Writings of Branko's Blog

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The Lausanne Covenant and us [blog]


Exactly 40 years ago, in July 1974, the first Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization was held.  In his opening plenary address, Billy Graham focused on the key question of Why Lausanne? expressing hopes in four points:

1. I would like to see the Congress frame a biblical declaration on evangelism…

2. I would like to see the church challenged to complete the task of world evangelization

3. I trust we can state what the relationship is between evangelism and social responsibility…  

4. I hope that a new ‘koinonia’ or fellowship among evangelicals of all persuasions will be developed throughout the world.”

During the Congress the Lausanne Covenant was drafted by the 2,700 participants from 150 countries. The main purpose of the Lausanne Covenant was to broaden the worldview of evangelicals and facilitate partnership and unity among the body of Christ for the purpose of world evangelization.

The event lasted for 10 days and consisted of discussion, fellowship, worship and prayer. Given the range of nationalities, ethnicities, ages, occupations and church affiliations, TIME magazine described it as “a formidable forum, possibly the widest-ranging meeting of Christians ever held.”

The statement of faith of the Lausanne Covenant includes the following topics:

  • The purpose of God
  • The authority and power of the Bible
  • The uniqueness and universality of Christ
  • The nature of evangelism
  • Christian social responsibility
  • The Church and evangelism
  • Cooperation in evangelism
  • Churches in evangelistic partnership
  • The urgency of the evangelistic task
  • Evangelism and culture
  • Education and leadership
  • Spiritual conflict
  • Freedom and persecution
  • The power of the Holy Spirit
  • The return of Christ 

The Lausanne covenant acknowledges the failure of many contemporary churches caught up in the prosperity gospel and in bondage to culture rather than Scripture. It is for these reasons that the church today can greatly benefit from the Lausanne Covenant.

Since Lausanne I, two subsequent congresses have been held: Lausanne II in Manila in 1989 and Lausanne III in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2010.

The full text of the Lausanne Covenant can be found at the following link: http://www.lausanne.org/en/documents/lausanne-covenant.html

Where do we stand today, as evangelicals, 40 years from that event?

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Radio as an enemy [blog]

internet-radioToday is the World Radio Day (13 February), according to the UN. To honor that, let us read some Kundera on the proliferation of content/music/commercials… It does not have to sound that way :). Radio also brings good news, check http://www.twr.org for example.

As early as 1930 Schoenberg wrote: “Radio is an enemy, a ruthless enemy marching irresistibly forward, and any resistance is hopeless”; it “force-feeds us music . . . regardless of whether we want to hear it, or whether we can grasp it,” with the result that music becomes just noise, a noise among other noises. Radio was the tiny stream it all began with. Then came other technical means for reproducing, proliferating, amplifying sound, and the stream became an enormous river. If in the past people would listen to music out of love for music, nowadays it roars everywhere and all the time, “regardless whether we want to hear it,” it roars from loudspeakers, in cars, in restaurants, in elevators, in the streets, in waiting rooms, in gyms, in the earpieces of Walkmans, music rewritten, reorchestrated, abridged, and stretched out, fragments of rock, of jazz, of opera, a flood of everything jumbled together so that we don’t know who composed it (music become noise is anonymous), so that we can’t tell beginning from end (music become noise has no form): sewage-water music in which music is dying.”  (Ignorance, Milan Kundera)

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Mobile Youth and Cell Phone Culture [blog]

I just read an incredible book. Thank you Felix Widmer for recommending it to me. It is a delight and reveals many interesting facts about the content/context youth is using its cell phones, and common mistakes older folk makes when evaluating this movement. I would suggest you purchase this book and will not regret!

cover page

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Here’s 10 Quick Facts about Youth Mobile Culture and Cell Phones:

All sources mobileYouth.org research

  1. 71% of youth would rather spend than last $10 on topping up their phone than on food
  2. 62% of youth sleep with their mobile phones
  3. There are 1 billion mobile youth in the world today (aged 5-29) (source: mobileYouth report)
  4. There are more mobile owning youth in China than there are people in the United States
  5. The first ever recorded telecoms innovation driven by the youth market was Dengon Dial in Japan – a simple “hack” that turned fixed-line public telephone message boxes into a youth-driven dating service. (more about this in the book “The Mobile Youth“)
  6. The highest users of new mobile tech aren’t mainstream execs but often the “outliers” and “outsiders” – e.g. Hispanic immigrants in the US, young female teens in Japan or young black females in South Africa.
  7. 65% of youth said they bought their handset based on what friends, not what advertising said
  8. Youth spend 15-25% of their disposable income on mobile (data varies by country)
  9. The average youth sees 170,000 advertising messages by age 17
  10. Despite the rise of the mobile generation, the most effective way to reach youth isn’t mobile but face to face

Face to face, ha? What do you think about that!?


