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More Anglicans Die at Hands of Boko Haram than all Christians in Middle East

More Anglicans Die at Hands of Boko Haram than all Christians in Middle East
Damaturu Anglican Diocese in Yorba State wiped out by Islamic rebels
GAFCON Primates say they will not accept gifts from TEC or TWS to be turned on Gay Issue
In three years, Welby will be forced to take a stand, or watch as Communion splits

VOL recently obtained an exclusive interview with the Rt. Rev. Jacob Kwashi, Bishop of Zonkwa, in northern Nigeria. His brother, Ben Kwashi, is Bishop of the Diocese of Jos in northern Nigeria.

By David W. Virtue DD
March 8, 2016

VOL: The persecution of Christians in Northern Nigeria continues apace, despite a recent change in Government. It is said that more Christians are being slaughtered in Northern Nigeria than the Middle East. Is that true?

KWASHI: It is true. In Northeastern Nigeria, more Christians have died than in the Middle East. Attacks occur every day, killing between 30 and 40, including women and children.

VOL: It is also said that most of them are Anglicans. Is that true?

KWASHI: Yes. We got to know the ones in the diocese of Damaturu in Yorbe state. Today Damaturu is virtually gone. We only have one surviving church where there once over 47 thriving churches. They have all been destroyed, and the people have either left, been killed, homes destroyed, or simply gone no one knows where. The bishop of Damaturu is now living in Jos with my brother. The diocese once had 250,000 people, Boko Haram has killed thousands, and married off the women they have captured. Recently, the army rescued 150 women and children.

VOL: Is the Government being successful in its campaign against Boko Haram?

BISHOP: Yes, to some extent. The new president, a Muslim, is better than the Christian, Goodluck Jonathan. He has come with full force this time, and is confronting Boko Haram. The present Muslim president, Muhammadu Buhari, gives us peace of mind. Muslims accuse him of killing Muslims. They are saying he is not a true Muslim; that is why he is attacking Boko Haram. Zaria, a major city in Kaduna State in Northern Nigeria, is home to the Shiite sect, and their leader came out, and they almost slaughtered the Chief of Army staff. There is shooting between them and the army. Their leader was finally arrested, and so Muslims are attacking the president for not being a true Muslim.

VOL: Is Boko Haram part of ISIS?

BISHOP: Yes. Boko Haram is an Islamist terrorist group. At every attack, they are heard reciting Islamic verses and shouting 'Allahu Akbar'.

VOL: What evangelism is taking place in Boko Haram territory?

BISHOP: Before the advent of Boko Haram, the Anglican Church of Nigeria was expanding very fast in the area. Not everyone is an Islamist, there are also Hausa communities. We had a good time evangelizing these areas in the north. We were penetrating these areas in the North and Northeastern part of the country. Then along came Boko Haram and made it difficult to go out and evangelize.

VOL: Do you see the persecution of Anglicans as a direct result of the West's insistence that homosexuality be proclaimed and gay marriage applauded, or is it something else?

BISHOP: It is not directly that way. The Anglican Church in Nigeria has gotten a bad name by Muslims because of gay marriage in the western world, especially as it comes from Canada and the U.S.

VOL: Your archbishop, Nicholas Okoh, said at your synod last week that "nothing has changed" since the Canterbury primatial meeting. What do you think he meant by that?

BISHOP: There has not been true repentance coming from The Episcopal Church, so nothing has changed; they are still adamantly refusing to repent, so there is nothing new.

VOL: Recently, Kenyan Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said that orthodox Anglicans need to look to Jerusalem, not Canterbury, for its future. What do you think he meant by that?

BISHOP: Jerusalem is where Christianity was born. It is where we go back to the true position of Christianity and the doctrines of Jesus Christ. It is where we get sound teaching. Canterbury has watered down its position. We must go back to our roots.

VOL: It would appear that the three year waiting period won't change much of anything, because TEC leaders say their Presiding Bishop won't back down. In fact, he says he will use money to try and change things in Africa over the next three years. He says he has time and a changing culture on his side. Do you think he is right? Will Africa go gay in time?

BISHOP: I strongly believe that Africa will not go gay because African primates are coming together, and, along with the GAFCON primates, they are saying that no diocese or province should accept any financial support from TEC. Trinity Wall Street (TWS) likes to walk through Africa with money given to TEC. Coming from Wall Street, the money is supposed to be clean. The Episcopal Church believes it can buy Africa.

VOL: Is Trinity Wall Street money clean?

BISHOP: No. The moment any diocese receives money, TWS will publish it to the world that they are part of us.

VOL: I have been told that a number of deans in Kenya and Uganda have been taking money from TEC and TWS. Is that true?

BISHOP: Yes. I met John Mutonga, Commissary for the Bishop of the Diocese of Mt. Kenya Central, who told me that two or three senior priests and deans had been receiving support from TWS.

VOL: Does the money come with any strings attached?

BISHOP: They give it with a string attached. They say take us in. When they do take TWS money, they rub our faces and minds in it along with their ideology, and the African leaders are forced to buy into it. The African leaders end up paying the piper.

