Essentials

The Billy Graham Crusade (1959) A Personal Memoir

As we approach the 60th anniversary year of the momentous 1959 Billy Graham Crusade in Australia, Bishop Tony Nichols recalls how Graham touched the people around him, and what flowed out of this and later Crusades.

Bishop Tony Nichols ministers at St Lawrence’s Dalkeith, WA and beyond.

Next year marks the sixtieth anniversary of Billy Graham’s first visit to Australia in 1959 when he led ‘crusades’ across all capital cities over a four-month period. To commemorate the remarkable outpouring of God’s Spirit in which thousands decided to follow Christ, Franklin Graham, Billy’s son, will speak in each capital city in February 2019.

Billy Graham was invited to Australia by the Primate of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Howard Mowll who did not live to witness the extraordinary results. His initiative, however, launched an unprecedented ecumenical movement which saw thousands of Christians from different denominations meeting weekly for prayer for God’s blessing on Australia. Over 8,000 enrolled for counsellor training in Sydney alone. Those training sessions were a great blessing to me personally, not least because we had to learn off by heart over twenty passages of Scripture. Volunteers were also organised for support roles and each of the choirs had a thousand members. The organisation was superb.

Crusade statistics have frequently been rehearsed. Attendances totalled three million. Australia’s total population at the time was twelve million. Melbourne attendances totalled 719,000. The Sydney Crusade drew 980,000. In the other capitals, meetings were taken by associate evangelists with Graham speaking at the final meetings. In Perth, the attendance was 106,800. A broader radio audience heard his trademark, ‘The Bible says’. Landlines relayed hundreds of services to rural communities. Of those who heard Billy Graham, over 150,000 made ‘decisions for Christ’. Not a few subsequently became significant leaders, both in Australia and in overseas missions.

Some colourful stories made newspaper headlines: ‘Thug Gives Up Revolver’, ‘Burglar Hands over Tool Kit’. Businesses reported an epidemic of repayment of bad debts. Enrolments in Bible Colleges doubled over the next four years. Churches which supported the Crusade were undoubtedly revitalised.

Not all church leaders supported the Crusade. The Bishops of Newcastle, Canberra-Goulburn, and Rockhampton derided Billy Graham’s simplistic use of the Bible. But many of their flock heard the gospel for the first time in language they could understand and confessed faith in the Lord Jesus.
My home parish of St. Augustine’s Bulli did not support the Crusade. The rector was a good man, but he, and all members of the Parish Council, were members of the Masonic Lodge. So an older layman, Bill Lackenby, and I organised a bus for the four weeks of the Showground meetings in Sydney, 70 km away. I still do not know how we paid for it. Astonishingly, the parish received about 200 referrals, almost all non-church goers. The rector fell ill and a young curate from Moore College, Reg Barker, was recruited. He faithfully visited all who were referred. The parish experienced new life and to this day is a vibrant fellowship. Our elder son and his family moved to the district ten years ago and are keen members of ‘Bulli Anglican’, as it is now known.
God’s blessing was also evident among the students of the University of Sydney where about 700 made commitments to Christ during the Crusade. The Evangelical Union organised Bible study groups. I was charged with the task of forming two such groups in the Faculties of Vet. Science and Pharmacy. One afternoon, Billy Graham actually came and preached on the lawns of the University. Inevitably, pranksters did their best to disrupt his address. They rang triple zero to report that the Uni was on fire. We could hear the sirens of fire engines coming from all over the city. But Billy persevered with good humour.

Emotionalism was a predictable explanation for the impact of Billy Graham’s preaching. Certainly, to hear thousands of voices singing ‘Just as I am, without one plea’ and to see hundreds of enquirers coming down quietly from all over the stands was unforgettably moving. But the power was in the clear proclamation of the gospel. The most remarkable evidence of this for me occurred in the following year, 1960, when I was appointed to Temora High School in country NSW.

