In a context of confusion and flashy journalism, rigour becomes a precious value.
Sociologists, theologians and missiologists are attending a global Lausanne Movement consultation on nominal Christianity in Rome.
How many of the two and a half billion who call themselves Christians are followers of Christ?
“The Gospel for every Christian” describes the aims of a global Lausanne Movement consultation to be held in Rome (Italy) this week (15-19 March). Nominal Christians are to be seen as a mission field, the organisers of this gathering believe.
“Nominal Christians are found in every congregation, every denominational tradition, every theological stream, and every cultural context”, David Benett, Managing Editor for the Lausanne Global Analysis magazine, wrote.
“Nominalism may take different shapes in Protestant/Evangelical, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox contexts, and in places where Christians as a whole are a minority”.
“For many of the two and a half billion who call themselves Christians, that label is a matter of being born into a given family or belonging to a certain cultural or religious context, or having gone through some kind of Christian initiation process that has little, if any, impact on their daily lives”.
In other words, many people who label themselves as Christians have not really experienced the Gospel. “They have never repented of their sins or welcomed Jesus as Savior and Lord. They are not growing in faith, knowledge, or obedience. They are experiencing no life transformation. They give no evidence of the fruit of the Spirit”.
Building on earlier Lausanne Movement gatherings and resources, the consultation in Rome will analyze “the changes in our world over the last 40 years, and will examine current trends and promising strategies for evangelizing and discipling nominal Christians”.
Sociologists, theologians and missiologists from Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America, South Pacific and all regions of Europe will be among the 45 invited participants.
The team that has helped prepare this consultation includes Jean Paul Rempp, Lars Dahle, Leonardo de Chirico, Argyris Petrou, Jaume Llenas, Ryan Emis and Wendy Der.