"What our spiritually disenchanted societies actually need is a Christian counter-culture to experience," Moore College's Dr Mark Earngey has told the GAFCON Australasia conference in Brisbane.

"A taste of love and grace, of repentance and forgiveness in Jesus name’, of the baptised community of the Triune God, of obedience to Jesus’ teaching, of all nations. We need to be unashamedly Great Commission churches and we need to show people the beauty of being disciples of Christ."

Dr Earngey, along with Youthworks College Principal Mike Dicker, is a keynote speaker at the conference which has brought together Anglican Christians from every state and territory in Australia as well as overseas visitors such as the Archbishop of Myanmar, Stephen Than Myint Oo.


The conference theme, Building the Future, aims to encourage Anglican Christians in mission to contemporary Australasia.

Some churches, under the guise of “mission”, capitulate to the secular trends and compromise ...

Warning of what he called the danger of 'mission capitulation', Dr Earngey (above) said "What I mean is this: many Western Christians and churches are acutely conscious of our cultural moment, of the secularism and materialism in which we live, and in which God seems to be “Framed Out”, so to speak."

The mistake, he said, "is to feel so under siege that mission becomes an overriding principle that may dominate or distort other good things that we do, perhaps in the realms of theology, liturgy, or other church practices. One manifestation of this is the way in which some churches, under the guise of “mission”, capitulate to the secular trends and compromise their theological positions – such as human sexuality – on the grounds of staying in step with society and being missional to those around us."

(Above: Families join in singing ‘Jesus, strong and kind')

Likewise, Dr Earngey said, Anglicans must not lose the centrality of the cross. "So, we must remain vigilant to have the branding of the cross seared upon our efforts, rather than being fixated upon the sorts of branding and marketing which we may be tempted into thinking will ensure cut-through and the right optics. As the baptismal service teaches us, we fight under the sign of the cross until our life’s end, and to rely upon anything else, is to enter the spiritual battle with blunt instruments."  

Archbishop Stephen Than (main photo) visited the conference for an address which included his personal testimony of several years in prison as a young man in Myanmar. He was even put on death row.

"I was full of fear and trembling because I didn't want to die young. I was only 24 years old then." he said. "My head lost my faith in God but my heart still confirmed there is God. I couldn't stand it any more. But just before I was about to commit suicide I heard the sound of church bells ringing, coming from outside the jail. That sound stopped me from committing suicide and this sound reminded me to remember my church and my Christian life."

The Archbishop testified that "I knelt down and started praying the Lord's prayer. There appeared a small purple cross before my face. The scripture passage came to my ear and my heart - 'Come unto me all who labour and are heavy laden.' Suddenly my head and my heart became one. My sceptism was suddenly gone and I jumped up and said Hallelujah, God is real!"

Christians are in a minority in Myanmar, making up only 7 percent of the population.

“Christians in Myanmar are suffering for our faith amidst all difficulties."

"How do we remain faithful in such a difficult situation? How do we carry out our mission?" the Archbishop said. "Brothers and sisters, the main task of the church of God is to proclaim this Gospel of Jesus Christ."

"I thank God for creating the GAFCON movement which emerged from the painful struggle of our orthodox brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion. Without GAFCON, the Anglican communion will fade away gradually. The essence of Anglicanism will disappear, the essence of christianity will disappear from the Anglican Church."

Sessions are being livestreamed here.