7 Ways To Live Out The Gospel in a Post-Truth, Post-Fact Culture – Carey Nieuwhof

Culture is changing rapidly before our eyes. Here are 7 important ways for Christians to live out the Gospel in a post-truth, post-fact culture.

Source: 7 Ways To Live Out The Gospel in a Post-Truth, Post-Fact Culture – Carey Nieuwhof

Here are Carey’s suggestions:

1. Anchor yourself to what’s true
2. Stop the spin
3. Confess your role in it
4. Embrace love
5. Keep some distance from your political positions
6. Love people who oppose you
7. Hope

Not easy. But who says living in truth should be easy?

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Two of My Recent Publications

Note: Recently, I have received two of the publications to which I have contributed lately. Here are a few details about each of them.

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intentional-discipleship-cover

Intentional Discipleship and Disciple-Making. An Anglican Guide for Christian Life and Formation is a publication of The Anglican Consultative Council, aiming to revive interest in the ancient discipline and practice of disciple-making within the Anglican Communion.

My friend, Rev. Mark Oxbrow, asked me to write about the practice of discipleship within the Orthodox Christian tradition. My initial text had to be shortened, in order to fit a very limited space, in which a variety of topics was discussed.

I attach below my short text. Time allowing, I intend to publish on my blog a more extended discussion of this important topic.Read More »

Call for Papers – CEEAMS Conference, 13-18 February 2017, Osijek, Croatia

Love, Live, and Delight: Conversations in Central and Eastern Europe on present day documents and commitments on mission
13-18 February 2017, Osijek, Croatia

The 2017 CEEAMS Annual conference seeks to actively engage in worldwide conversations on four mission documents of the last years:

1. The Cape Town Commitment (CTC) discussed at the Third Lausanne Congress for World Evangelization in 2010, and published by the Lausanne Movement in 2011;
2. Together Towards Life (TTL), accepted in 2013 at the 10th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan, Korea;
3. the Evangelii Gaudium (EG), which concluded the year of Faith (2013) and was written in the first year of Pope Franciscus’ Pontificate.
4. The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today´s World (MOCT) – adopted in 2016 as an official document on mission at its Holy and Great Council. https://www.holycouncil.org/-/missionorthodox-church-todays-world

The conference seeks to identify key themes which are missiologically relevant for churches and Christian communities in Central and Eastern Europe, to critically analyse these documents and find ways of their translatability at academic level and in mission praxis, in and beyond in the region.
Conflicts, clashes, people worrying for their future, isolation, fear for the unknown, characterise the societies of Central and Eastern Europe; Christian communities and churches are challenged not to lose contact with each other and to open up to the societies to which they belong. Love, live and delight are calls for action prominently expressed in these four documents; they are active verbs more than ever relevant in the Europe of 2017, in which so much attention will be given to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Delighting in God, loving God and the fellow human being in order to be able to live together are the basic biblical values from which this conference seeks to find ways through which words of faith transform into lived faith.Read More »

Central and Eastern European Association for Mission Studies – Call for Papers

Love, Live, and Delight: Conversations in Central and Eastern Europe on present day documents and commitments on mission

13-18 February 2017, Osijek, Croatia

The 2017 CEEAMS Annual conference seeks to actively engage in worldwide conversations on four mission documents of the last years:

1.      The Cape Town Commitment (CTC) discussed at the Third Lausanne Congress for World Evangelization in 2010, and published by the Lausanne Movement in 2011;
2.      Together Towards Life (TTL), accepted in 2013 at the 10th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan, Korea;
3.      the Evangelii Gaudium (EG), which concluded the year of Faith (2013) and was written in the first year of Pope Franciscus’ Pontificate.
4.      The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today´s World (MOCT) – adopted in 2016 as an official document on mission at its Holy and Great Council. https://www.holycouncil.org/-/mission-orthodox-church-todays-world

