My name is Luis Bush. I am the International Director of GCOWE '95. [Welcome in the languages of the consultation] There are probably participants from more countries of the world at this Christian gathering than at any other event at any time in all of Christian history. Praise the Lord. We are grateful for the hospitality of the Korean church. Let us test our Korean together. Can you say "Kum sum ni da"?
Probably many of us are amazed that we are even here. For the last six weeks I have been recovering from a hernia surgery, limited to not lift anything over ten pounds. I have felt like I have had a flat tire. At times my faith wavered looking at the magnitude of the financial obligation. My wife Doris one time said to me: "You are acting like a little boy who wants what he wants right away." Many of you have struggled even upon arriving. For all of the inconveniences and miscommunications I take full responsibility. I would ask your forgiveness and on behalf of all of us who have not treated you properly I ask your forgiveness. I do believe that God wants us to come to this meeting with a spirit of brokenness.
As we meet in this Torch Center I am reminded of Gideon's small band being called upon by God to carry the torch in the left hand concealed by an earthen vessel. For the light to shine through, the vessel had to be broken. For the light to shine out from this Torch Center and GCOWE from all the nations gathered here I believe that the earthen vessel must be broken. We must be broken. Perhaps all of the inconveniences, missionary style housing for most everybody here, can be used to prepare us for the light to shine forth from this place to our Jerusalems our Samarias and to the uttermost parts of the world. As Paul the Apostle says in II Cor 4:7: "We have this treasure in these earthen vessels (these jars of clay) to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
Our purpose in GCOWE '95 is to encourage continued momentum building toward the fulfillment of the goal of a church for every people and the gospel for every person by the year 2000. As we move through the plenary sessions I appeal to your understanding. We wish to respect every speaker who deserves much more time than they have. On the other hand all of you have come a long way at great expense so we wish to respect your time. The Program Production Committee, keeping all this in view has prepared a program that we believe will help us all toward our objective here at GCOWE. Therefore we are asking each speaker to keep within the allotted time. To ensure that this will indeed happen the Program Production Committee has developed their own strategy. With one minute left to complete the time allotted Frank Fortunato will start with one minute of soft music. The music will grow louder. With no time left the lights will dim and the next speaker begin to come on. It the speaker continues the sound at the microphone will go off.
We are gathered here with the rich heritage of those who have gone before us. We are here in a spirit of repentance... repenting for our lack of heart, vision, our lack of compassion, our bigotry, our prejudice. Yet grateful for the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all of our sin. Thankful for the power of Jesus that enables us to go on. Grateful for the those who have gone before.
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:
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 of people 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. And so we are committed to take up the torch for this special God-filled decade of evangelism... a decade of harvest, a decade of Holy Spirit anointing, a decade of great expectations.
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, but the gospel with all of its demands, the gospel 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, and human suffering due to the historic bondages and alliances made with Satan himself 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 significantly large ethnolinguistic people by AD 2000, so that every person might have a valid opportunity to experience the love, truth and saving power of Jesus Christ in fellowship with other believers.
What kind of church are we seeking to establish? -- not 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.