JERUSALEM – On the tenth anniversary of the first GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference), nearly 2,000 attendees met in Jerusalem, the site of the original GAFCON. The theme of the conference was “Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations.”
GAFCON works to guard and proclaim the unchanging, transforming Gospel through biblically faithful preaching and teaching which frees our churches to make disciples by a clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ in all the world and to guard against moral compromise, doctrinal error, and “the collapse of the biblical witness.”
The GAFCON movement originated in 2003 when some Anglican bishops determined that the denomination was, at its head, moving away from the essential and unequivocal biblical principles of faith and practice. The members of GAFCON determined to work from within to foster reform within the church rather than splitting from it. Member churches in the United States subsequently changed their appellation from Episcopal to Anglican to make their stand and identity clear.
The 2018 meeting was convened to discuss three primary concerns:
- Compromised leadership at the most senior levels of the Anglican church.
- Commitment to change from within with a return to orthodox doctrine.
- Communion within a united family of the church “centered on the biblical gospel rather than a theologically confused institution.”
As the conferment concluded, a letter was drafted and delivered to the churches. That letter explained that, in order to proclaim the Gospel clearly, the church must be willing to defend it against threats external and internal. It further noted that there has been “a failure of leadership to address these threats to the gospel of God” from leaders who deny the Lordship of Christ and the authority of Scripture.
Two paragraphs of the epistle clarified those threats in greater detail.
External attacks include superstitious practices of sacrifices and libations that deny the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice. Some religions deny the unique person and work of Christ on the cross, and others are innately syncretistic. Secularism seeks to exclude God from all public discourse and to dismantle the Christian heritage of many nations. This has been most obvious in the redefinition of what it means to be human, especially in the areas of gender, sexuality, and marriage. The devaluing of the human person through the advocacy of abortion and euthanasia is also an assault upon human life uniquely created in the image of God. Militant forms of religion and secularism are hostile to the preaching of Christ and persecute his people.
Internally, the “prosperity gospel” and theological revisionism both seek in different ways to recast God’s gospel to accommodate the surrounding culture, resulting in a seductive syncretism that denies the uniqueness of Christ, the seriousness of sin, the need for repentance and the final authority of the Bible.
In keeping with the theme of the conference, GAFCON renewed its commitment not only to defend the faith but also to embrace the difficult task of reaching “beyond our own cultural groups” to faithfully proclaim the Gospel.
Four members of the Gospel for Asia staff attended the event.