The conference seeks to identify key themes which are missiologically relevant for churches and Christian communities in Central and Eastern Europe, to critically analyse these documents and find ways of their translatability at academic level and in mission praxis, in and beyond in the region. Conflicts, clashes, people worrying for their future, isolation, fear for the unknown, characterise the societies of Central and Eastern Europe; Christian communities and churches are challenged not to lose contact with each other and to open up to the societies to which they belong. Love, live and delight are calls for action prominently expressed in these four documents; they are active verbs more than ever relevant in the Europe of 2017, in which so much attention will be given to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Delighting in God, loving God and the fellow human being in order to be able to live together are the basic biblical values from which this conference seeks to find ways through which words of faith transform into lived faith.Read More »

Johannes Reimer – Mission in Post-Perestroika Russia

NOTE: The text below was written twenty years ago, yet it is as valid as it was when it was first published, not just for Russia, but for the entire Central & Eastern Europe..

* * *

The church of Russia, as the churches in other post-Marxist countries, needs help from the global church–meaningful help!  Let me briefly spell out some basic requests from a Russian Christian to a Western church wanting to support the mission of the church in post-perestroika Russia.

  • Incarnational Rather Than Organizational

In this respect I want to identify basic attitudes which, I believe, a good missionary to my country would need:  become one of us and we will listen to you.  Live as we live, but without sin, and we will copy you.  The answer is not to talk about solutions, but to live them out.  The answer is not the Christ of the Text, but Christ incarnate.Read More »

Doru Radu – Quo Vadis Gypsy Choir din Boldesti Scaeni, Prahova, in turneu in USA

Corul Quo Vadis
Corul Quo Vadis

Corul Qvo Vadis Gypsy Choir din Boldesti Scaeni Prahova e in turneu in  USA sponsorizat de fundatia crestina “The brother’s keeper” (28 Iulie- 15 August).  I-am urmarit la biserica crestina dupa Evanghelie, Mount Joy, PA. A fost impresionant; o expresie a lucrarii deosebite facute de aceasta fundatie, de dirijorul corului – prof. Eduard Teodorescu, de pastorul bisericii crestine dupa Evanghelie a rromilor din Scaeni, fr. Oprisan. Au cintat cintece clasice, in italiana, germana, gospel in engleza si una in limba rroma. Elevi de liceu si studenti la medicina, drept, inginerie, robotica, asistenti medicali, etc, tinerii tigani au lasat o impresie deosebita prin dragostea pt Dumnezeu, rezultatele scolare si performanta muzicala.  Corul cinta de 3 ani impreuna si nu este profesionist si cinta doar muzica crestina, dar se vede ca au o educatie muzicala si o tinuta ce impune respect.

M-a impresionat dorinta celor mai multi dintre ei de a schimba imaginea rromilor in Romania si Europa.  Iubitori de Dumnezeu dar si de muzica, volei si fotbal, acesti tineri doresc sa aduca o schimbare in comunitatile de rromi si de romani.  Ce mult poate face dragostea unui dirijor si a unui pastor! Ce mult am gresit noi fata de semenii nostri “samariteni”, fara sa ne pese de sensibilitatea lor!Read More »

Orthodox Africa – A review article | Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative

Source: Orthodox Africa – A review article | Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative

A book on Orthodoxy in Africa, by Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, who served for over teh years as a missionary on that continent.

Rachel Held Evans – Let the World Change You: A Commencement Address Do-Over

Rachel Held Evans

Way back in 2003, when people still left voicemails and Mark Zuckerberg’s “Facesmash” was just a mildly sexist college experiment, I was chosen by my classmates to deliver a commencement address at graduation ceremonies for our conservative Christian university.

I took the honor seriously, prepping for weeks amidst all the final exams and senior parties, working through multiple drafts and soliciting feedback from my parents and professors.

And I did okay, (though, to this day I still have nightmares about approaching that podium only to look down and realize I left my notes…or my pants… in my dorm room).  I admonished my classmates the way any other 21-year-old evangelical would admonish her peers:

I told them to go out and change the world.

