What an incredible weekend for mission! So many great speeches and exhortations given at Edinburgh 2010. Here's the skinny.
The best talk, imho, was given by Dr Young-Hoon Lee of Korea, pastor of the largest church in the world. His speech, entitled Christian
Spirituality and the Diakonic Mission of the Yoido Full Gospel Church gives a long and wide view of how missions have progressed over the past 100 years. His story has all the ingredients – the contextualized entrance of the gospel to Korea, the impact of revival, denominational difficulties regarding ecumenicism and unity, the church growth movement, the contribution of Pentecostal theology AND non-Western mindset, the transition to a more holistic mission including sustainable social enterprise, and more. Totally worth a read!!! In many ways it sums up the whole event.
There is plenty more also. The common call [doc] was especially challenging and right on the money, as was Dr John Sentamu's thoughts from Ezekiel's vision of the dry bones. I even appreciated Dr Antonios
Kireopoulos' polite jab at the fundamentalists for what he thought was their rude invasion of Eastern Europe but I am pleased he was able to point to some good examples of mission from the Friends church.
I am also thankful to Vinoth Ramachandra for noting how, unlike 1910, so many academics were present at the 2010 conference and so few practitioners, something he called a "blind spot" and failure to realise that “the primary work of mission takes
place in the daily lives of ordinary Christian men and women”. Link
And lastly, my friend Rev. Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe gave some well-thought-out
words of greeting that expressed the desire of the WEA and the 420
million evangelicals it represents as to its [our] common desire for
respectful witness to Christ in the next season of mission. I close with some of Geoff's words:
"Historically, there have been many things that have divided the different streams of the church. We would be foolish to think that in these few days all those often deeply-held and painfully fought over differences could be resolved. But I hope that we can listen to one another with love and respect, build bridges rather than create chasms, pray together, learn together, establish new friendships. In WEA we have had fruitful long-term discussions in recent years with many of the constituencies you represent: the Pontifical Council of the Roman Catholic Church, the WCC, the Orthodox Churches, and others. We are committed to continue these conversations, to further mutual understanding, and to find ways of standing alongside one another wherever possible. We will look for ways to continue the theological discussions begun through the study themes. We remain, like our 1910 forebears, passionate about world mission in our broken and hurting world. We recognise with sorrow that the disunity of the church makes it harder for the world to believe in Christ.
And we pray that God may visit us all in grace and power, renewing our faith and vision, our hope and our resolve, so that we can indeed bear witness to Christ in this generation and throughout his world."