In Temora, I threw myself into the life of St. Paul’s, the local parish—youth club, Sunday School and parish council. I was unaware of a looming crisis. No church in Temora had supported the Billy Graham crusade. However, two laymen had organised a landline relay. The rector was vexed because a number of his congregation claimed to have come to Christ through Billy Graham’s ministry—and that via a crackling landline in a cold Shire hall. A year later he was still ridiculing their experience and sought to counter Graham’s ‘The Bible says’ with homilies that regularly questioned the reliability of Scripture.
As he could not be persuaded to respond more pastorally, I commenced a Bible Study with 27 people aged 17 to 79 years. We met every Friday night for almost two years in the home of the oldest member, Mrs Donaldson, until I left for CMS service in North Borneo. It was a wonderful fellowship, but it was grievous that we did not have the blessing of our parish priest. In fact, I was denounced from the pulpit before an astonished congregation and told to leave. I declined to do so and begged for an interview. He reluctantly agreed. I turned up with Bible and prayer book, but no meaningful discussion occurred. I was henceforth tolerated.

That was a traumatic experience for a 22 year old, and it was perhaps strange that it did not alienate me from the Anglican Church. Rather I saw so many of God’s people as sheep without a shepherd and had a growing sense of his call to the ministry of that Word that Billy Graham had faithfully proclaimed.

Harrie Scott Simmons: a tribute.

Peter Adam pays tribute to a great mentor of his. A shorter version of this tribute was first published in The Melbourne Anglican, September 2018.

Peter Adam is Vicar Emeritus of St Jude’s Carleton, Vic.

Harrie Scott Simmons, 5th September 1918 – 4th May 1999.HarryScottSimmons

Harrie was born in Melbourne, attended Scotch College, and was converted through the Crusaders movement by Baden Gilbert, who ministered at Montague (South Melbourne). It was a slum parish, and some of the Crusaders helped with ministry in the parish, and paid for a women’s worker to assist in ministry there. Harrie also joined CMS League of Youth. He trained for the ministry at Ridley College, when Bishop Baker was the Principal, and benefitted from his Biblical preaching and emphasis on the devotional life.

Harrie was ordained in Melbourne, and served his curacies at St Andrew’s Brighton and Holy Trinity Kew, and then worked as Assistant Minister to Dean Langley at St Paul’s Cathedral. He then left for India in 1947, where he served at Amy Carmichael’s centre for children at Dohnavur, then as chaplain at Vellore Medical College and Hospital, and then as Chaplain at Lushington School at Ootacamund.

On one occasion at Vellore, Harrie was preaching on the text ‘Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’, and Dr Mary Verghese was converted to Christ. She later had a significant ministry as a surgeon repairing the hands of leprosy patients, and a vigorous Christian witness throughout her life.

He was forced to return to Melbourne because of ill-health. Here at home he served as Chaplain at Malvern Grammar, then Chaplain at Ridley College, and then worked for the Australian Institute of Archeology. He was also active in speaking at Scripture Union and CMS activities for young people.
Harrie had a constant and extensive ministry praying for, counselling and mentoring young men. He was a person of great compassion and patience, deep spirituality, attractive holiness, and practical wisdom. He was a great intercessor, and you knew that once you were on his prayer list you were on it for life! He ministered to a wide range of men from all backgrounds. He was a faithful student and teacher of the Bible, and a wise evangelist and personal counsellor. He had a keen interest in people, and the gift of friendship.

I am one of many young men whom Harrie met ‘by chance', and who was befriended for life. He converted me to Christ, and then met with me every Tuesday for 3 years to disciple and mentor me, both as a Christian, and also then into ordained ministry. When I went to see the Archbishop’s Chaplain to offer for ordination, he asked me who had influenced me most in my call to the ministry. When I told him it was Harrie Scott Simmons, he replied, ‘We don’t think much of him at Headquarters’ [!] I am thankful that I automatically replied, ‘Well he converted me so I am very thankful for him!’

It was my privilege to preach at Harrie’s funeral in 1999, and St James’ Glen Iris was full of men who praised God for his ministry. He had a wonderful combination of high standards for us, and deep compassion and understanding when we fell short. Harrie had a deep love of classical music, and an outrageous sense of humour. He was a poet, had a keen interest in and expertise in Egyptology, and an attractive simplicity of life.

I recently spoke at a meeting at which 48 ministers were present. I mentioned Harrie by name, and after my talks four other ministers came up to reminisce about him, and we thanked God together for him. He truly was a ‘Father in Israel’ to many. His life, ministry and prayers are still bearing fruit. We praise and thank God for all his saints, and especially at this time, for Harrie Scott Simmons.

