I will be brief today, as it is almost 1am, after a very full day.
The first (nice) surprise of the day was the Orthodox ikon on the screen at the devotional time in the morning.
We have started our daily studies in Ephesians. Our little group is very animated. A real pleasure.
Ajith Fernando was the Bible teacher this morning. Absolutely great. I am sure you can find on the Lausanne III website his speech (easy to google search; I am too tired now for a summary).
The second plenary dealt with the controversial topic of truth, so dear to Evangelicals. Os Guinness had a great presentation, even if he let some questions unanswered, one of theme being that of the criterion for truth which begs the question of the place of tradition in Biblical interpretation.
I had the pleasure of participating in two meetings of Evangelical theologians and other academics, called by Doug Birdsall, the Chairman of Lausanne. We have discussed about the task of theologians in the future of the Lausanne Movement.
I have met numerous older friends during this day: Robert Calvert, Scottish Presbyterian minister in Rotterdam; David Neff, editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, Peter Kuzmic, Professor at Gordon-Conwell and Rector of Osijek Seminary; Rene Padilla, veteran on Lausanne; Vasilica Croitor, our new Romanian hero; Stelian Tofana,Romanian Orthodox theologoian and dear friend; Femi Cakolli, pastor in Kosova; Corneliu Constantineanu, new Rector of the Pentecostal Institute in Bucharet; Matthew Fow, a Chinese leader I met years ago in Chiang Mai, Thailand, during a seminar on communism; Fr Ioan Sauca, working at WCC in Geneva; Rosalee Velloso Ewell, a brilliant Brazilian woman theologian; Christo Greyling, my World Vision colleague, author of Channels of Hope; Chris Wright, head of Langham and Chair of Lausanne Theology Working Group; Anne-Marie Kool, Dutch misioloogist teaching in Budapest, and many, many others.
We have also had a regional meeting, where we had all 12 Romanians present there. I add a few pictures with our delegation.
In the evening we have celebrated the persecuted church, with a moving testimony of a girl from North Korea whose father was martyred by the communist regime there.
On this theme, I have found out today that the absence of the over two hundred Chinese leaders from Lausanne cannot be blamed completely on the communist regime in China. It seems that on the one side, the leaders of Lausanne did not do due diligence in contacting the leaders of the official church in China, and, on the other side, the underground church tried to use this opportunity to blacken even more the image of the registered church. As a result, the leaders of the so-called Three-Self Church felt offended and made sure, together with the communist authorities, that the delegates are not allowed to travel to cape Town. Just another sad story of western inability to deal with the complicated communist contexts and eastern disunity among Christians. A real shame.
Tomorrow Ruth Padilla de Borst is going to be the Bile teacher. She is amazing. I can hardly wait. John Piper has already made a fool of himself by making a lot of fuss around this appointment. Shame on him. At his age he should know better or, at least, be more gracious. I am afraid I am not interested to listen to him on Wednesday. I cannot stand misogyny and fundamentalism.