North American church challenges at Lausanne

By October 21, 2010

South Africa (MNN) — Poverty, injustice, suffering and the people's eternal future hit the church squarely between the eyes yesterday at the Third Lausanne Congress for World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa. Speakers John Piper, Os Guinness, and World Vision's Rich Sterns each spoke about the western church and their loss of vision.

Pastor of Global Ministries at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Bruce Huseby, says the dynamic changed completely as Piper told the Congress that "when the Gospel takes root in our lives, it means we must face injustice. It awakens us to the reality of the eternal future of people who do not know Jesus. Some love one truth over the other. Could we say, 'If you resist either, you either have a broken Gospel or a broken heart.'"

Huseby says those words resonated with the Congress as they seek to see the whole church, take the whole Gospel to the whole world.

The church in the West needs to be shaken, says Huseby. "I think the church in the West has unfortunately lost that passion that people are going to suffer eternally separated from God and face God's wrath. We need to have a renewed passion and receive that passion in many ways from the global South churches and the global East churches."

Huseby says that means the global church needs to be accountable to one another: allowing leaders from around the world to be co-dependent and accountable to each other in global outreach. He says we need to ask the "global South church and the global East church to come back to the West and help us break free from the way we've been captured by our culture, and realize what it is to be the Church."

That means being interdependent on each other, including our finances.

President of World Vision Rich Sterns says many wealthy churches in the West face dangers. "They become arrogant and self-reliant. They become blinded by their wealth and materialism, and they become no longer useful to God."

Many in attendance from non-western nations gasped when Sterns talked about churches with swimming pools and bowling alleys. He struck a nerve when he said, "It is not biblical: the notion that everything we have belongs to us and we can do with it as we please. As Christians, we need to believe that God gives us the power to generate wealth, and He entrusts us with those resources and wealth for the benefit of His Kingdom."

Huseby is asking Christians to pray for the remainder of the Lausanne congress. Pray that the western church, especially, will be renewed and that God would use the global churches of the South and East to help accomplish that.

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