‘Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.’ Daniel 12:3.

Editorial Summer 2018

Our friends across the Pacific

Australia has an important relationship to the USA, and Australian Christianity has an important relationship with US Christianity. Sometimes we have been on the whole very positive about things American that wash across to our shores, sometimes we are rather more negative. Almost always reaction is mixed: as a body we might simultaneously wonder at the mysteries of the American Way, or resist what we feel is an alien and unhelpful influence, or rejoice at a great help from a good-hearted ally with much to offer, or deplore the baggage we feel they sometimes encumber us with. Our two feature articles touch on ways that US Christianity impinges upon Australian Christianity. The first is Tony Nichols’ personal account of the visit of Billy Graham in 1959 (the 60th anniversary of which approaches). As Tony testifies, plenty in the churches, including influential local leaders, doubted and resisted the Graham Crusade then, but what a moment that visit proved to be, with so many hearing him speak, either live at the venue, or by some kind of relay, and with so many later testifying what an impact it had on their spiritual lives. Tony takes us back to the ferment and excitement of the Crusade and its lasting aftermath.

Our second feature article by Rhys Bezzant begins in the present with the dismay in some quarters over Evangelical support of Donald Trump at the US presidential election. He asks whether this should make us consider shedding the label ‘evangelical’, and answers with a resounding ‘no’, seeking instead to outline briefly the long and distinguished history and associations of the term, which transcend the political turmoil and polarisation of the moment.

Our leaders are focussed on things Australian. We return to Tasmania for a further instalment of news about the energy there around the pursuit of the Diocesan Mission to be a church for Tasmania, making disciples of Jesus. We peek into the councils of the St Hilary’s Network as they wrestle with a pastoral policy responding to the amendment of the Marriage Act to provide for same-sex marriage. Third, Peter Adam honours the late Harrie Scott Simmons, an evangelical clergyman who was instrumental in his conversion, short term discipleship and long term mentoring into ordained ministry.
Adrian Lane opens up Jesus’ call to build your life on his words in Luke 6:46-49, and we round out the issue with book reviews of books by Brian Rosner, Alistair McGrath, Charles Taylor and Kevin Vanhoozer. I hope you get leisure to read some good books over the summer.

In case you worried that our interview with Bishop Kay Goldsworthy last issue was meant to signal endorsement for the kind of liberal theological agenda she has shown sympathy for, let me say that that is emphatically not the case. Rather, the interview was included in an issue with an interest in what bishops have to offer by way of vision, of analysis of what the present moment requires of Christians, of programmes for what we should be doing and why we should be doing it. Bishop Richard Condie provided one offering, and Archbishop Kay Goldsworthy provided another. As I did last issue, I leave it to readers to make up their minds for themselves about the depth, wisdom and promise of these two offerings.

As always, I value hearing from readers about how Essentials is making them smile, frown, think, give thanks or pray. And if you have something to contribute to the pages of Essentials, whether a book review, piece of news from your neck of the woods, personal story, reflection on ministry or topical essay, do be in touch.

Ben Underwood

Pastoral Guidelines on Same-Sex Relationships, Marriage and Gender

With the advent of same-sex marriage, churches are seeking to articulate with grace and truth a response to the various issues this presents. Stephen Hale has generously made available the pastoral guidelines that the St Hilary’s Network in Melbourne has developed. Reading and reflecting on their efforts might prove helpful to others engaged in similar tasks.

Stephen Hale is the Lead Minister in the St Hilary’s Network

We acknowledge that developing a theological and pastoral response related to human sexuality and sexual practice in our cultural setting is complex and challenging. We offer our full assurance for all who are same sex attracted that they are loved, valued and welcome in our church. Our identity as believers is founded in the new life we live as God’s children. We are all one in Christ Jesus regardless of ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. 

As a church, we uphold the formularies of the Anglican Church of Australia, which are grounded in the Bible’s teaching. The Christian rite of marriage is between a man and a woman. Both Jesus in Matthew 19:4-5, and St Paul affirm what God has instituted across all ages in the words of Genesis 2:24: ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ The introduction to the Anglican Marriage Service (APBA Order 2) classically states it this way,

‘Scripture teaches that marriage is a lifelong partnership uniting a woman and a man in heart, mind and body. In the joy of their union, husband and wife enrich and respond to each other, growing in tenderness and understanding. Through marriage a new family is formed, where children may be born and grow in secure and loving care.’

