Dr. Michael Nazir-Ali has been very involved in the affairs of Gafcon ever since its birth in 2008, and therefore the announcement of his move to the Roman Catholic Church has been unsettling for many Anglicans.
Some rightful expressions of respect for him as a person have been misinterpreted and have raised questions about the integrity of Gafcon. Having had discussions with our leadership in different parts of the world, we feel led to write to you to encourage you and to reassure you of the continued firm theological stand of Gafcon.
Our strong conviction is that fellowship with our movement provides the right way to remain true to Christ and the gospel, even for those who cannot stay within their own Diocese or Province.
Let us mention three main points.
1. Gafcon is critical of the theological direction taken by some Anglican and Episcopal Churches in various parts of the world, but because of serious doctrinal differences we do not agree that moving to the Roman Catholic Church is a satisfactory response to this situation.
2. We believe that Anglicanism, which is true to its heritage, gives a true expression of the faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. As stated in the Jerusalem Declaration, “We rejoice in the gospel of God through which we have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit . . . We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation . . . We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils, the three historic Creeds and the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion . . . We gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humanity’s only Saviour from sin, judgement and hell . . . We uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer.
3. We believe that Gafcon is a God-given powerful renewal and reforming movement inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit. Through Gafcon the Lord has gathered together faithful Anglicans all around the world and supported them when the instruments of the Anglican Communion failed to do so. We are in the midst of a colossal spiritual struggle in which the truth of the word of God is being assailed by the forces of this world. Gafcon exists so that we may stand firm, “contending for the faith” (Jude 3) and striving side by side for the truth of the gospel. In this way a diluted and adapted version of the gospel will be rejected, and the authentic Gospel will be preached and lived.
Let us, then, like St. Paul, “press on towards the goal for the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil.3:14). The persecution, false teachings and disappointments which Paul had to face were enormous, but nothing could hold him back. So let us move ahead together in joy, love, faith and hope.You will be pleased to know we are doing just that as planning has begun for GAFCON IV to be held in Kigali, Rwanda from 21-27 May 2023.
“Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith(Heb.12:1-2), as we seek to obey Our Lord’s command to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt.28:19), rejoicing in his promise that he is with us always (Mt.28:20).”
The Lord be with you,
The Most Rev Benjamin Kwashi, General Secretary Gafcon
The Most Rev Foley Beach, Chairman Gafcon