Chairman’s Pentecost Letter 2015
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
‘And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor, to be with you for ever, – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.’
My dear brothers and sisters,
Grace and peace to you at Pentecost as we rejoice in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God.
This is my first pastoral letter since the meeting of the GAFCON Primates Council last month and I continue to thank God for the gracious leading and empowering of the Holy Spirit. We reaffirmed our commitment to see biblical truth restored to the heart of the life of the Communion and agreed a range of measures to develop our work with communications and theological education being given priority. All this we seek to do in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth.
One of the great lessons of the East African Revival was that a genuine movement of the Spirit will impress on our hearts that the Scriptures really are the inspired and authoritative Word of God. We cannot separate the Spirit from the Spirit-inspired Scriptures. The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to enable Christians to grow in biblical holiness and to equip them with gifts to build up the church in a hostile world. It is therefore a tragedy when Christian leaders whose minds have been captured by the spirit of the age commend the values of the world to the Church and claim they are led by the Spirit of God.
This is the challenge we face. On the day of Pentecost, Peter’s preaching makes clear that the gift of the Holy Spirit is given to those who repent, but the continuing crisis of the Anglican Communion has come about through a failure to call to repentance those who are systematically grieving the Holy Spirit by claiming that what Scripture calls sexual immorality is in fact new truth revealed by the Spirit.
Since GAFCON began in 2008 with our historic gathering in Jerusalem, the place of Pentecost, I have been convinced that we are caught up in a transforming movement of the Spirit of God. Despite our lack of institutional resources, this movement has grown and the Holy Spirit is using us to gather the Anglican Communion in a unique and unprecedented way. Our confirmation of the next GAFCON gathering in 2018 is recognition of this reality.
In the meantime, we must press forward to be Spirit-filled Churches that make visible the grace as well as the truth of Jesus Christ. There are many ways in which we can do this, but let me conclude by mentioning just two. I am delighted that the Anglican Church of North America have recently partnered with Anglican brothers and sisters in Nepal to support relief work following devastating earthquakes. Let us pray for the many still in deep distress and let us also remember the people of Burundi, including over 100,000 refugees, as violence and political instability threaten that country’s future.
So let us who live by the Spirit also walk by the Spirit and be rich in the fruit of the Spirit for the glory of God, the renewal of his Church and the blessing of the world.