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African Archbishop Excoriates Canterbury Praises GAFCON as future of Anglicanism

African Archbishop Excoriates Canterbury Praises GAFCON as future of Anglicanism

By David W. Virtue in Kigali
April 18, 2023

GAFCON General Secretary and Nigerian Archbishop Ben Kwashi today pushed the primacy of Scripture as the standard for the renewal of global Anglicanism while recognizing the pain, the confusion and the suffering which has now arisen within the Anglican Church, and in other denominations.

"Do we stick firmly to the Bible or do we follow the ways, the interpretations and the personal preferences of contemporary society? Let us be absolutely clear; led by the Holy Spirit and relying on His power, GAFCON remains rooted in the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, supported by the Apostles' Creed, the 39 Articles and the Jerusalem declaration."

The feisty African primate said there can be no negotiations or back-tracking on what God has done, or about the teaching, the ministry, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. "Here is the rock on which we are built and to step aside or vacillate in any way, big or small, would be to put our feet on shifting sand, where sooner or later we shall fall."

He said Jesus gave clear warnings that some would turn away and that trouble and persecution would come, but he added, "take heart; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Mt.28:20).

The ebullient African cancer survivor said the world around us is falling into a growing state of confusion and in some cases, disintegration, but it is the power of the gospel which can turn things round: the gospel of Jesus Christ carries the power of God. "The effect of the gospel will be seen in the life of whoever believes in that gospel, no matter their nationality, tribe, background, education, qualifications, age or gender, and the fruit of the gospel will be seen in righteousness, holiness, service, development, health, and in the physical and spiritual blessings that accompany that person in the community. The Christian gospel does not destroy: it builds and brings life in all its fullness to everybody without discrimination."

"History has shown that where the Gospel is taught, preached and lived, and revival has broken out, it has started with one small spark in one place and spread like wildfire. As it spreads what has happened has not been a huge increase in bank balances, or even in the building of churches. What has happened has been that all trade, operations, practices and businesses that threatened life and safety closed down, corruption and lies were rejected, the police had less work, families were strengthened, lives were changed and the praises of God were sung in every household. The same can be true today!"


Distinctly missing at the Lambeth Conference but pressing here is the call to evangelism and mission. If the gospel is alive then, like any living being, it must grow, said Kwashi.

"When Peter preached the first sermon on the Day of Pentecost, the church was born with 3000 babies! The administration was sorted out quickly and their priorities were clear: teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers (Acts 2:42). The result was that when the first internal disruption came it was quickly resolved through prayer, consultations, and the election of seven godly leaders to serve the community. The result was immediate: "the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith" (Acts 6:7). Either the gospel spreads its wings and grows, or it stands still and in doing so it stagnates, and disintegrates as the world passes it by, ignoring it as an outdated commodity."


For GAFCON the corner-stone is the Primacy of Scripture, as rediscovered at the Reformation, said Kwashi. "Out of that flows the power of the Gospel, issuing in the Priority of Mission. These put together give us a sure confidence in God and a certain hope in him for the future. Whatever we are facing today, there is always hope. Persecution has never killed the church, and it never will kill the church. In fact, persecution helps the gospel to spread, as Christians run from one place to another!

You have nothing to fear if only you know who is with you in all the circumstances of life. It is we, God's people, not God, who need to open our eyes and Wake Up, he said.


Kwashi praised the Jerusalem Declaration, which he said was the formative document which emerged from the first GAFCON gathering in 2008. The Jerusalem Declaration aimed "to chart a way forward together that promotes and protects the biblical gospel and mission to the world, solemnly declaring the following tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican identity." Thereafter followed fourteen foundational points of belief, doctrine and practice.

The conclusion made it clear that GAFCON had been called together with a sense of urgency because "a false gospel has so paralyzed the Anglican Communion that this crisis must be addressed. The chief threat of this dispute involves the compromising of the integrity of the church's worldwide mission . . . We believe the Anglican Communion should and will be reformed around the biblical gospel and the mandate to go into all the world and present Christ to the nations." That was a prophetic statement!


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