‘Blasphemy’: Anglican Leaders Break With Archbishop of Canterbury Who Supported Blessings For Same-Sex Couples

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Leaders of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) have condemned Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby as “blasphemous” and rejected him as leader of the Anglican Communion after he lent his support to blessings for same-sex couples.

In a five-day gathering in Rwanda, Anglican leaders from around the world, mostly from the Global South, met for the fourth time since the conference was established in 2008. During the summit, GAFCON attendees denounced Welby’s leadership role within the Anglican Communion as “entirely indefensible” after Welby said in January that he “joyfully” accepted the decision of the Church of England’s House of Bishops to approve blessings for same-sex couples, according to the Daily Signal.

Welby heads the Anglican Communion, the world’s third-largest Christian body with some 85 million members worldwide, but does not exercise the same centralized authority as the Roman Catholic pope. Instead, as the Church of England’s primate (highest ranking bishop or archbishop), he serves as first among equals in a communion made up of self-governing national and regional churches.

“Despite 25 years of persistent warnings by most Anglican Primates, repeated departures from the authority of God’s Word have torn the fabric of the Communion. These warnings were blatantly and deliberately disregarded and now without repentance this tear cannot be mended,” GAFCON leaders expressed in the Kigali Commitment.

“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 document continued. (RELATED: Church of England Toys With Idea Of They/Them God)

“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,” the GAFCON leaders stated, calling for GAFCON primates to provide “safe harbor” for faithful Anglicans who find themselves unable to stay within the Church of England due to its “failure of leadership.”

Welby responded to the statements made by GAFCON leaders, stating that the structures of the Anglican Communion are “always able to change with the times – and have done so in the past.”

Despite GAFCON’s assertion that they could not “walk together in good disagreement with those who have deliberately chosen to walk away from the faith,” Welby contended that they could and should.

“Continuing to walk together as Anglicans is not just the best way to share Christ’s love with a world in great need: it is also how the world will know that Jesus Christ is sent from the Father who calls us to love one another, even as we disagree,” Welby said.