Wednesday, August 6, 2014
GAFCON chairman's August letter
from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya
and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council
4th August 2014
‘The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it’ John 1:5
Greetings in the precious name of our Risen Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!
As Chairman of GAFCON, I want to join with other Christian leaders who have called for an immediate end to the fighting between Hamas and Israel, in which there has been so much unacceptable civilian suffering. I also strongly support the call of my brother Primate Mouneer Anis, Presiding Bishop of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, for urgent action by the international community to stop terrorist attacks by ISIS aimed at the destruction of the ancient Christian communities of Iraq.
Confronted with these tragedies, and with the destruction of a civilian airliner over the Ukraine still fresh in our minds along with many other examples of the human capacity for folly, hatred and evil, there comes the temptation to doubt the goodness of God’s providence in the world.
However, this is not a new problem. As August begins, we mark the centenary of the outbreak of the first global war, the First World War. This catastrophe arose out of rivalry between supposedly Christian powers and many subsequently abandoned a form of Christianity which had tied itself too closely to late nineteenth century optimism about human progress and civilisation. Perhaps the empty churches in much of Europe are a continuing legacy of that deep spiritual wound.
The lesson of history is that our hope must be built on something more solid than the morality of our day with an added religious flavour. As confessing Anglicans we cannot see Christianity as just the servant of a society’s moral programme. The gospel message is much richer than that. It is very tough, yet wonderfully tender. It draws us back to the cross of Jesus where we see so clearly the stark reality of human sin and the amazing grace of God’s love. Human wickedness is not denied, but is overcome as Jesus, the sinless Son of God, bears the weight of our sin that we might be forgiven and become sons and daughters of God.
Here, the Anglican Church is very active in Kenyan society to promote justice and economic empowerment, to break down tribal prejudices and to establish a culture of integrity in public life, but the greatest service we can do is to proclaim the gospel of God’s saving love in Jesus Christ which is our motivation in all these areas. Next month, 18-21 September, All Saints’ Cathedral in Nairobi will be holding a ‘Divine Conference’ in the tradition of the East African Revival conventions and we will build on the encouragement we received as hosts of GAFCON 2013 to ‘make disciples of all nations’. We are expecting up to 2,000 people to attend and speakers will include GAFCON partners from the Church of Uganda and the Anglican Church of North America. Please pray for us.
So as we work and pray continually for peace, let us not stumble when confronted with the appalling consequences of human sin, but recommit ourselves to the proclamation of the biblical gospel in the societies where God has set us. This alone has the power to conquer sin and by the resurrection of Jesus assures that the light of God’s love will never be quenched.
Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council