It’s over but it’s just begun!
GAFCON II is over.
It’s been a whirlwind and using simple adjectives to describe it would be inadequate.
I’ve met Christians who have been abducted and held captive because they trust Jesus.
I’ve met Christians who have had their churches and houses burnt down because they trust Jesus.
I’ve me Christians who have been kicked out of their churches by their bishops because they want to stay faithful to the Bible’s teaching.
I’ve met people who fear all of the above.
That has to change you when you live in a city where Christians fear little. A city like Sydney.
There is much to tell and much to ponder but two things stand out.
First is the urgency of evangelism in the third world.
This urgency is driven by both theology and experience. Many of the people I spoke to from Africa and Asia really do believe that their family and friends are going to hell and that Jesus may return at any moment; so they are urgently taking opportunities to tell people that Jesus offers a pathway to life. Many also know from experience that life can be short and their life could be cut off at any time. So now is the time to tell people about Jesus.
I need to think more on this but (recognising I am caught up in “GAFCON Fever”) I am not sure we in West really believe the theology here. I am sure we are so comfortable that the imminence of death and the parousia are lost on us. I can’t see any reason why we shouldn’t have the enthusiasm of many I met. Now don’t hear me idealising the African Church – it has many and serious problems – but this is one thing many Africans have very right.
Second, is the urgent need to move on from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the false Gospel being taught in much of the Anglican Church around the world.
GAFCON II recognised that we are a key instrument of unity in the world. Despite our diversity, we trust in Jesus alone as the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. We believe he is the Way, the Truth and the Life and that no one gets to the Father but by Him. We believe the Bible is the authoritative Word of God.
Sadly, the Archbishop of Canterbury is trying to hold together a communion that has already fallen apart. His priorities seems to be tolerance and love rather than truth and love. In a tweet he posted at exactly the same time the Nairobi Commitment was being voted on he used the hashtag #globalchurchoflove. I met people who would rip their clothes and collapse in tears if they knew that was how he described the church that ruined them and shunned God’s Gospel.
One of the crucial parts of the GAFCON II Communique reads:
We believe we have acted as an important and effective instrument of Communion during a period in which other instruments of Communion have failed both to uphold gospel priorities in the Church, and to heal the divisions among us…
Our willingness to submit to the written Word of God and our unwillingness to be in Christian fellowship with those who will not, is clearly expressed in The Jerusalem Statement and Declaration. This means that the divisions in the Anglican Communion will not be healed without a change of heart from those promoting the false gospel, and to that end we pray.
The Anglican Church around the world has a certain beauty to it in its liturgy, theatre and buildings. But real beauty is found in the the feet of those who bring good news. The old Anglican Church is not going to be characterised by that sort of beauty. The new and emerging Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GAFCON associated churches) will. We want Jesus to receive glory in the church and the world.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)