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Faithfulness and Corruption stalk the Anglican Communion

By David W. Virtue, DD
May 28, 2021

This is the story of three Anglican archbishops: one who is dedicated to the gospel and faithfulness to preaching God's Word, even to the point he and his people face constant persecution for just being Christians; and corruption by two other Anglican Archbishops who bring discredit on the gospel and to our Lord.

The first is the story of the recently enthroned Moderator of the Church of Pakistan, Bishop Azad Marshall of the diocese of Raiwind.

"Bishop Azad Marshall is a godly, Biblical, and good man of God. His heart for young people and caring for those in need is an example to us all. He is a tremendous leader and I look forward to serving with him in the coming years," ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach told VOL.

Marshall has been a supporter of the Anglican realignment movement. He spoke at the 2014 meeting of the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America, as well as at a GAFCON conference held in 2019 in Dubai.

A good friend of Bishop Marshall, who has known him for a number of years said Bishop Azad is a humble, gracious, and utterly courageous man who loves Jesus and his church. Bishop Azad is committed to being faithful to the Bible. "He is also respected by those outside the church as well. This is a wonderful development not only for Pakistan but for the Anglican communion."

An article in TLC said Marshall hopes to work closely with the government to "remove negative perceptions about my country" in the Christian world. "Issues like forced conversion and underage marriages of minority girls, misuse of the blasphemy laws, rising intolerance in our society, poverty etc. bring a bad name to Pakistan and affect the efforts being made to project a positive image of the country," he said.

In its annual report on worldwide Christian persecution, the religious freedom charity Open Doors USA ranked Pakistan as the nation "where Christians face the most violence." The charity estimates that 309 Christians were martyred in the country between November 2019 and October 2020, and that about 1000 Christian girls were forced into marriage with Muslim men. The country's severe blasphemy law, which criminalizes insulting the prophet Muhammad, is sometimes invoked against Christians in unrelated disputes.

Bishop Marshall is a native Pakistani and studied for the ministry both at Gujranwala Theological Seminary and at the London School of Theology. He worked as a missionary in Iran before the Islamic Revolution, distributing Christian literature. He established Church Foundation Seminars, a ministry focused on training pastors and teachers. Later, he helped to found Prince of Peace Library and Center in Shanti Nagar, Pakistan, an institute focused on Christian-Muslim reconciliation; as well as Lahore Theological College, a seminary focused on training men and women for missionary service.

BY CONTRAST, two other Anglican archbishops have revealed a level of corruption that make them unfit for office.

Recently, the Anglican Church of Burundi elected Bishop Sixbert Macumi as its fifth Archbishop and Primate succeeding Archbishop Martin Blaise Nyaboho, who has led the church since 2016.

A source told VOL there are allegations that Macumi bribed his way to election. "He is hostile to GAFCON, as a result, orthodox Anglican leaders will look to start up a GAFCON Chapter in the near future."

Macumi was ordained as a pastor in 1996 and worked as Director and teacher at Bishop Barham College, while also serving as a pastor at Gatukuza parish and at All Saints Cathedral, Buye.

In the Church of South India, the Anglican Moderator, the Most Rev. Dharmaraj Rasalam faces corruption charges. A Commission Report has levelled charges of bribery and corruption against the Anglican Primate.

Following an interrogation of 24 complainants, it was revealed they had given substantial sums of money as bribes totaling three crore rupees ($400,000) to Bishop Rasalam and two other men to secure admission to the Medical College run by the South Kerala diocese. The admissions were denied and the money was not returned.

The Report stated, "On a consideration of the complaints, evidence and all the circumstances, the committee recommends the government under section 8(4) of Act of 2017 take appropriate steps against the college to refund the amount collected from the complainants and to initiate criminal proceedings against college officials and the office bearers, including Bishop Rassalam, Dr Bennet Abraham, and Sri Thankaraj in accordance with law."

To date, no action has been taken. Bribing government officials in India is standard practice.

There is a public perception that these Anglican bishops are obtaining backing from some leading politicians and influential personalities in order to find escape routes to quash the complaints. It is not known if the Kerala Government took the Report seriously and if they are prepared to file a criminal case against the accused. It is suspected that the political parties do not want to antagonize the church and its leaders as they count on their votes when elections come around.

The former Primate Bishop Govada Dyvasirvadam spent time in jail for corruption even as the CSI is engulfed in escalating and endemic corruption. In 2018, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Police arrested the former General Secretary, and Moderator of the Church of South India, who ruled over the CSI Synod at all levels of administration for two decades, charging him with an unauthorized sale of church property and embezzling US$2.5 million for his personal use.

It is profoundly ironic that Archbishop Justin Welby has had nothing to say about the enormous corruption in the CSI that has been going on for a number of years. Instead, Welby is willing to send a testy letter to the Archbishop and Primate of Nigeria, Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba, over remarks he made about homosexuals, while remaining conveniently silent about the mass persecution and killing of Anglicans by Boko Haram and Fulani Tribesmen.


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