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Bishop’s Note: August 23, 2018 – The “Jerusalem Declaration” and The Great Commission
We continue our exploration of the “Jerusalem Declaration” (the full text of which can be found here:

https://www.gafcon.org/resources/the-complete-jerusalem-statement)

This week we look at point nine: The Great Commission:

We gladly accept the Great Commission of the risen Lord to make disciples of all nations, to seek those who do not know Christ and to
baptise, teach and bring new believers to maturity.

GAFCON and the Anglican Church in North America enthusiastically accept and promote the Great Commission of Jesus, as found in the Gospel of Matthew: “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

This may sound like something that should be obvious, but it really isn’t obvious to those in Mainline Denominations; especially in the Global North. I know that, as for me, I grew up in the Episcopal Church, which regularly taught that “all people are children of God.” Growing up, I simply accepted that proposition without questioning it. That
is, until I was confronted by someone who asked me: “Where does it say in the Bible that we are all Children of God?” The answer is: nowhere in the Bible does it say that all people are Children of God! John 1:11-13 states that we are adopted when we believe in Jesus: “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Now let me be clear: Genesis 1:27 states clearly that we are all created in the image of God, and therefore of utmost value; from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. Why is the false belief that we are all “children of God” so harmful? Because, if someone is already a child of God, then we have no responsibility to share with them the Good News of Jesus Christ. Because, if everyone is a child of God, then no one goes to hell. Because, if everyone is a child of God, then whatever they believe must be O.K.

The fact that this attitude prevails in the Global North, and not in the Global South, is also reflected in the rate of conversions that take place. According to the Atlas of Global Christianity: 1910-2010 (p. 61), in 2010 — counting for conversions, defections, births
and deaths worldwide — there was a net gain of 27.8 million Christians;  the vast majority of them being in the Global South.

Until and unless we in the Global North, and more specifically the Diocese of San Joaquin, embrace the Great Commission of Jesus Christ – with all the authority and responsibility that comes by virtue of our baptism and confirmation – we will simply preside over an ever-shrinking church. We must abandon any notion that our faith is gained via birth or osmosis. No, Jesus invites us into a personal, saving relationship with him, and it is our responsibility to invite others into that same relationship.

I pray that all of us in the Diocese of San Joaquin, and all Christians in general, will indeed ask God the Holy Spirit to assist us in fulfilling the Great Commission.

I pray you all a blessed week.

Bishop Menees

Calendar

September 3
60 Days Prior to Convention: Draft Budget Due to be Published; Amendments to Canons sent to Committee on Constitution and Canons; Resolutions due to Committee on Resolutions

September 4 - 6
College of Bishops

September 9
Bishop @ Christ Church - Lemoore

September 11
Rural Deans Meeting

September 15
Diocesan Council Meeting

September 16
Bishop @ Sanger

September 18
45 Days prior to Convention: Nominations due to Nominations Committee

September 22
Fresno Deanery Confirmation Service

September 28 - 30
Clergy Wives Retreat

September 29
Kern Deanery Confirmation Service 
San Joaquin Anglican
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