Dear Members of the Gafcon Family,
Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord and only Savior!
I pray that you are experiencing the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit as you serve Christ in the place and context our Heavenly Father has you.
As the pandemic continues amidst economic hardship, violence, wars, and injustice in so many of our provinces, let us revive our work to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and provide for the orphans and widows in our local communities. Our message of salvation in Jesus Christ not only has eternal consequences, but earthly ones as well. And while we work in our local communities, let us remember to work and pray for the Gospel to reach the billions of people on planet earth who have no way of hearing about Jesus.
Gafcon is about ‘Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations’, and calling our Anglican Communion to repentance, renewal, and reform. Sadly, we continue to hear reports from around the Communion of faithful, orthodox, biblical followers of Jesus being persecuted for their adherence to the teaching of the Scriptures. Bishop William Love in the Diocese of Albany is the most recent example of failed Western Anglican Leadership and we see it in other places as well.
Bishop Love is a godly and good man. I am so thankful for his faithful stand regarding the office of a diocesan bishop and for keeping to the teaching and moral ethics of the Bible as he has served in the Episcopal Church here in North America. He is a man who has felt the full weight and responsibility of his calling and has sought to humbly follow the Lord’s direction. He has been standing alone against a rising tide of ridicule for his biblical positions, positions which have always been held by the Church.
Many would like to know the response from Gafcon. We are certainly praying for Bishop Bill Love and the many people who find themselves in provinces and dioceses with compromised and failing leadership. To everyone like him in difficult positions, you are not alone as so many around the world contend with you in prayer for the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are grateful for your faith in the midst of opposition and persecution.
A few years ago, I heard Archbishop Deng from the Province of South Sudan describe the growth of the church in his worn-torn nation. He said (paraphrased) they murder our people and the church grows. They raided our villages and the church grows. To those of us listening, his words were so clear to us: the church preaches the gospel (in season or out of it) and God builds His church. We commend these brothers and sisters who prevailed seeing more baptisms and more new churches in a very difficult spot in world history. Their example is a great reminder to the rest of us of the fruitfulness of faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I commend to us the work of the Suffering Church Network led by Bishop Adam Andudu Elnail and Faith McDonnell. On All Saints Day November 1st, many of us joined them to pray for Christians around the world under extreme challenges who, like the apostle Paul, will say,
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10)
This Gafcon network is appealing to world leaders on behalf of the persecuted. They lobby for the cause of religious freedom and they shame those who attack the people of God as attacking the Lord Jesus himself. As Peter writes,
“However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” (1 Peter 4:16).
I am very grateful for their work in this unique time in human history.
Back to my response about failed Western Anglican Leadership: We will preach the gospel, we will make disciples, we will plant churches, we will form new dioceses, and we will launch new Provinces everywhere in the world where the Anglican ¬Communion has turned its back on the faith once delivered to the saints, and where they have turned their back on the collegiality of the faith that “has been believed everywhere, always, by all.” (St. Vincent of Lerins).
The truth of the gospel is the unity of the church and that unity propels the work of the church forward.
Please remember your archbishops in your prayers as we discern and follow the Lord Jesus to see his gospel proclaimed to the nations. We weep with you and we rejoice with you in Christ Jesus. Please remember also to pray for Archbishop Ben Kwashi as he has received treatment for his diagnosis of cancer and process of healing.
To God be the glory and honor and power and dominion forever more! Amen.
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach