Volume 4 | August, 2018 View as Webpage
Monthly News & Updates
Dear Friend in Christ,

The introductory section of the July newsletter spoke of unrelenting heat and ended with a prayer request for rain. As we put this newsletter together, it has been raining in VA for over two weeks and the rain is expected to continue. There are flood warnings galore! Perhaps we should be careful of what we pray for. Or, could the Lord be speaking to us?

This month we've heard from several EFACters regarding the difficulties of serving in their particular circumstances. Some are encountering opposition from inside the Church from those who have abandoned orthodox faith, and others from outside the Church, where persecution comes from those of other faiths. Most are facing what are "normal" problems in this fallen world: family illness, relationship challenges, unemployment, loneliness, grief, and so much more.

As Dr. Peter Walker reminded us in Israel, no disciple chooses to go through the desert. But, eventually, we all do. This is the place where the Lord teaches us to desire Him more than water. We throw away our idols. We grow increasingly dependent on His Word. We learn that He really is all we need. In Ps 84: 5-7 we get a glimpse of what the Lord is doing right now in the lives of all believers.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
     in whose heart are the highways to Zion.  
As they go through the Valley of Baca
     they make it a place of springs;
     the early rain also covers it with pools.  
They go from strength to strength;
     each one appears before God in Zion.

The Lord is pouring water on those individuals and churches who are thirsty, and floods on the dry ground. We are blessed. He is doing it throughout His Church and we believe He is doing it through EFAC. Read on to see how.

Grace and Peace to you from your fellow EFACters.
Why the Anglican Communion?
by Rev'd Richard Crocker

In this last article exploring the meaning of “The Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion,” we will be covering the “Anglican Communion.” When did it start? What is it? Why is it special?  

History of Anglicanism

Christianity in England dates from the earliest days of the Church. Pope Gregory sent his missionary Augustine to the “Angles” in 597, evangelizing the local tribe and establishing Canterbury Cathedral. But there had been Christians in England even before this time, dating from the Roman occupation. Indeed, three English bishops, including a bishop from York, attended a synod at Arles in 314.

The English church was deeply affected by the 16 th century Reformation. It changed its doctrine, adopted a liturgy in English and provided Bibles to be read by the people. This was in line with the continental developments of Luther and then Calvin. However, unlike other Protestant churches, it retained its episcopate, orders of ministry, and the network of parish churches. This “top down” Reformation, by order of the monarch and reforming Archbishop, is still in evidence in the structures and formularies of the Church of England. The formularies – The Book of Common Prayer, the Ordinal and the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion - were exported with the King James Bible to British colonies around the world. These enabled the distinctively Anglican “Reformed Catholic” approach to church life.

The Anglican Communion became a worldwide church when the Church of England was obliged to recognize bishops beyond the English shores, first in the USA (1784), then Canada (1787), and then Calcutta (1814), Barbados (1824), Jamaica (1824), Madras (1835) Australia (1836), New Zealand (1841) Jerusalem (1841) and Cape Town (1847). Indeed, in 1863 the Bishop of Cape Town was dealing with a local dispute that developed into an international controversy. The phrase “Anglican Communion” seems to have been used first in a Canadian suggestion to the Archbishop of Canterbury to convene a gathering of the bishops. Archbishop Longley called the first Lambeth Conference of Bishops in 1867, with the  proviso that it would not address the South African dispute, a  proviso the conference quickly abandoned!

Characteristics of Anglicanism

This family of churches has shown remarkable growth due to their strong missionary impulse. Starting with the more “high church” agencies, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (1699) and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (1701), mission has been a consistent feature, as the colonial expatriate bases have made the emergence of indigenous churches possible. Since the evangelical revival, the voluntary societies, such as CMS (1799), have pioneered evangelistic outreach among great varieties of peoples. For instance, the first African bishop, Samuel Crowther of Nigeria, was consecrated bishop in 1864.

The case of Nigeria is instructive. By 1988 the Anglican Church there had grown to encompass 26 dioceses. The suggestion of a 90’s “Decade of Evangelism” was adopted with great zeal. Missionary dioceses were formed to plant churches in the relatively un-evangelized north and elsewhere, with substantial response. By 2004 there were 78 dioceses in 10 internal provinces; today there are 159 dioceses with a membership in the region of 20 million. Nigeria is by far the largest province of the Anglican Communion. EFAC Nigeria has had a large part to play in the evangelizing of this nation.

Anglicanism is Apostolic, Biblical, and Missionary

The Anglican Communion thus claims its identity as part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, deriving from the apostolic teaching of Jesus and his first disciples, from the earliest witness of the church. It claims its biblical heritage from the time of the Protestant Reformation, as seen in its historic formularies. Its mission history has many examples of heroic service and evangelistic advance. 

EFAC Reinforces Anglican Identity

EFAC has as its purpose the reinforcing of each of the above points of identity. We promote the apostolic teaching, as seen in the biblical witness, concerning Jesus, his cross and resurrection. We maintain the Protestant and Reformed heritage of the Church of England, concerning the supremacy of Scripture, the preaching of the Gospel of grace and the scriptural ordering of the worship, witness and ministry of the church. We embrace the Great Commission of Christ, by which we are called to reach out in love, making disciples of Jesus from all peoples of the world. 

