When the Church of England’s SYNOD met last week to take up a vote on how best to handle same-sex relationships, a decision was made. But they may not have been expecting Africa to take as strong a stand as it is taking.
Immediately after the in-between position of allowing priests to perform a blessing same-sex couples, but not the marriage rite per se.
Canterbury may be the traditional seat of the Anglican communion, but it by no means the majority membership, especially with England (including their church leadership) increasingly sliding into secularism.
African membership in the Church of England has been booming, and is taking an increasing role in leadership. Here, in its entirety, is the text of a message that was sent out in response to the Synod’s decision.
With a resolve that would leave secular identitarians baffled, these Church leaders from Africa both denounced colonialism ‘Empire’ while embracing and defending the Christian faith that empire brought with them.
They are not only holding fast to the ‘Faith once delivered’, but they are defending it against the secular West which, itself, has lost sight of the gospel. Watch for those themes as you read their statements.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I want to commend to you Archbishop Steven Kaziimba’s response on behalf of the Church of Uganda to the Church of England’s decision to bless same-sex relationships. In short, the Church of Uganda says, “Just say no.” Just say no to the leaders of the Church of England, including Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop of York, Stephen Cotrell, who tried to convince us there is a distinction between the blessing of a couple and the blessing of their relationship. As Archbishop Kaziimba says so clearly: if it looks like a wedding and sounds like a wedding, it is a wedding.
Just say no to the Church of England’s departure from the Bible and their new message, which is the opposite of the Bible. Instead of calling for repentance, it is blessing sin.
Just say no to going down the suicidal path the Church of England has now taken in following the Episcopal Church by redefining biblical standards for human sexuality, marriage, and leadership in the Church.
Just say no to the Church of England’s attempt to highjack the Anglican Communion and the vast majority of Anglicans who refuse to give up on the Faith once delivered.
Just say no to endless Indaba, obfuscation, manipulation and paying more attention to the internal politics of the Church of England, English culture, and Parliament, rather than the plain and grammatical teaching of God’s Word.
The Anglican Communion is no longer the remnant of the British Empire. Both the Global South and Gafcon have stated this clearly. We also commend to you the statement of Archbishop Foley Beach, Chair of Gafcon, in condemning the decision of the Church of England by raising the question yet again, how the Archbishop of Canterbury can pretend to serve as a focus of unity, much less an instrument of unity, for the Anglican Communion.
Please read carefully both of these important press releases, which we have included below for easier access. They represent a See-change in the Anglican Communion, a commitment to refocus and reset Anglicans in fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission and restoring faith and order (communion catholicity) within the Anglican Communion. Both statements set the table for the gathering of biblically-faithful Anglicans at Gafcon IV in April in Kigali.
Imagine what can happen if Global South primates and Gafcon primates meeting together issue a statement on behalf of the more than 70 percent of Anglicans globally, condemning the decision of the Church of England and setting our faces towards a Communion, where working together we make disciples of all nations and hold each other accountable to that faith once delivered. The Gafcon primates and Global South primates did this in 2017 together in Alexandria when they issued their joint statement on human sexuality. Can they do this again in Kigali?
Is it possible that the best and brightest biblical theologians in both the Global South and Gafcon can partner together to refute the Bible in the Life of the Church curriculum that has exalted personal context and cultural context over the content of the bible itself? Is it possible for these theologians to reset the rest of the Communion in how to study and apply God’s eternal and changeless Word to the ever-changing cultures in which we live, with grace and truth?
Please join the American Anglican Council as we pray for this future that lies ahead.
Statement by Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba on Behalf of the Anglican Church of Uganda
February 10, 2023
Good morning, our Media Evangelists, and Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow!
I have invited you here today to update you and, through you, all our Christians here in Uganda about some recent decisions the Church of England has made. I want to explain them very well to all of us and also explain the Church of Uganda’s position.
The Church of England’s Decision
The General Synod of the Church of England (their top governing body, like our Provincial Assembly) sat yesterday and passed several resolutions that are of great concern to us in Uganda. They have decided to allow clergy to preside at Blessings of Same-sex Unions and have approved supplemental prayers and liturgies for such occasions.
The Church of England is very good at making contradictory statements and expecting everyone to believe both can be true at the same time. That’s what they have done with this decision.
On the one hand, they say that the Church of England has not changed its doctrine of marriage, namely that marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman.
On the other hand, they are giving clergy permission to preside at services of Blessing for same-sex unions, especially for gay couples who are already considered “married” by the British government. In other words, a gay couple joined together in a civil marriage would then go to the church to receive prayers of blessing.
The only significant difference between a wedding and a service of “blessing” is the terminology used.
The Church of England insists it is not changing its doctrine of marriage. But, in practice, they are doing precisely that. You may read various articles, opinions, and commentaries on this decision that try to justify its action.
