In June 2010, mission leaders, theologians and church leaders from Protestant, Pentecostal, Catholic and Orthodox traditions met in Edinburgh at the Centenary of the historic 1910 Edinburgh Missions Conference.
They worked to forge new alliances and new vision for mission in the 21st century, to open up a new conversation between the mission movements of the North and the South and East, and to celebrate the last hundred years of global mission.
The 'Common Call' (1) which resulted is a nine point joint statement, affirming the Gospel, the call of the church to be engaged in worldwide evangelism, a commitment to social justice and care for creation.
The statement is clear and incisive, although it may be lacking in a sense of urgency (there is only a brief reference to eschatology and finishing the Great Commission before the Lord's return). However, from a Christian medical perspective there was almost nothing on the call to healing and caring for health which is part of the mission of God's people.
There is an affirmation in point 3 of the Common Call that 'we are called to become communities of compassion and healing'. However, this is couched in the language of social justice and reconciliation, and seems not to recognise the historic and current role of God's people in bringing physical, as well as spiritual and social health and wellbeing, as we share the Good News of Jesus.
Such declarations have a place, and can act as benchmarks to evaluate how we are engaging in the Great Commission, (2) but in October this year 4,000 evangelical leaders meet in Cape Town for Lausanne III, (3) following on from the 1974 and 1989 meetings on world evangelisation in Lausanne and Manila which produced the Lausanne Covenant and the Manila Manifesto respectively.
We trust this Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation will produce a more explicitly evangelical re-statement of current global mission priorities. At that conference, we further hope that the health and healing ministries of God's people are not so neglected.