The calling of EFAC – the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion – is to stimulate and support partnerships between those who share this purpose and claim this evangelical identity throughout this worldwide family of churches. Since 1961, the impact of EFAC has been substantial, notably in the development of leaders and the published defense of evangelical principles. Today, as we seek to reinforce the work of EFAC, more is possible. Whenever  and however the Anglican Communion started in the past, its biblical identity will only continue into the future as we resolve to spread the biblical gospel in it and through it. EFAC is there to help.
Jesus and PTSD
By Dr. Caroline Crocker, based on Dr. Peter Walker’s teaching on the beach of the Sea of Galilee

There are very few of us who don’t have memories that we would rather forget. Sometimes they sneak up on us when we least expect—or need—them. A particular sound, smell, or even word will throw us back into a place we really don't want to go. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is defined as a mental condition that may develop after someone experiences a traumatic event. I will leave it to the psychologists to decide when flashbacks qualify as PTSD, but suggest that it's likely that, for the Apostle Peter, they did. And that Jesus used the PTSD for Peter’s benefit.

You'll remember that Peter was a fisherman. Then, Jesus called him to be a fisher of men (Mt 4:19; Lk 5:1-11). Peter spent the next years following Jesus, listening to His teachings, and even learning to do miracles (Mt 10:1). He was the first disciple to figure out that Jesus was the Messiah and the first to blurt it out (Mt 16:16). Peter was the one who passionately tried to defend Jesus as He was arrested (Mt 26:51) and swore he would never deny Him (Mt 26:35). Peter was sold out, right? Well, he thought so.

Then the dream turned into a nightmare. After Jesus was arrested and while He was being questioned, Peter was waiting right outside, standing by a charcoal fire. Those nearby asked Peter if he knew Jesus or had been with Him. Three times Peter said he did not know Jesus (Mt 26:69-75). The cock crowed. We know that Peter, realizing what he'd done, went out and wept bitterly (Mt 26:75). Then, Jesus, the One on whom Peter had built his life, was flogged and crucified. This event was certainly enough to cause major PTSD!

A few days later, Peter and some others, probably just needing to keep busy, decided to go fishing (Jn 21:3). Imagine their surprise when they looked up and saw the risen Jesus walking on the shore. He called out to them and asked if they’d caught anything, in a reminder of the story in Lk 5. Jesus told them to put their nets in again and they caught so much that their nets began to break—just like when He originally called Peter. Now Peter recognized Jesus. How wonderful! But, I'm sure that Peter had that niggle inside as he remembered denying Jesus, whom he knew was the Messiah.

Jesus didn't let it go there. Peter had good memories from the beach, but his memories of a charcoal fire were not so great. It was by a charcoal fire that he denied Jesus. As Jesus built that fire and the smell hit Peter, it would be very surprising if it didn’t make Peter’s shame-filled memory of what he did totally overwhelming. I wonder if he began to cry—I would have. And I do, when I remember times when my behavior has brought my Lord shame.

So, Jesus asks Peter three times if Peter loves him. Jesus asks Peter if he “ agape s” Him. In Peter's response, g one are the grandiose assurances of the past. Peter knows better now. He has been humbled. He knows that he's not capable of loving like God does. Peter says he “ phileo s” Jesus. Peter knows his love for Jesus is neither perfect nor even enough. He probably wondered, as we do when we fail, if Jesus will be able to use such a failure. 

The good news for him and for us is that He can and He will. After Peter acknowledges his failure and his new and more realistic view of himself, Jesus gives Peter a responsibility. Peter was charged to take care of Jesus’ sheep. Jesus used “PTSD” to help Peter to learn that he couldn't do it on his own. Then He reinstated him to His service. When we fail and our memories plague us, we may be tempted to give up on ministry. We may think, rightly, that we aren't good enough. If so, we can look at Peter and remember. Jesus used him and He can use us. We can do all things  through Christ who gives us strength (Phil 4:13).    
Memories of how we have been hurt or hurt others can be triggered at unexpected times and in many ways.
Photo of tiles that were buried for 2000 years, located in what may be the Chief Priest's home.
Dr. Peter Walker teaching by the Sea of Galilee.

Articles: To stay up to date wth what EFAC is doing, be sure to follow us on our website and Facebook. Note particularly that, on the home page, past articles are now searchable by month.

International Council: The second part of the EFAC international Council meeting will be held in Nairobi. Cathedral Dean Sammy Wainana and CMS Africa Leader Dennis Tongoi are graciously working with Richard Crocker to be sure it will be wonderful.

EFAC Intercessors : The team has grown. These faithful people are willing and able to pray for us and for all EFAC chapters. So, if your chapter has a prayer need, please email us . We will add your need to the monthly prayer request email.

TRN: We now have 50 scholars signed up to help with resourcing the international church with solid theological teaching. The first TRN conference is planned for 2019 in Singapore.

EFAC Website : What's new at our website? Check it out! We have new posts (found on the homepage ), new entries to the calendar , and a couple of new papers (found on the Reading page).

Incidentally, if you missed previous newsletters, they are available on the EFAC website under Resources, Reading, Newsletters. Or you could just click here .

While you're on our website anyway, check out the whole thing and let us know what you think! Input is welcome.
Don't Miss Out on the Chance to Join with Us!
Please join with EFAC in achieving the goal of encouraging and developing biblically faithful teaching and mission. Here are some suggestions for what you can do to help:
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EFAC has a prayer team, but the more prayer, the better! Praise God for the great response we have had to EFAC's relaunch.

Please pray now as we plan and recruit for the EFAC Leaders Training session in Nairobi, Oct 29- Nov 1. If you'd like to come, let us know.

Also, pray for all EFACters around the world, that they will be faithful to the mission of Jesus Christ and powerful in His service.

Finally, if you missed responding to our request for intercessors and want to help, please email us .

EFAC has tremendous potential for good, but we need to be adequately resourced.

Please give generously, either by sending a check to either our British or our American address, or by clicking on the donate button on our website.

We encourage you to give us what you won't miss every month. It won't hurt you, but it will help spread the gospel throughout the world.

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