The Ninth Convention of The Asia Missions Association, Ephesus, Turkey, 2006
The ninth triennial convention of the Asia Missions Association was held in Ephesus, Asia Minor, the heartland of the apostolic mission from November 7 to 10, 2006 of Anno Domini.
Over two hundreds participants, mainly from Asia and other continents of the world such as Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Egypt, England, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, and USA have come here to celebrate the thirty-third year anniversary of the ’73 All-Asia Mission Consultation which initiated the launching of the Asia Missions Association.
Since the beginning of the Asia Missions Association, we have held that mission must be firmly rooted in Scriptures. We must boldly reject worldly ways of mission in vogue, which are not Scriptural.
In the last decades of the 20th century, there has been an overflow of many non-scriptural theories of mission, even among evangelical missiologists. The adoption and application of modern informatic science, technology, consumer economic theories, and cultural anthropology have become a trend of modern missiology.
In this crisis we, the leaders of the Asia Missions Association, have determined to call this triennial convention of AMA at Ephesus, Asia Minor to learn the apostolic way of mission and restore the apostolic pattern of mission as the 21st century paradigm of mission. Herewith, we, Asian laborers of the missions, swear our commitment to restore the apostolic way of mission in our works in this new world of the 21st century as follows:
- The Power of the Holy Spirit
We swear the restoration of our mission under the guidance of the power of the Holy Spirit.
The apostles and one hundred and twenty followers of Jesus Christ gathered together in the upper room. They devoted with prayer and awaited the Lord’s promised Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-15).
The Holy Spirit came from heaven. “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were
all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent. rushing wind… There appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the spirit was giving them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4, New American Standard Bible). In this way, apostolic mission began under the guidance of power of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, we swear to devote ourselves and pray to wait until the Holy Spirit rests
upon us and begin to work under the guidance of power of the Holy Spirit.
We swear that we will not depend on worldly powers such as economic power, political power, power of civilization and technology for our mission endeavor.
- Oppression, Persecution
The apostolic mission was started by oppressed and persecuted apostles. They were powerless and stateless people, and martyrdom followed.
“…when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their
teeth at him… they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him, and the
witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of young man named Saul. And they went
on stoning Stephen as he called upon the Lord and said, ‘Lord Jesus receive my spirit!… And on that they a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles… those who had been scattered went about preaching the word” (Acts 7:54-8:4)
We swear to overcome all the hardships we will face on the way of witnessing the Word of God. We have to overcome the oppression, distress, persecution, cruelty, adversity, whether beaten, starving, in rags, in isolation, threatened to be killed and all other hardships, even martyrdom. Just as the apostles overcame these hardships, it serves as an example inspired believers to spread and proclaim the gospel.
- Sovereign Power of Calling
The apostolic calling came to Saul on his way to Damascus by sovereign power of the Lord Jesus Christ. Saul was an enemy and murderer against the disciples of the Lord.“Saul was still breathing and murder threats against the Lord’s disciples” (Acts 9:1). Even so, the Lord Jesus called him by His sovereign power to be an apostle saying, “he is a chosen instrument of mine to bear my name before the gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:15-16). Thus the high calling for gentiles to be apostles came from the sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ, and Saul became Apostle Paul. We, who were the gentiles, are also chosen to be the instrument to bear the name of Lord Jesus to every people and every nation.
Therefore, we affirm that this high calling will come by the sovereign power to any one in any race that the Lord chooses.
- Set Apart for the Mission
The mission to the world was set apart from pastoral work. At the church of Antioch, “while they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for the Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away” (Acts 13:2-3). In this way the ministries of the church specified that ministering in the church and ministering to world are two parts by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, we affirm that the missionary calling comes from the Holy Spirit through the church while they were praying and fasting, and that the commissioning of missionaries should be done by the authority of the church.
- Itinerant Mission
The apostolic way of mission was an itinerant mission. The detailed itinerary of Apostle Paul was recoded in the Book of Acts of the Apostles. The Apostle Paul was not attempted to settle down in one place. Paul always withdrew from a field of mission when the church was planted and moved forward to reach new field.
The settling in one nation as a residential mission is not the apostolic way of mission but the tradition of western mission in the colonial age. The apostolic way of mission was an itinerant mission.
Therefore, we swear to shift our way of mission from traditional residential mission and follow the apostolic way of itinerant mission by withdrawing from one field when the church is rooted, and moving forward to new fields.
- Making Disciples and Training
The apostolic way of missions was to make disciples and train them by proclaiming the word of the Lord. When the Lord Jesus Christ called twelve disciples, He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38). ”… after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come” (Luke 10:1). He also said the same words that He said to his twelve disciples. The Apostle Paul also raised his disciples and taught them “daily in the school of Tyrannus. This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:9-10)
Therefore, we swear to follow the Lord’s way and the apostles’ way of making disciples and training to send them to the fields as the Apostle Paul followed Christ’s way of calling and appointing, and sending them ahead of him to every city and every place.
