We meet in the tradition of Berlin 1966 and wholeheartedly share this day its aim of the proclamation of the gospel throughout the world with the very same time target. The Berlin '66 call was to proclaim the gospel within a generation; as a generation is 40 years or so, they were calling for the proclamation of the gospel by the year 2000 or just beyond.
We are indebted to the Lausanne I gathering in 1974 with nearly 2500 participants from 150 countries, and share wholeheartedly its goals even as we meet now at GCOWE '95: 1) to impart a vision and a sense of responsibility for evangelism both locally and globally, 2) to inform people of successful methods and tools, 3) to facilitate evangelical cooperation in evangelism and 4) to identify unevangelized areas.
We wholeheartedly follow in the footsteps of the theme and vision of Lausanne II in Manila 1989 with the call to "Proclaim Christ Until He Comes." It was at that meeting following the plenary session on AD 2000 that a significant group met together and almost unanimously called for the establishment of a group to carry forward the AD 2000 vision. This has been done, pressed forward by countrywide initiatives to the year 2000 with some 2000 individual plans of evangelism directed to the year 2000. So we add with many, our aim in this movement and this consultation of "a church for every people and the gospel for every person by the year 2000".
And so we are committed to take up the torch for this special kairos decade of evangelism... a decade of harvest, decade of Holy Spirit anointing , decade of great expectations, even so to dissolve as a structure December 31, 2001.
We have been criticized of reductionism_i.e. reducing the gospel and its implications to a time frame, to measurable objectives. However, we embrace the Lausanne covenant and proclaim a whole gospel _not a truncated gospel, not a mutilated gospel with all of its demands, but with the fruit of repentance. We embrace the Great Commission Manifesto, drafted at GCOWE `89 in Singapore, which states so clearly, "The Good News of Jesus Christ brings special meaning to suffering humanity. God's love brings hope to those who live under the bondage of sin, and who are victims of poverty and injustice. We believe that Christians involved in world evangelization should live among people as servants and minister to the needs of the whole person."
In fact, the primary though not exclusive focus of the AD 2000 & Beyond Movement is on the 10/40 Window, precisely because it is where humanity suffers more than any other region in the earth; whether it is spiritual suffering through ignorance of the gospel, human suffering due to oppression, human suffering due to poverty, human suffering due to infant mortality, human suffering due to early deaths, human suffering due to high rates of illiteracy, human suffering due to the historic bondages and alliances made with Satan himself, it is there! Through our purpose statement we seek to be servant-catalysts, seeking to encourage, motivate and network men and women church leaders by inspiring them with the vision of reaching the unreached by the year 2000 through consultations, prayer efforts and communication materials.
The expected result is the establishment of a mission-minded church planting movement within every unreached and unevangelized people and city by AD 2000, so that all peoples might have a valid opportunity to experience the love, truth and saving power of Jesus Christ in fellowship with other believers.
We are not seeking to plant a mutilated church, but rather, as it says in the very last statement of the Great Commission Manifesto: "Establish a Christian community of worship, instruction in the word, healing, fellowship, prayer, disciple making, evangelism, and missionary concern in every human community," that Christ may become incarnate in all of His fullness, in all of who He is in each community. Do the advocates of social involvement have a home in AD 2000? They most certainly do. Can they have full citizenship in AD 2000? They are most welcome. However, this is not a conference to discuss the content of the gospel but how to communicate it. This is not a conference to discuss the nature of the church but how can we saturate the world with the church of our Lord so that the earth is full of His glory as the waters cover the sea. Our concern is getting that job done.
And we believe that it can be done by the year 2000. "We believe" as the Great Commission Manifesto states, "that it is possible to bring the Gospel to all people by the year 2000." And so to the question posed in the Manila Manifesto edited by John Stott and others at Lausanne II as it reads: "Now the year 2000 has become for many a challenging milestone. Can we commit ourselves to evangelize the world during the last decade of this millennium?" We would say a resounding, "Yes." As it went on to say: "There is nothing magical about the date, yet should we not do our best to reach this goal?" Again our answer is: "Yes, we should." Would you say with me: "Yes we should." Would you stand and say with me: "Yes we should." "Christ commands us to take the gospel to all people. The task is urgent. We are determined to obey Him with joy and hope."