Monday, October 28, 2013

GAFCON II: The Nairobi Communiqué

Fr. Dale Matson

“When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Akbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s attendant: “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.” (2 Kings 22: 11-13)
I believe the Communiqué speaks for itself and does so clearly. This response is simply my understanding of it. I couldn’t help but think of this Old Testament passage as I read the Nairobi Communiqué.  King Josiah rediscovered the Book of the Law while renovating the temple. From it came repentance for the king. God’s people turned their backs on God.  They were the worst sinners of all. They were idolaters.  GAFCON II was about renovating God’s temple and finding God among the ruins.
To me it is as if, Anglicans have rediscovered the centrality of the Gospel, so important to the reformation.  The Communiqué begins and ends with Christ. It is a reaffirmation of an orthodox Christology as a continuation of the East Africa revival. East Africa has comforted us with the comfort they were comforted with. 
We have had enough of other gospels and are joined together in Christ as His body the church; the Anglican Church. It is a Spirit of unity reestablishing the preeminence of Scripture and need for Evangelism even in the face of persecution.
It is the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans who are now an instrument within the greater Communion. There is no repentance from the leadership of the western churches and no turning back for the GFCA. It is they who will determine what is means to be an orthodox Anglican.  It is they who will develop seminaries that honor Scripture.  “The character and boundaries of our fellowship are not determined by institutions but by the Word of God.”  It is not a prosperity gospel. Anglican Christians, witness, evangelize, disciple and suffer. They honor boundaries set and blessed by God for men and women and their families. The Anglican Christian is to live a holy and fruitful life of repentance, forgiveness for sin, believing in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to transform his /her life.
We will not be setting back and letting contemporary culture set the agenda for the church. We will defend the Word of God and live the Christian Life in a world culture that opposes and despises it. There is Truth and we will proclaim Him.
There is still ‘Broad Church’ compassion without the poison pill arrogance. It is the spreading of the Gospel that will transform both individuals and society. “…empowering those who are deprived of resources; and that we should not ignore the cries of the marginalized and oppressed who need immediate aid.
We have been brought to this point because we are steadfast. God is a God of love but He is also a Holy God. We are hardy through persecution but the church catholic has been praying for us and we are thankful to them. We also thank the saints in Heaven.
As I read the Communiqué I was also reminded of a familiar Christian hymn removed from the Mennonite Brethren Hymnal because it was too militaristic.  The chorus goes like this.

“Onward, Christian soldiers! Marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus Going on before.” Thank You Lord for GAFCON II



The Underground Pewster said...

"Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you." 1 Kings 11:38

Anonymous said...

Well said, Fr. Dale! Inspiring and encouraging and perceptive! Thanks for sharing these observations.

Fr. Carlos