But, what I want you to know is that if it looks like a wedding, and sounds like a wedding… it IS a wedding.
The Church of Uganda’s Position
Now, I want to talk about the position of the Church of Uganda. There have been very many questions about it in light of this terrible decision of the Church of England.
1. First, from the first page of the Bible in the book of Genesis to the last page of the Bible in the book of Revelation, it is clear that God’s design for human flourishing is that we are part of a family – a family that is defined as one man and one woman united in holy matrimony for life and, God willing, a union that produces children. God’s Word has said that the only context for sexual relationships is in the context of a marriage of one man and one woman.
2. Second. Because lifelong, exclusive marriage between one man and one woman is the only context for sexual relationships, the Bible calls any other kind of sexual relationship a sin. Whether it is adultery, or fornication, or polygamy, or homosexual relationships. They are all sin and they all separate us from God.
a. That means sleeping with your girlfriend or your boyfriend before marriage is a sin.
b. That means that if you are married and have a “side dish,” that is a sin.
c. That means that if you take a second or third wife that is a sin.
d. That means if you engage in homosexual or same-sex sexual relationships, that is a sin.
Yes, God can forgive you, but it requires that you come before God, confess that you have done wrong, and make a commitment to change your way of life – in other words, to repent – and walk in God’s ways.
3. Third. When Jesus was questioned about a woman caught in adultery, he told her to “Go, and sin no more.”
There is a lot of sexual sin in Uganda. I know that, and you know that. Nevertheless, we haven’t changed our message. Our message is the message of the Bible, which is, “Go, and sin no more.”
The Church of England, on the other hand, has now departed from the Bible and their new message is the opposite message of the Bible. They are now saying, “Go, and sin some more.”
They are even offering to bless that sin.
That is wrong.
As Church of Uganda we cannot accept that. God cannot bless what He calls sin.
We all know the story of the Uganda Martyrs, how they refused to engage in homosexual sex with their leaders. They stood firm in their Christian faith and were martyred for it. We cannot betray them or our Lord Jesus Christ. We will not betray the Word of God or His ways. The Bible tells us that Jesus alone is “the way, the truth, and the life,” and that he is the same “yesterday, today, and forever.”
Jesus does not change his mind about what is sinful. Instead, Jesus gives us a way out of a bondage to sin by putting our trust and faith in him as our Saviour and Lord. That’s why it’s possible for us to “Go, and sin no more.”
The suicidal path the Church of England has now taken began in the Anglican Communion in 2003 when The Episcopal Church in America consecrated a gay man as a Bishop. As Church of Uganda, we broke fellowship with them at that time, and we have maintained that they are the ones who have left the Anglican faith and, therefore, the Anglican Communion.
In 2008 when the Archbishop of Canterbury refused to discipline The American Episcopal Church for their action, Archbishops from Bible-believing Anglican Provinces around the world organized the first Gafcon conference to bring us together under the Lordship of Christ and the authority of the Bible. Gafcon has always said, “We are not leaving the Anglican Communion; we ARE the Anglican Communion.”
Likewise, the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans has said the same thing. “We are not leaving the Anglican Communion; we ARE the Anglican Communion.”
The Way Forward
We now want to ask the Church of England, “Do you have the integrity to step out of the Anglican Communion because you have departed from the Anglican faith?” God called you to preach a Gospel of repentance and faith. Instead, you’re like Jonah. You have disobeyed and are running in the opposite direction.
God called the church to go to Nineveh and preach repentance, but the Church of England is running to Tarshish and preaching acceptance of sin. There is no way we are walking together.
The Church of England, together with the Episcopal Church in America, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, and others – these are the Provinces that have walked away, but we pray for them to repent.
And, if they refuse to repent, then we call on them to have the integrity to form their own Canterbury Communion because what they believe is not Anglicanism and it is not the faith once delivered to the saints.
If they want to take their whole church into the belly of a whale, they are free to do that; we are, after all, autonomous Anglican Provinces. We think it’s a bad idea, but they are free to do it.
But, they are NOT free to drag the whole Anglican Communion with them. The Anglican Communion is NOT an extension of the Church of England.
The Church of England has departed from the Anglican faith and are now false teachers. We fear Jesus’ words for them, “If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” (Rev 2.5b) It’s that serious.
The Church of Uganda has more than 200 members traveling to Kigali in April for the 4th Global Gafcon meeting. We will be there with many Bible-believing Archbishops, Bishops, and Anglicans from all over Africa and the world. These are the ones who have not bowed their knee to Baal. (1 Kings 19.18)
We shall pray, and sit together, and discern the mind of Christ for the way forward. I ask your prayers for wisdom, for, indeed, we need the wisdom of Solomon to know how to faithfully respond to the crisis at hand.
Finally, now that our children are back in school, beware of the well-funded Gay organizations that are recruiting our children into homosexuality. Not only in Kampala, but all over the country. They target our poverty and promise our youth money.
