The Gateway Center For World Mission
Statement of Faith
Based On the Lausanne Covenant
1. THE PURPOSE OF GOD
We affirm our belief in the one eternal God, Creator and Lord of the world, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who governs all things according to the purpose of his will. He has been calling out from the world a people for himself, and sending his people back into the world to be his servants and his witnesses for the extension of his kingdom, the building up of Christ’s body, and the glory of his name.
2. THE AUTHORITY AND POWER OF THE BIBLE
We affirm the divine inspiration, truthfulness and authority of the Bible, both Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety, as the only written word of God, without error in all that it affirms, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice. We also affirm the power of God’s word to accomplish his purpose of salvation. The message of the Bible is addressed to all men and women. God’s revelation in Christ and in Scripture is unchangeable. Through it the Holy Spirit still speaks today, and He illumines the minds of God’s people in every culture to perceive its truth freshly through their own eyes and thus discloses to the whole Church ever more of the many colored wisdom of God.
3. THE UNIQUENESS AND UNIVERSALITY OF CHRIST
We affirm that there is only one Savior and only one Gospel, although there is a wide diversity of evangelistic approaches. We recognize that everyone has some knowledge of God through his general revelation in nature, but we deny that this can save, for people suppress the truth by their unrighteousness. We also reject as derogatory to Christ and the gospel, every kind of syncretism and dialog which implies that Christ speaks equally through all religions and ideologies. Jesus Christ, being himself the only God-man, gave himself as the only ransom for sinners and is the only mediator between God and people. There is no other name by which we must be saved.
4. THE NATURE OF EVANGELISM
To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gift of the Spirit to all who repent and believe. Our Christian presence in the world is indispensable to evangelism, and so is that kind of dialog whose purpose is to listen sensitively in order to understand. But evangelism itself is the proclamation of the historical, biblical Christ as Savior and Lord, with a view to persuading people to come to him personally and so be reconciled to God. In issuing the Gospel invitation we have no liberty to conceal the cost of discipleship. Jesus still calls all who would follow his new community. The results of evangelism include obedience to Christ, incorporation into his Church and a response to carry it into the world.
5. CHRISTIAN SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
We affirm that God is both the Creator and Judge of all. We therefore should share his concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for the liberation of men and women from every kind of oppression. Because men and women are made in the image of God, every person, regardless of race, religion, color, culture, class, sex or age, has intrinsic dignity, and because of which he or she should be respected and served, not exploited. We affirm that evangelism and social involvement are both part of our Christian duty, for both are necessary expressions of our doctrines of God and man, our love for our neighbor and our obedience to Jesus Christ. The message of salvation implies also a message of judgment upon every form of alienation, oppression and discrimination, and we should not be afraid to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist. When people receive Christ they are born again into his kingdom and must seek not only to exhibit, but also to spread its righteousness in the midst of an unrighteous world. The salvation we claim should transform us in the totality of our personal and social responsibilities. Faith without works is dead.
6. THE CHURCH AND EVANGELISM
We affirm that Christ sends his redeemed people into the world as the Father sent him, and that this calls for a similar deep and costly penetration of the world. We need to break out of our ecclesiastical ghettos and permeate non-Christian society. The Church’s mission of sacrificial service evangelism is primary. World evangelization requires the whole Church to take the whole gospel into the whole world. The church is at the very center of God’s cosmic purpose and is his appointed means of spreading the gospel. But a church, which preaches the cross, must itself be marked by the cross. The church is the community of God’s people rather than an institution and must not be identified with any particular culture, social or political system or human ideology.
7. COOPERATION IN EVANGELISM
We affirm that the Church’s visible unity in truth is God’s purpose. Evangelism also summons us to unity, because our oneness strengthens our witness, just as our disunity undermines our gospel of reconciliation. We recognize, however, that organizational unity may take many forms and does not necessarily forward evangelism. Yet we who share the same biblical faith should be closely united in fellowship, work and witness.