Read More »

CEEAMS Annual Conference in Osijek, Croatia, 10-13 May 2016

Source: CEEAMS: Call for Papers: CEEAMS Annual Conference in Osijek, Croatia, 10-13 May 2016

The 2016 annual CEEAMS conference begins on Tuesday, May 10th in Osijek, Croatia. I wish I could be present. I pray for a successful meeting for all my friends who will be there.

Insider Movement Theological Continuum – The C1–C6 Contextualization Spectrum

This tool, developed by John Travis (a pseudonym), has proven helpful and is widely accepted as a tool for differentiating different kinds of “Christ-centered Communities” in Muslim contexts. The tool focuses primarily on doctrine, theological language, and ecclesiastical practices. It would be interesting to create a corresponding continuum measuring the degree of Christ-like behavior characterizing a group of Christians—a DWJS (doing what Jesus says) spectrum. If such an analytical tool were applied to many doctrinally orthodox communities, it would help reveal the degree of compromise—“behavioral syncretism”—blighting some of our evangelical churches and religious communities.

C1 – Traditional Church Using Outsider Language. These are traditional Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant churches which may pre-date Islam. Many reflect Western culture and are significantly different from the surrounding Muslim culture. Some Muslimbackground believers may be members. They call themselves “Christians.”

C2 – Traditional Church Using Insider Language. Essentially the same as C1, but using an insider language. Theological language is distinctively Christian. Often there are more Muslim-background believers than in C1 churches. Believers call themselves Christians.”

C3 – Contextualized Christ-centered Communities Using Insider Language and Religiously Neutral Insider Cultural Forms. These may adopt local forms of dress, folk music, and art. The aim is to reduce the foreign atmosphere by “contextualizing to biblically permissible cultural forms.” The meeting place may be a church building or another location. Believers call themselves “Christians.”Read More »

Lausanne Initiative to bring together Orthodox and Evangelical leaders in Ethiopia

LOI

Building on the success of three international consultations in Albania and Finland the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative (LOI) is now turning its attention to regional consultations, the first due to take place in Ethiopia in October 2016. In a nation traditionally first evangelised by St. Mark and St. Matthew the Orthodox Church has an unbroken history of witness for two millennia whilst the Evangelical Churches have seen one of the highest rates of church growth in recent history.  Together these Churches seek to bear contemporary witness to Jesus Christ in a land which sits at the meeting point of three continents – Africa, Asia and Europe.

The initiative for the planned consultation was birthed when two Ethiopian Orthodox leaders and two Ethiopian Evangelicals met in Finland at the LOI 2015 consultation. Having formed a local planning team they are now working with LOI to invite leaders across their two traditions from within Ethiopia, from neighbouring countries and from as far away as India and the USA to join them in exploring how they can witness together in the context of the challenge of Islam, humanitarian need and challenges within our own churches.

The LOI was established by Lausanne in partnership with Orthodox Church leaders following the 2010 Cape Town Congress. It is led by a Steering Group an international of Evangelical and Orthodox leaders and currently facilitated by Canon Mark Oxbrow of Faith2Share (mark.oxbrow@faith2share.net) to whom enquiries can be sent. Papers from the first two consultsations are published as The Mission of God Oxbrow,M. and Grass,T. Regnum 2015 available from the LOI website.

CEEAMS – Green pastures? Human Mobility and Christian Communities in Central and Eastern Europe

The Central and Eastern European Association for Mission Studies (CEEAMS) is pleased to invite you to the conference

Green pastures? Human Mobility and Christian Communities in Central and Eastern Europe

After the fall of the Communist system, migration experiences in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) intensified and diversified. During Communist times emigration existed in forms of political asylum-seeking or through creative ways to reach the so-called West. Also exchange studentships to befriended countries were some of the variations of migration. While the opening of the political borders after the “changes” in 1989/1990 did generate migration from CEE to mainly Western Europe and North America, migration to CEE through people
such as missionaries, international investors, tourists, small entrepreneurs, labor migration, students, professionals had a significant impact on community formation. Typical to these migrations was that it included people from all over the world, from west and north and east and south. Since most of the post-communist countries did not have well-developed migration policies, CEE became an intently diverse field where people of all sorts with a variety of aspirations arrived and left. The “Yugoslav Wars” challenged some of the Balkan countries to experiment with asylum-seeking and refugee services.

