Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bishop Lawrence: Jottings from GAFCON II

Bishop Mark Lawrence, from Nairobi:
This evening’s gath­er­ing at All Saint’s Cathe­dral after tea on the grounds was an Open­ing wor­ship freely flow­ing with hymns brought by West­ern mis­sion­ar­ies yet touched by an African vigor and sway. It also brought var­i­ous speak­ers to the podium to focus our atten­tion on the East African Revival of the 1920s and 30s and which had a sec­ond or renewed out pour­ing of the Holy Spirit in the 1970s. Indeed as the Chan­cel­lor of Uganda Chris­t­ian Uni­ver­sity reminded us in a stir­ring address—“We speak of the East Africa Revival as if it is a relic of his­tory. It is not just a relic…not just a move­ment in his­tory; it is a liv­ing move­ment today.” (Para­phrased from my jot­ted notes from his address) This move­ment which has as its cen­ter the Death and Res­ur­rec­tion of Jesus Christ, the call of the Holy Spirit for believ­ers to “Walk in the Light” and the neces­sity of repen­tance, pub­lic con­fes­sion of sins and putting of wrongs right in the believer’s life, as well as a cor­re­spond­ing call for humil­ity and bro­ken­ness, was and remains a mighty pres­ence in the Church in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tan­za­nia. This revival like so many great revivals in his­tory was pre­dom­i­nately a lay move­ment. It calls every man to be a Bible stu­dent, respon­sive to the lead­ing of the Holy Spirit, tran­scend­ing denom­i­na­tional bound­aries yet seek­ing to keep (in the phrase I remem­ber from sev­eral decades ago in the Renewal Move­ment of the 1970s and 80s) “the fire in the fire­place.” Indeed as the Chan­cel­lor noted, from the heart of this liv­ing move­ment today’s Church is pre­sented with some prob­ing questions:

What is the cause of cold­ness and dead­ness in our churches?
Why are peo­ple allowed to come to the Lord’s Table who are liv­ing in known sin?
What can be done to bring revival to the Church?
I left this Open­ing ses­sion this evening reflect­ing upon my own expe­ri­ence in the revival of the 1970s which influ­enced my early life as a Chris­t­ian after my con­ver­sion dur­ing col­lege and ready for a fresh out­pour­ing of the Holy Spirit today, remem­ber­ing those words from St. Augus­tine of Hippo—“Revive thy Church, Oh Lord, begin­ning with me.”

Well, it is almost 11:00 p.m. I am still more than a lit­tle under the sway of jet-lag and 5:30 a.m. comes early. Don’t know when I’ll have an oppor­tu­nity to blog next but will do so as I am able.


+Mark Lawrence

South Car­olina XIV