A group of conservative Anglican leaders from around the world have issued a statement rebuking the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and other Church of England leaders they claim “have failed to guard the faith.”
“We have no confidence that the Archbishop of Canterbury nor the other Instruments of Communion led by him (the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meetings) are able to provide a godly way forward that will be acceptable to those who are committed to the truthfulness, clarity, sufficiency and authority of scripture,” read a statement titled “The Kigali Commitment,” which was released by Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON) on Saturday.
GAFCON is “a global family of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion,” according to its website, which explains the movement emerged in 2008 in response to increasing theological liberalism in the Anglican Communion.
The Kigali Commitment comes amid deep fractures among Anglicans globally regarding gender and sexuality. Following two days of extensive debate, the Church of England’s General Synod voted in February in favor of offering prayers for God’s blessing on same-sex couples.
Accusing Church of England leaders of “repeated departures from the authority of God’s Word,” the statement said, “The latest of these departures is the majority vote by the General Synod of the Church of England in February 2023 to welcome proposals by the bishops to enable same-sex couples to receive God’s blessing.”
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“It grieves the Holy Spirit and us that the leadership of the Church of England is determined to bless sin. Since the Lord does not bless same-sex unions, it is pastorally deceptive and blasphemous to craft prayers that invoke blessing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” the statement further noted.
“We reject the claim that two contradictory positions can both be valid in matters affecting salvation. We cannot ‘walk together’ in good disagreement with those who have deliberately chosen to walk away from the ‘faith once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3),”
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The Kigali Commitment comes two months after Anglican leaders in the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) rejected the leadership of the archbishop of Canterbury in a scathing letter after the Church of England voted to offer blessings for same-sex couples.
The Kigali Commitment noted that “both GSFA and Gafcon Primates share the view that . . . they can no longer [recognize] the Archbishop of Canterbury as an Instrument of Communion, the ‘first among equals’ of the Primates. The Church of England has chosen to impair her relationship with the orthodox provinces in the Communion.”
A spokesperson for Lambeth Palace, the official residence of the archbishop of Canterbury, issued a statement in response to the Kigali Commitment, noting “that no changes to the formal structures of the Anglican Communion can be made unless they are agreed upon by the Instruments of Communion.”
Bishop of South Syndey Dr. Michael Stead, who chaired the GAFCON statement committee, said the conference made clear that “most of the world’s Anglicans have lost confidence in the Archbishop of Canterbury to provide a godly way forward that will be acceptable to those who are committed to the truthfulness, clarity, sufficiency and authority of scripture,” according to Church Times.
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“This grieves us, but it is they who have walked away from us,” Stead added.