Another significant event regarding migration experiences in CEE was the enlargement of the European Union with new, former communist member states. This resulted in substantial labor migration from CEE to Western Europe, especially from Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria, but now also from Hungary and other countries. The consequences of the ” Arab Spring”, especially the complex wars in Syria, intensified the refugee question. Next to the cross-border migrations, domestic migration further complicates the processes of transformations in CEE societies. Also the fragility of the internal political situation in a number of CEE countries – with growing right wing tendencies targeting the “foreigner” (read e.g. Roma people, Muslims, and Arab) in their rhetoric – add to these complexities.
Discussions about and responses with immediate action programs (like e.g. building fences etc.) to certain phenomena generated by migration, became part of the daily life at all levels of societies.

Christian communities, churches and other faith communities are part of the above described societies and migration experiences. In their daily service they encounter situations which demand grounded theological-missiological answers, because after all, migration experiences are about human lives and changes in human lives and societies. Missiologists, theologians, and reflective practitioners are challenged to theologically- missiologically reflect on questions about human mobility in this region and their relation to the larger worldwide processes, in order to adequately assist the work of churches, ministers, pastors, and above all church members to find contextually relevant answers. In order to address the issue of human mobility, one needs to dig deeper: it is not sufficient to create Christian discourses about migration by collecting proof verses from the Bible which talk about people on the move, and about the position of strangers. Digging deeper asks for self-reflection: what is going on in Christian communities in terms of migration? What do Christians in this part of the world believe about different aspects of migration and why do they do so? What are the most striking aspects of migration which need theological attention?Read More »

Christian de Chergé – Testamentul unui martir al iubirii

Christian de Chergé
Christian de Chergé

Dacă mă va ajunge ziua – și aceasta ar putea fi chiar astăzi – în care să fiu victima terorismului care pare că vrea să-i „înghită” pe toți străinii care trăiesc în Algeria, mi-ar plăcea ca comunitatea mea, ca Biserica mea, ca familia mea să-și amintească de faptul că viața mea a fost DĂRUITĂ lui Dumnezeu și acestei țări. Ca ei să accepte că singurul Stăpân al vieții nu poate fi străin de această brutală plecare. Ca ei să se roage pentru mine: cum aș putea fi eu vrednic de o astfel de ofrandă? Ca ei să știe să asocieze această moarte cu atâtea altele la fel de violente, lăsate în indiferență și anonimat.

Viața mea nu valorează mai mult decât alta. Nici mai puțin. În orice caz, ea nu mai are inocența copilăriei. Am trăit suficient ca să mă știu complice cu răul care, vai!, pare să prevaleze în lume și chiar cu cel care mă va lovi orbește. Mi-ar plăcea, atunci când va veni momentul, să am acea clipă de luciditate care să-mi permită a-i cere iertare lui Dumnezeu și tuturor fraților mei întru umanitate și în același timp să-i iert din toată inima pe cei care mă vor fi lovit.Read More »

The Spread of the Gospel

This animated map is a powerful visual depiction of the most important movement in history: the spread of Christianity. Every frame is one year in the last 2000 years of the Great Commission. This is an animated version of the data on our 24×36″ printed Spread of the Gospel Map:

westernconservatory.com/products/spread-­gospel-map

Charting the geographic progress of the Gospel over the last 2,000 years, this map shows the missionary journeys of the apostles, the outposts of the early church, the hotbeds of persecution, the staging grounds of the Church’s major theological battles, and more. See the power of the Gospel to transform “every nation and tribe and language and people,” and be inspired by the legacies of the brave brothers and sisters who faithfully carried the Gospel of Christ to the farthest ends of the earth.

