South Africa (MNN) — Day One of Cape Town 2010, the site of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, brought discussion of the persecuted church around the world
Lausanne was directly impacted by persecution as 230 Chinese Christians were prevented from attending Cape Town 2010. They weren't allowed to leave the airport.
Mission Network News caught up with the President of Open Doors USA Carl Moeller at Lausanne to talk about the issue of persecution. "Everywhere that the church is advancing–and it is advancing across the globe–it advances against something — some power of darkness. And, usually that another religious system."
Although many leaders in the West may not be riddled by religious persecution, in a blog on crosswalk.com Moeller noted that 70 percent of the world's population is unable to worship completely freely. He goes on to say that more than 200 million Christians are actively persecuted for their faith.
A dilemma which plagues so many Christians worldwide is bound to merit a great deal of discussion at a conference like Lausanne. "Everywhere the church is going against the culture, it's emerging, and it's growing, it does so in the context of persecution," explains Moeller. Persecution does not mean the church is stagnant; indeed it indicates the very opposite. Thus, "We should not shy away from places of persecution, but we need to recognize that it's in those very places where persecution is the hottest and most intense that God can build His church the most."
The Third Congress on World Evangelization is raising awareness and support for persecuted Christians, but it is especially encouraging prayer. Almost every country around the globe is represented at Lausanne, so believers burdened by persecution will undoubtedly meet believers who live relatively free from harm for their faith. Moeller says these sorts of interactions will build the responsibility of the freer churches to their persecuted brothers and motivate them to pray.
"This is a unique moment in the history of the world. I believe that the legacy and history of Lausanne is such that we can see and we can anticipate the Spirit using this conference for decades to come as a touch point of motivation for the church around the world to advance the Gospel."
Open Doors USA is already playing a part in seeking a freer world for believers to worship. Their Free to Believe campaign asks Americans to send letters to their legislators to lobby against the UN Defamation of Religions Resolution. The Resolution would make free speech for a faith that goes against a country's dominant religion even more restricted than it already is. To advocate along with Open Doors USA for the right of your brothers and sisters to follow Christ, click here.