To our youth – if someone invites you to a function and offers you a big transport refund, those are probably bad people. Say “No” to it. And, if you have already been exploited or abused by such groups, please go to your Bishop for prayer, support, and guidance. You will be received with love and compassion.
To our Head Teachers – if an organization is bringing money and resources to your school, or inviting your students to a function, do your research. Make sure you know who they really are.
My fellow Ugandans – we cannot serve God and mammon. We cannot serve God and money. Do not lose your soul because you think you will gain the whole world through the money they offer you. Do not think you can take the money, but not fall into their trap. It’s a lie; you are being exploited with that money.
The Bible says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” So, just say, “No.”
I am here today to declare, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”
The House of Bishops is united on this. The Provincial Assembly is united on this – “As for me and the Church of Uganda, we will serve the Lord.”
To God be the glory!
The Most Rev. Dr. Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu
ARCHBISHOP OF CHURCH OF UGANDA.
The Gafcon Response to CofE General Synod
February 9, 2023
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Greetings in the Name of God our Father and His Son our Lord Jesus Christ!
Blessings to you as you behold the beauty of the Lord and his immense truth and grace on display through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul so eloquently writes, ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”’ (Rom 1:16-17).
The decision taken today by the General Synod of the Church of England and the explanations given are clear indications that the Church of England is moving a step at a time to fully accept the practice of homosexuality as part of the life and practice of the English Church. To some of us who have been hoping that the Church would remain with her distinctive identity from those who don’t believe the teaching of Scripture, this hope is diminishing.
We have lived through this with other Western Anglican Provinces that continually wavered on the ‘faith once delivered’ (Jude 3) and now outright deny the doctrine of biblical anthropology regarding gender identity and moral behavior. Those in the secular press and culture will argue that these are matters of justice, but God’s justice can never contradict God’s righteousness, and we know these changes attack the very core of biblical authority. Have the Scriptures been clear on human sexuality through the centuries? Yes, they have. The majority of Anglicans around the world have concluded the same. And yet, now, the Church of England has authorized the blessing of sin and declared that sin is no longer sin. From Lambeth Conference 1998 (and its overwhelming endorsement of Resolution I:10), following the Kuala Lumpur Statement in 1997, to Dar Es Salaam in 2007, to the Jerusalem Declaration at GAFCON 2008, to the Nairobi Communiqué at GAFCON II 2013, and the Letter to the Churches at GAFCON III 2018, we have remained resolute in speaking both the truth of Christian witness on matters of practice and ethics and calling the Anglican Communion Establishment to repent and return to the teaching of Scripture and the historical teaching of the Church.
This decision by the Church of England raises questions regarding the relationship of Anglican Provinces around the world with the Church of England and the continued role of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Gafcon provinces and other Global South provinces are already in impaired Communion with The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Episcopal Church of Brazil, The Scottish Episcopal Church, The Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and the Church in Wales. We shall now have to make a decision about the Church of England.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has abrogated his fiduciary responsibility and violated his consecration vows to “banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word” with his advocating this change in the Church of England. He is shredding the last remaining fragile fabric of the Anglican Communion. It is time for the Primate of All England to step down from his role as “first among equals” in leading the Anglican Communion. It is now time for the Primates of the Anglican Communion to choose for themselves their “first among equals” rather than having a secular government of only one nation appoint our leader. We are no longer colonies of Great Britain.
In 2017 the Gafcon Primates (representing more than 60 Million Anglicans worldwide) authorized the creation of a new mission into England because unbiblical practices had already been occurring in many dioceses of the Church of England. Many faithful Anglicans could no longer serve under bishops who had departed from the teaching of Scripture. We consecrated the Rev. Andy Lines to be its first Missionary Bishop and have since constituted the Anglican Network in Europe. Last year the GAFCON Primates consecrated the Rev. Lee McMunn, the Rev. Tim Davies and the Rev. Ian Ferguson, to assist in the growing work in the United Kingdom. The Rev. Stuart Bell will be consecrated in March. We believe the Lord is raising up a biblical alternative for the Christian faithful in Great Britain.
Many in the Church of England have made faithful and courageous speeches upholding biblical teaching. We thank God for them and acknowledge their faithfulness to the Gospel, and our ongoing fellowship with and support for them. For those who are feeling alone and vulnerable during this time, please be assured of the fervent prayers of your brothers and sisters around the world. You are not alone. And you do not have to endure this alone. The Lord will guide you as you honor him and seek to follow His will.
In April the Gafcon Primates will be hosting over 1,100 participants in GAFCON IV in Kigali, Rwanda. In collaboration with the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans (GSFA), we shall have more to say and do about these matters. Please come, and we’ll make room at the table for you.
On behalf of the Gafcon Primates,
I am Yours in Christ,
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Chair of the Gafcon Primates Council