NORTH AMERICA-The Gospel in North American involves helping people know that they are alienated from God because of their sin which manifests itself in varieties of ways: materialism, idolatry, obsessions with sports, sex, drugs, alcohol, religion, and success. The only solution is to humble oneself before God, asking forgiveness of one’s sins based on the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection, and asking Him to come and indwell him/her with the presence of the Holy Spirit. This culminates in a day-by-day, alive, dynamic, relationship with God through Jesus Christ resulting in eternal life. The Church still keeps the orthodox Faith with focus also on aggressive Church planting. In that context, however, the Church should be on the alert to ensure that the influence of another gospel which is already entrenched in that environment is not imperceptibly adopted by the unsuspecting and innocent believers. It is especially from North America that a false gospel of inclusion without repentance has come.
Category : GAFCON
No real clear sense of how much posting I will want or be able to do–KSH.
— ADOTS (@adots_acna) June 13, 2018
Representatives from over 50 countries will gather June 17-22 in Jerusalem for the 10th Anniversary of @gafconference.
But even if you don't attend #Gafcon2018, you can be a part of all the happenings from wherever you are in the world!
— ACNA (@The_ACNA) May 30, 2018
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the momentous resolution concerning human sexuality adopted by the 1998 Lambeth Conference of bishops from around the Anglican Communion. In essence, Resolution I.10 reiterated our long-held doctrine that only marriage is the God-ordained place for sexual relations. Hence one of the opening paragraphs of Resolution I.10 states:
[This conference], in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage;
The phrase “in view of the teaching of Scripture” is critical. It is the teaching of God’s word that must direct our lives, and despite its counter-cultural perspective in today’s society – as it was in the first century – our God-given sexual desires are not to be satisfied in casual liaisons or adulterous relationships, nor given expression through homosexual relationships, either male or female. For this reason, the resolution goes on to reject “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture”. Yet it also endorses a pastoral response to those who are same-sex attracted and the need to care for those who struggle to be faithful to Christ.
The resolution, which passed overwhelmingly, reflects the doctrine of Christ. Furthermore, the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Australia affirmed similar teaching about human sexuality in Faithfulness in Service, the national code of conduct of all clergy and church workers.
Let us be candid. This is not how the Western world sees things….
My dear people of God,
The ‘Songs of Ascents’ (Psalms 120-134) express a deep sense of longing, hope and confidence in the living God. For ancient pilgrims it was wonderful to be standing together within the gates of Jerusalem and for us today it is no less wonderful because in Jesus the hope which Jerusalem and its temple represented has been fulfilled.
Some 2,000 delegates will be welcomed to Jerusalem this month and many more will be able to share in GAFCON 2018 as it unfolds with reports through each day and live streaming accessed through the Gafcon website. We thank the Almighty God for the privilege of being able to gather in this city where the great events of our salvation were enacted, but it is not now necessary to go on pilgrimage to encounter the living God. Through God’s Word and by the power of God’s Spirit, every local church becomes the household of God and an anticipation of the heavenly Jerusalem.
This is why our conference matters so much for the many of you who are not able to attend in person, yet have a vital role to play. Our purpose is to see faithful Anglicans everywhere equipped and empowered so that the churches of our global Anglican Communion, from parishes to provinces, will be united in one gospel and with one voice will serve the purpose of our conference theme ‘Proclaiming Christ faithfully to the Nations’.
A major way in which this great task will be carried forward beyond the conference is through the launch of nine key networks: Theological Education, Church Planting, Global Mission Partnerships, Bishops Training, Youth and Children’s Ministry, Women’s Ministry, Sustainable Development together with an Intercessors Fellowship and a Lawyers Task Force.
— Pulse Nigeria (@PulseNigeria247) November 16, 2017
Canon Theologian Dr. Kendall Harmon has been asked to speak at the upcoming Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON), in Jerusalem, June 17-22. Nearly 2000 Anglican delegates – laity, clergy and bishops are expected at this the third GAFCON gathering.