Faithfulness in Service (The Anglican Church of Australia Trust Corporation, 2004) is the guiding policy document of the Anglican Church of Australia, especially for those who are licensed or authorised to minister, and states the formal position of the Anglican Church as ‘faithfulness in marriage and celibacy in singleness’. In upholding biblical teaching on marriage, we acknowledge that it involves the costly call of celibacy for all who are unmarried.
In the person of Jesus, we find the perfect model of someone who lived and spoke with both grace and truth (John 1:14). We acknowledge that in our attempts to develop a pastoral and theological response, the church may have at times spoken the truth, but not in love, and we repent of it. We acknowledge that, in our attempts to uphold the Bible’s teaching (and Anglican formularies) on marriage, we may have given the impression that same-sex attracted people themselves were the problem. This is not true, and we apologise if you have experienced this. We also acknowledge that homophobia has been a sin in our church and the wider community, and we repent of it.

We acknowledge that this is an issue of significant pastoral tension within our faith community as we seek to reflect on the Bible’s teaching and, also, as we seek to love and support same sex attracted family members, work colleagues and friends. We commit ourselves to holistic pastoral responses that are compassionate and positive in supporting people who are same sex attracted.

We seek to increasingly be a faith community that rejoices in the gift of friendship for all people. We encourage mutual hospitality within the body of Christ as families and single people share their gifts and homes. We encourage all married couples and families to both welcome and include single people as part of their ongoing life. We welcome those who share their lives as companions and seek to live faithfully.

We recognise that not all in our church community hold the same views on this matter and urge each of us to interact in a respectful and open manner. We commit ourselves to ongoing study and reflection on the teaching of Scripture in these areas.

  • We encourage church members to engage with friends, colleagues and family respectfully and with grace, modelling Christian engagement. As Christians living in a pluralist culture we seek to support each other in upholding our right to speak respectfully and graciously. We urge legislators to uphold religious freedom and to enshrine appropriate protections for religious practitioners and institutions in any proposed legislation.

Leadership Protocols

1. Under the provisions of the Marriage Act (Australian Government, 2017) Anglican clergy are exempted from performing same sex marriages if it is contrary to the formularies of their denomination. The 2017 Marriage Act states:

2A: b) to allow ministers of religion to solemnise marriage, respecting the doctrines, tenets and beliefs of their religion, the views of their religious community or their own religious beliefs;

The Canons of the Anglican Church only allow for marriage between a man and a woman.

2. As per current practice, St Hilary’s clergy and lay ministers attending any marriage where they have been invited to play a role shall, prior to accepting the invitation, inform the Lead Minister, if they have not already done so by their standard scheduling and planning discussions. Clergy must abide by current Diocesan protocols in the conduct of weddings.

3. Staff and those in elected leadership must uphold Faithfulness in Service

4. An individual’s views on these matters are not a criterion for being on the Parish Electoral Roll.

Works Cited

  • Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017. Australian Government, 2017.
  • A Prayer Book for Australia, Broughton Publishing, 1995
  • Faithfulness in Service, The Anglican Church of Australia Trust Corporation, 2004.

Making Disciples Every Day

Sonya de Lacey gives us a taste of the Bishop’s Training Event in the Diocese of Tasmania.

Sonya de Lacey is the Media and Communications Officer for the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania

The atmosphere had an expectant buzz as 400 plus Anglicans from across Tasmania gathered for the third annual Bishop’s Training Event. This year’s theme was Making Disciples Every Day. It was Saturday 22 September. Music filled the auditorium. Lanyards were handed out. Resource tables were plentiful, covering topics such as: Alpha, Bush Church Aid, Church Missionary Society, Diocesan Training and Youth/Kids ministry info, Safe Church Communities, University Fellowship of Christians and Worldview College—to name just a few. The aroma of freshly ground coffee filtered through the air. This was our biggest event ever with around 350 adults, and 70+ children in the children’s event and creche.

