
grant visas to self-styled missionaries, who have no other
qualification or contribution to offer. Such areas are not
absolutely inaccessible, however. For our prayers can pass
through every curtain, door and barrier. And Christian radio and
television, audio and video cassettes, films and literature can
also reach the otherwise unreachable. So can so-called
""tent-makers" who like Paul earn their own living. They travel
in the course of their profession (e.g. business people,
university lecturers, technical specialists and language
teachers), and use every opportunity to speak of Jesus Christ.
They do not enter a country under false pretenses, for their
work genuinely takes them there; it is simply that witness is an
essential component of their Christian lifestyle, wherever they
may happen to be.
We are deeply ashamed that nearly two millennia have passed
since the death and resurrection of Jesus, and still two-thirds
of the world's population have not yet acknowledged him. On the
other hand, we are amazed at the mounting evidence of God's
power even in the most unlikely places of the globe.
Now the year 2000 has become for many a challenging
milestone. Can we commit ourselves to evangelize the world
during the last decade of this millennium? There is nothing
magical about the date, yet should we not do our best to reach
this goal? Christ commands us to take the gospel to all peoples.
The task is urgent. We are determined to obey him with joy and
hope. (Ac. 18:1-4; 20:34; Lk. 24:45-47)
12. DIFFICULT SITUATIONS
Jesus plainly told his followers to expect opposition.
"If they persecuted me", he said, "they will persecute you
also". He even told them to rejoice over persecution, and
reminded them that the condition of fruitfulness was death.
These predictions, that Christian suffering is inevitable and
productive, have come true in every age, including our own.
There have been many thousands of martyrs. Today the situation
is much the same. We earnestly hope that glasnost and
perestroika will lead to complete religious freedom in the
Soviet Union and other Eastern bloc nations, and that Islamic
and Hindu countries will become more open to the gospel. We
deplore the recent brutal suppression of China's democratic
movement, and we pray that it will not bring further suffering
to the Christians. On the whole, however, it seems that ancient
religions are becoming less tolerant, expatriates less welcome,
and the world less friendly to the gospel.
In this situation we wish to make three statements to
governments which are reconsidering their attitude to Christian
First, Christians are loyal citizens, who seek the welfare of
their nation. They pray for its leaders, and pay their taxes. Of
course, those who have confessed Jesus as Lord cannot also call
other authorities Lord, and if commanded to do so, or to do
anything which God forbids, must disobey. But they are
conscientious citizens. They also contribute to their country's
well-being by the stability of their marriages and their homes,
their honesty in business, their hard work and their voluntary
activity in the service of the handicapped and needy. Just
governments have nothing to fear from Christians.
Secondly, Christians renounce unworthy methods of evangelism.
Though the nature of our faith requires us to share the gospel
with others, our practice is to make an open and honest
statement of it, which leaves the hearers entirely free to make
up their own minds about it. We wish to be sensitive to those of
other faiths, and we reject any approach that seeks to force
conversion on them.
Thirdly, Christians earnestly desire freedom of religion for
all people, not just freedom for Christianity. In predominantly
Christian countries, Christians are at the forefront of those
who demand freedom for religious minorities. In predominantly
non-Christian countries, therefore, Christians are asking for
themselves no more than they demand for others in similar
circumstances. The freedom to "profess, practice and propagate"
religion, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, could and should surely be a reciprocally granted right.
We greatly regret any unworthy witness of which followers of
Jesus may have been guilty. We determine to give no unnecessary
offence in anything, lest the name of Christ be dishonored.
However, the offence of the cross we cannot avoid. For the sake
of Christ crucified we pray that we may be ready, by his grace,
to suffer and even to die. Martyrdom is a form of witness which
Christ has promised especially to honor. (Jn. 15:20; Mt.
5:12; Jn. 12:24; Jer. 29:7; 1 Ti. 2:1,2; Ro. 13:6,7; Ac. 4:19;
5:29; 2 Co. 4:1,2; 2 Co. 6:3; 1 Co. 1:18,23; 2:2; Php. 1:29;
Rev. 2:13; 6:9-11; 20:4)
CONCLUSION: PROCLAIM CHRIST UNTIL HE COMES
"Proclaim Christ until he comes". That has been the
theme of Lausanne II. Of course we believe that Christ has come;
he came when Augustus was Emperor of Rome. But one day, as we
know from his promises, he will come again in unimaginable
splendor to perfect his kingdom. We are commanded to watch and
be ready. Meanwhile, the gap between his two comings is to be
filled with the Christian missionary enterprise. We have been
told to go to the ends of the earth with the gospel, and we have
been promised that the end of the age will come only when we
have done so. The two ends (of earth space and time) will
coincide. Until then he has pledged to be with us.
So the Christian mission is an urgent task. We do not know
how long we have. We certainly have no time to waste. And in
order to get on urgently with our responsibility, other
qualities will be necessary, especially unity (we must
evangelize together) and sacrifice (we must count and accept the
cost). Our covenant at Lausanne was "to pray, to plan and to
work together for the evangelization of the whole world". Our
manifesto at Manila is that the whole church is called to take
the whole gospel to the whole world, proclaiming Christ until he
comes, with all necessary urgency, unity and sacrifice. (Lk.
2:1-7; Mk. 13:26,27; Mk. 13:32-37; Ac. 1:8; Mt. 24:14; Mt.