Exploring the future together
One of the striking aspects of this unique international gathering of Anglican leaders at GAFCON is the creative energy that is underpinning and driving the whole conference forward. What’s very apparent is that there is no ‘fortress’ or ’siege’ mentality-far from it; conference members see themselves as engaging biblically and creatively not just with the problems of the present, but with exploring a confident future under God for global anglicanism.
The conference’s creative enthusiasm ultimately has its origins in a people confident in Christ and that the future belongs to him. It’s also generated by a deep sense of fellowship and common purpose. Probably the best place to see this confident creative energy is in the workshops, where conference members are engaging with one another in discussion and in the sharing of ideas and experiences. The workshop topics include Anglican identity, Gospel and Culture, Gospel and Leadership, Family and marriage, Evangelism and Church planting, Biblical Authority, and Theological Education
In regard to the workshop on Theological Education, those Involved in the Church of Ireland for the reshaping of theological education would do well to get hold of the keynote addresses of the college principals facilitating this workshop! The Rev. Cezar Guzman, a college prinicpal from Chile, gave the first of these addresses, stressing that the goal of theological training is to serve the Gospel by producing pastors who understand the Gospel and are capable of communicating it effectively at the local parish level. This is something that the former Church of Ireland Theological College manifestly failed to do, and something that the new Church of Ireland Training Institute should take great pains to aim at!
Theological colleges must serve the mission of the church; be committed to a deep and faithful study of Scripture, and have the local church as its focus for the theological education being given to ordinands.
There’s no doubt that the creative energy demonstrated at GAFCON is going to have an effect on the Anglican Communion for years to come. It would be a great pity if the Church of Ireland missed out on this through an inability to see that God is renewing his church in these days. Listening to and engaging in these debates, an obvious thought comes to mind: wouldn’t it be glorifying to God and a blessing to the Church of Ireland, if it too were to engage creatively, biblically and confidently with the Gospel issues that are occupying and stimulating the minds of the members of GAFCON!?