Welcome to the second of seven articles in response to the Lausanne Theology Working Group's paper on "The Whole Church Taking the Whole Gospel to the Whole World." If you've not had a chance to read the paper, you can do so by following these links:
You can also read all seven parts of this series here.
2. Regarding the "Whole Church"
The second section of the paper sets out answer "What is the Church?" Again, not a very easy thing to do, and yet, the answers provided are quite solid and helpful. I would like to highlight the subpoint on page 13-14 (full version) regarding the importance of recognizing several popular dichotomies as "false and damaging". I like this section and think it carries an important message for the Church. However, I do want to point out that this desire to "move back behind" these dichotomies appears to be forgotten later in the paper. In the epilogue of section three the paper is again setting up a dichotomy of "word and deed" which it specifically warned against previously (p. 33, item 1 in the long version). That is admittedly frustrating for me to see because it gives me the feeling that the paper is not being presented in a fully univocal way -- which is particularly ironic given its emphasis on the wholeness of the Church.
Question #2 -- How do we really go about accomplishing something at Cape Town? How can we ensure that specific calls and charges and challenges that are made by speakers, presenters and others at the Congress translate into genuine and deep-seated commitments that are held by most if not all the delegates? I am very concerned that God will speak and issue many significant calls to His Church. That we will agree to the truth and profundity of such calls. And that we will fly back into our respective fields of service only to be overwhelmed by the day-to-day concerns and local priorities of our ministries. How do we truly get on the same page and commit ourselves to a shared vision, strategy, theological understanding, priorities, etc? Or is this simply too much to ask?