The Lausanne Covenant was
issued by the International Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne, Switzerland in
1974. It is considered the charter document of inter-denominational cooperation in
Evangelical circles. Specifically addressed towards mission, it also includes a
comprehensive Christological statement of faith. The website of the Lausanne Committee for
World Evangelism adds the following note: "To our knowledge The Lausanne Covenant has
been translated into over twenty languages. Fifteen years later, at Lausanne II in Manila
in the Philippines in July 1989 the more than 3.000 participants at the Second
International Congress on World Evangelization another important document was made: The Manila Manifesto."
For further information see the Lausanne
Committee for World Evangelism (LCWE).
The Lausanne Covenant is available in
We, members of the Church of Jesus Christ, from more than 150 nations, participants in
the International Congress on World Evangelization at Lausanne, praise God for his great
salvation and rejoice in the fellowship he has given us with himself and with each other.
We are deeply stirred by what God is doing in our day, moved to penitence by our failures
and challenged by the unfinished task of evangelization. We believe the Gospel is God's
good news for the whole world, and we are determined by his grace to obey Christ's
commission to proclaim it to all mankind and to make disciples of every nation. We desire,
therefore, to affirm our faith and our resolve, and to make public our covenant.
1. THE PURPOSE OF GOD
We affirm our belief in the one-eternal God, Creator and Lord of the world, Father, Son
and Holy Spirit, who govern all things according to the purpose of his will. He has been
calling out from the world a people for himself, and sending his people back into the
world to be his servants and his witnesses, for the extension of his kingdom, the building
up of Christ's body, and the glory of his name. We confess with shame that we have often
denied our calling and failed in our mission, by becoming conformed to the world or by
withdrawing from it. Yet we rejoice that even when borne by earthen vessels the gospel is
still a precious treasure. To the task of making that treasure known in the power of the
Holy Spirit we desire to dedicate ourselves anew.
(Isa. 40:28; Matt. 28:19; Eph. 1:11; Acts 15:14; John 17:6, 18; Eph 4:12; 1 Cor. 5:10;
Rom. 12:2; II Cor. 4:7)
2. THE AUTHORITY AND POWER OF THE BIBLE
We affirm the divine inspiration, truthfulness and authority of both Old and New
Testament Scriptures in their entirety as the only written word of God, without error in
all that it affirms, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice. We also affirm
the power of God's word to accomplish his purpose of salvation. The message of the Bible
is addressed to all men and women. For God's revelation in Christ and in Scripture is
unchangeable. Through it the Holy Spirit still speaks today. He illumines the minds of
God's people in every culture to perceive its truth freshly through their own eyes and
thus discloses to the whole Church ever more of the many-colored wisdom of God.
(II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:21; John 10:35; Isa. 55:11; 1 Cor. 1:21; Rom. 1:16, Matt.
5:17,18; Jude 3; Eph. 1:17,18; 3:10,18)
3. THE UNIQUENESS AND UNIVERSALITY OF CHRIST
We affirm that there is only one Saviour and only one gospel, although there is a wide
diversity of evangelistic approaches. We recognise that everyone has some knowledge of God
through his general revelation in nature. But we deny that this can save, for people
suppress the truth by their unrighteousness. We also reject as derogatory to Christ and
the gospel every kind of syncretism and dialogue which implies that Christ speaks equally
through all religions and ideologies. Jesus Christ, being himself the only God-man, who
gave himself as the only ransom for sinners, is the only mediator between God and people.
There is no other name by which we must be saved. All men and women are perishing because
of sin, but God loves everyone, not wishing that any should perish but that all should
repent. Yet those who reject Christ repudiate the joy of salvation and condemn themselves
to eternal separation from God. To proclaim Jesus as "the Saviour of the world"
is not to affirm that all people are either automatically or ultimately saved, still less
to affirm that all religions offer salvation in Christ. Rather it is to proclaim God's
love for a world of sinners and to invite everyone to respond to him as Saviour and Lord
in the wholehearted personal commitment of repentance and faith. Jesus Christ has been
exalted above every other name; we long for the day when every knee shall bow to him and
every tongue shall confess him Lord.
(Gal. 1:6-9;Rom. 1:18-32; I Tim. 2:5,6; Acts 4:12; John 3:16-19; II Pet. 3:9; II Thess.