8. CHURCHES IN EVANGELISTIC PARTNERSHIP
We rejoice that a new missionary era has dawned. The dominant role of western missions is fast disappearing. God is raising up from the younger churches a great new resource for world evangelization and is thus demonstrating that the responsibility to evangelize belongs to the whole body of Christ. All churches should therefore be asking God and themselves what they should be doing both to reach their own area and to send missionaries to other parts of the world.
9. THE URGENCY OF THE EVANGELISTIC TASK
We are convinced that this is the most crucial moment of history for churches and para-church agencies to pray for the penetration of the remaining unreached people groups and to launch new efforts to make that possible. Our goal is, by all possible means and at the earliest possible time, that every person have the opportunity to hear, understand and receive the good news from someone representing a believing fellowship among his own people. We fully expect to attain this goal with willing sacrifice.
10. EVANGELISM AND CULTURE
The development of strategies for world evangelization calls for imaginative pioneering methods. Under God, the result will be the rise of churches deeply in Christ and closely related to their culture. Culture must always be tested and judged by Scripture. Because men and women are God’s creatures, some of their culture is rich in beauty and goodness. Because they are fallen, all of it is tainted with sin and some of it is demonic. The gospel does not presuppose the superiority of any culture to another, but evaluates all cultures according to its own criteria of truth and righteousness, and insists on moral absolutes in every culture. Christian mission efforts have all too frequently exported the gospel as an alien culture and churches have sometimes been in bondage to culture rather than to Scripture. Christ’s evangelists must humbly seek to empty themselves of all but their personal authenticity in order to become the servants of others, and churches must seek to transform and enrich culture, all for the glory of God.
11. EDUCATION AND LEADERSHIP
We are committed to indigenous principles and long that every church will have national leaders who manifest a Christian style of leadership in terms not of domination, but of service. We recognize that there is a great need to improve theological education, especially for church leaders. In every nation and culture there should be an effective training program for pastors and laity in doctrine, discipleship, evangelism, nurture and service. Such training programs should not rely on any stereotyped methodology but should be developed by creative local initiatives according to biblical standards.
12. SPIRITUAL CONFLICT
We believe that we are engaged in constant spiritual warfare with the principalities and powers of evil who are seeking to overthrow the Church and frustrate its task of world evangelization. We know our need to equip ourselves with God’s armor and to fight this battle with spiritual weapons of truth and prayer; for we detect the activity of our enemy, not only false ideologies outside the Church, but also inside it in false gospels which twist Scripture and put people in the place of God. We need both watchfulness and discernment to safeguard the Biblical gospel. We acknowledge that we ourselves are not immune to worldliness of thought and action, that is, to surrender to secularism.
13. THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Father sent his Spirit to bear witness to his Son; without his witness ours is futile. Conviction of sin, faith in Christ, new birth and Christian growth are all his work. Further, the Holy Spirit is a missionary spirit; thus evangelism should arise spontaneously from a Spirit-filled church. A church that is not a missionary church is contradicting itself and quenching the Spirit. Worldwide evangelization will become a realistic possibility only when the Spirit renews the Church in truth and wisdom, faith, holiness, love and power. We therefore call upon all Christians to pray for such a visitation of the sovereign Spirit of God that all his fruit may appear in all his people and that all his gifts may enrich the body of Christ. Only then will the whole Church become a fit instrument in his hands, that the whole earth may hear his voice.
15. THER RETURN OF CHRIST
We believe that Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly, in power and glory, to consummate his salvation and his judgment. This promise of his coming is a further spur to our evangelism for we remember his words that the gospel must first be preached to all nations. We believe that the interim period between Christ’s ascension and return is to be filled with the mission of the people of God, who have no liberty to stop before the end. We also remember his warning that false christs and false prophets will arise as precursors to the final Antichrist. We therefore reject as a proud, self-confident dream the notion that people can ever build a utopia on earth. Our Christian confidence is that God will perfect his kingdom, and we look forward with eager anticipation to that day, and to the new heaven and earth in which righteousness will dwell and God will reign forever. Meanwhile, we rededicate ourselves to the service of Christ and of people in joyful submission to his authority over the whole of our lives