The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
In a conference, the global Anglican movement supported “brothers and sisters living in restricted situations seeking to remain faithful to Christ”.
The Global Anglican Futures Conference (Gafcon) has said Anglicans in countries where Christianity is persecuted experience a “sense of betrayal when the very gospel for which they are suffering is being undermined and denied in other parts of the Anglican Communion”.
Four primates, 31 bishops and archbishops and more than one hundred other clergy and lay people from 12 countries gathered in Dubai (UAE) in the G19 conference “for Anglicans living in restricted circumstances”.
As they studied the letter to the Philippians (New Testament), the attendants addressed the “context of hostility between India and Pakistan; conflict in Sudan; a fragile peace in South Sudan, though some parts continue to face unrest; and the endemic violence between ethnic and religious groups in Nigeria”.
In a 17-point final statement “Streams in the Desert: A Letter from Churches in Restricted Situations”, Gafcon said: “We shared in the joy and suffering faced by many of our brothers and sisters living in restricted situations as they seek to remain faithful to Christ”.
LAMBETH CONFERENCE 2020
The conclusions also address the growing split with some liberal pro-LGBT Anglican churches in the USA and Europe.
“It grieves us that those who reject the clarity and authority of the Scriptures, the universal teaching of the Church, the classical Anglican formularies and the decisions of the Lambeth Conference undermine the credibility of our witness amongst our fellow citizens of other faiths and of none”.
The Lambeth conference will be held in 2020 under the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. It is the major gathering of Anglican Primates globally. Opposing positions on the authority of the Bible and issues like same-sex marriage are expected to cause strong debates, as it has happened in the last years.
‘ANGLICANS DISEGARDING CHURCH TEACHING SHOULD NOT BE INVITED’
“We respectfully continue to urge that all faithful Anglican provinces, including the Anglican Church in North America and the Anglican Province of Brazil, be invited to future Anglican gatherings”, the statement adds.
“At the same time, we ask that those provinces, bishops and clergy who, in word or action, openly disregard the teaching of the Church as described, for example, by Resolution I:10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, should not be invited unless they repent of their actions and their consequences”.
As Gafcon called once again to “partner together” for the expansion of the gospel worldwide, it also expressed: “We grieve that the fellowship in the Anglican Communion has been torn at the deepest level by those who preach another gospel and those who urge us to continue to ‘walk together’ with them”.
Read the full G19 Gafcon statement.
NICHOLAS D. OKOH: LAMBETH 2020 COULD BE “OBSTACLE TO THE GOSPEL”
In February, Nicholas D. Okoh, Primate of All Nigeria and Chairman of Gafcon, expressed his worries about what the same-sex marriage of the Assistant Anglican Bishop of Toronto (Anglican Church of Canada), Kevin Robertson, meant in terms of breaking the Anglican Communion agreement on marriage.
“With great sadness we have to conclude that the Lambeth Conference of 2020 will itself be an obstacle to the gospel by embracing teaching and a pattern of life which are profoundly at odds with the biblical witness and the apostolic Christianity through the ages”, Okoh said.
In September 2018, Gafcon proposed a peaceful “structural separation” in the Anglican Communcion and urged to handle disagreement between Anglicans with a “theological integrity” that “minimises the hurt and distress that has been all too evident”.