Pastor Rutayisire’s perspective on Papal blessings on homosexuality and preachers’ integrity

By Esther Muhozi
On 11 February 2024 at 06:41

Reverend Pastor Antoine Rutayisire, renowned in evangelism in Rwanda as the former head of Remera Parish in the Anglican Church, has retired since 2023. Rutayisire, recognized for his literary talents and esteemed as a man of integrity, frequently shares his views on contentious issues, whether related to the nation’s affairs or centered on evangelism.

On December 18, 2023, the office of Pope Francis released a document outlining new guidelines for blessing individuals, including those who identify as homosexuals. While priests are encouraged to offer blessings to homosexuals, the directive clarifies that it does not pertain to sacraments for married couples.

Besides, controversy emerged when Rutayisire was not invited to the GAFCON conference held in Rwanda in April 2023, an organization dedicated to sustaining and reinforcing the teachings of the word of God.

IGIHE interviewed Rutayisire, who addressed the matter and shared his perspective on Pope Francis’s statements about granting freedom to homosexuals.

IGIHE: Faith appears to be influenced by diverse cultures. Some claim your exclusion from the GAFCON conference in April 2023 was due to disagreements with colleagues on topics like homosexuality. What’s your take on this?

Rutaysire: Let me clarify a few points. First, in Rwanda, individuals were selected to attend the GAFCON meeting based on diocesan plans, and representatives were allocated to the 12 dioceses. My non-attendance wasn’t a result of intentional exclusion.

Second, GAFCON has consistently opposed homosexuality, and I comprehend that they would have invited me due to my stance against it. Thirdly, it’s important to note that I was not in Rwanda by the time the GAFCON conference took place.

Should homosexuals be legally bound?

Our Constitution makes it clear, our laws are unquestionable. The law does not punish but also does not allow the union.

The law stipulates a marriage between a man and a woman, let’s put it back there, keep it that way and we won’t have any problems.

Do you agree with Pope Francis blessing homosexuals?

The Pope said they will not wed them but bless them! I wonder how else to tell them apart? There are times when people do things that make you wonder; if someone comes to the church and blesses them, how is it different from supporting their marriage?

I think that blessing is more powerful than a wedding because when you give a blessing, you agree to the action. If you blessed them then you accepted them, you would as well just wed them.

These are things they put in the middle but the Bible says that the middle way is not allowed. It is whether you are in or out. There is no middle ground. The Pope refused to take one side and that has an effect. The fact that he is respected and an elder does not mean that he can not be wrong. Even adults make mistakes!

Nigerian evangelist TB Joshua is said to be fake. How did you receive the testimony given about his actions?

It can be true or false. The fact that he committed sins does not mean that the miracles he performed were from Satan. Unless you give me other evidence that contradicts the miracles he was doing.

If you come and tell me that this man sexually abused women and performed miracles, and you tell me that this man stole money and performed miracles, beat children and performed miracles, these three do not remove the fact that he performed miracles because the Bible tells us that if God has given you a gift and you use it, he will leave it to you.

Even if you start to misbehave, God will not take away your gifts. If you pray for a sick person and he gets well, he was calling upon God anyways . God will let his people prosper but will punish him alone.

Again his name is ruined, as now he is in disgrace. There is a time when God lets your name be destroyed while you are still alive, he hits you on his side and devalues you. What he wanted to do with you is over.

Even Samson from the Bible used to beat people who went to commit adultery among the Philistines, it was not necessary for him to commit adultery, but God told him: "Since you chose the way to beat them ,you went to commit adultery, committing adultery will affect you. They tore out his eyes”.

What advice do you have for evangelists?

There is no money involved in evangelism. When a person chooses to be a cheater he becomes one. It’s the evangelicals that you see, but fraud is everywhere. Nonetheless, it’s still not right.

It was not expected that a man doing God’s work would engage in fraud. I advise them to serve God, money will come to him. Do what you are called to do and to avoid all evil.

Don’t you see that these things take away Christians from God?

A Christian who gets discouraged by an evangelist is because of their lack of faith and lack of vision. How on earth does an evangelist take your money? You shouldnt be conned twice.

When it comes to the third time someone lies to you, you are a fool because you should open your eyes and see if what he is telling you is true, especially based on the Bible.

If you are in the Church and the pastor tells you that they are going to build a temple, that is not fraud. If you are told that contributions are meant to build a TV station and the project is implemented, that is not a scam. If you are requested to bring a tithe, it is recommended in the Bible.

If the pastor tells you to bring the money to be blessed, run away and never come back to that church. Quoting the Bible, the scripture suggests that people may perish due to a lack of understanding. It emphasizes that God’s blessings are not commodities to be bought or sold.