A God-given moment?

Apr 23, 2020 by

by Chris Sugden, Evangelicals Now:

Following the postponement of both the GAFCON Conference in Kigali (June 2020) and the Lambeth Conference (July 2020 to 2021) Canon Dr Vinay Samuel, the former General Secretary of EFAC, who attended the last three Lambeth Conferences, and was a founder of GAFCON, offers the following analysis.

‘On one side, a 500-year-old institution (the Church of England as it leads the Anglican Communion) is seeking to find itself in a world which has no place for the certainties of tradition. On the other side, the GAFCON Primates latch on to a memory, a tradition that does not change.

‘The two groups have different orientations to the future – hope and memory.

‘The party of hope usually takes the institution for granted when facing huge challenges to the institution’s existence. This ruling party looks for hope in new things emerging to move the institution into the future. Their so called “compromise” with the dominant culture is in their eyes not a deviant exercise but one of positive hope. The institution hopes that adaptation will move it into a better future.

‘The party of memory, usually cultural and theological conservatives, faces the same challenges but turns to the memory of a pure and even perfect past. It sees security in holding on to that memory and tradition that becomes the source of its survival and of overcoming all challenges.

‘The Western church is getting devastated by these challenges and trying still to be a sign of hope. Some deviant leaders in the Western church are not the main story. Some good leaders are trying to offer hope.

‘The non-Western churches are growing in numbers, but have kept mistaking that for growth in disciples. They turn to the memory of the time when the gospel first came to them through white missionaries as the source of their confidence in addressing the future.

‘This postponement of both GAFCON and Lambeth for a year can be seen as a God-given moment.

‘Can Anglicans work for a movement of intercession for the Church and bring together non-Western and Western leaders to work together for one common cause with a common theological basis and a common vision and strategy?

Evangelicals Now May 


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