Around the World in 80 Days
I don't want you to think I just travel around to different world level meetings. But 1980 is a special year, and I have been invited to 5 of 6 different very significant meetings. We want you, dear reader, to be able to share in this experience. So let me tell you briefly about a whirlwind tour this bulletin will take you on next month. We will fly at supersonic speeds to touch down at Melbourne, Australia; Pattaya,
Thailand; Seoul, Korea; Wheaton, Illinois; and two meetings at Edinburgh, Scotland. You will become a first hand observer at each of these meetings all world level (except Wheaton, which was North American). Why would we want the readers of Mission Frontiers to know about these meetings? First: to encourage you by the many references most of them made to the finishing of the task of world evangelization. Secondly: to warn us all about any ominous developments that seem to be threatening the completion of this task. Let me tell you in advance¬ the story will be both thrilling and saddening.
We will quote an eminent spokesman for the World Council sphere saying that the World Council Meeting
at Melbourne paid little attention to unreached peoples, had 'little if any faith in the intrinsic power of the preached and taught Word,' and took notice of non Christians primarily in regard to their social condition.
We will contrast the radically different concern of this major meeting of Evangelicals as it struggled to bring World Evangelism into the minds and hearts of church leaders.
Hardly mentioned in the secular press, this meeting constituted the most significant verification of the impact of missions of any event so far in this century, and probably the largest meeting of human beings in history 2.7 million attending at one place at one time. "The Koreans are coming". We need their faith and exhuberance
in the U.S.A. With their bulging muscular vitality, they are now talking about world evangelization!
Here the largest gathering yet of the American Society of Missiology evangelicals, Catholics and Conciliar church specialists in mission spent several days evaluating the Melbourne and Pattaya conferences. Friendly yet trenchant analyses.
Long in the making, announced before any of the others, this will end the year of conferences ¬Oct. 27 through Nov. 1st. It will be the first world level meeting in history consisting of delegates from mission agencies founded by African and Asian church leaders as well as Western missions. Ever since 1910 in Edinburgh which was the first World level meeting of mission agencies but all from the Western world), the action agencies of world evangelization have never had a
chance to gather by themselves on a world level. True, over 200 agencies annually send delegates to meetings of mission executives of North American agencies, but there have never been any such gatherings on the world level. Ideally timed to follow the meetings we have mentioned above, which in a sense are preliminary, this second Edinburgh meeting may be able to establish concrete goals for the year 2000 that will be taken seriously for the next 20 years. The officials at these other meetings were able to discuss strategies, but were not in a position organizationally to shoulder concrete goals. Over 200 mission agencies, the majority from Africa and Asia, have already expressed an interest in coming. Unlike the other meetings, this one has no sponsoring, financial entity; yet already over 80 agencies have made final applications of which only 25 need some help with travel expenses.
Edinburgh happens to be geographically cheaper for a group to travel to than any African or Asian spot. All the more reason that those who live closer should help those who come from a distance, and this is intended. The tiny $70, 000 budget sought from wellwishing believers and congregations is radically less than the million plus Thailand and Melbourne budgets. A number of African and Asian agencies simply cannot get there without some help. Checks can be sent to World Consultation on Frontier Missions, 1605 East Elizabeth St., Pasadena, CA 91104. Delegates to Edinburgh will mostly be staying in homes for the $8.50 "Bed and Breakfast."
A second, simultaneous "Frontiers" conference will be run by college and seminary students, hosted by the IVCF group at Univ. of Edinburgh, and even more frugally operated. Young people who attend will get in on all the major meetings of the executive conferences but will have a lot of their own programs. Witiin ten years these students will be offering strategic leadership to world missions. Now is when they need to discover that the job is not impossible and where they can fit in These students, too, especially from Asia and Africa need help in getting there,and any gifts will be greatly appreciated. Use same address as above.
As you can see, it is the two final conferences that really zero in on the frontiers and the Pattaya conference is the best foundation for that. You'll see more of the details when you take the trip around the world with us in the next issue of Mission Frontiers.