… no one likes it, but it is good for you.
My home town hosted the G20 Business Summit this month and the leaders have come up with a list of statements proclaiming the optimistic outlook of cooperating together to produce a better world economy. A lot of the statements sound very good and promising, at least to my neophytic economic mind. One thing that does come to mind is a point that Carl Trueman raises in his article about the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. He does not object to much of the content of the declaration put together at Lausanne III but he does object to the practical outlook on follow through. He enumerates his second point of criticism in “I Blame Jefferson“:
Second, I wonder what ongoing status the new documents will have. To be brutal, a church document only has significance if there are penalties appended to it in the event of a breach. Thus, if I were to deny the Virgin Birth, I would be tried and prosecuted on the grounds that I was breaking my ordination vows which bind me to maintaining the system of doctrine of the Bible as expressed in the Westminster Standards. Lausanne covenants have no such canons attached to them. So what does it mean for an individual believer or church to affirm such a covenant? It is surely at best the expression of aspirations, of gospel ambitions; beyond that it has no significance. Now, the expression of such aspirations is in no way a bad thing; but we do need to remember that the expression of a set of aspirations is very different to commitment to a church creed or confession which defines a congregation or denomination because it has judicial standing, and thus has a much more fundamental significance.
Penalties, prosecution, judicial standing… These seem to be missing in the G20 Business Summit in Seoul as is usually the case with many global gatherings and conventions. Even the relative impotence of UN declarations seem to fall within such a critique.
Our pluralistic, embrace loving culture does not like discipline, but to forget the importance of such is liken to neglecting vegetables in one’s diet. It leads to an unhealthy lifestyle and eventually quickens the road to one’s death. Time will tell how effective the summit will be (and the following summits), let’s hope it does not remain mere expressions but amounts to some level of implementation.