On Sunday, the Lausanne Congress called the evangelical church and especially those present to lives of integrity, humility, and simplicity. The Bible passage for the day, Ephesians 4:17–6:9, describes the Pauline imperative of living out Christian faith and values. The Bible study leader and preacher, Calisto Odede of Kenya, spoke powerfully about walking in the light. His porcupine story was amazing!
Chris Wright, Bible scholar and principal author of the Cape Town Commitment, declared that God’s people are called to be ethical and missional. The covenant community always is saved to serve. God’s mission is most frustrated, not by unbelief or worldliness or persecution, but by God’s own people. The sin and disobedience of the saints undercuts the power of the gospel message. The prophets were sent primarily to speak to God’s people not to the unbelieving world.
Wright described the Church’s failures or idols as:
1. power and pride
2. popularity and success (false success — the inflation of statistics)
And he said that we must seek humility, integrity, and simplicity. These morning messages segued into an evening season of prayer that included praise, confession, intercession, and silence. Nicky Gumbel, an Anglican pastor and founder of the ministry of Alpha, preached on the power of the Gospel. The night’s session concluded with the Nicene Creed and “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.”
Worship at Cape Town has been, for the most part, exuberant and joyful. Lots of hands raised or hands busy clapping. Young people dance at their tables. African brothers and sisters are among the most enthusiastic. Today’s meeting struck a different note. Christians need moments of sober reflection, repentance, and humble seeking after God’s holy ways. Ironically, the evening concluded with a “sweet hour of prayer” but the prayer time was reduced by a hymn here and a Bible reading there, and announcements here and there. I imagine the African sisters and brothers present could have shown the rest of us about a season of prayer but it would have required the whole night and not an abbreviated hour.