1:7-9;John 4:42; Matt. 11:28; Eph. 1:20,21; Phil. 2:9-11)
4. THE NATURE OF EVANGELISM
To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was
raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now
offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gifts of the Spirit to all who repent
and believe. Our Christian presence in the world is indispensable to evangelism, and so is
that kind of dialogue whose purpose is to listen sensitively in order to understand. But
evangelism itself is the proclamation of the historical, biblical Christ as Saviour and
Lord, with a view to persuading people to come to him personally and so be reconciled to
God. In issuing the gospel invitation we have no liberty to conceal the cost of
discipleship. Jesus still calls all who would follow him to deny themselves, take up their
cross, and identify themselves with his new community. The results of evangelism include
obedience to Christ, incorporation into his Church and responsible service in the world.
(I Cor. 15:3,4; Acts 2: 32-39; John 20:21; I Cor. 1:23; II Cor. 4:5; 5:11,20; Luke
14:25-33; Mark 8:34; Acts 2:40,47; Mark 10:43-45)
5. CHRISTIAN SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
We affirm that God is both the Creator and the Judge of all men. We therefore should
share his concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for the
liberation of men and women from every kind of oppression. Because men and women are made
in the image of God, every person, regardless of race, religion, colour, culture, class,
sex or age, has an intrinsic dignity because of which he or she should be respected and
served, not exploited. Here too we express penitence both for our neglect and for having
sometimes regarded evangelism and social concern as mutually exclusive. Although
reconciliation with other people is not reconciliation with God, nor is social action
evangelism, nor is political liberation salvation, nevertheless we affirm that evangelism
and socio-political involvement are both part of our Christian duty. For both are
necessary expressions of our doctrines of God and man, our love for our neighbour and our
obedience to Jesus Christ. The message of salvation implies also a message of judgment
upon every form of alienation, oppression and discrimination, and we should not be afraid
to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist. When people receive Christ they are
born again into his kingdom and must seek not only to exhibit but also to spread its
righteousness in the midst of an unrighteous world. The salvation we claim should be
transforming us in the totality of our personal and social responsibilities. Faith without
works is dead.
(Acts 17:26,31; Gen. 18:25; Isa. 1:17; Psa. 45:7; Gen. 1:26,27; Jas. 3:9; Lev. 19:18;
Luke 6:27,35; Jas. 2:14-26; Joh. 3:3,5; Matt. 5:20; 6:33; II Cor. 3:18; Jas. 2:20)
6. THE CHURCH AND EVANGELISM
We affirm that Christ sends his redeemed people into the world as the Father sent him,
and that this calls for a similar deep and costly penetration of the world. We need to
break out of our ecclesiastical ghettos and permeate non-Christian society. In the
Church's mission of sacrificial service evangelism is primary. World evangelization
requires the whole Church to take the whole gospel to the whole world. The Church is at
the very centre of God's cosmic purpose and is his appointed means of spreading the
gospel. But a church which preaches the cross must itself be marked by the cross. It
becomes a stumbling block to evangelism when it betrays the gospel or lacks a living faith
in God, a genuine love for people, or scrupulous honesty in all things including promotion
and finance. The church is the community of God's people rather than an institution, and
must not be identified with any particular culture, social or political system, or human
(John 17:18; 20:21; Matt. 28:19,20; Acts 1:8; 20:27; Eph. 1:9,10; 3:9-11; Gal. 6:14,17;
II Cor. 6:3,4; II Tim. 2:19-21; Phil. 1:27)
7. COOPERATION IN EVANGELISM
We affirm that the Church's visible unity in truth is God's purpose. Evangelism also
summons us to unity, because our oneness strengthens our witness, just as our disunity
undermines our gospel of reconciliation. We recognize, however, that organisational unity
may take many forms and does not necessarily forward evangelism. Yet we who share the same
biblical faith should be closely united in fellowship, work and witness. We confess that
our testimony has sometimes been marred by a sinful individualism and needless
duplication. We pledge ourselves to seek a deeper unity in truth, worship, holiness and
mission. We urge the development of regional and functional cooperation for the
furtherance of the Church's mission, for strategic planning, for mutual encouragement, and
for the sharing of resources and experience.
