Sunday morning’s “Midwest Anglican Awakening” service at Wheaton was powerful. (The outside pickets were peaceful, and kinda small.) Like-minded Anglicans from throughout the Midwest – from as far as Minnesota – joined together to hear Peter Akinola (you can catch up with this event in the last post).
It was a profound thing to join with a denomination not my own, involved in their own struggle for biblical fidelity, and watch them have a Midwest-and-worldwide “family reunion” of sorts, all in the context of a genuine Sunday morning service. This was worldwide Christianity. My gatherings are generally so American.
But in the case of these churches, their spiritual roots are genuinely African – even if most of their members are American. If you didn’t catch it, these churches are the product of African churches sending missionary church planters to the United States.
Yesterday both strains were reflected, and it was a family reunion, and these American believers are very happy “being” African, and the native Africans are happy ’cause they’re better at “happy,” and they’re all happy believing the Bible. Joy abounded, packaged within the very “historic/cosmic Christianity” feeling that arises whenever deep liturgy is practiced
Toward the end, we sang a song written by great Australian lyricists:
“It’s the song of the redeemed / Rising from the African plain…”
People cheered that line. Few moments on this trip have been more powerful for me. And there’s more.
Last night, I attended World Christian Fellowship at Wheaton, an on-campus, missions-focused Bible study with its own history of being used by the Lord. We heard from Joel Songela, a Tanzanian church leader who presently studies in Wheaton’s grad school but will be back in Africa soon enough. He was powerful. This morning, Akinola preached Wheaton’s chapel, Dr. Litfin (Wheaton’s president) having gladly given up his spot on the schedule. He was again quite powerful, with a simple and straightforward message, like his message yesterday, and like Joel’s last night.
It is said that the center of Christianity is moving away from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern. If this is true, these men reflect that shift, as with passion and power they present a Christianity that simply believes and obeys God and His word. All this, at a time when this newest generation appreciates worldwide connections, seeks to make a worldwide difference, and desires to be part of something much grander than themselves.