Dr Harmon will be presenting a seminar entitled “understanding the Christian doctrine of Hell” along with Rico Tice, Senior Minister at All Souls, Langham Place, in London (UK). Tice will be interviewing Harmon about the issues around hell in church history and today and will then be giving a short talk as an example of how he preaches on hell. The two of them will explore both the theological underpinnings of hell in Scripture as well as providing practical applications for this doctrine in the ministry of those attending. GAFCON, whose mission is “to guard the unchanging, transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ and to proclaim Him to the world,” is founded on the Bible, bound together by the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration of 2008, and led by a Primates Council which represents the majority of the world’s Anglicans.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) June 12, 2018
In the London Church Times (18th May 2018), Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council claimed that Gafcon had been ‘inaccurate’ in describing the newly formed Anglican Church in Brazil as part of the Anglican Communion and claimed that “To be part of the Anglican Communion requires being in communion with the see of Canterbury, which this Church is not.”
Here lies the difference between mere institutionalism and spiritual reality.
The basic reason why there is a division amongst the Anglicans of Brazil is because the Episcopal Church of Brazil has departed from the teaching of Scripture, and hence from Anglican teaching, concerning sex and marriage. The division is not over a matter of church politics or personal ambition. It is a matter of the fundamentals of the faith, of what makes a true church, of the authority of God’s word.
In 2005, the Diocese of Recife withdrew from the existing Church body over this issue. In so doing it was being true to Scripture and to the overwhelming majority view of the Communion’s Bishops as expressed in Lambeth 1.10 of 1998. In 2016, after court cases, it had to surrender much of its property. And yet, under God, the Diocese continues, grows and is now in a position to become a Province, with several Dioceses.
Throughout this period, orthodox Bishops (such as Archbishop Greg Venables of South America) upheld the Diocese and supported it and ministered within it. Because this was an issue of basic theology, the Gafcon movement recognised the Diocese and arranged for the consecration of the present Archbishop. Gafcon held on to faithful Anglican Christians whose ‘fault’ was merely that they were accepting biblical and Anglican teaching. Gafcon holds the Communion together while we wait to see if other instruments of the Communion will do what is right.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) May 29, 2018
On Saturday, 12 May 2018, Brazilians packed the Paróquia Anglicana do Espírito Santo (Anglican Church of the Holy Spirit) to celebrate the launch of the Anglican Church in Brazil and the installation of The Most Rev. Miguel Uchoa Cavalcanti as their first Archbishop and Primate.
In 2005, the Bishop of Recife, The Rt. Rev. Robinson Cavalcanti, and ninety percent of the clergy of the diocese were excommunicated by the liberal Episcopal Church of Brazil. Though they lost some of their buildings, the Diocese carried on with a robust program of social action, evangelism, church planting, and discipleship. From 2005 to 2009, the Diocese doubled in size. In succeeding years, despite the tragic murder of Bishop Robinson, the Diocese continued to grow, and their leaders worked with the Gafcon Primates to organize the election of a new Bishop. On December 8, 2012, The Rt. Rev. Miguel Uchoa was consecrated as Diocesan Bishop.
Over the next years, the regions of the Diocese of Recife developed into Dioceses. This has led to the formation of a new Biblically orthodox Province which has been recognized by the Gafcon Primates Council not only as part of Gafcon, but also as a Province of the Anglican Communion.
My dear people of God,
Next month we are expecting almost 2,000 delegates to gather in Jerusalem for our third Global Anglican Future Conference. I know that those working so hard to organise this great undertaking are very much aware that ‘the time is short’, but as the Apostle Paul reminds the Corinthian church, this should always be our perspective. Jerusalem is the place where Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, events which make the promise of his return sure and certain, and we shall gather as those who always live in the expectation of our Lord’s second appearing as King, Judge and Saviour.
To know that ‘the time is short’ helps to keep us from being distracted and to concentrate on what really matters.
Firstly, it means that the gospel is at the heart of all that we do. Our conference theme is ‘Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations’ and we shall celebrate the gospel in all its richness as the demonstration of the love and saving power of God in Jesus Christ. We shall be reminding one another that the gospel is not a message of merely human wisdom but the ‘gospel of God’ (Romans 1:1) which we have received. It is the work of God’s grace from beginning to end, but he has entrusted that task to us and we must press on to fulfil the apostolic mandate of the risen Christ to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).
Secondly, knowing that the time is short keeps us focused on the purpose of the Church. Ecclesiastical institutions must serve the gospel. The gospel is not a brand to be adapted to serve institutions. We will therefore continue to endorse new missionary initiatives and jurisdictions where necessary to take forward the work of the gospel.
