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EFAC Australia

Anglican Communion

 

On June 22, 2008 over 1200 Anglicans gathered in the city of Jerusalem for a week of prayer, Bible study, consultation, discernment and planning for their future. The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) had begun. The number of people who made their pilgrimage to the land of Jesus' birth was impressive, but when measured against the number of Anglicans represented by the 300 bishops present, the significance of this conference is brought into sharp relief. While statistics of Anglicans in England are often quoted as being 25 million, it is well known that only about 1 million people are regular church-attending members of the Church of England. By contrast Nigeria has 20 million church-attending Anglicans and Uganda has 10 million. These latter figures far outweigh the number of the active Anglican membership in the West. With the worldwide number of church-attending Anglicans being estimated at 55 million, 75% of these were represented by the bishops and archbishops attending GAFCON.

The EFAC Commitment
July 2008
EFAC International Conference, Trinity College Bristol

The Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion (EFAC) is a fellowship of evangelical Christians in Anglican Churches around the world, who are passionate for biblical faith and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and who support one another's concerns and ministries. EFAC is active in different regions of the world, and currently holds an international conference every five years, before each Lambeth Conference, and at the halfway point between.

We are thankful to God for the Gospel, which is eternally unchanging and yet ever new, and for all those with whom we share the work of proclaiming Christ. We are encouraged by the work of mission and evangelism wherever it is taking place around the world, particularly for developments in missional theological education, for extensive church planting, and for great openness to the Gospel. We give thanks for our brothers and sisters in the Churches of the Global South, for their leadership, sacrifice and example in the work of the Gospel, and for their work on the Anglican Covenant. We are especially grateful for growing relationships among all Anglicans of orthodox persuasion.

What is GAFCON?

The Global Anglican Future Conference was an 8 day conference in Jerusalem, with 1148 lay and clergy participants, including 291 bishops from across the globe! The estimate is that 70% of the world's Anglicans were represented.1

There was a sense that this was an historic time in God's plan for his church. There was the recognition that there was a steadfast need to reclaim and re-proclaim the authority and truth of the scriptures, as the true ground for Anglican formularies and practice. There was a sadness that GAFCON was necessary.

Bishopdale College, Diocese of Nelson, New Zealand

Tim Harris was Adelaide's Archdeacon for Mission, Evangelism & Church Growth and Senior Minister of the Kensington-Norwood Anglican Team Ministry. But he's now the newly appointed Dean of Bishopdale College. The editor, Wei-Han Kuan, interviewed him about this move.

WH: Tim, I read on their website that you've just been appointed to Bishopdale College. What can you tell us about the College?

TH: Bishopdale Theological College emerged from a vision shared by the Diocese of Nelson, NZ for a clearly Anglican and evangelical theological college addressing the needs for ministry formation in that diocese, but also available more broadly to Anglicans and those of other denominations throughout NZ (and beyond!). The College was authorised by the diocese in 2006, and is now up and running.

WH: OK, so what will your new job involve?

In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit:
  1. We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, have met in the land of Jesus' birth. We express our loyalty as disciples to the King of kings, the Lord Jesus. We joyfully embrace his command to proclaim the reality of his kingdom which he first announced in this land. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of salvation, liberation and transformation for all. In light of the above, we agree to chart a way forward together that promotes and protects the biblical gospel and mission to the world, solemnly declaring the following tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican identity.
  2. 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. Because God first loved us, we love him and as believers bring forth fruits of love, ongoing repentance, lively hope and thanksgiving to God in all things.

Is 'Conservative Evangelicalism' a contradiction in terms?

Tom Frame

When Anglicans talk about the theological parties, factions, tribes and movements that inhabit the global Communion, there is frequent mention of 'conservative evangelicalism' as though conservatism and evangelicalism belong naturally together. After all, it is widely thought, Evangelicals are usually conservative while Evangelicalism usually attracts conservatives. In parts of the Anglican Communion (and I am thinking here predominantly of affluent First World nations with large liberal constituencies like the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia) the fact that someone owns up to being an Evangelical is bad enough; that most apparently exhibit the attitudes and actions of social and political conservatism makes them doubly reprehensible. Am I exaggerating? No, I don't think so.

There are senior Anglican leaders in Australia who fear that the rise of the Religious Right in America might be replicated in this country if all forms of religiously inspired or expressed forms of conservatism are not denounced. This leads them into outright opposition to all complexions of Evangelicalism because, they would contend, it leads to an ideological and ecclesiological agenda that is anti-democratic, anti-intellectual, anti-libertarian and anti-modern. This is a very serious allegation. But what of the evidence cited in support of the charge? In my view it is very thin and inadequate to sustain a conviction.

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