Mission Today – The Capetown Commitment
Tyndale University College & Seminary was honoured to welcome Chris Wright, Old Testament Scholar and International Ministries Director of Langham Partnership International, to speak on campus. The focus of Wright was a project he coordinated, which became a document titled The Capetown Commitment: A Confession of Faith and a Call to Action. The project unified the voices of thousands of evangelical leaders from 198 countries, who came together for The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in 2010 and sounded a call to action for the global Christian community in the 21st century. The document outlines what it means for God’s people to be in mission today, as well as the challenges and opportunities facing the church.
Rooted in the context of love – love for God, God’s Church, the world, the gospel, and God’s mission – the content extends even beyond the contexts of previous documents of the Lausanne movement.
“There is a greater focus on the balance between evangelical beliefs and living out beliefs in practice,” says Dr. Kevin Livingston, Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Tyndale Seminary. “Evangelical documents tend to be very doctrine-oriented. Capetown holds in tension not only the right doctrine but also the practice of living it out.”
The influence of Old Testament scholars such as Wright comes through in the document, which places weight on both the Old and New Testaments to present a holistic story of God’s love.
The breadth of the document’s distinctives is found in the focus on creation care as an integral part of God’s mission and the inclusion of the arts as a means of witness. Christian art can be a form of God’s mission and something Tyndale students embrace through music, drama and visual arts. “[The arts] can be deeply evangelistic in their impact,” says Dr. Livingston.
“Actually, mission today is happening every time the Good News crosses cultural boundaries, and it takes new shapes... I think one of the real challenges for Christians in Canada is learning to receive the gifts of other cultures and peoples to us, learning how to receive as well as give. It’s an encouraging reminder that God’s mission is going on even though it’s taking new forms that are unusual to us, as we have grown up with an understanding of mission being ‘from us, to them.’ Now we see that mission is across the street as well as across the world,” says Dr. Livingston. “Mission is every time the gospel crosses some boundary with the Good News.”