"It is the work of God’s grace from beginning to end, but he has entrusted that task to us and we must press on to fulfil the apostolic mandate of the risen Christ to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19)."https://t.co/QoYzklmGIh pic.twitter.com/ETVNzAmbA2
— GAFCON (@gafconference) May 4, 2018
In a sense, the first half of the Jerusalem Declaration looks backward to the ancient paths, while the second half addresses issues of the present and future. However, even here the Declaration is drawing from tradition.
Clause 8 refers back to the 1920 Lambeth Resolutions 66-67 defining the “unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family,” which itself is derived from the teaching of Jesus (Matthew 19:1-6) and the Creation account in Genesis 1-2.
Clause 9 takes us to the Great Commission of the Risen Lord to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20), which is itself rooted in God’s call to Israel to be a “light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:6). It is this missionary call which led Anglicans sacrificially to bring the Gospel to the far reaches of the British Empire.
Clauses 11-13 seek to express the delicate balance of ecumenical hope, legitimate variation on non-essential matters, and the need to reject false teaching. Some on the theological Left – these are the folk who defrocked and sued confessing Anglicans in North America – claim that Anglicanism has always been infinitely flexible in tolerating “diversity.” Not if we go back to the founders, who said this: whosoever shall be sent to teach the people, shall not only in their preaching, but also by subscription confirm the authority, and truth of those articles.He that doth otherwise, or troubleth the people with contrary doctrine, shall be excommunicated.”
The final clause of the Jerusalem Declaration sets the entire Statement in the perspective of the Second Coming of Christ. In the prophetic vision of John the Divine (the Book of Revelation), Jesus Christ, the Lamb that was slain, is revealed as the Alpha and Omega who unites the past, present, and future of the creation and history, and who will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
What then should we do? The Prophets of the Old and New Testaments are unanimous in replying: Repent! To the Anglican Church in particular, the Spirit says: “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent”(Revelation 2:5).
Now for the not-so-subtle nuance. The Archbishop was not intending to flatter the upcoming Conference but to belittle it. How do I know that? Because his characterization of Gafcon as a “ginger group” cannot be further from the actual character of the movement, and he knows that.
Gafcon is not a global “friendly society,” nor is it seeking to pressure Canterbury, because Canterbury has made clear over twenty years that it pays us no regard. This was apparent ten years ago when Archbishop Rowan Williams bypassed the Global South Primates and invited to the Lambeth Conference the bishops of the Episcopal Church who had consecrated Gene Robinson. (Rest assured: they will be invited back in 2020.) As a result, the Global Anglican Future Conference was convened in Jerusalem in 2008.
Gafcon was not called as “ginger group” but as a reordering of the Anglican Communion. In its Jerusalem Statement, the Conference claimed:
- that it was founding something enduring, “not just a moment in time, but a movement in the Spirit”;
- that three facts justified this reordering: (a) the acceptance and promotion of a false gospel (heresy) in churches of the Communion; (b) the resulting breach of communion among Anglican churches; and (c) the manifest failure of the official “Instruments” to discipline the heretics;
- that the Gafcon movement is not leaving the Anglican Communion but reforming it on the basis of its classic faith and articles, amplified in a new “Jerusalem Declaration”; and
- that it was establishing a Primates’ Council that would, when necessary, authenticate new faithful Anglican jurisdictions.
The Church of Ireland is also setting aside the founding documents of the Anglican church.
In 1999 the General Synod decided to precede the Thirty-Nine Articles with a “declaration” – used to distance the church from its historic confessional foundation. 
In 2004, the Book of Common Prayer was replaced with a new prayer book as the standard for Anglican doctrine and practice.
Such partings from traditional forms have also been accompanied by departures from scriptural teaching on moral issues.
In the recent referendum in the Republic of Ireland, two Church of Ireland bishops publicly supported the “Yes” campaign for same-sex marriage.  A subsequent pastoral letter from the bishops gave advice to clergy seeking to enter into same-sex marriage. Such clergy were not directed to the clear teaching of scripture but to, “think carefully about the response of others” because it is “contrary to what the Church of Ireland currently practices.” 
Faithful Anglicans recognise such language. It is the language of departure from obedience the word of the Almighty God! It is accompanied by the denial of other doctrines – the uniqueness of Christ, the atonement, human sinfulness…
In the meantime, many live in ignorance of the glorious saving gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Some of our members who lead the largest provinces in the Anglican Communion chose on principle not to attend the 2017 Primates’ Meeting. However, we received a report from those members who did choose to attend.