Communique of the 3rd Orthodox-Evangelical Consultation of Senior Leaders, Helsinki, 1-5 Sept, 2015

LOI

As guests of His Beatitude Archbishop Leo of Karelia and All Finland and the Evangelical Alliance of Finland (SEA), 63 Orthodox and Evangelical leaders gathered this week at the Sofia Cultural Centre, Helsinki.  The participants, representing Christian communities in twenty-five different countries*, met to focus on ‘The Gospel as Good News’ examining our common understanding of the meaning and purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, how we communicate this today, and its implications for community transformation and pastoral ministry.

The goal of the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative is to reflect constructively on the history of relationships between Orthodox and Evangelicals in order to work towards better understanding and healing where wounds exist. Through this process Evangelicals and Orthodox will be mutually enriched and strengthened in the work of mission, working towards mutual respect, support and cooperation. The first two international consultations were held in Albania in 2013 and 2014.

Under the leadership of co-chairs, His Grace Bishop Angaelos (of the Coptic Church in the UK) and Mrs. Grace Mathews (of the Lausanne Board), the consultation responded to eleven major papers by Evangelical and Orthodox theologians and church leaders; reflected on key passages of the Bible together; explored in small groups the issues raised by the papers for co-operation in mission; spent an evening in prayer for contemporary mission contexts globally; visited Orthodox and Evangelical Lutheran communities in Helsinki and participated in a panel discussion led by leaders from challenging mission contexts in Syria, Israel-Palestine, the USA and Greece.Read More »

Helsinki, Finland – LOI 2015 Programme

LOI

Tuesday 1 September

Morning/afternoon – Participant arrivals and registration.

4.00pm.        Welcome Reception

5.00pm.        Key note addresses : Gospel as Good News

Fr. Michael Oleksa, Orthodox Church in America (Diocese of Alaska)

Dr. Peter Kuzmič Evangelical Theological Seminary, Croatia

Moderator : His Grace Bishop Angaelos

7.00pm.       Opening Dinner and Reception with a welcome on behalf of :

His Eminence Archbishop Leo of of Karelia and All Finland

Rev Timo Keskitalo on behalf of SEA (Evangelical Alliance of Finland)

Progress Report on LOI by the co-chairs His Grace Bishop Angaelos and Mrs. Grace Mathews.

9.00pm.        Orthodox Vespers

9.45pm.        Free timeRead More »

Stott-Bediako Forum on the Gospel and the World Today: Christian Responses to Religious Extremism

Amman, Jordan

8-10 July, 2015

Dear friend of INFEMIT and OCMS,

On behalf of INFEMIT and OCMS, we would like to encourage you to join scholars and
practitioners from the Middle East and around the world for the Stott-Bediako Forum on Christian
Responses to Religious Extremism, which will be held in Amman, Jordan between 8-10 July, 2015.

The Stott-Bediako forum is an annual gathering of scholars and practitioners who are committed to
addressing the realities of the contemporary world in light of the Gospel. As its name suggests, the
forum follows in the footprints of John W.R. Stott and Kwame Bediako – Christian leaders who have
had a lasting impact on generations of Christian believers worldwide, particularly as they insisted on
the relevance of the Gospel for the world today. Both Stott and Bediako promoted a holistic
understanding of mission and highlighted the importance of constructive engagements of Christianity
and culture – preoccupations that are at the very heart INFEMIT and OCMS, the conveners of this
forum. Read More »

Pastoral Letter to Ethiopians

Pastoral Letter to Ethiopians.

Dr. Girma Bekele, a former Ethiopian colleague from London School of Theology, now teaching at Wycliffe College in Toronto, writes this important prophetic open letter addressed to Ethiopian Christians, at a time when the Church in that country is reckoning with the brutal killing of some of its members at the hands of Daesh militants in Libya..

It is worth reading, as many of the matters Girma addresses in this letter are also relevant in other parts of the church.

