Saturday, October 16, 2010

Third Lausanne World Evangelization Congress

Our friend Sherri, a missionary serving in the Far East, called our attention to the 3rd International Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization that begins today in Cape Town, South Africa and lasts through October 25. According to ChinaAid, the Chinese government has been harassing invited representatives from their country.
Over the past few months, the Chinese government has been suppressing the 200 house church representatives who have been invited to attend this year’s Lausanne Congress. According to information obtained by ChinaAid, all the representatives, whether Uyghur Christians from Xinjiang or Han Christians from Beijing, have been contacted by authorities for questioning. It is sad to report, but family members of the invitees have also been threatened.

Two house church Christians from Baotou City, Inner Mongolia were stopped by officials before they departed for South Africa. On October 9, one of them was placed under a 15-day detention. Five house church invitees were stopped by customs officials at the airport on October 10, and four had their passports confiscated. One was detained.

Dr. Fan Yafeng is a prominent legal scholar, leader of the Chinese Christian Legal Defense Association (defenders of religious freedom, human rights and rule of law in China for years), and winner of the 2009 John Leland Religious Liberty Award. He was harassed by Beijing police on October 12 after accepting an interview from National Public Radio pertaining to the Lausanne Congress. Twenty police officers were assigned to stop him from leaving his apartment.

Dr. Fan commented that underground Chinese Christians should not naively put hope in the Chinese Communist regime, and should place their trust in God, and continue to non-violently strive for religious freedom, human rights, rule of law and democracy in China. Dr. Fan strongly supports legal defense as a very effective tool. He also strongly criticized the persecution of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mr. Liu Xiaobo and his wife by Chinese government.

It has been 21 years since the Manila gathering, and tens of millions of Christians in China are thriving in the Church of Jesus Christ, and China experiences the fastest growth of Christians. With that said, how long will we have to wait for the 200 unoccupied seats meant for representatives of China to be filled?

Article 13 of the Lausanne Covenant reads

”It is the God-appointed duty of every government to secure conditions of peace, justice and liberty in which the Church may obey God, serve the Lord Christ, and preach the gospel without interference. We therefore pray for the leaders of the nations and call upon them to guarantee freedom of thought and conscience, and freedom to practice and propagate religion in accordance with the will of God and as set forth in “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” We also express our deep concern for all who have been unjustly imprisoned, and especially for those who are suffering for their testimony to the Lord Jesus. We promise to pray and work for their freedom. At the same time we refuse to be intimidated by their fate. God helping us, we too will seek to stand against injustice and to remain faithful to the gospel, whatever the cost. We do not forget the warnings of Jesus that persecution is inevitable. (1 Tim. 2:1-4; Acts 4:19; 5:29; Col. 3:24; Heb. 13:1-3; Luke 4:18; Gal. 5:11; 6:12; Matt. 5:10-12; John 15:18-21).”
We would like to pass on a prayer request that is being sent out to Christians around the world to intercede on behalf of the China.

As the day is quickly approaching for Lausanne III to start in Cape Town on October 17, please remember the participants from Mainland China. Participants and volunteers from Mainland China have already purchased their tickets and reserved hotel rooms in preparation to join 4,500 Christian leaders at the Congress. In addition to raising their own support, the Mainland Chinese participants have also given scholarships for 100 neighboring country participants to attend.

There is a possibility that the Chinese participants will not be able to attend.

Please intercede on behalf of the Church in China, that God would have mercy and move the hearts of those who hold the power to change the situation. We serve a God who is above all human systems, understanding and authority. May His Will be done in the Church in China, and His Power known throughout the world.

Please pray for God to change hardened hearts and for the continued faithfulness of the Chinese Christians under persecution.

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