Easter Message to the Faithful of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and friends
from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya
and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council
17th April 2014
‘If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God’ Colossians 3:1
My dear brothers and sisters,
Greetings in the precious name of our Risen Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!
What a wonderful truth we celebrate at Easter! The bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead assures us that our sins are atoned for and death is defeated. This is the reason we can be confident that despite failure, frustration and the things that perplex us, God’s saving purposes will certainly be fulfilled. The Risen Christ is already seated in triumph and glory at the Father’s right hand and we are already raised to new life in him, so we can be sure that the Church of God, which we too often see undermined from the inside by false teaching and attacked from the outside by persecution, will one day be wonderfully revealed as the great Church victorious.
So with joyful confidence we confess that Jesus is Lord and this gives our lives a new horizon. We ‘seek the things that are above’, not ignoring the world, but being those who live under Christ’s Lordship in the world. I was reminded of how transformative it can be to live for the Lordship of Christ when I shared fellowship last week with my brother GAFCON Primate, Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, on the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. Out of terrible trauma, this is a nation that has experienced the power of the resurrection as people have been willing to submit to Jesus as Lord in repentance and costly forgiveness.
This is why confessions of faith, whether they are the ancient catholic creeds or later statements such as the Church of England’s Thirty-nine articles cannot be seen just as historical documents to be reinterpreted as we wish. In many countries, Anglican Churches are a significant voice in national life and we have a special responsibility to make sure that we confess Jesus as Lord with clarity and courage. It was for this reason that we produced the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration in 2008. Confessing Churches make a life-changing stand on the truth God has revealed. They proclaim the gospel, promote true godliness and should not be afraid to challenge the complacency of leaders who claim their nations are Christian while at the same time promoting laws and tolerating practices that are contrary to Christian belief.
To be truly an Easter people means being a people who joyfully confess the risen Christ as Lord. We experienced the richness of this fellowship as we met last year in Nairobi and now the GAFCON Primates are gathering for the first time since GAFCON 2013 to take counsel together. Please pray for us as we meet in London next week, for the sake of the Anglican Communion and for the blessing of the nations.
Finally, let us remember that for an increasing number of our brothers and sisters that confessing Christ is becoming as costly as it was for the early Christian martyrs who had to choose between Jesus as Lord or Caesar as Lord. As a global fellowship of confessing Anglicans, let us commit to pray for them, to stand with them and not compromise the truth for which they and martyrs through the ages have laid down their lives in love for Him who is the Resurrection and the Life.