Who’s changing whom?

GAFCON day 2 started with communion together in the Cathedral, and being challenged from Ephesians 1 to realise our blessings in Christ. How is it that those enriched with every spiritual blessing in Christ, often hold back from enjoying and declaring those blessings?
The rest of the day helped answer that!
The presidential address called us to be the catalyst for revival in the Anglican communion, with all the risks involved in public witness and costs of ourselves and resources to enable it.
We then were blessed with a masterful analysis of the key issue we are facing. In a session chaired by Bp Michael Nazir-Ali, with a theological college principal giving theological analysis and a range of speakers around the world sharing tangible practical examples, the key question is simply, ‘what is our gospel?’
It was ably demonstrated from history and contemporary analysis that the West is be default proclaiming a gospel of cheap grace. That means proclaiming a faith without repentance, and which therefore requires no forgiveness; a grace that is self bestowed, not given by God, and therefore a presumption. All this has flowed from the man-centredness from Kant onwards, where ‘maturity’ implies autonomy and entitlement, leading to rights without duties, and a narcissism that responds to any challenge with irrational rage.
The fruit of this non-gospel is a worldly church promoting itself to others with an attractive mix of technological and financial superiority, but worldly in its theology. It only proclaims as sin things that culture is willing to concede are has, like racism or injustice; what it won’t do is challenge what culture approves. Many examples of the fruit of this were given, from places now persecuted over it.
The response? Partly this is a warning to those the West is wooing, to guard the gospel, and partly it was a challenge to us to repent. As Ben Kwashi (Bishop of Jos in Nigeria, repeatedly attacked by radical militias) memorably said, ‘Persecution doesn’t make evangelism more difficult, only life!’, and that what the West would probably need to evangelise its culture was a few more people to be jailed for political incorrectness.
Where is all this going to go? There is more to come in the next days, but suffice to say that for me it is both humbling and refreshing to be a minority white face in the midst of a passionate joyful and Spirit-filled worshipping community, maybe that is the first step, to be humbled to listen to those whom God is blessing in adversity.


As Rector of Cheadle I have the best boss of this and any world, the biggest extended family and the greatest of jobs- to share good news!

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One comment on “Who’s changing whom?
  1. Neale Hayward-Shott says:

    Really encouraging to hear what’s being shared. I look forward to hearing more.

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