Archive for January, 2016

Why GAFCON truly matters

Monday, January 11th, 2016

 

By Peter Jensen
January  2016

All through the old world the story is the same: The Christian faith is struggling to maintain its identity in the face of the secular challenge. Everywhere there is the sad tale of compromise and cultural enslavement. Everywhere we see the danger of Christians committed to a gospel without salvation, reconciliation without repentance, a Saviour without a cross and a Lord without a word[i].

Furthermore, the Christians of the Global South not only have their own struggles with local religions. The technological revolution and the urbanisation of the world brings the pressures to which the West has so conspicuously capitulated, to their door. In the Christian world, we need each other. We need the skill and the resources and the wisdom of all to be available to all, across denominations and across the world. GAFCON means that biblical Anglicans do not need to stand alone

Truth matters even more than institutional unity. But true unity supports and nourishes the truth. The Evil One rejoices at the division of Christians. Far from being divisive, GAFCON is a great force for unity — it has saved and united Anglicans in the West and encouraged Anglicans in the South to realise that ‘we are not alone’. But it has done more than that, for it is a model too for other denominations and churches around the world and encouragement for them to take their stand on the word of God.

What GAFCON means to me — Let me speak personally.

I have laboured in and for GAFCON since its inception in 2007. Many times I have sensed the Lord’s hand of extraordinary blessing. By rights, no such movement should exist — It has struggled with the theological and cultural differences, the lack of resources, the total inadequacy of my contribution as General Secretary — and I am not being modest. It has faltered. It has almost failed.

But a world-wide group of ordinary men and women have stood together and by faith refused to allow GAFCON to die or break apart. And there have been moments — the final session in Jerusalem, the roll call of the nations in Nairobi (2013), the wisdom and dignity of the Primates in their meetings — these and others have persuaded me that it is possible that we are seeing something here which could be like a reformation or revival.

The brothers and sisters from all around the world have taught me so much in these last years. They have taught me to trust God. They have taught me the importance of speaking for Christ. They have taught me what courage means. They have offered me fellowship across some amazing cultural and theological divides. They have taught me the transformative power of the gospel.

What GAFCON means to you

We are now walking in a new spiritual darkness. The churches are ill-prepared. But God is thoroughly prepared; he is not at a loss. There is nothing to fear; but we need to work out what new tactics are required for this new context. Without doubt, we will walk by faith; but what does this mean?

At its heart there will be a complete faithfulness to the word of God. This will require, in particular, a fresh commitment to the clarity of scripture — a commitment which the present debate has thoroughly jeopardised. GAFCON stands for that clarity, that truth.

At its heart there will be a new experience of Christian fellowship based on the truth. We will rediscover that we are not alone, that there are many who have not bowed the knee to Baal. GAFCON is a force which delivers fellowship and encourages courage.

At its heart there will be such a commitment to the gospel that we are prepared to dare the new in the cause of re-evangelising the West, to dare to do new things, to set up missionary societies, to create new structures, to abandon the old ways. GAFCON stands for Christian gospel mission.

In the last year two Anglican Provinces have spoken words of choice. In Scotland, the General Synod of the Episcopal Church chose in June to start the process to omit the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman from its canons, thus signalling an acceptance of so-called gay marriage. It is a choice to rewrite the Bible and so the Christian faith. In Ireland, the Church of Ireland House of Bishops, following the referendum held in May, endorsed once more the teaching of the Bible that marriage is between a man and a woman for life. The contrast is stark.

Of course there are those who argue for a middle position, that the two conclusions can be held in tension in a denomination with mutual respect, recognising that sincere people will differ over the interpretation of the Bible. But let me offer a very serious warning: the cost of taking such a position is unacceptably high. It is to say that the Biblical testimony is so unclear that it can be read in several ways, whereas in fact the Biblical position is crystal clear. When the testimony of the bible is rendered so murky, the authority of the Bible is fatally compromised.

The middle position is a vote for an unacceptable compromise. If worse comes to worse, it may be right to stay under protest in your denomination; it may be necessary to go; but there needs to be a clear confession of the faith and a willingness to pay the price. We cannot limp between two different opinions.

The business of GAFCON is to deliver fellowship to orthodox believers who have to bear testimony in the midst of such confusion; to resource them to teach the truth and to inspire them to preach the gospel. Thank God that he has raised up GAFCON to do this.

I hope it has your keen support.

Archbishop Peter Jensen is the former Archbishop of Sydney

Eliud Wabukala writes to Gafcon clergy about the forthcoming Primates gathering

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Author:

Eliud Wabukala

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray you will take a moment to read this important message.

As those who are ordained, we have a special responsibility to care for the people of God. In the foundational liturgy of our Communion, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer described this work as being that of messengers, watchmen and stewards of the Lord.

For many of us that calling is becoming harder as we face the challenges of a compromised church and an increasingly hostile culture. GAFCON was formed in 2008 to enable faithful gospel ministry to survive and thrive in today’s world as we stand united in our testimony to the truth of God’s Word.

Sadly, that truth continues to be called into question in the Anglican Communion and I am writing to invite you to partner with us as a decisive moment approaches.

I am sure you are aware that the Archbishop of Canterbury has called together all the Primates of the Anglican Communion for a meeting in Canterbury 11th – 16th January 2016. At this gathering a basic church-defining principle will be at stake:

Will Christ rule our life and witness through His word, or will our life and witness be conformed to the global ambitions of a secular culture?

Together, by the grace of God, we are praying that the Communion will emerge from its current crisis repentant, renewed and restored for its global mission of proclaiming the gospel which is good news for all people, in all places and at all times. This is the hope and testimony of the GAFCON Primates as they approach this gathering.

So please do stand with us in this historic task by calling your people to urgent prayer and practical support. If you could please email your congregation the following link which provides details on how they can stand with us at this crucial time in history: www.gafcon.org/crossroads

Thank you so much for your partnership in the longing we share to see Christ glorified in his church.

Yours in Christ’s service,

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council

For your reference when describing GAFCON:

The GAFCON movement is a global family standing together to retain and restore the biblical and apostolic faith to the heart of the Anglican Communion. We believe our strength and unity as authentic Anglicans comes from our common confession of the Lord Jesus Christ, not from historic institutional structures. We are founded on the Bible, bound together by the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration of 2008, and led by a Council of Archbishops, which represents the majority of the world’s Anglicans.

GAFCON works to guard and proclaim the unchanging, transforming Gospel through biblically faithful preaching and teaching which frees our churches to make disciples by clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ in all the world.