Here is just a short quote:

‘We need to pray and do our part for national visitation: healing for our fractured spirituality, national unity, politics and economy- the very reasons why so many risk their own lives as migrants and refugees. We can do justice and honour the blood of those who have been killed, if we truly live as a nation where God’s righteousness reigns! That means an intentional and purposeful national effort for a more just, peaceful and prosperous Ethiopia.’

Rabbi Joshua Stanton – Two Faces of Evangelical Christianity

two faces

An evangelical pastor saved my life. But not in the way you are probably thinking.

While a sophomore at Amherst College, I was trying to find my way. Without a clear path, I figured that philanthropy would be a nice occupation. But to be a philanthropist, I needed to make money and lots of it. So I set my sights on finance and began working towards a major in economics.

Even as I was pursuing a lucrative (and generous) future, I remained rooted in Judaism. I had been brought up in the Conservative movement and had long been active in my synagogue and, in college, the international Jewish campus organization Hillel. In time, I became co-president of the organization’s Amherst chapter and began taking part in regular meetings with Amherst’s director of religious life, the Rev. Dr. Paul Sorrentino.

Paul was not like most pastors I had met, or for that matter religious leaders of any sort. Although he spoke to me about his own beliefs and process of becoming reborn as a Christian, it was not with the intention of proselytizing. He did not want to preach all the time. Instead he wanted to listen. He heard of my ambitions and also saw my love of Judaism. So he planted a seed in my mind, telling me, “You know, you would make a wonderful rabbi, if that were something you were interested in.”Read More »

The Great Omission – Evangelicals for Social Action

The Great Omission – Evangelicals for Social Action.

‘When any means of mission is justifiable so long as it works, we have left the gospel behind and embraced pragmatism. Essentially, we have followed Esau’s example and sold our Christian calling for a bowl of stew. To be Christian means more than saluting anything that flies the flag of the “Great Commission.” To be Christian requires saying “no” to many forms of ministry and mission because they are inconsistent, often violently, with the gospel.’

OMF – Challenges for the Church in China

Oversees Missionary Fellowship (OMF) International is a missionary organisation created by James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905). It was called initially China Inland Mission.

A recent article published on the OMF website describes four current challenges for the church in China. THey are:

1. The challenge of rich and poor.

The challenge to the church is how to reach the rural and urban poor. Methodism reached the masses and transformed society in 18th century Britain, but by Victorian times it had often become “respectable” and lost its cutting edge. It would be a tragedy if the Chinese church goes along the same road.

Read More »

Revolutionary love: Archbishop Justin’s lecture on evangelism…

Revolutionary love: Archbishop Justin’s lecture on evangelism….

Here is a recent message on the importance of evangelism by Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Christian de Chergé – The Testament of A Beheaded Christian

Christian de Chergé
Christian de Chergé

If it should happen one day — and it could be today — that I become a victim of the terrorism which now seems ready to encompass all the foreigners living in Algeria, I would like my community, my Church, my family, to remember that my life was given to God and to this country. I ask them to accept that the One Master of all life was not a stranger to this brutal departure. I ask them to pray for me: for how could I be found worthy of such an offering? I ask them to be able to associate such a death with the many other deaths that were just as violent, but forgotten through indifference and anonymity.

My life has no more value than any other. Nor any less value. In any case, it has not the innocence of childhood. I have lived long enough to know that I share in the evil which seems, alas, to prevail in the world, even in that which would strike me blindly. I should like, when the time comes, to have a clear space which would allow me to beg forgiveness of God and of all my fellow human beings, and at the same time to forgive with all my heart the one who would strike me down.Read More »

A Government Mouthpiece Reports on a Missionary Movement | ChinaSource

A Government Mouthpiece Reports on a Missionary Movement | ChinaSource.

This is quite remarkable. An official Chinese journal comments of the dangerous missionary endeavours of Chinese Christians in Muslim countries.