We are grieved that the Communiqué from that meeting did not accurately describe the relationships that have been broken by The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Scottish Episcopal Church. These provinces have torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion. They are not walking together with us. The Communiqué also did not accurately describe the Anglican Church in North America, which we recognised as a Province in the Anglican Communion. In addition, in addressing cross-border interventions, the Communiqué failed to recognise that there is no moral equivalence between border crossing, which arises “from a deep concern for the welfare of Anglicans in the face of innovation”, and the innovations themselves (Dar es Salaam Communiqué 2007).
We were disappointed both in the content of the Communiqué and the process of its production. The Communiqué was not made available until the very last day of the meeting, and there was not adequate time to consider its content. At the moment when trust between the provinces of the Anglican Communion is exceptionally fragile, this was not an event that facilitated healing and reconciliation. Instead, the Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury has contributed to a deepening of the divide in our beloved Communion.
Gafcon Primates Council Communiqué, Entebbe, April 2018 'We are grieved that the Communiqué from [the last Primates] meeting did not accurately describe the relationships..broken by TEC, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Scottish Episcopal Church' https://t.co/0zxVeF2ZgG pic.twitter.com/x4BWEAnuha
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) April 22, 2018
My dear people of God,
Around the world we have just celebrated the mighty resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The tomb is empty and Christ is Risen! Christ’s sacrifice of himself upon the cross really has broken the power of sin and death, the tomb could not hold him and it is only a matter of time before the Risen Christ will be revealed to all at his second coming as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He will indeed make all things new.
It is in the light of these great truths that the Apostle Paul gives us words of command and of encouragement at the end of 1 Corinthians 15, a chapter in which he reminds the church of the gospel they have received and the unshakeable hope that is theirs in Christ. These words are also for us, to give us strength to persevere and not lose heart in the face of discouragement.
Some of you face challenges such as persecution, disease, communal strife and food insecurity. Some have to struggle with less physically threatening problems which can still be very hard as you are marginalised because of your faithfulness and those who were once friends draw back from you. But in all these circumstances the resurrection of Jesus from the dead assures us that despite the sins, confusions, suffering and setbacks that are part of our experience now, ultimate victory is certain.
Gafcon is a movement which lives by this power of resurrection hope. We are determined to be steadfast and immovable in the face of great pressures to compromise the unchanging truth of the gospel, whether through money or seductive calls to unity which are based merely on shared history rather than shared truth.
That is why it is so important that we, as disciples of Jesus, maintain the integrity and disciplines of the household of God. The Gafcon movement came into being nearly ten years ago because godly leaders recognised that the Anglican Communion was being divided by leaders who rejected the authority of the Bible, denied the uniqueness of Jesus and promoted patterns of life which defy Scripture and reject the pattern of creation.
These divisions are deepening and will not be healed by the techniques of the corporate world. They are spiritual problems which need spiritual solutions and the first step is repentance, which requires that the unchanging truth of God’s Word is clearly taught and acted upon. This is what we have sought to do in Gafcon and where there is no repentance, there must be realignment. This involves new jurisdictions coming into being where necessary, such as the Anglican Church of North America, and changing patterns of relationship, both within and beyond the Gafcon movement.
For example, I commend the recent decision of the Provincial Synod of South East Asia to both declare itself in broken fellowship with the Scottish Episcopal Church in the light of its adoption of same sex ‘marriage’ and to recognise the Anglican Church of North America as a full Anglican Province.
…[Archbp Peter Jensen] joined Dominic Steele this afternoon for a special edition of The Pastor’s Heart to relive that moment in 1959, when he first heard Dr Graham speak, and turned to Christ for the first time.
Plus Peter Jensen shares his concerns about the future for the Anglican Communion, with leaders in the communion turning from Jesus’ clear teaching, and other leaders trying to hold together truth and error.
Check it out (about 31 1/3 minutes).
Watch it all.
The Archbishop of Canterbury to reply as Chair of the House of Bishops:
A We strongly agree with the view of the Panel that international relationships contribute to the development of discipleship and mission. I am personally pleased that every diocese has some link to Anglican Provinces across the world, and we are keen to continue developing these relationships. The recent Primates Meeting underlined the importance of such relationships. I have had conversations with, and listened to, the views of those planning to attend the Gafcon conference, and am keen to increase attendance at any event that encourages the flourishing of the whole Anglican Communion.
