Dear Friends,

I was in Jerusalem June 14-23 to be a part of the Global Anglican Futures (GAFCON) gathering. Here are some of my reflections:

One of the common misconceptions about the Christian faith is that it is European and/or North American. Therefore it is “white” and “middle class”. Being in Jerusalem kills that misconception.

First of all, you are walking the streets of Jerusalem among Jewish people in their home land. The signs are in Hebrew. Hebrew is the main language you hear spoken. While not all Jewish people in Jerusalem are devote, many of them are. You cannot walk for more than a minute without being reminded that you are in a Jewish place, with devout Jews.

At the same time, I was reminded constantly that Jesus, who was Jewish, walked these hills with His Jewish disciples. It was in this very place, among this people, that Jesus taught, performed miracles, died upon a cross, and rose victorious over sin and death. One of the parts of Jerusalem that was not destroyed by the Romans in AD 70, is a broad staircase on the south side of the old city. Many scholars believe that it was on these very stairs (which Jesus and His disciples would have walked on) that the events of Acts 2 happened – the Holy Spirit falls on the 120 in an upper room, they pour out of the house and in public on these stairs they worship and preach and over 3000 become Christians. The Christian faith is Jewish.

Second, I was struck very forcefully by the global nature of the Christian faith. The Christian pilgrims coming from Africa, Asia, the Indian sub-continent, South America, the Arctic, and the South Pacific. You see and hear them in the airport, the hotels, the old city, and the tour buses – all Christians of all races and people groups, all coming to the Jewish place of Jesus’s birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection. They are my fellow Christians, just as Christian as I am, coming from all over the world. I found it very moving. I also met Israeli Jews who had become Christians – the Gospel still works and the Lord is still calling His ancient people, and people from all people groups, to a saving faith in Jesus Messiah.

Third, the global nature of the Christian faith was very clearly evident in the Global
Anglican Futures gathering (GAFCON) that I was a part of. Fifty nations were represented. The majority in attendance and at the front were not “white”. We were divided into small groups of 8 and we met every morning to pray together. We met with the same group every morning. In my group there were three ministers from the Congo, a Nigerian bishop and his wife, an Irishman from the arctic, a young man from England, and myself. We shared prayer requests and prayed for each other. I was invited to be part of the “Theological Education Network”. We met three times. Once again, we were asked to sit with the same group each time as we discussed issues, shared and prayed together. My group had people from South Africa, Chile, Australia, the U.S., and Tanzania (as I write this I confess I cannot think of the other person!). Friends, we have a great Saviour! The Gospel still works. God is still calling people to Himself from every people group.