August 18, 2010

28CN: Adventist Outreach Earns Church Role in World Mission Conference

Adventist Outreach Earns Church
Role in World Mission Conference
Sharing Christ in twenty-first century among collaborative event’s goals
Seventh-day Adventists were among representatives from more than 100 Christian denominations who met in Edinburgh, Scotland last month to envision the future of world mission.
The event marks 100 years since the first Edinburgh World Missionary Conference, considered a watershed in the collaborative shaping of mission.
While several Adventists attended the 1910 conference as delegates, church leaders participated for the first time this year, a testament to the denomination’s reputation for outreach, said Ganoune Diop, director of the Adventist Church’s Global Mission Study Centers.
“World Christianity can no longer address mission without factoring in the impact of Adventist mission worldwide,” said Diop, who co-chaired the Foundations of Mission session, one of nine session themes during the conference.
Other topics included Christian mission among other faiths, mission and postmodernists, Christian communities in contemporary contexts, and authentic discipleship.

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Ganoune Diop, director of the Adventist Church’s Global Mission Study Centers, presents at the Edinburgh World Missionary Conference in June. The event was organized to commemorate the first such global conference on mission in 1910. [photo: Gary Doak]

Delegates--among them Adventists Cheryl Doss, director of the church’s Institute of World Mission; and John McVay, New Testament scholar and Walla Walla University president--represented 77 national entities, 65 countries of origin and 62 languages.

During the June 2 to 6 conference, delegates shaped mission and Christian witness in thetwenty-first century, and also reviewed landmarks in mission since the 1910 conference. Among milestones profiled was the Adventist Church’s medical ministry at Andrews Memorial Hospital during the 1940s in Jamaica, where today about one in 11 citizens is Adventist.
Diop said delegates learned to view mission as the “heartbeat of God,” a “humbling and refreshing” experience.
Working with other faiths to propel mission at events such as the Edinburgh World Missionary Conference does not mean the church is compromising its distinct beliefs, doctrinal integrity, or mission outreach, Diop said.
“Adventists are in fact encouraged to collaborate with any agency that promotes Christ,” said Diop, referencing a statement in the church’s Working Policy.*
“As Adventists, we are not part of the ecumenical movement. It is clear that we cannot be restricted in our doctrines and values, but the theme of this conference was witnessing, with Christ as a mobilizing force. That’s certainly an area of commonality we can rally around,” Diop said.
*”We recognize those agencies that lift of Christ before men as a part of the divine plan for evangelization of the world, and we hold in high esteem Christian men and women in other communions who are engaged in winning souls to Christ.” [Working Policy, no. 75]
                                                                          -- Reported by Elizabeth Lechleitner, Adventist News Network