The international conference commemorating the 500th anniversary years of the Reformation was held in Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Church from November 14 to 20, 2017.
About twenty renowned Christian speakers, pastors, and leaders joined in the convention initiated by the Stephen Tong Evangelistic Ministries International (STEMI) and the Reformed Church founded by Stephen Tong and attended by over 4,000 people.
The speakers included Stephen Tong, Dr. Ravi Zacharias, who has twice spoken at the Annual Prayer Breakfast at the United Nations in New York, Dr. Herman Selderhuis (President of the International Calvin Congress and President of Reformation Research Consortium), Dr. Richard L. Pratt (founder of Third Millennium Ministries), Dr. Philip G. Ryken (President of Wheaton College), Dr. Peter A. Lillback (President and Professor of Historical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary), and Rev. Jason Yeung (Principal and Professor of Theology of the Canadian Chinese School of Theology at Ambrose Seminary).
A large percentage of the participants were Chinese pastoral workers and Christians.
One Chinese speaker said, "The attendance reached 4,008 with attendees from 19 countries and areas like the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, mainland China, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Most of the participants are from Indonesia."
The Chinese-born Indonesian evangelist Stephen Tong declared in the opening ceremony that we should not merely mark the Reformation begun 500 years ago, but also carry on the "fire" that came from God as the promoter of the Reformation. We should inherit the spirit of the Reformation and many preachers today need the fire.
"We need the fire from God and Luther found it. A lot of churches fail to find it and simply study the Reformation as knowledge. We need the fire from God."
"Unfortunately, the majority of churches and preachers need to change because they don't find the fire," said Tong. "We need God's fire alive in our hearts, raising our consciousness and igniting us... We need His furious fire. If you really understand this, your sermons, testimonies, and ministries will definitely change... The world doesn't need knowledge because God let us change the world with the fire of the Holy Spirit."
He exhorted the audiences to preach the gospel in this age because a church without evangelism is dead. Evangelism should be passed on from generation to generation. "If we don't share the gospel, the gospel will stay in our generation. Then there will be no hope in the world."
The other speakers delivered speeches over the next six days covering themes including "The Legacy of Luther", "Reformation and the Kingdom of God", "The Spirituality in Adversity: Luther and Calvin", "The Influence of Reformation on Covenant Theology and Relationship between Church and State", "Faith and Works", "Culture and Evangelism", and "Reformation and Education".
Dr. Ravi Zacharias talked about the current challenges like secularization and diversification. "Isn't it ironic that so many are interested in the concept of truth without knowing ?" He asked. He claimed that Christians need to share Jesus Christ, the source of the truth, with other people. "Jesus Christ came to the earth not to make bad people be good people. He came to make dead people live."
Dr. Herman Selderhuis said, "The biggest threat to this world is not industry, the biggest threat to this world is not politics, the biggest threat to this world is not religious terrorism, the real threat is me."
Dr. Richard L. Pratt stated, "The final goal of the Reformation is for all creation to be filled with the glory of God."
One of the highlights was when more than 8,000 people attended an open-air evangelistic crusade held on the rainy evening of Nov. 19. Tong delivered a sermon titled "Reformation Fire Today". "We need the fire from the Holy Spirit. It will be burning in our hearts to give us spiritual fervor to preach the gospel of the Lord." The preacher said.
- Translated by Karen Luo