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2014: Signing the Covenant
|Caption to this photo handed out by the Congress News Center:
"Dr. Billy Graham, right, and Anglican Bishop Jack Dain are the first
to sign the Lausanne Covenant at the closing exercises of the International
Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne, Switzerland. Graham and
Dain are honorary and executive chairmen of the congress, respectively.
Participants were then given the opportunity to add their names. The covenant
affirms basic beliefs of evangelical Christians and calls upon Christians
the world over to plan and work together to complete the task of world
evangelization this century."
2014 marks the anniversary of a major event in 20th century Evangelical
Christianity. Forty years ago this month the International Congress
on World Evangelization was held in Lausanne, Switzerland,
July 16-25. The Congress was the result of the planning and dreams of
many Christians around the world, but the major impetus (and most of
the funding) had come from Billy Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic
Association (BGEA). Rev. Graham served as Honorary Chairman.
The purpose of the Congress was to reaffirm the Biblical meaning of
Christian evangelism and the specific meaning of proclaiming the Gospel
in the modern world. It was the starting point for many regional meetings,
movements and ministries, including the Lausanne Committee for World
Perhaps the most important result of the Congress was the creation of
the Lausanne Covenant. This was a statement of the Christian Gospel
and its proclamation in the contemporary world. Many integral topics
were covered, including the social responsibility of the Christian,
the place of the church, the relationship of evangelism to culture.
The Covenant ended with this statement, "Therefore, in the light
of this our faith and our resolve, we enter into a solemn covenant with
God and with each other, to pray, to plan and to work together for the
evangelization of the whole world. We call upon others to join us. May
God help us by his grace and for his glory to be faithful to this our
covenant! Amen, Alleluia!"
than a creed or treaty to be signed in mass by representatives of churches
and institutions, the Covenant was intended to be signed by individuals
to indicate their agreement with and commitment to the vision of evangelism
it proclaimed. Some 2,300 attendees of the Congress signed it, including
Billy Graham. It has since been accepted by many Evangelicals around
the world as the best contemporary definition of the Great Commission.
It is not unusual for Christian groups in various parts of the world
to use it as their statement of faith.
signed by attendees pf the conference who wished to show their agreement
with the Covenant. It is probably these cards that Rev. Graham and Bishop
Dain are signing in the photo above.
to other formats in which the first copies of the Covenant were printed
read the complete text of the Lausanne Covenant at the LCWE web site,
to go to the Lausanne Committee's site for the 40th anniversary. Many
of the photos, documents and videos on the site came from the BGC Archives.
To learn more about the Archives' collection of documents from the Lausanne
Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE), which carries on the work of
the Congress, see the guide
to Collection 46.
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