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The GSFA is not running away

Updated: Jun 12

Listening to Archbishop Justin Badi Arama’s keynote address at the opening of the first Assembly of the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans (GSFA) was a breath of fresh air.  There was none of the hand-wringing and contorted word salad that we have come to expect from English bishops.  

Looking out at the 200 or so men and women gathered from about 40 countries, he described them as the, “holy remnant of the Anglican Communion”.  “They hold fast,” he said, “to God’s word as ‘the faith once delivered’ (Jude 3) and seek to obey it in their lives.  They are those who have resisted bowing to the demands of revisionism.  They have committed themselves to proclaim and live out the authentic gospel truth.”

And although that truth has to be lived out amongst, “increased hostility and persecution”, “suffering, injustice and chaos,” the Archbishop of South Sudan offered hope to those gathered, “But our God is never late. As we pray and work for his renewing kingdom, He will even harness the work of the forces of evil to achieve his salvation purposes.  In the midst of darkness, the glory of God will shine on his people; and through his people that light will bring life and hope to all who call on the Lord.  The nations will see and experience the salvation that only God can bring.”

There was, however, deep sadness and disappointment in his voice, as he spoke of, “the revisionism which is now openly accommodated by some provinces.”  Archbishop Justin Badi Arama said, “We deeply lament the current situation in the Church of England and in revisionist Provinces.  We pray that they will, ‘come out of Babylon’ (Isaiah 48:20) and return to obeying God’s word. Though they always say we are crazy - ‘Why should we repent?’ But we consistently say, ‘Repent of your sins and believe the Good News’ – that is the message and we are praying and waiting for them.”

But there was also a note of defiance and humour, when the Archbishop told the gathered audience that what had happened in England had only strengthened the GSFA's resolve not to leave the Anglican Communion. With a smile, and with words that did not appear in the official transcript, he said, “I always say, in Africa we live in tukuls – when a snake enters your tukul you don’t run away, it is the snake – you chase it away. So, we will struggle – the liberals - we will chase them out of our beloved Communion.”

The clarity is refreshing, but the struggle is real.

As this blog has already explained there are some at the gathering in Egypt, who will be seeking to draw the GSFA back into step with the revisionist western provinces.  No doubt, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office, Archbishop Anthony Poggo, will have all kinds of Babylonian enticements up his sleeve and suggestions for how it is possible to live with a snake in your tukul (by just giving it a separate space perhaps?).

Pray all those in Egypt take heed of Archbishop Justin Badi’s simple summary:

“Though Canterbury says, ‘Let us walk together, listen to each other and have good disagreement,’ the GSFA Primates and I say, ‘We cannot walk together in sin, unless there is repentance by those who have gone astray, we cannot have unity at the expense of God’s life-giving truth.”

Amen.

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