“One of the largest and most diverse gatherings of the century” is what Amsterdam 2000 has been called. With nearly 10,300 registered delegates from 209 countries, nearly 1,000 stewards to assist in the conference, and a host of special speakers, seminar/workshop leaders, task group coordinators, pastoral and ministry counselors, and administrative personnel, the unity of the Body of Christ with its rich cultural and spiritual diversity was demonstrated. Workshops and regional strategy sessions were simultaneously held throughout the Conference. These were led by worldwide missions leaders who sought to formulate and present a global vision statement for the Church in this new millennium. I write this from 37,000 feet on a return flight from Amsterdam.
What preaching, teaching, practical training, challenge, inspiration, and help for those in Missions! Very organized—feeding over 10,000 in a couple of hours is quite monumental … feeding and moving 7,000+ delegates, who were housed 1 hour away from the convention center, on trains and busses for the 9 a.m. meeting was a staggering assignment! Maybe it was no wonder that scores of people were seen sleeping on the floor throughout the lobby … throughout the day!
Most importantly, God was present. The emphasis, of course, was the Message of the Gospel through God-anointed evangelists in the power of the Spirit. From the theological to the practical, we were continually reminded and instructed by some of God’s choice servants. Several “covenants” were formulated and are available on the Internet at Amsterdam2000.org [now defunct].
It was my joy to be there for renewed emphasis and fellowship with Christians from around the world. Some delegates gave us invitations to teach/preach in their countries. We will be praying and asking the Lord for His Mind and Will to be revealed in these matters.
Some Emphases of the Conference from My Perspective
- The exclusiveness of the Message in the Gospel of God and His Christ. With the extensive pluralism (and the new word “syncretism” to describe our “spirituality”) in our society, even among Christians, we are continually being bombarded with the “need” to extend the grace of God beyond Christ and the Cross for salvation. To accept this lie and diffuse or divert the centrality of Christ and His Cross is to become an ally of the great Deceiver.
- The infallible Word of God in its entirety has the Holy Spirit as its Source and Inspiration. Clever speeches, frivolity, “prophetic utterances” without Biblical affirmation, or strong personalities and/or popular preachers can grieve the Holy Spirit and bring the Trinitarian Gospel to disrepute. There is still POWER in the PREACHING OF THE CROSS, POWER in the SPIRIT, and POWER in the GOSPEL!
- What is spiritually and eternally accomplished is commenced and completed by the Spirit of God. Salvation for the lost is the work of the Spirit in the Gospel through the servants of the Lord. No clever ingenuity, programs, advertisements, or pompous celebrities can substitute for the preached Word in the power of the Spirit.
- There was a clarion call to unite in this heavenly task and privilege of world evangelization. The proclamation of the Gospel and the discipleship of the nations are to be a priority of the whole Church, not just a segment. “Para-church” organizations are to bring support and priority to the Church, God’s center of His activity. The challenge of such an expressed unity in purpose and action is monumental. However, at local levels, with the Spirit of Christ and the laying aside of individual and corporate agendas, it is being done and can and should be more greatly implemented around the world.
- National strategies, cultural sensitivities, variety of methods, and new and yet future innovative means are presently being implemented to communicate Christ … with more to come in the future; i.e., the Internet being a major emphasis in the future. The Church must not substitute nor sublimate the Message to the method—”all things to all men” does not include compromise nor a neglect of the heart of the preached and “lived-out” Gospel in the various contexts and cultures.
- A strong emphasis was made by several speakers to the holiness of God and the holiness of His servants. We are to “be clean that bear the vessels of the Lord”. Ministry “results” are no substitute for holy living. The “mercy of the Lord endureth forever”. His “rod of correction” is also a part of His means for discipline and restoration.
Again, we say thanks to you all for your love, expressed kindness, generosity, prayers, and blessings to us. We await the Lord’s continued direction in our lives as we seek to “run the Race” until we “finish the Course that is set before us” … with joy and fulfillment, knowing we have done the will of God. We deeply appreciate your prayers on our behalf.
Blessings to you from Him Who sits upon the Throne … the Battle is the Lord’s … We will “see His Glory in the Face of Jesus Christ” … and the Church will ride triumphantly with the Word that is “faithful and true.” Carry on, valiant soldiers … Christ goes BEFORE us … see the “great cloud of witnesses” that have gone before us as an incentive … not only in life, but death … the Resurrection awaits us ALL!!
Reuben & Carmen Sequeira