Biola simulcasts 2010 Lausanne Conference

Friday night brought the first simulcast of the 2010 Lausanne Mission Conference at Biola.

Kathryn Watson, Writer

The geographic points of La Mirada, Calif. and Cape Town, South Africa were
brought together Friday night — Pacific Coast Standard time, that is — for the first
session of Biola’s webcast version of the 2010 Lausanne Conference.

The attendees in Sutherland Auditorium, who numbered around 60, joined more
than 4,000 delegates in Cape Town, South Africa, for what has been called the
largest and most diverse gathering of Christian evangelicals in history.

Friday night, while members of the live conference in Africa, 10 time zones away, were
likely sleeping, members from the Biola community and greater Los Angeles joined
together to embrace the topic of truth. Of about 700 simulcast sites worldwide, Biola
was the first to pioneer the global link, said Doug Pennoyer, dean of the Cook School
of Intercultural Studies.

Physically participating

Biola representatives like President Corey and SMU President Luke Payton are in
Cape Town for the week. From about 1,600 miles away, President Corey welcomed
viewers via simulcast.

“This is a historic moment for the church,” said Corey against the backdrop of the
buzzing Cape Town conference.

Dialoguing about missions

Begun in 1974 by Billy Graham, the Lausanne Conference seeks to draw Christian
leaders from all over the globe together to fervently dialogue about the topic
of missions and unite them as a body of believers. Since 1974 in Lausanne,
Switzerland, the conference has met only one other time — in 1989 in Manila,
Philippines.

Clips from the conference showed a massive room filled with scores of tables
and thousands of people of every denomination and ethnicity. In one clip, African
dancers rang out the praise of the Lord in the English tongue.

But despite the exuberance expressed via the simulcast, one country was not
well represented. More than 200 Chinese traveling to Cape Town were stopped
before they could board their plane. Members of the conference expressed their
compassion for those who couldn’t attend.

Os Guinness speaks on truth

In Sutherland Auditorium, Friday night’s theme centered on the importance of
clinging to truth in today’s culture. Christian author and social critic Os Guinness
spoke via satellite, arguing why Christians should hold to a high view of truth.

“Those who weaken their hold on truth weaken their hold on God,” he said. “…We
are those who think in believing and we are those who believe in thinking.”

Adding to Guinness and others from the simulcast, Talbot philosophy professor Gary
DeWeese stood before the crowd in Sutherland and addressed the ills of relativism
and how it can poison the reception of the gospel message.

Today’s culture demands that must be tolerated, he said, except for the view that says only one view is true.
But spreading the gospel requires telling truth, he said.

Simulcast viewers not just students

The majority of audience members hailed from places outside Biola.

“I think missions is the heart of God — that’s what we’re here for,” said Ellen
Escalante, a Redondo Beach resident who attended with her husband.

“That’s his heart,” added Leo Escalante, Ellen’s husband.

The couple, who have a freshman son, Andrew, at Biola, have some history with
missions. Ellen worked with Youth with a Mission traveling the South Pacific for
nearly two years. Others remarked on the unity the simulcast created.

“It’s amazing that they have the broadcasting so everyone can be one,” said Biola
alumna Eung Cho, who said she felt as if she was in South Africa.

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