My dear brothers and sisters,
Receive Easter greetings in the name of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ who gives us the victory over sin and death!
The bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead is a glorious reality. It is a fact of history and the experience of every believer. It is
God the Father’s verdict that our sins have been fully and finally atoned for and that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, as the centurion by the cross confessed (Matthew 27:54).
Because Jesus is risen from the dead, we know that all God’s promises will one day be fulfilled and this is the reason the Apostle Paul encourages the Christians in Corinth to remember that their ‘labour is not in vain’. As we commit ourselves to the purposes of God, this truth sustains our faith even in the face of the most overwhelming challenges.
If we look just on the surface of things, it is easy to be discouraged. While in Africa and the Middle East Christian communities are being destroyed and intimidated by Islamic radicalism, in the West we are seeing the faith for which these believers are dying being betrayed by compromise with an increasingly intolerant secular culture.
Two of the greatest challenges to world Christianity, and therefore to GAFCON as a global and confessing movement, are Islamic radicalism and the re-evangelisation of the West. At the heart of our response to both must be faithful and costly witness to the gospel by people who are deeply convinced that, in season or out of season, their work will not be useless or wasted because it is done for Christ and in the hope of the resurrection. Such hope leads to a determination to be ‘abounding in the work of the Lord’, to excel in the cause of the gospel, and let me share with you two recent examples of how GAFCON is inspiring bold initiatives for gospel witness.
Firstly, last week it was my privilege as Chairman of GAFCON to share in the launch of the Australian branch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. I believe this is a new beginning for united gospel witness across the continent, sharing the same determination and passion for the gospel as that of the pioneering Anglican chaplain and missionary, Richard Johnson, who led the first recorded act of Christian worship on Australian soil on Sunday 3rd February 1788. It was also a great privilege to meet delegates from New Zealand and they are deeply concerned that their Church may formally accept rites for the blessing of same sex unions next year.
Secondly, GAFCON is also facilitating reciprocal international mission to fulfil the Great Commission of the Risen Christ. I am hearing very positive reports about the team from All Saints’ Cathedral here in Nairobi who ministered at ‘Send 2015’, a campus mission in Chicago held a few weeks ago by church planters of the Anglican Church in North America. I hope we shall have many more initiatives like this. We need an outward looking unity in diversity that serves the truth of the gospel, not the inward looking unity in diversity of projects like ‘Continuing Indaba’ that open the doors of the Church to a false gospel.
The GAFCON Primates Council will soon meet in London, from the 13th to the 17th April, and we shall take counsel together so that our movement can grow strongly and be equipped to fulfil the vision of restoring the Anglican Communion’s commitment to biblical truth. It will also give us a special opportunity to meet with leaders of the British and Irish branch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and the Anglican Mission in England. Please uphold us in prayer during this time.
Finally, please also be in prayer for the people of Nigeria, including some twenty million Anglicans, under a new President after the recent elections. May they know peace, security and stability and may the work of the gospel speed forward in that great nation.
So let us resolve to set all our hopes on the Risen Christ and give ourselves fully to the service of the one who makes all things new.