The 1923 Old Calendar Revision (The New Rectified Julian calendar) [blog]

It is the time of the year when there will two calendars again be considered for festivities and holidays. It maybe of interest to some of you to learn that the revised Julian calendar was proposed by a Serbian scientist Milankovic.

The new calendar was proposed for adoption by the Orthodox churches at a synod in Constantinople in May 1923. The synod, convened by Patriarch Meletius IV of Constantinople, did not have representatives from the remaining Orthodox members of the original Pentarchy (the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria) or from the largest Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, then under persecution from the Bolsheviks, but only effective representation from the Patriarch of Constantinople, Romanian and the Serbian Patriarchate.

A-Quest-for-ReformThis synod synchronized the new calendar with the Gregorian calendar by dropping thirteen days. It also adopted a leap rule that differs from that of the Gregorian calendar: years divisible by four are leap years, except that years divisible by 100 are only leap years if dividing the year by 900 leaves a remainder of 200 or 600. This was proposed by the Serbian scientist Milutin Milankovic, a delegate to the synod representing the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

milankovicMilankovic presented to the Congress his proposal signed by him and Gavrilo Dozic, as the new proposition of the Serbian Orthodox Church, on the session of May 23, 1923. In his historic speech to the Congress, he told the delegates that if they only adopted to delete 13 days from Julian calendar, the Orthodox Church would be in an inferior position in any future discussion on the calendar question. With the proposition of the Serbian delegation, the Orthodox Church could confidently enter into any negotiation on the calendar question with Western Churches since they would have the most precise and most scientific calendar in the Christian world. He underlined also that with such a decision, the Orthodox Church would not be accepting the calendar of the Roman-Catholic Church, but would be obtaining a better one. Today, Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria and Antioch, Churches of Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Poland, Finland, Bulgaria (from 1968) and Orthodox Church in America use the “New”, “Revised” or “Rectified” Julian calendar. On the other hand, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and Churches of Russia and Serbia, along with the monasteries on Mt. Athos, all continue to adhere to the Julian or Old Calendar.

Milutin Milankovic (1879 – 1958) was a Serbian mathematician, astronomer, geophysicist, climatologist, and writer. Milankovic gave two fundamental contributions to global science. The first contribution is the “Canon of the Earth’s Insolation”, which characterizes the climates of all the planets of the Solar system. The second contribution is the explanation of Earth’s long-term climate changes caused by changes in the position of the Earth in comparison to the Sun, now known as Milankovic cycles.

Milankovic dedicated his career to developing a mathematical theory of climate based on the seasonal and latitudinal variations of solar radiation received by the Earth. Now known as the Milankovic Theory, it states that as the Earth travels through space around the sun, cyclical variations in three elements of Earth-sun geometry combine to produce variations in the amount of solar energy that reaches Earth.

Other notable calendars

  1. The French Revolutionary Calendar – took as its first day the 22 Sept 1792, when the monarchy was abolished. It consisted of 12 months of 30 days each, with a supplemental 5 or 6 days at the end of these 12 months. Each day (from noon to noon) had 10 hours and each hour had 100 decimal seconds. There were no weeks, but each month had three decades. There were no names for the days, but they were called the first, the second, the third day… Workers had to work 9 days for a free day as there was no Sunday. This calendar was abolished after 13 years and three months, on 1 January 1806.
  2. dekabrThe Bolshevik Calendar – the reform took place in 1929 in order to abolish Sunday. This calendar had 72 five-day weeks (pyatidnevka), but at the end was not accepted. Another attempt was made and suggested 60 weeks of 6 days each (shestdievka). The days of 6, 12, 18, 24, and 30 were days of rest. It never took real roots and was abolished in 1940.

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Avoid Living in Fear [blog]

This is a marvellous blog written by robstroud on C.S. Lewis’ understanding of an atomic bomb threat – alike the one we are living through today. Here just a quote from Lewis:

If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (any microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

Avoid Living in Fear.

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A Brief Photostory from Denmark [blog]

Yesterday I was at the Evensong at the Lutheran Cathedral in Haderslev, southern Denmark. This Cathedral is the oldest building in the city dated middle 12th century. In 1525 became the center for the first Evangelical-Lutheran order in Denmark.

It was first a collegiate church for the Cathedral in Schleswig, but since the reunification of Denmark, this church became an obvious choice for a Cathedral church in the now independent Haderslev diocese in 1922.

The Danish queen created/designed garments for priests, for four different occasions. Here are they presented:

Quite an interesting history of this building, nowadays a part of The European Route of Brick Gothic.

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E-book for free [blog]

Do you have an e-book reader already?

Marli Speaker’s book When Hope Wins is available for a free download in exchange for your E-mail address at  http://www.twr.org/jesusdaily/. It’s a book telling how Jesus has helped people thrive despite abuse, drug addiction, religious persecution and poverty.

Marli Speaker is the founder of TWR ministry Project Hannah and its global promoter.