An 'Advocate and Ambassador'
2nd August 2019
South England Conference (SEC) Education and Religious Liberty leaders came together in a seminar which looked at being an 'Advocate and Ambassador' for Christ. The seminar, which took place at the Advent Centre on Sunday 14 July 2019, was part of an ongoing Seventh-day Adventist Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) leaders' systematic training and equipping programme to become its church's advocates and ambassadors.
In his devotion, Brighton G Kavaloh, Director of the AdventReligio-Legal Perspective ministry shared that the purpose of the seminar was to inform, educate and equip leaders with the practical knowledge needed in order to advocate on behalf of those being challenged when upholding the truth in an increasingly secular society. He said, "Public Affairs and Religious Liberty is the department where leaders become the face of the church in the public life of the city. We must find, train, equip and then send out PARL ambassadors and advocates."
He then made reference to the General Conference statement on why PARL is such an important department in the local church, "We work to position the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its services to a standing of credibility, trust and relevance in the public realm. Why? So, the Adventist Church can be more effective in its mission. Our task is to enhance our Church's ability to operate around the world by building bridges with public and religious leaders. In working with government officials, community leaders and others, we want to present the best that the Seventh-day Adventist Church offers - in promoting life, improving people's wellbeing and offering hope for a better destiny." (See: https://www.adventistliberty.org/quick-overview.)
Dr Kavaloh then shared a message from SEC President, Dr Emmanuel Osei who said that "the challenges which come while representing Christ as an advocate and ambassador should be taken as opportunities to represent our faith." In conclusion, Dr Kavaloh said: "As an ambassador you will be challenged but the challenges which come must be on credible issues whereby you are able to give a reason for the hope that is in you" (see 1st Peter 3:15).
Elder Alex Nsimbi introduced guest speaker, Dr David Landrum (Director of Advocacy at the Evangelical Alliance UK), as a true son of Issachar ‒ a man who understands the times. Taken from the programme notes, it was said that Dr Landrum has been the Director of Advocacy at the Evangelical Alliance UK since June 2011. Prior to his appointment, he was the Senior Parliamentary Officer for the Bible Society from 2001 and was based in the Houses of Parliament, developing biblical advocacy and supporting the Christian All-Party Parliamentary Group.
In his presentation, Dr Landrum addressed what it means to be an 'Advocate and Ambassador' in what is now becoming an increasingly secular country. He opened his speech with a quotation from William Booth – Founder of the Salvation Army, who said: "I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God and heaven without hell."
For Dr Landrum, Booth foresaw the loss of Christian identity in traditional Christian countries. Dr Landrum also pointed out the thoughts of a modern-day social commentator who said that, "In the West we are now experiencing a cultural climate change; we are cut off from the roots of our judeo-religious tradition. We want the fruit without the root. We live in a fragmented society where there are family breakdowns and a rise in cases of mental illness." Dr Landrum therefore sees "the Holy Spirit as an advocate while those called to follow Christ are to be His ambassadors, bringing light to a world which by its actions is becoming increasingly dark." He went on to add that while society has bought into secular humanism (which puts a premise on the individual while denying the existence of the spiritual), which has led to the emerging of a sacred-secular divide, that ambassadors of Christ should not give up in the midst of such challenges and should have the compassion of Jesus without compromising on the truth. He said, "God saves to raise us up as trophies of His grace."
Dr Landrum then concluded his inspirational message by encouraging the attendees to, "Keep calm and carry on. Freedom is in peril so defend it with all your might."
[Darell J Philip]