In Kenya, some two or three deans have received support. My good friend, Bishop Stanley Hotay of the Diocese of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, received a delegation from TEC with money from TWS. They came to build a hospital for him in his diocese. He almost agreed, then he discovered to his consternation where the money was coming from. It was a large amount of clinical money. He turned it down. At one of their meetings in Tanzania, they invited some people from TEC, including priests. When they came, we asked them what they were doing there. When we learned the truth that they were pushing the TEC agenda we asked them to leave.

VOL: We are hearing that some African archbishops are going soft on pansexuality, including the Archbishop of Tanzania and Central Africa. Can you confirm that?

BISHOP: Archbishop Jacob Chimeledya is coming around. I believe he will come into GAFCON. It is only a matter of time. He was a bit skeptical of GAFCON at first, but I think it is becoming clearer to him that we need to come together. Central Africa is strong again after going through a rocky period. Southern Africa has gone. It is very difficult to get them on board. Only a remnant refuses to be bought over. How they can come into GAFCON is very difficult.

VOL: If there is a formal schism down the road, what do you think it will look like?

BISHOP: After three years, if nothing has changed, then I think the African Anglican Church will ask the Archbishop of Canterbury to take a stand, and, if he wants to maintain the Anglican Communion, he will have to side with Africa, Asia and Latin America.

VOL: Can you promise to take care of our man, Bishop Julian Dobbs, here in the US, if the Anglican Communion blows up?

BISHOP: Certainly. We wish we could do more to help ACNA and CANA... more than what we are doing. We are ready to show we are with him, and stand with him, supporting our most holy Faith.

VOL: Can you clarify the role of women in the churches in Africa especially Nigeria?

BISHOP: We have women as lay leaders and ministering in song and preaching. They may not be ordained or conduct Holy Communion. The issue of ordination in our culture is very different from central and South Africa. Nigerian culture is a very sensitive culture. We gave out a paper asking should women be ordained. We passed it all around the Anglican Communion, and the majority of the Nigerians said no; and this was mostly the women themselves. Our cultural position is very important in Nigeria. The Mothers' Union is very strong and very powerful, and they have many ministries including social outreach projects, as well as being an international campaigning charity. The MU is particularly concerned with the plight of women in the world; its projects include literacy and development, parenting, micro finance, and campaigning against violence against women and the trafficking of women. Mothers' Union is part of Make Poverty History and the Jubilee Debt Coalition.

Women don't feel oppressed because they are not being ordained. They are free to preach and do evangelistic crusades. The Mothers' Union is very powerful, and they do excellent work. The truth is, if you want to close the Anglican Communion, lose the women; they are central to its future. Remember, the make-up of the Anglican Communion is black, under 40, and both male but mostly female.

VOL: We hear figures bandied about the true health of the African Church and that the figures are exaggerated. We hear reports that the figure of 20 million Anglicans in Nigeria is exaggerated.

BISHOP: There are more than 20 million Nigerian Anglicans. The strategy of Western liberals is to down play our numbers. Wherever you go in Africa, and Nigeria is the most populace nation in Africa, you see an Anglican Church. In every little village, even in the middle of nowhere, there are Anglican churches and new ones being planted.

Conversion always comes first, then good works. In my diocese, we went out to the border of two cities, Kanu and Kaduna, which had animists. They invited us to start a church for them there. When other communities heard about us, they asked us if we should come. When we first went to the village, we preached the gospel to them, and discovered they needed clean water. We drilled a well and created a blow hole, and now they have clean water. We erected a church building, and they asked for an evangelist to work with them.

VOL: What is the state of theological education in Nigeria?

BISHOP: We have colleges going up to PhD level in theology. We have six institutions -- three universities and three colleges. We no longer need to go to Europe or America. We can train our own people on how they can function in our culture.

VOL: You were recently at the Anglican Leadership Institute (ALI) in Charleston, SC, recently. ALI is about grooming Anglican leaders of tomorrow. Was this a positive thing in your mind?

BISHOP: Yes. What matters most is a vision. We want to build a body of doctrine that is sound. ALI has a global vision, and we are proud to be a part of it.

VOL: Where does The Episcopal Church fit into all this?

BISHOP: Inasmuch as we are worried and concerned for what they have done to themselves and us, we still sincerely love them. We want them to come back to a right position...to accepting the Bible as authoritative, and we are praying every day for them. We are not naive if it doesn't happen. If anything, we will pull out, and, if pulling out allows them to fall down, we would not want to continue in communion with people deliberately going against the authority of the Bible, and accepting them the way they are.

If we departed, and the Global South is forced to stand alone, we would have a rotating archbishop as leader. We would always be Anglican, even if we are not connected to Canterbury or North America.

VOL: What do you make of Archbishop Justin Welby?

BISHOP: Welby is going through a difficult time, being pulled between two strong forces. At some point, he must decide if he going to be on the side of TEC and TWS, or on the authority of God's Word, and take on Wall Street and western liberalism, and stand with the Global South. It is his choice.

VOL: Thank you, bishop.

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