The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Forgiveness Key in Anglican Saga

"I appeal to you brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it

has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarrelling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, 'I follow Paul,' or 'I follow Apollos,' or 'I follow Cephas,' or 'I follow Christ'. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptised in the name of Paul?" (I Corinthians 1:10-13)

In light of the above quotation from the bible, one wonders if the two archbishops from the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa and the Church of the Province of Zimbabwe have ever read this passage written by Paul to the Corinthians.

The raging dispute is now an over drummed issue. The discourse over who should pull the shorts between defrocked Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga and Chad Gandiya has been dominating news headlines of many newspapers. For the past five years several newspapers have been kept on their toes as they pursued an issue that has threatened to throw the church into a religious tinderbox.

Despite the coverage, the traction of the story is refusing to die. Members of the Anglican Church are Christians and as such they should be guided by religious principles as is expected of man of the cloth.

Christian ethics put more emphasis on love, unity of purpose and forgiveness as characteristics of persons who have given their lives to Christ. It would seem that the rift between the two bishops is in direct contravention of the expected Christian principles often associated with ambassadors of Christ.

Christians are regarded as the light or salt of the world and the "world" is expected to look up to them for inspiration and moral direction. The issue of love was made into a "golden rule" and it dominates Jesus Christ's teachings. Forgiveness is also an essential part of the Christian doctrine and it goes with conditions "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us".

The model prayer that was taught to the disciples by Jesus emphasised the need to forgive one another and judge not. Surprisingly, the CPCA has decided to perform a cleansing ceremony to purify the church which they said was "defiled" by Kunonga.

The cleansing ceremony was supposed to be held after forgiveness and reconciliation as it is not proper to carry out such activities while you hold something in your heart against your brother.

The Apostle Paul once wrote to the Corinthians when they were faced with the same problem that is reigning in the midst of one of the biggest churches in our country. He urged them to speak in agreement and that there should not be divisions among them, but that they may be fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.

This is an excerpt from the bible which is the word of God, yet our dear brethren driven by heroism have cast a blind eye on such teachings. Some claim to belong to Kunonga and the other group identifies itself with Gandiya. None of the two owns people but God.

God's chosen flock as put by Paul must clothe themselves in tender affection, be compassionate, kind, and long suffering. Kunonga as a human has made a mistake, but the solution that was implemented by the CPCA is worse than the mistake that was committed.

The bible, which Christians refer to for guidance, clearly states that believers must continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another. Even as Jehovah freely forgave you so do you also, but besides all these things, clothe yourselves with love for it is a perfect bond of union.

The CPCA must know that if they forgive members of the Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe, their God will also forgive them.

True worshipping will cease to exist whenever there is hatred and vengeance.

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