This letter to the editor was sent my Michael Oh, executive director and CEO of the Lausanne Movement in response to an article entitled “Leading Evangelical Organization Calls on Christians to Repent for Supporting Israel”
The Lausanne Movement is a global network of individuals and ministries from a wide range of denominations, nationalities, theologies, and strategic perspectives that shares an evangelical faith and commitment to work together to bring the whole gospel to the whole world, which includes both Jews and Palestinians.
Our publication Lausanne Global Analysis represents a diversity of evangelical viewpoints within the bounds of our foundational documents (The Lausanne Covenant, The Manila Manifesto, The Cape Town Commitment). Our priority is to encourage partnerships among evangelicals of all nationalities for global mission, not to define singular positions on each of the issues covered in our foundational documents. The views and opinions expressed in Lausanne Global Analysis articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the personal viewpoints of Lausanne Movement leaders or networks. In some cases, such as the article you refer to, the viewpoints of some of our constituency are quite far apart. We have now added a disclaimer to the Lausanne Global Analysis so as to avoid future misrepresentation of the Lausanne Movement by outside sources.
I am particularly concerned about the inaccurate portrayal of The Cape Town Commitment found in your article, namely related to section IIB-2 in which ‘Palestinian suffering’ is mentioned. It is mentioned in a section on ‘Christ’s peace in ethnic conflict’, which reads as follows:
We acknowledge with grief and shame the complicity of Christians in some of the most destructive contexts of ethnic violence and oppression, and the lamentable silence of large parts of the Church when such conflicts take place. Such contexts include the history and legacy of racism and black slavery; the holocaust against Jews; apartheid; ‘ethnic cleansing’; inter-Christian sectarian violence; decimation of indigenous populations; inter-religious, political and ethnic violence; Palestinian suffering; caste oppression; and tribal genocide. Christians who, by their action or inaction, add to the brokenness of the world, seriously undermine our witness to the gospel of peace.
Palestinian suffering is cited as one example in a list of many other contexts of ethnic conflict. In no way does The Cape Town Commitment call Christians to repent for supporting Israel nor does it link Palestinian suffering as a result of Christian support for Israel. Furthermore, there is no rank of importance to the different contexts of ethnic conflict that we mention.
In addition, the Lausanne Movement does not and cannot prescribe how the nation of Israel should deal with the many sensitive internal challenges it lives with daily. However, we do have a commitment to ongoing, healthy discussion on Israeli/Palestinian reconciliation and to be bearers of Christ’s peace in ethnic conflict.
The longest standing network in the Lausanne Movement is the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE), which was started in 1980 to share the good news of Messiah Jesus with Jews. We stand in unity with the LCJE in their ministry around the world among the Jewish people. Future articles from the LCJE have been commissioned for the Lausanne Global Analysis.