God’s words are powerful words. They are never empty. At the beginning of creation ‘God said, “Let there be light” and there was light’ (Genesis 1:3) and when God’s word is proclaimed faithfully today there is new creation. It was this conviction that drew us to Jerusalem in 2008 and our Jerusalem Statement and Declaration began by affirming that we had gathered as ‘a spiritual movement to preserve and promote the truth and power of the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ as we Anglicans have received it’.
We cannot truly promote the gospel if we are not also careful to preserve it from distortion or dilution and I therefore commend the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) for their recent document ‘Gospel, Church & Marriage: Preserving Apostolic Faith and Life’. At a time when the Church of England’s senior leadership seems unable to resist the pressure to compromise with a highly secular culture, it is a sign of hope that evangelical leaders are able to come together in this way.
They affirm that biblical and apostolic teaching on marriage and sexuality is not a secondary matter over which we can agree to disagree, but is essential to the integrity of the Church’s witness and to Christian discipleship. As the New Testament shows, ‘the apostles had to guard the Church’s distinctive boundaries on matters of both doctrine and ethics, including sexual morality’.
“In a globalised world, Gafcon’s vision is to see the full potential of our Communion realised as faithful Anglicans from every nation, race and culture unite in a clear, confident and joyful witness to Jesus Christ who makes all things new.”https://t.co/tsGwUGYNGG
— GAFCON (@gafconference) February 7, 2018
We are delighted to announce the launch of the Gafcon YouTube channel. We hope will keep you better informed and equip you to stand up for uncompromised biblical truth.
There are 17 videos posted and we will be adding more regularly. Please do take a moment to have a look.
Anglicanism claims to be an expression of Reformed Catholic Christianity, but the Canterbury [Partial] Primates Meeting held earlier this month shows once again that the Anglican Communion is in urgent need of a new reformation. I and a number of brother Primates (representing between us over half of practising Anglicans worldwide) did not attend as a matter of conscience. We cannot ‘walk together’ with those who have abandoned the teaching of the Bible, but that is what the Communiqué issued from the meeting encourages us to do. The painful truth is that the authority of Scripture is being replaced by the authority of Canterbury.
There is no mention in the Communiqué of Lambeth Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference where the vast majority of the Communion’s bishops reaffirmed the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexuality, including the clear statement that homosexual practice is contrary to Scripture.
Same-sex ‘marriage’ is referred to merely as a difference of understanding while the only call to repentance is to those who have crossed provincial boundaries to support orthodox brothers and sisters unchurched by leaders who have rejected God’s Word.
The Conference also affirmed the LGBTI community and their lifestyle, while unequivocally disowning the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), an orthodox Anglican Province.
— ACNA (@The_ACNA) October 18, 2017
(Gafcon) Peter Jensen–A Statement on the Consecration of the Rt Revd Gavin Ashenden by the Christian Episcopal Church
We recognize that there is a spiritual vacuum caused by the silence and even compromise of much traditional leadership in the West and it is not surprising that new leadership should emerge. Our preference is that it will emerge from the highest level of cooperation and collaboration between these initiatives, so that those who uphold ‘the faith once delivered to the saints’ (Jude 4) work together as far as the integrity of their church polity allows. Nonetheless, we pray that the ministry of Bishop Ashenden, and all Christian leaders who love the truth, will bear much fruit for the gospel.
The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia has asked the church’s Appellate Tribunal to offer a ruling as to whether its bishops may participate in the consecration of bishops who are not members of the Anglican Communion.
On 16 August 2017, the Most Rev. Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne, wrote to the registrar of the tribunal stating he had received a request from the Bishop of Bendigo, the Rt. Rev. Andrew Curnow, supported by four other bishops that raised objections to the consecration of the Rt. Rev. Andrew Lines of the Anglican Church in North America by the Archbishop of Sydney and Bishops of Tasmania and Northwest Australia.
The proceedings, made public in a letter to the Australian bishops on 28 August 2017, comes a week before the start of the church’s General Synod at Maroochydore, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, from 3-9 Sept 2017 and will likely overshadow its proceedings.
The Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia is not a disciplinary tribunal, but a body charged with providing legal opinions on ecclesiastical questions.