At morning prayer we gave thanks to God that we, his people, could gather together in his name. We asked the Holy Spirit to fill us and empower us to be Christ’s disciples, sending us to go and proclaim the gospel, making disciples in our own neighbourhoods and to the ends of the earth. In the morning session Bishop Richard challenged us to ask the Lord of the harvest prayerfully and regularly for workers to send out into the harvest field.1 He concluded his session by sharing a video of Patricia McCormack who goes into Risdon Prison to share the good news. This lovely story showed how God can take our brokenness and create something truly beautiful.2

The Rev’d Andy Goodacre shared how Jesus chose unlikely people, in unlikely places, and invested in the few for the sake of the many.3 He shared an encouraging video from his church called: Barney’s Missionary People, Seeing Lives Transformed.4

We heard testimonies of God growing the church in Circular Head from about 15 to 20 people 18 months ago to over 90 people the Sunday before the Bishop’s Training Event. Others talked about how the Holy Spirit had been preparing them for a move and how they had sold up and were now moving house to join a new church plant in Brighton. There was much to give thanks for and celebrate.

The singing was both powerful and beautiful. One attendee wrote, ‘the very best thing about the day for me was the singing … Standing there, surrounded by the swell of sound from four hundred people all singing together, was the most uplifting, encouraging feeling. I was carried on the sound. I was buoyed by it … Saturday’s singing was about being community. Being family. Singing with one voice. Joining together and making something truly beautiful.’5
In the afternoon, everyone met in smaller groups attending 2 of 22 possible workshops. Workshops covered a wide range of ministry topics: for example, disciple-making in rural areas; connecting the church with young people; helping build disability-inclusive Christian communities; answering tricky questions in the workplace; everyday pastoral care; making disciples every day and missional communities; making disciples in the everyday.

‘There is always more we can learn to help us to serve God and with the wide range of session topics to choose from there was something for everyone’, said Philip Ruston. ‘It was good to learn more about personal witness and that even if we’ve had a Christian upbringing we still have a story to tell about our walk and relationship with God.’

Steve Abbott, author of Everyday Evangelism, led the two main auditorium workshops on sharing our faith with others. He talked about the ‘key practical biblical elements of personal witness’6 and ‘Understanding the five thresholds unbelievers cross from distrust to trust in Jesus’.7 We learnt valuable new skills and ideas to make disciples across Tasmania.

Our vision is to be: a church for Tasmania, making disciples of Jesus. Hopefully we have all taken away something new which will enable us to be a blessing within our communities and to share the good news. ‘I would certainly recommend the day, it allows you to see the depth and breadth of our Anglican Church community, making new friendships, renewing old ones and getting a broader view of what is happening across Tasmania,’ said Heather Krause. ‘It gives a better perspective regarding our faith community, rather than your head being down and just working on where you are. It is so important to raise your head and see what is happening outside of your circle, it gives you encouragement and new ideas and resources’, she said.
We left, thankful for what God is doing amongst us, with new skills and ideas to make disciples across Tasmania, and keen to invite others to join us next year.


Footnotes

EFAC. GAFCON. What's the difference? Are both necessary?

EFAC. GAFCON.

What's the difference? Are both necessary?

Rev’d Richard Crocker, General Secretary, EFAC (Global)

EFAC had an exhibit stand at the recent GAFCON gathering in Jerusalem, Many of the GAFCON conference delegates stopped by the EFAC exhibit and the response was overwhelmingly positive. We are now in regular contact with Anglican leaders from 31 countries and many of those either have or want an EFAC chapter. They have no doubt that EFAC will benefit their churches. But upon returning to the USA we have been asked, ‘Why is EFAC needed, since we have GAFCON?’ or, ‘Why was GAFCON needed, since we have EFAC? What’s the difference? Are EFAC and GAFCON competing? Or cooperating? Or does one make the other redundant? This article addresses these questions.

