The Universality of the Gospel


THE UNIVERSALITY OF MISSION: God fulfilled his promise to provide a redeemer for the whole world. The  purpose of God is that all human beings be saved through faith in Jesus Christ. The sufficiency and the universality of Jesus Christ are of the essence of the gospel. The universal character of the Christian faith and the confession of the sovereignty of Christ confer on the church its missionary nature. Consequently, the church is sent into the world to live and to be the messenger of the universality of the gospel.

The divine purpose and the universality of the gospel do not mean that all
pathways and options are valid in order to obtain God’s salvation. The sacramentalistic and ritualistic practices which express the intention to achieve justification by works are foreign to the purpose revealed by God in the Scriptures. The unique truth of the gospel and its resultant ethic oppose all universalism and relativism that consider every religious experience as equally valid.

THE WHOLE CHURCH IS MISSIONARY: The whole church is responsible for the evangelization of all peoples, races, and tongues. A faith that considers itself universal but which is not missionary becomes sterile rhetoric lacking authority. The affirmation that the whole church is missionary is based upon the priesthood of all believers. For the fulfillment of this mission, Jesus Christ has provided his church with the gifts and the power of the Holy Spirit.

INTEGRAL MISSION: The vision, action, and missionary reflection of the Church should be based upon the gospel which, when it is comprehended in all its fullness, is proclaimed in word and deed and is directed to the entire human person. We must do our missiology on the basis of the Word, from our Latin American reality, and in dialogue with other missiologies, seeking to overcome the deformations or
dichotomies that may have affected the gospel we received. This also demands a
comprehension of the new challenges posed by the world today, such as globalization, postmodernity, the resurgence of racism, esoteric religions, and growing ecological deterioration.

THE NEW MISSIONARY CONSCIOUSNESS IN LATIN AMERICA: The Holy Spirit has brought to life in Latin America a new missionary consciousness. To the missionary practice of the past is added a growing willingness to assume the responsibility of the church, in obedience to the Word, from within Latin America. Opportunities for the preparation and sending of missionaries to other continents and contexts have increased during these last years. However, the new possibilities provided by this missionary activity should lead us to a continuous evaluation and correction of models and experiences in the light of the Word of God.

THE INCARNATIONAL PATTERN FOR MISSION: The incarnation is the model for the mission of the church. In his incarnation Jesus identified himself with sinful people, shared their aspirations, anguish, and weaknesses, and dignified them as creatures made in the image of God. The church is called to approach its mission in Jesus’ way. To accomplish this demands the crossing of geographical, cultural, social, linguistic, and spiritual frontiers, with all that this entails. In all the world, the growth of great cities and their impoverished masses constitutes an especially urgent challenge. To respond to all of these needs it is necessary to reconsider the New Testament model, adequately use the social and human sciences, and reflect on this practice. Also indispensable is the spiritual discipline that equips the missionary with the holiness and the humility that make possible a real respect for and appreciation of other languages and cultures and faithfulness to the gospel. ,

THE URGENCY OF THE MISSION: The church in Latin America must fully and without delay assume its responsibility in world evangelization. It should create and promote training centers in every country, with adequate programs of preparation for local and transcultural missions. The structure of all theological education should be revised in light of the missionary imperative. Missionary advance has always arisen from the spiritual vitality during periods of renewal. To be a missionary church, the church in Latin America must renew its dependence upon the Spirit and give itself to prayer. In this way it can respond to the challenge to proclaim the whole gospel from Latin America to all peoples of the earth.

CONCLUSION: We praise God for the privilege he has given us to attend the Third Latin American Congress on Evangelism at this critical moment in the history of our
peoples. Such a privilege moves us to renew our commitment to our Lord Jesus
Christ and to his church as the bearer of the Good News of the kingdom of 10ve
and justice he came to establish. With humility we commend ourselves to God so
that he, through his Holy Spirit, may instill in us the determination to please him
in everything according to his good will. “Now to the King eternal, immortal,
invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”