I attended the Canterbury Primates Meeting held in January 2016 because I believed it might be possible to make a new start and change the pattern of repeated failure to preserve the integrity of Anglican faith and order. I was disappointed. The Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka the following April neutered the Primates’ action to distance The Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) from Communion decision making. TEC has not repented, and continues to take aggressive legal action against orthodox dioceses. For example, the congregations of the Diocese of San Joaquin are currently having to turn over their places of worship to TEC, which has no realistic plan for filling them with worshippers. At the same time, the Diocese of South Carolina is now facing the potential loss of many of its historic buildings.
My disappointment was shared by the other Global South Primates who gathered in Cairo last October and we concluded in our communiqué that the ‘Instruments of Communion’ (which include the Primates Meeting of course) are “unable to sustain the common life and unity of the Anglican Churches worldwide” and do actually help to undermine global mission.
The only difference between the present and 2008, when Gafcon was formed, is that we have a different Archbishop of Canterbury. Everything else is the same or worse. There is endless debate, the will of the orthodox Primates is frustrated and misrepresented, false teaching is not being corrected, and nothing is being done to halt orthodox Anglicans in North America (and maybe soon elsewhere) being stripped of the churches that have helped form their spiritual lives.
In these circumstances, I have concluded that attendance at Canterbury would be to give credibility to a pattern of behaviour which is allowing great damage to be done to global Anglican witness and unity. Our energies in the Church of Nigeria will be devoted to what is full of hope and promise for the future, not to the repetition of failure.
There are several striking things about this moment.
First, the name. The 2008 Conference was a totally new initiative. It looked forward – it is a Future Conference. The Communion of old had changed irrevocably with events in North America which denied both the clear teaching of the word of God and also the value of Christian unity and fellowship. The Future Conference did not abandon the Communion: it looked to the future and saw what the Communion would have to become if it is to survive.
Second, the location. It was no accident that we were summoned to Jerusalem. Here was the scene of the Saviour’s death and resurrection. In Jerusalem, the Spirit came on the day of Pentecost and the Gospel was first preached. If we were looking and hoping for renewal and courage, symbolically there could be no better place than this. It took us back to our true roots.
Third, the participants. The key thing here is that not only bishops were invited, but clergy and laity, men and women, young and old. To have a future conference of bishops only would be a vote for the past. This was a new thing, a new day.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) July 11, 2017
Chicago was therefore a foretaste of what we can expect in Jerusalem as we gather in June 2018 on the tenth anniversary of the founding of this great movement and the publication of the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration. Our theme is ‘Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations’ and invitations will be going out this month. We look forward with great eagerness to another wonderful gathering as we come together in true communion under the Word of God and in the power of the Spirit of God.
As a global family we do not want any to be excluded through lack of resources. We are looking to fund some bursaries for those in real need and I urge those of us who are materially blessed, whether as provinces, dioceses, parishes or individuals, to be generous so that our fellowship will not be hindered.
Gafcon began in 2008 as what my predeccesor, Archbishop Peter Akinola, described as a ‘rescue mission’ for the Anglican Communion. That rescue was not limited to North America. There is still much to do because history is repeating itself in other parts of the world, as the recent capitulation of the Scottish Episcopal Church to secular ideas about marriage has demonstrated.
False teaching is restless and relentless, and the Church of England itself is in grave spiritual danger. It is much to be regretted that there has been far more concern about alleged ‘boundary crossing’ than about the contempt of God’s Word that made a missionary bishop necessary. In fact, the Bishop of Edinburgh, who has strongly supported the Scottish Episcopal Church’s adoption of same sex ‘marriage’ was invited as a guest of honour to the Church of England’s July General Synod meeting.
I am reminded of Athanasius because we are facing a similar struggle for the integrity of the gospel in our time. On Thursday 8th June, the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) changed its teaching to allow men to be married to men and women to women. It followed the path already taken by the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada.
This attempt to redefine marriage is not a secondary issue about which we can agree to disagree and continue to walk together. It means that Jesus was mistaken when he taught that marriage was between a man and a woman and that sex outside of such a marriage is a sin. It is a radical rejection of the authority of Scripture. The Church claims that it can consecrate behaviour that God’s Word clearly teaches to be sinful. According to the Bible, this behaviour, without repentance, separates those who practice it from his kingdom.