At GAFCON it was obvious that GAFCON and EFAC are related on a deep level. Many of the newly announced leaders of GAFCON—the Chairman, General Secretary, and Assistant Secretaries—were mentored through, or held leadership positions in, EFAC at some point. A recent article by Chris Sugden and Vinay Samuel demonstrates that the GAFCON movement itself derives from earlier work by emerging provinces in the Lambeth Conferences of 1988 and 1998. The character, growth and maturity of these provinces, in turn, developed to a great extent from the ministry of John Stott and EFAC. It would not stretch a point to claim that the prevailing churchmanship of GAFCON 2018 was evangelical. The style of worship, the biblical nature of the week’s events, the expository style of the teaching, and the extempore prayer expected in the small group times, would be familiar to those of evangelical background. This aspect made GAFCON very similar to EFAC, which is evangelical by charter. This brings us back to the questions: ‘Do we need both EFAC and GAFCON today? Is there an important difference between them?’

That EFAC and GAFCON are complementary, not competitive, becomes clear as we examine both organizations. Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll, in his Commentary on the 2018 GAFCON Letter to the Churches writes,

‘The GAFCON Assembly is an ecclesial body, a confessional body (every attendee subscribed to the Jerusalem Declaration), and a missional body…So the Conference is upper-case GAFCON and the movement that spans the Conferences and the ongoing structures and relationships that give it life, this is title-case GAFCON.’ (Emphasis added.)

Similarly, EFAC is confessional: it operates with a Basis of Faith that is distinctively evangelical in nature. EFAC is also missional: it works to spread the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ. And, it is ecclesial: its very name references the Anglican Communion. EFAC aims to serve and build up, by biblical teaching, the Anglican family of churches, which we understand in a wide and generous sense. EFAC is not, however, ecclesial, in the way GAFCON is. It does not gather primatial councils or appoint episcopal leadership for provinces departing orthodox beliefs. Sugden says that as a recent political coalition, ‘GAFCON is rapidly institutionalizing’.1 EFAC is not; it will not match GAFCON’s ‘ongoing structures’ beyond those minimally required by its 1961 Constitution. EFAC is, rather, a resource to leadership, wherever it may be located, encouraging and developing biblically faithful teaching and mission by its activities in teaching, theological development through the Theological Resource Network, publishing online and through partner organizations. It desires the development of the more informal fellowship or partnership envisaged in its name. Therefore, EFAC and GAFCON are complementary, not competitive, pursuing different, necessary vocations.

Structures aside, another difference is that EFAC is distinctly evangelical, whereas GAFCON is not. GAFCON includes all who count themselves Anglican, whether inside the formal charity called the Anglican Communion or not, and confess biblically faithful Anglican teaching, whatever their churchmanship. EFAC is deliberately evangelical. The recognized EFAC brand allows EFAC to minister to evangelicals both inside and outside the GAFCON network among those evangelicals who are not persuaded by the GAFCON approach. Thus again EFAC and GAFCON are complementary, extending each other’s work for the Gospel. In the USA, where evangelicals in both TEC and ACNA are part of EFAC-USA, EFAC is a bridge between GAFCON and non-GAFCON evangelicals. Historically, EFAC has also formed a bridge between evangelicals in the different expressions of Anglican life in South Africa. EFAC is active in areas not represented at GAFCON and supports evangelicals whose orthodox commitments are under pressure from unsympathetic or hostile leadership. EFAC provides a link between beleaguered evangelicals in certain provinces and the wider Communion, and a partnership between evangelicals in one place and those in another for the sake of mission.

In this world of walls and chasms, bridges are vital, and so, as a bridge, EFAC offers hope for the future. The Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, President of EFAC Australia and Assistant Secretary to GAFCON, said it best upon hearing about the relaunch of EFAC, ‘It’s about time!’ EFAC and GAFCON have the same goal of promoting the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ, but in different ways. Both are necessary.