- The Power Encounter
The apostolic way of mission was a power confrontation against the evil powers of Satan. The Lord Jesus Christ empowered apostles. “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness” (Matthew 10:1).
When the Apostle Paul was witnessing before Agrippa, Paul said to Agrippa, “the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.’ But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:15-18). While Apostle Paul was ministering in Ephesus, “God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out” (Acts 19:11-12).
Ephesus was the city of goddess Artemis. The Apostle Paul’s victory over the goddess Artemis is the historic example of overcoming the evil power of Satan (Acts 19: ).
Therefore, we swear to confront the evil powers of Satan in the world and overcome as the Apostles overcame the powers of Satan.
The apostolic way of mission was transformation of every sphere in human life by the word of God. Apostle Paul’s ministries in Ephesus first brought transformation of spiritual life. “those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices” (Acts 19:18).
Secondly, their cultural life was transformed as “many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver” (Acts 19:19).
Thirdly, their business and economic lives were transformed as “a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen; these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all. Not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship will even be dethroned from her magnificence.” (Acts 19:24-27).
The business and economics of Ephesus which depended upon the silver shrines of Artemis were disrupted, because of Apostle Paul’s proclamation of the word of God.
Fourthly, the ruling powers of Ephesus became friends of Paul, associated with Apostle Paul and defended him as “some of the Asiarchs who were friends of his sent to him and repeatedly urged him not to venture into the theater… it was Alexander, … the town clerk said,… For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of our goddess… For indeed we are in danger of being accused of a riot in connection with today’s events, since there is no real cause for it, and in this connection we will be unable to account for this disorderly gathering. After saying this he dismissed the assembly” (Acts 19:31-41).
Therefore, we affirm to follow this apostolic way of mission for transformation of every sphere in human life. And we swear not to be involved with any non-Biblical social actions in even non-violence as the name of Christian mission.
- Inter-racial Partnership
The apostolic way of mission was an inter-racial undertaking as fellow workers for the world mission from the beginning. The church of Antioch in Syria was the first missionary sending church in history. The workers of Antioch church were inter-racial and multi-national. Barnabas was a Jew from Jerusalem, Simon was a Niger who came from Africa. Lucius was from Cyrene, Manaen was tetrarch of Herod, and Saul was a Roman who was a Jew, born at Tarsus of Cilicia (Act 13:1). Thus the leaders of the Antioch church were inter-racial and multi-national.
The partakers of apostolic the mission team were inter-racial and multi-national from the beginning. Paul and Barnabas had different nationalities. Luke was a man of Antioch, Syria, Timothy’s father was a Greek. Titus was a Syrian, Prisca was a Roman and her husband was a Jew, and all other his fellow workers had various nationality background.
According to the scripture, this fellow laborers of the apostolic mission were named in many different words, such as fellow helpers (II Co. 8:23; III Jn. 8), fellow servants (Mt. 18:28; 24:49; Rev. 19:10; 22:9), and fellow workers (Col. 4:11; Rom. 16:3; Ph. 2:25; 4:13; Phm.. 8).
The word ‘partnership’ does not appear in the scripture, but the word ‘partaker’ which has the same meaning with partnership appears many times in the Epistles (Ep. 3:6; I Co. 10:17, 18, 21; II Co. 3:6; Col. 1:12; I Ti. 6:2; He. 12:10; I Pe. 4:13; II Pe. 1:4). Thus the apostolic way of mission was an inter-racial and multi-national collaboration of partakers, those who were working together to proclaim the word of God from its beginning.
Therefore, we swear to break the ugly national barriers in our way of mission and follow the apostolic way of inter-racial and multi-national partnership in mission, so that the mission in the 21st century shall be a mission of global partnerships.
- The Church as Eschatological Community:
The centrality of the apostolic way of mission was planting the church as an eschatological community. The Apostle Paul, John, and Peter, when they wrote the epistles to the churches never missed writing on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In Paul’s epistle to the church of Ephesus, he said “He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every (name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come”(Ep. 1:20-21). And Paul said to the church of Philippi, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near”(Ph. 4:4-5).
Paul also said to the church of the Thessalonians, ”Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Th. 5:23). And to the saints in Christ at Colossae, Paul said that “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4).
In his second Epistle, Peter said, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” (II Pe. 3:10).
In the Revelation, the Apostle John wrote what the Lord said “Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments, lest he walk about naked and men see his shame” (Rev. 16:15).
Thus, as apostles wrote to all the churches in the apostolic age, the church was the eschatological community. Therefore, we swear to restore the eschatological community as the centrality of our mission just as the center of the apostolic mission was the church as eschatological community.
In conclusion, our commitment to restore the apostolic way of mission into our way of mission, we swear to dedicate ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ who called us as laborers in the harvest field. We sacrifice ourselves unreservedly to His cause as the apostles sacrificed themselves for His sake.
All the partakers of the Ninth Triennial Convention of the Asia Missions Association here in Ephesus, the heartland of the apostolic mission, write one’s name and sign herewith to affirm our commitment to The Ephesus Manifesto.