(John 17:21,23; Eph. 4:3,4; John 13:35; Phil. 1:27; John 17:11-23)
8. CHURCHES IN EVANGELISTIC PARTNERSHIP
We rejoice that a new missionary era has dawned. The dominant role of western missions
is fast disappearing. God is raising up from the younger churches a great new resource for
world evangelization, and is thus demonstrating that the responsibility to evangelise
belongs to the whole body of Christ. All churches should therefore be asking God and
themselves what they should be doing both to reach their own area and to send missionaries
to other parts of the world. A reevaluation of our missionary responsibility and role
should be continuous. Thus a growing partnership of churches will develop and the
universal character of Christ's Church will be more clearly exhibited. We also thank God
for agencies which labor in Bible translation, theological education, the mass media,
Christian litterature, evangelism, missions, church renewal and other specialist fields.
They too should engage in constant self-examination to evaluate their effectiveness as
part of the Church's mission.
(Rom. 1:8; Phil. 1:5; 4:15; Acts 13:1-3, I Thess. 1:6-8)
9. THE URGENCY OF THE EVANGELISTIC TASK
More than 2,700 million people, which is more than two-thirds of all humanity, have yet
to be evangelised. We are ashamed that so many have been neglected; it is a standing
rebuke to us and to the whole Church. There is now, however, in many parts of the world an
unprecedented receptivity to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are convinced that this is the time
for churches and para-church agencies to pray earnestly for the salvation of the unreached
and to launch new efforts to achieve world evangelization. A reduction of foreign
missionaries and money in an evangelised country may sometimes be necessary to facilitate
the national church's growth in self-reliance and to release resources for unevangelised
areas. Missionaries should flow ever more freely from and to all six continents in a
spirit of humble service. The goal should be, by all available means and at the earliest
possible time, that every person will have the opportunity to hear, understand, and to
receive the good news. We cannot hope to attain this goal without sacrifice. All of us are
shocked by the poverty of millions and disturbed by the injustices which causes it. Those
of us who live in affluent circumstances accept our duty to develop a simple life-style in
order to contribute more generously to both relief and evangelism.
(John 9:4; Matt. 9:35-38; Rom. 9:1-3; I Cor. 9:19-23; Mark 16:15; Isa. 58:6,7; Jas.
1:27; 2:1-9; Matt. 25:31-46; Acts 2:44,45; 4:34,35)
10. EVANGELISM AND CULTURE
The development of strategies for world evangelization calls for imaginative pioneering
methods. Under God, the result will be the rise of churches deeply rooted in Christ and
closely related to their culture. Culture must always be tested and judged by Scripture.
Because men and women are God's creatures, some of their culture is rich in beauty and
goodness. Because they are fallen, all of it is tainted with sin and some of it is
demonic. The gospel does not presuppose the superiority of any culture to another, but
evaluates all cultures according to its own criteria of truth and righteousness, and
insists on moral absolutes in every culture. Missions have all too frequently exported
with the gospel an alien culture and churches have sometimes been in bondage to culture
rather than to Scripture. Christ's evangelists must humbly seek to empty themselves of all
but their personal authenticity in order to become the servants of others, and churches
must seek to transform and enrich culture, all for the glory of God.
(Mark 7:8,9,13; Gen. 4:21,22; I Cor. 9:19-23; Phil. 2:5-7; II Cor. 4:5)
11. EDUCATION AND LEADERSHIP
We confess that we have sometimes pursued church growth at the expense of church depth,
and divorced evangelism from Christian nurture. We also acknowledge that some of our
missions have been too slow to equip and encourage national leaders to assume their
rightful responsibilities. Yet we are committed to indigenous principles, and long that
every church will have national leaders who manifest a Christian style of leadership in
terms not of domination but of service. We recognise that there is a great need to improve
theological education, especially for church leaders. In every nation and culture there
should be an effective training programme for pastors and laity in doctrine, discipleship,
evangelism, nurture and service. Such training programmes should not rely on any
stereotyped methodology but should be developed by creative local initiatives according to
(Col. I:27,28; Acts 14:23; Tit. 1:5,9; Mark 10:42-45; Eph. 4:11,12)
12. SPIRITUAL CONFLICT
We believe that we are engaged in constant spiritual warfare with the principalities
and powers of evil, who are seeking to overthrow the Church and frustrate its task of
world evangelization. We know our need to equip ourselves with God's armour and to fight
this battle with the spiritual weapons of truth and prayer. For we detect the activity of
our enemy, not only in false ideologies outside the Church, but also inside it in false
gospels which twist Scripture and put people in the place of God. We need both
watchfulness and discernment to safeguard the biblical gospel. We acknowledge that we
ourselves are not immune to worldliness of thoughts and action, that is, to a surrender to
secularism. For example, although careful studies of church growth, both numerical and
spiritual, are right and valuable, we have sometimes neglected them. At other times,
desirous to ensure a response to the gospel, we have compromised our message, manipulated
our hearers through pressure techniques, and become unduly preoccupied with statistics or
even dishonest in our use of them. All this is worldly. The Church must be in the world;
the world must not be in the Church.