EFAC. GAFCON.
What's the difference? Are both necessary?
Rev’d Richard Crocker, General Secretary, EFAC (Global)
EFAC had an exhibit stand at the recent GAFCON gathering in Jerusalem, Many of the GAFCON conference delegates stopped by the EFAC exhibit and the response was overwhelmingly positive. We are now in regular contact with Anglican leaders from 31 countries and many of those either have or want an EFAC chapter. They have no doubt that EFAC will benefit their churches. But upon returning to the USA we have been asked, ‘Why is EFAC needed, since we have GAFCON?’ or, ‘Why was GAFCON needed, since we have EFAC? What’s the difference? Are EFAC and GAFCON competing? Or cooperating? Or does one make the other redundant? This article addresses these questions.
At GAFCON it was obvious that GAFCON and EFAC are related on a deep level. Many of the newly announced leaders of GAFCON—the Chairman, General Secretary, and Assistant Secretaries—were mentored through, or held leadership positions in, EFAC at some point. A recent article by Chris Sugden and Vinay Samuel demonstrates that the GAFCON movement itself derives from earlier work by emerging provinces in the Lambeth Conferences of 1988 and 1998. The character, growth and maturity of these provinces, in turn, developed to a great extent from the ministry of John Stott and EFAC. It would not stretch a point to claim that the prevailing churchmanship of GAFCON 2018 was evangelical. The style of worship, the biblical nature of the week’s events, the expository style of the teaching, and the extempore prayer expected in the small group times, would be familiar to those of evangelical background. This aspect made GAFCON very similar to EFAC, which is evangelical by charter. This brings us back to the questions: ‘Do we need both EFAC and GAFCON today? Is there an important difference between them?’
That EFAC and GAFCON are complementary, not competitive, becomes clear as we examine both organizations. Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll, in his Commentary on the 2018 GAFCON Letter to the Churches writes,
‘The GAFCON Assembly is an ecclesial body, a confessional body (every attendee subscribed to the Jerusalem Declaration), and a missional body…So the Conference is upper-case GAFCON and the movement that spans the Conferences and the ongoing structures and relationships that give it life, this is title-case GAFCON.’ (Emphasis added.)
Similarly, EFAC is confessional: it operates with a Basis of Faith that is distinctively evangelical in nature. EFAC is also missional: it works to spread the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ. And, it is ecclesial: its very name references the Anglican Communion. EFAC aims to serve and build up, by biblical teaching, the Anglican family of churches, which we understand in a wide and generous sense. EFAC is not, however, ecclesial, in the way GAFCON is. It does not gather primatial councils or appoint episcopal leadership for provinces departing orthodox beliefs. Sugden says that as a recent political coalition, ‘GAFCON is rapidly institutionalizing’.1 EFAC is
EFAC. GAFCON.
What's the difference? Are both necessary?
Rev’d Richard Crocker, General Secretary, EFAC (Global)THE CABOOSE
1. https://www.efacglobal.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/GAFCON-reports-Sugden.pdf
THE CABOOSE
ESSENTIALS -SPRING 2018
PAGE 18
not; it will not match GAFCON’s ‘ongoing structures’ beyond those minimally required by its 1961 Constitution. EFAC is, rather, a resource to leadership, wherever it may be located, encouraging and developing biblically faithful teaching and mission by its activities in teaching, theological development through the Theological Resource Network, publishing online and through partner organizations. It desires the development of the more informal fellowship or partnership envisaged in its name. Therefore, EFAC and GAFCON are complementary, not competitive, pursuing different, necessary vocations.
Structures aside, another difference is that EFAC is distinctly evangelical, whereas GAFCON is not. GAFCON includes all who count themselves Anglican, whether inside the formal charity called the Anglican Communion or not, and confess biblically faithful Anglican teaching, whatever their churchmanship. EFAC is deliberately evangelical. The recognized EFAC brand allows EFAC to minister to evangelicals both inside and outside the GAFCON network among those evangelicals who are not persuaded by the GAFCON approach. Thus again EFAC and GAFCON are complementary, extending each other’s work for the Gospel. In the USA, where evangelicals in both TEC and ACNA are part of EFAC-USA, EFAC is a bridge between GAFCON and non-GAFCON evangelicals. Historically, EFAC has also formed a bridge between evangelicals in the different expressions of Anglican life in South Africa. EFAC is active in areas not represented at GAFCON and supports evangelicals whose orthodox commitments are under pressure from unsympathetic or hostile leadership. EFAC provides a link between beleaguered evangelicals in certain provinces and the wider Communion, and a partnership between evangelicals in one place and those in another for the sake of mission.
In this world of walls and chasms, bridges are vital, and so, as a bridge, EFAC offers hope for the future. The Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, President of EFAC Australia and Assistant Secretary to GAFCON, said it best upon hearing about the relaunch of EFAC, ‘It’s about time!’ EFAC and GAFCON have the same goal of promoting the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ, but in different ways. Both are necessary.

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