TC ERT Jul 2010 Vol 34 No 3


Now available
Paternoster Periodicals, c/- AlphaGraphics, 6 Angel Row, Nottingham NG1 6HL, UK

Theme: The Whole World


  • Editorial ‘The Whole World’
  • The Whole World: Statement of the Lausanne Theology Working Group, Beirut 2010
  • The World in the Bible by Christopher J.H. Wright
  • Towards a Missiology of Caring for Creation by Peter Harris
  • The Global Public Square by Vinoth Ramachandra
  • Can Christians Belong to More than One Religious Tradition? By Tan Kang-San
  • Case Studies
    • Peacemaking amidst urban violence in Brazil by C. Rosalee Velloso Ewell (Brazil)
    • The gospel amidst ethnic violence in Burundi by Emmanuel Ndikumana (Burundi)
    • The world threat of nuclear weapons, and the church's role by Tyler Wigg-Stevenson (USA)
    • eVangelism: The gospel and the world of the internet by Rob Haskell (USA)

Editorial: ‘The Whole World’—Reflections of the Lausanne Theology Working Group

THE LAUSANNE Theology Working Group hosted a consultation in Beirut, Lebanon, 14-19 February 2010. 23 people from fourteen countries con­vened and worked together around four plenary papers and sixteen case studies, which provided us with a very wide variety of perspectives on what is meant by ‘the whole world’. We met in the comfortable facilities kindly pro­vided by the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, and in collaboration with the WEA Theological Commission.

Each morning we studied Colos­sians, since in it Paul makes crystal clear the cosmic significance of Jesus Christ—in creating, sustaining and reconciling the whole world to God— and the correspondingly vast relevance of the gospel to the whole world at every level. The biblical themes that arose from our study each day informed and infused our reflection on papers and case-studies.

The topic, ‘The Whole World’ is the third in a series of consultations on the theological significance of the three phrases of the Lausanne Covenant, The whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world. The first was in February 2008 in Chiang Mai on ‘The Whole Gospel’; the second was in January 2009 in Panama on ‘The Whole Church’. These are part of the contri­bution of the Theology Working Group to the preparation for Lausanne III Congress, Cape Town 2010.

When the three-fold expression was first used, it was probably meant pri­marily in a quantitative and geograph-ical sense—that the gospel should be shared with all the people who live in every place on earth, which is certainly a vital dimension of its meaning. We still face the fact that millions of the world’s inhabitants have never heard the name of Jesus Christ or the good news of the salvation that God has accomplished through him. We affirm and pray for all those in the Lausanne Movement whose calling focuses pri­marily on the world of the unevange­lized, including particularly the Lau­sanne Strategy Working Group along with other Working Groups and Spe­cial Interest Groups.

However, as we reflect on ‘the whole world’ in the light of the Bible, there are also qualitative dimensions that we need to address, and which the gospel certainly does address. Our con­ference was initially framed around six major themes:

  • The World in the Bible
  • The World of God’s Creation
  • The World of Religions
  • The World of the Globalised Public Square
  • The World of Violence
  • The World of Poverty and Injustice

The findings in the following Statement summarise some of what we learned together. They are not final or comprehensive but reflect the ongoing nature of doing theology—it is ‘theology on the way’ and the results of a consultation of a working group.

Chris Wright Chair, Lausanne Theology Working Group