(Eph. 6:12; II Cor. 4:3,4; Eph. 6:11,13-18; II Cor. 10:3-5; I John 2:18-26; 4:1-3; Gal.
1:6-9; II Cor. 2:17; 4:2; John 17:15)
13. FREEDOM AND PERSECUTION
It is the God-appointed duty of every government to secure conditions of peace, justice
and liberty in which the Church may obey God, serve the Lord Jesus Christ, and preach the
gospel without interference. We therefore pray for the leaders of nations and call upon
them to guarantee freedom of thought and conscience, and freedom to practise and propagate
religion in accordance with the will of God and as set forth in The Universal Declaration
of Human Rights. We also express our deep concern for all who have been unjustly
imprisoned, and especially for those who are suffering for their testimony to the Lord
Jesus. We promise to pray and work for their freedom. At the same time we refuse to be
intimidated by their fate. God helping us, we too will seek to stand against injustice and
to remain faithful to the gospel, whatever the cost. We do not forget the warnings of
Jesus that persecution is inevitable.
(I Tim. 1:1-4, Acts 4:19; 5:29; Col. 3:24; Heb. 13:1-3; Luke 4:18; Gal. 5:11; 6:12;
Matt. 5:10-12; John 15:18-21)
14. THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Father sent his Spirit to bear witness
to his Son, without his witness ours is futile. Conviction of sin, faith in Christ, new
birth and Christian growth are all his work. Further, the Holy Spirit is a missionary
spirit; thus evangelism should arise spontaneously from a Spirit-filled church. A church
that is not a missionary church is contradicting itself and quenching the Spirit.
Worldwide evangelization will become a realistic possibility only when the Spirit renews
the Church in truth and wisdom, faith, holiness, love and power. We therefore call upon
all Christians to pray for such a visitation of the sovereign Spirit of God that all his
fruit may appear in all his people and that all his gifts may enrich the body of Christ.
Only then will the whole world become a fit instrument in his hands, that the whole earth
may hear his voice.
(I Cor. 2:4; John 15:26;27; 16:8-11; I Cor. 12:3; John 3:6-8; II Cor. 3:18; John
7:37-39; I Thess. 5:19; Acts 1:8; Psa. 85:4-7; 67:1-3; Gal. 5:22,23; I Cor. 12:4-31; Rom.
15. THE RETURN OF CHRIST
We believe that Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly, in power and glory, to
consummate his salvation and his judgment. This promise of his coming is a further spur to
our evangelism, for we remember his words that the gospel must first be preached to all
nations. We believe that the interim period between Christ's ascension and return is to be
filled with the mission of the people of God, who have no liberty to stop before the end.
We also remember his warning that false Christs and false prophets will arise as
precursors of the final Antichrist. We therefore reject as a proud, self-confident dream
the notion that people can ever build a utopia on earth. Our Christian confidence is that
God will perfect his kingdom, and we look forward with eager anticipation to that day, and
to the new heaven and earth in which righteousness will dwell and God will reign forever.
Meanwhile, we rededicate ourselves to the service of Christ and of people in joyful
submission to his authority over the whole of our lives.
(Mark 14:62; Heb. 9:28; Mark 13:10; Acts 1:8-11; Matt. 28:20; Mark 13:21-23; John 2:18;
4:1-3; Luke 12:32; Rev. 21:1-5; II Pet. 3:13; Matt. 28:18)
Therefore, in the light of this our faith and our resolve, we enter into a solemn
covenant with God and with each other, to pray, to plan and to work together for the
evangelization of the whole world. We call upon others to join us. May God help us by his
grace and for his glory to be faithful to this our covenant! Amen, Alleluia!