Tuesday, December 5, the plenary assembly of the National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF) took place at the Palais de la Femme in Paris. On this occasion, the evangelical body voted to adopt a historic text "for a missional momentum for the evangelicals of France", committing its members to unite for the proclamation of the Gospel.
“The time is short and calls us to unite with this desire that the Gospel be proclaimed everywhere and by everyone.” This sentence could summarize the new text adopted by the National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF) this Tuesday, December 5 during its plenary assembly. A meeting which brought together more than 140 people.
Gathered at the Palais de la Femme of the Salvation Army in Paris, the members of the evangelical organization voted for this text, almost unanimously (only one person having voted against), entitled “Together on mission. For a missional momentum for the evangelicals of France”.
When unity rhymes with diversity
Composed of 9 articles, the document underlines the importance of “mobilizing on a territorial, national, and beyond scale, to transmit this Good News to our contemporaries”. A “common tool” for the evangelical churches of France which advocates unity, without excluding the diversity of the communities and works which are part of the organization.
During a beautiful moment of contemplation, representatives of the centers and different works of the CNEF took the floor, each reading either an extract from an article taken from the text, or a prayer echoing it. Men, women, young and old, people of diverse origins took part, highlighting the plurality of the assembly.
Note the particularly meaningful duo formed by Josué Turnil of Jews for Jesus and Karim Arezki of ACNA (the Association of North African Christians, which organizes meetings for Christians of Muslim background) in the context of conflict between Israel and Palestine.
The Lausanne Movement as a source of inspiration
The co-directors of the Lausanne Movement, Usha Reifsnider and Jim Memory, attended this historic vote and shared the microphone to comment on the text, largely inspired by their organization, as emphasized by Nathan Lambert, secretary of the CNEF. The theologian insisted on the importance of inclusion when it comes to proclaiming the Gospel. She focused in particular on Article 3 of the document entitled "The proclamation of the Gospel to all peoples", recalling that it is thanks to the different perspectives, origins, specificities of each person that Christians will succeed in leading people to Christ.
For his part, the Irish evangelist, Jim Memory welcomed the mention made in Article 5 to abuses perpetrated in the Churches. The text indeed states that evangelicals wish “particularly to fight against abuse, whether sexual, physical, psychological or other”. Stressing that they are “all the more inexcusable when they are committed by people who exercise responsibilities in the Church”.
“Corruption in the Church is the biggest challenge we face,” insisted Jim Memory, recalling that if the Gospel is not transmitted it is not due to a lack of strategy, but very often to “ our sin."
He also affirmed the importance for Churches to fit into their cultural context (Article 7 of the document). “Culture is not something static,” he said, adding that if we need to exegesis of Scripture, we also need to exegesis of our culture “to know how transmit the Gospel.
A project in three stages
The adoption of this document is only the second phase of a three-stage project. As early as June 2021, Christian Blanc, then president of the CNEF, reaffirmed the priority of the mission within the organization. A speech which marked the starting point of the first phase of this project, a phase of reflection which ended Tuesday with the adoption of the text.
The CNEF is therefore entering a second phase, called “prayer and appropriation”. The idea being to be attentive to the way in which the document will be used by their members, it is also a phase of education on the theme of the mission. The organization thus intends to use field experience to identify their priority commitments and the joint actions that can subsequently be carried out.
In 2025, the project will therefore enter its final phase which will aim to implement concrete actions. The symbolic date of October 5, 2025 was chosen for the launch of this third part. On that day, the CNEF plans a time of celebration and will invite churches to organize common worship throughout the territory to “deepen the unity of the evangelical Protestants of France, to manifest the identity and testimony of the evangelical Protestants of France towards all”.
Camille Westphal Perrier