The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) also referred to as the Global Anglicans has condemned the same sex marriage and called upon those that “have gone astray” to come back to the Word of God and repent.
During an interview June 13, the chair of GAFCON Primates Council, Dr. Laurent Mbanda who doubles as Archbishop of Anglican Church of Rwanda first defined terms in relation to the Anglican church, before going straight to the main concern the church is facing at the moment.
First of all, the interview took place in the context of the fourth GAFCON which was concluded in Kigali in April, including 1300 participants from across the world in Anglican communion.
“GAFCON represents nearly 85% of the Anglican communion. In other words, the Global Anglican Communion is not the UK, as some tend to think; the Anglican church is present worldwide,” he said to remove the confusion.
“As GAFCON, we are a movement that seeks to restore the Word of God in the church, to spread the Good News of Christ,” he further said narrating the background of the conference from Jerusalem to Nairobi and back to Jerusalem before coming to Kigali.
From this perspective, Mbanda dwelled on the current challenges of the church, which give their conference a meaning.
“As you might have realised, every now and then, Western societies are becoming secular, and the Christianity values shunned. We want to restore faith and the bible, which is a mirror which helps to watch the values that are ungodly. Ours is a platform that allows us to come together with same heart, values and zeal to proclaim the Good News of Jesus,” he said.
Authority of the Scripture Vs the Archbishop of Canterbury
At the end of every gathering, GAFCON which takes place every five years, releases a communiqué that includes resolutions that should guide the church.
In this regard, the Kigali Commitment was taken, including reaffirmation of the authority of the scripture in the church and no confidence vote on the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
“It is shameful for any church leader, to chair and lead a meeting that will mislead people, move them from the biblical teaching which he vowed to uphold and them lead them astray,” Mbanda said on the Archbishop of Canterbury.
“When you give teaching that tells people to embrace same sex union, or marriage, which is against the teaching of the scripture, you have forfeited your authority to lead. That’s why we say, he needs to repent if he is to lead the church,” Mbanda said.
It is from this perspective that Mbanda says on behalf the organisation he chairs: “We no longer consider him as one among equals. We have realised that he is no longer fit to lead us as people who stand for the Word of God as is. Kigali commitment is important since it rejects the authority of Canterbury.”
With this being, GAFCON considers the Archbishop of Canterbury “just as head of Anglican Church of the UK, not the universal Anglican Church.”
Mbanda was straight to say that “some people want to relate the Anglican church with promotion of same sex relationship and marriage, but it is wrong,” he said.
“We condemn any doing that is against the Word of God; be it the same sex marriage, fornication, corruption and any other sin.”
However, he said that those who believe in same sex relationship are allowed to come at church.
“We do welcome them because a church is meant for everyone; we preach the Good News and leave the rest to God.”
Meanwhile Mbanda proposes ways to exit from the church of England under the Archbishop of Canterbury leadership.
“They can let us know so that we reorient them in the church that still stands in the Word of God,” he said citing the case of the United States of America where Episcopal Church of America went astray.
Those who chose the right path were connected with the Anglican Church of North America.
All in all, however, the church leaders under GAFCON say that they saw this challenge coming from the Western societies where “churches allowed in the leaders who do not respect the Word of God.”
As far as the Anglican church of Rwanda is concerned, Mbanda stated that they have chosen to stand by the Word of God, and do not fear any repercussions.
He said the Church of Rwanda does not depend from donations from the West.
“We have learnt to be self-reliant. We don’t mean that we cannot accept support, but the donations that want us to go astray will never be allowed,” Mbanda said.
Meanwhile, in the next five years of chairmanship, Mbanda seeks to strengthen evangelism and discipleship, to equip the next generation of leaders, strengthening the education of the youth and children, strengthening women in development, teaching, and values of the church and the society at large.
GAFCON also seeks to strengthen the social aspect, also referred to as the Mercy Ministry and the Bishops’ training from the Bishops’ training Institute.
All these will also go along with learning from each other’s.