The Lausanne Covenant, certainly one of the great faith statements in the whole history of the Church, was the outcome of the first congress on World Evangelisation in Lausanne in 1974. It was a Covenant entered into by over 3000 evangelical leaders from around the world. It also became enshrined in the constitution of AE International and all its teams as the key faith statement of this ministry.
The Covenant was basically the work of John Stott, but John put his first second and third versions to the whole congress for review, correction, subtraction, and addition, etc. So several thousand minds were in fact applied to John’s basic statement.
This makes it an extraordinary and highly historic document and maybe the most comprehensive faith statement in the history of the Christian Church.
From AE’s point of view the most key clauses are no.4 on The Nature of Evangelism and no.5 on Christian Social Responsibility. Everyone in our teams should know and understand these two clauses which first of all make it clear what evangelism is and what it is not. And secondly how Social Responsibility and Compassionate Action fit together with the evangelistic enterprise as two complementary wings of the same bird. In order to fly the bird must have both wings working properly. It was this bringing together of Evangelism and Social Action which emerged as perhaps the most distinctive theological contribution of the Lausanne movement to the World Church.