Glen Osborn – What Encourages Making Disciples Among Chinese Scholars in America

China Outreach Ministries (COM) has focused on sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with Chinese for more than fifty-five years. Currently, we are involved in a strategic opportunity with China’s future leaders who are studying at American universities. There are over 300,000 Chinese students and scholars here, and COM has contact with them at fifty-two universities across North America. These top intellectuals are curious about the gospel and are touched by the love they receive from Christians they meet. Many become serious seekers, and some come to faith in Christ. We prayerfully work to prepare them to return to China as faithful and fruitful disciples of Jesus.

Because of this great opportunity, we wanted to discover how God is touching the lives of Chinese intellectuals in the United States and how we can best cooperate with the working of the Spirit. I had the privilege of doing research in this area for a Doctor of Ministry at Columbia International University. The title of my dissertation is “Factors Encouraging or Impeding the Process of Making Disciples Among Chinese Scholars in the United States.” COM staff administered surveys, both online and in person, with over sixty Chinese scholars who came to the United States without faith in Christ and have since become Christians. These Chinese scholars were asked questions regarding what God used in their lives to bring them to faith, what obstacles they encountered, and how Christian workers either helped or impeded the process.Read More »

Billy Graham – Convocation 1992 (video about Russia, Romania) | Istorie Evanghelica

Billy Graham – Convocation 1992 (video about Russia, Romania) | Istorie Evanghelica.

Lausanne Orthodox Initiative – 2014 Consultation Report Published

Image430a

“The Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative continues to be an inspiring and unique ecumenical dialogue” say joint report authors Dr James Stamoolis and Fr Eric Tosi. They go on to say, “the impact is on a personal level; person to person, community to community, two different Christian traditions reconciling with each other after years of mistrust and misunderstanding. It is on this level that common ground can be discovered and conflicts can be resolved; each acknowledging their genuine differences but each also acknowledging their common faith in Christ.”

The full consultation report was published this week and may be downloaded here:

LOI 2014 Consultation Report

(Source, LOI website)

The Debate Continues – Ethical Evangelism

LOI

Stimulated by the two responses given to his paper when the LOI Initiative met in Albania last month, Dr. Elmer Theissen has now written a further contribution to the debate. On the final day at St. Vlash Dr. Theissen presented a challenging paper on the ethics of evangelism. This paper received appreciative but robust responses from Dr. Danut Manastireanu  and His Eminence Metropolitan Dr. Youhanon Mar Demetrios followed by a lively debate.


Dr. Danut Manastireanu  & Metr. Dr. Youhanon Mar Demetrios

In his reply Dr. Theissen says, “I maintain that proselytizing understood as sheep-stealing need not always be wrong.  ….  I argue that it need not be unethical. There is an oddity about the very notion of sheep-stealing that needs to be brought to the fore.  Is it even appropriate to talk about sheep (i.e. church members) being stolen? Or owned?  There is a possessiveness here that worries me.  Ultimately, the sheep or members of a church are not owned by the church.  If anything, we should rather talk about sheep being owned by the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep (John 10).  Further, the Good Shepherd is very concerned about sheep that get lost.  Both Orthodox and evangelical Christians need to acknowledge that church members can get lost.”

You can read Dr. Theissen’s reply here.   If you would like to contribute further to this debate please send your responses to markoxbrow@aol.com for posting on our website.

(Source, LOI website.)

* * *

Find below Dr. Thiesen’s response in PDF form.

Elmer J. Thiessen – Response to Mar Demetrious and Manastireanu – draft2Oct.2014

Orthodox and Evangelicals Engaged in Missional Dialogue – Communique of 2014 LOI Meeting

Cathedral-Visit

Relationships between Evangelicals and Orthodox engaged in mission have not always been positive, but the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative is working towards increased mutual understanding and a healing of wounds, in order to collaborate more effectively in God’s mission. Sixty senior church and mission leaders, ecumenists and theologians from many parts of the world came together for the initiative’s second consultation. Gathering from 15-19 September at the Orthodox monastery of St Vlash in Albania, and hosted by His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios and the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, the consultation was chaired by Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Mrs Grace Mathews of the Lausanne Movement.Read More »