Athanasius consecrated orthodox bishops in dioceses led by Arians because he knew that the apostolic faith itself was at stake. This was the principle guiding the interventions which led to the formation of the Anglican Church in North America in 2009 and it was affirmed by over three hundred bishops in assembly at Gafcon 2013 in Nairobi. It was therefore very appropriate that on the same day that the Scottish Episcopal Church formally turned aside from the historic Christian faith, Gafcon announced that Canon Andy Lines, already an internationally recognised missionary statesman, will be consecrated later this month as a Gafcon missionary bishop for Europe.
This is not a step we have taken lightly, but from the beginning Gafcon has been committed to standing with the marginalised. Requests for help from Scottish orthodox leaders to the Archbishop of Canterbury were turned down. Indeed, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church told his General Synod last year that the Archbishop of Canterbury, had assured him that he would welcome the Scottish Church to the 2020 Lambeth Conference even if it chose to change its marriage canon to include same sex unions.
"Gafcon stands ready to recognise & support orthodox Anglicans as drift away from apostolic faith continues.." https://t.co/WEblBVYaT4
— GAFCON (@gafconference) June 14, 2017
A Communiqué from the Gafcon Primates to Members and Supporters After their just concluded Lagos Meeting
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) April 30, 2017
Many in our African provinces are confronted by the dual threats of insurgent Islamism and drought. The targeting of Christians and churches in northern Nigeria has been in the news, and the daily dangers there and elsewhere continue to be real. Combined with drought conditions, there is the potential for widespread famine in our Sub-Saharan provinces.
In our Global North provinces the challenges are different. With the increasing influence of materialism, secularism, and the loss of moral foundations, our people in these provinces face dangers that are subtle, but spiritually dangerous.
Please keep each of these concerns in your prayers, and consider what God might be calling you to do in response. Our provinces have borders, but our Church does not, and the sharing of material and spiritual resources has never been more needed.
A Missionary Bishop
During our meeting, we considered how best to respond to the voice of faithful Anglicans in some parts of the Global North who are in need of biblically faithful episcopal leadership. Of immediate concern is the reality that on 8th June 2017 the Scottish Episcopal Church is likely to formalize their rejection of Jesus’ teaching on marriage. If this were to happen, faithful Anglicans in Scotland will need appropriate pastoral care. In addition, within England there are churches that have, for reasons of conscience, been planted outside of the Church of England by the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE). These churches are growing, and are in need of episcopal leadership. Therefore, we have decided to consecrate a missionary bishop who will be tasked with providing episcopal leadership for those who are outside the structures of any Anglican province, especially in Europe.
“The situation in the UK is not uniform. Within England there is troubling ambiguity from diocese to diocese in their teaching and pastoral practice as it pertains to human sexuality and biblical church order. However, the situation in the Scottish Episcopal Church is of immediate concern. There has been a clear rejection of biblical truth by the Scottish Episcopal Church, and they are expected to finalise this rejection of Anglican teaching and apostolic order in the upcoming June meeting of their Synod. Alternative structures and oversight will need to be in place should that unfortunate reality come to pass. At their meeting this week, the Gafcon Primates will be considering a range of options for how to care for those who remain faithful to Jesus’ teaching on marriage.”
In our time, God is still active through his Word, the Scriptures. The Anglican Communion is a wonderful gift of God, but we see its witness degraded and confused by false teaching. What is more, the Communion’s traditional leadership responds by accommodating it. There is no hope in that direction, but at the same time, we see a new future unfolding. This is the Gafcon vision and it is being demonstrated very clearly in North America.
Last month, under the inspired and courageous leadership of Bishop Mark Lawrence, the former TEC Diocese of South Carolina voted unanimously to affiliate with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). South Carolina will be its largest diocese and already has a global reach. Its annual ‘Mere Christianity’ conferences are highly regarded and its Anglican Leadership Institute is devoted to developing faithful leaders throughout the Communion. This is a very significant moment in the global realignment of the Communion. Here we see the power of the Word of the Lord: TEC recedes into history while faithful Anglican witness grows.
Commitment to growth will be much in evidence at the ACNA’s Provincial Assembly as it meets in Chicago from 27th to 30th June this year. Gafcon leaders from around the world will join Archbishop Foley Beach as over 1,000 members come together around the theme of ‘Mission on our Doorstep’; a vision for local mission which is greatly strengthened by partnerships that span the continents. I encourage all who can to make the most of this opportunity to work together and be equipped for the vital task of gospel proclamation.