Reconciliation in World Evangelization

This month, Lausanne World Pulse focuses on reconciliation in world evangelization. Reconciliation is not only a critical focus for the Lausanne movement, but moreover, we as Christians are saved and called for the essential work and ministry of reconciliation:

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

We are to be agents and ambassadors of God’s message of reconciliation—both in word and in deed.

Our ministry is toward the reconciliation of broken persons to Christ as well as broken people groups to each other. And nowhere is reconciliation more needed than within the very body of Christ for the effective witness of the power of God to the whole world. For Christ himself said that it is by our love for one another that the world would know we are his disciples and true bearers of his message of truth and reconciliation (John 13:35). To this end, Lausanne is committed to continuing and deepening its engagement in the hard work of reconciliation.

In this issue of LWP, Chris Rice focuses on the Lausanne Occasional Paper 51 on reconciliation, which emerged from the 2004 Forum for World Evangelization in Pattaya, Thailand. Sam Barket goes further to illuminate and highlight the journey and exciting work of Issue Group 22 on reconciliation since the 2004 Forum. Going beyond the difficult work of reconciliation, Paulus Widjaja explores the importance and necessity of developing a culture and ethos of peace and evangelism.

Looking deeper into the active application of reconciliation, Lisa Loden of Israel explores the scriptural application of Psalm 133 and John 17 in Christian witness, specifically in the war-torn, pain-filled Middle East context. Celestin Musekura also contributes a story illustrating the power of reconciliation in Christ and what evangelism looks like in Rwanda.

It is my hope that this issue on reconciliation will be especially illuminating as well as galvanizing in your thinking and your work in world evangelization. The task of the whole Church taking the whole world the message of the whole gospel of life, hope, healing and reconciliation is enormous. Let us continue to press on in our call and our work to reconcile: (1) sinners to our compassionate God, (2) warring factions to a community of peace and grace and (3) a broken body to the radiant body of the Church she was called to be. God bless you and your ministry.

Doug Birdsall is executive chair of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. He served as president of Asian Access from 1991 to 2007 and continues to serve on their board of directors. Birdsall is a graduate of Wheaton College, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Harvard University. He is co-publisher of Lausanne World Pulse.