I love my brothers and sisters in the Gospel. That includes my Anglican brothers and sisters. I’m planning a little article as part of my sabbatical reports about enjoying “The Big Family of God.” I don’t think that the church should be uniform and I don’t think that independent baptistic reformed evangelicals have got everything right. I’m also a huge admirer of some of the prominent Bible teachers who have been involved in GAFCON from the beginning. There have been some stand out sermons and talks at previous GAFCON events (memorably Mike Ovey on grace).
But here is my problem. GAFCON is The Global Anglican Futures Conference which brings together conservative Anglicans every few years. They are currently meeting together in Jerusalem. It’s fascinating that whilst Anglicans were heading off for this conference, there were two events in London. The first was the City to City Church planters conference on reaching across ethnic groups in the city. The other was organised by London City Mission to bring together diaspora church leaders for a conversation. That’s my problem. Do you see the contrast? Here were church leaders talking about taking the Gospel forward whilst our Anglican brothers had ducked out again to talk about their denominational problems.
On twitter, if you search the #GAFCON hashtag you’ll find comments about how you cannot continue to walk and have fellowship with people who disown and oppose the Gospel. You’ll see that there are comments about dead things go with the stream whilst living creatures swim upstream.
Yet from the perspective of independent evangelicals, we want to know why we have to continue to fight to get your attention. Here we are as people who love the same Lord, believe the same Bible, preach the same Gospel and yet it still seems that walking with us comes as second choice. To be sure, we have our Gospel partnerships but there’s still that sense, all these years after John Stott and Martyn Lloyd Jones disagreed that when the chips are down you’ll still choose the denomination over us.
Why fight to swim upstream into the onrush of sewage and death when you can swim in the same direction as brothers and sisters who want to partner fully with you in the Gospel?