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GAFCON: King Jesus Reigns

GAFCON: King Jesus Reigns

By David W. Virtue, DD
May 11, 2018

When some 2,000 orthodox Anglicans gather in Jerusalem next month under the banner of GAFCON -- the Global Anglican Futures Conference - it will be a joyful occasion, filled with men and women who love our Lord, want to sing His praises, preach His word and tell abroad the Good News of Jesus to all who will hear. The theme for the conference is "Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations."

In one sense there will be nothing new, meaning no innovative or outlandish doctrines, or attempts to change the Church's timeless teaching on human sexuality; it will be an occasion to declare what we have already received. The timeless message that Jesus saves -- will be preached and shouted in the International Convention Center and out into the streets. In Jerusalem, major new initiatives will be launched to equip Anglicans around the world to fulfil this mandate.

Anglicans will come from the four corners of the earth, black and white, short and tall, speaking many languages, from multiple cultures but with one message on their lips -- that is Jesus, and Jesus alone who saves, that he alone brings hope and healing to the nations and salvation to the lost. In Jesus' own words recorded by Dr. Luke,
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free..."

At this conference no one will care what you look like, the color of your skin, how much education you had or have, or how old (or young) you are; you will not just be friends but brothers and sisters in Christ. The relationships here will be deeper even than family ties, for while blood is thicker than water, the Church is thicker than blood. The blood of the Lamb which covers all our sins, unites us all as nothing else does. Being united to Christ is the highest form of union, deeper than marriage, more lasting and will take us into eternity where we will dwell and reign with Him forever.

South American Archbishop Gregory Venables put it succinctly when he said in Ireland at the launch of GAFCON Ireland; "... we are saying we take God and his Word seriously... are you prepared to stand firm? Will you pay the price? I will take God seriously and take myself less seriously. It would not be right to say I am 90% faithful to my wife?"... I've been called to be 100% faithful to her, and she won't accept anything else. And if I'm going to be 100% faithful to God, I've got only one thing to say to this present-day situation -- 'No'!".

Venables said people may not like the word 'GAFCON', but it's the only game in town for faithful Anglicans. "Believe me there is no other place to go if you are interested in the gospel. If you care about people's eternal destiny, you have to make a church. There is only one way to be faithful - to have courage." That is what GAFCON is, he said.

"There is only one way to be faithful, that is to have courage. I'm not talking about resignation and stoicism, I'm talking about courage. I'm talking about standing firm and saying 'No!'. And that is what GAFCON is prepared to do."

Dr. Peter Jensen, GAFCON General Secretary, asked hearers, "What will our children, or theirs, believe? Faithful Christians are now the 'away team'. Anglicanism isn't the Church of God, the members of the church of God are those who are born again. You can be born Anglican...and go to hell. You must be born again to be a Christian!"

Jensen said faithfulness to God is what matters. "I am an Anglican - that is what connects us together. The title deeds of Anglicanism connect us to the scriptures. People say that GAFCON is looking to split the communion - GAFCON is the communion!"

Jensen said the ones who are dividing are those who have abandoned the title deeds of Anglicanism - the 39 articles, BCP etc. Truth is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. GAFCON is not divisive. It is a response to those who have divided the church.

"We need men and women of the cross, who will say no to self and yes to Jesus."

Jensen asked, "How are we to go forward? We must out live, out love and out think the other side. We cannot win secularism by joining the "home team" and joining in. Secularism wants us to become part of the establishment. If our church becomes the tame joker, in coming years, our children will not be in our church, no one will be in our church. In 100 years there will be no congregations, no buildings."

Jensen said he had a vision for the next 50 years, to reclaim the island for the gospel. "We need [Holy] Spirit filled evangelism and church planting. I have a vision for study of the Word of God by families and churches where the Word of God is preached.

Nigerian Primate and GAFCON chairman, Nicholas Okoh, a man not known for pulling his punches in dealing with apostasy or the Archbishop of Canterbury urged GAFCON followers to be "steadfast and immovable in the face of great pressures to compromise the unchanging truth of the gospel."

He urged faithful Anglicans to avoid the seductive calls to unity whether through money, or unity which is based merely on shared history rather than shared truth.

"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 marginalized 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," he said.

"By God's grace we shall not just stand, but flourish. Some of you may feel that you are weak and insignificant in your stand for orthodox faith compared to those who enjoy the favors compromise seems to bring, but we can have complete confidence that our work is not in vain if it is done in reliance on his resurrection power at work in our lives through the Holy Spirit."

Okoh cited 1 Cor. 15:58 "Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." Okoh urged strength to persevere and not lose heart in the face of discouragement.

Proclaiming Christ faithfully to the nations is our calling and lot.


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