1/12/2007

Nigeria speaks again:

Please read my essay on Anglican Vocation: HERE.

News moves on, however: Here is the latest from Nigeria:

The House of Bishops in Nigeria just had their January retreat, and the report of that is available HERE.

As usual, the statement that came from the House of Bishops carried genuine pastoral concern for the nation and for the work of mission. In the midst of their report, however, was this statement:

“We stand by our earlier endorsement of the recommendations of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) document: "The Road to Lambeth" and maintain the posture that we cannot claim to share fellowship with member-Provinces that denigrate the authority of Scripture on the life of the Church. Our participation in this worldwide fellowship is contingent on genuine repentance by those who have chosen to walk away, for two cannot walk together except they are in agreement. Christian unity must be anchored on Biblical truth.”

If anyone was under the illusion that there was any room for an Anglican Communion fellowship large enough to include the Church of Nigeria (Anglican) and the Episcopal Church or the Church of Canada, or even the Church of England, this should clarify matters. Nigeria’s participation in the Anglican Communion is “contingent on genuine repentance by those who have chosen to walk away…”

Any question as to who the bishops believe have walked away is made clear: those who do not agree with them have done so.

There is a crack in the Anglican world and the meeting in Tanzania is only a sign of things to come. First the Primates will be shaken, and then Lambeth. Or, maybe not. Maybe the Primates will not exclude, and maybe Lambeth will not exclude. Perhaps Nigeria will exclude itself.

That is called walking away.

Goodbye .

23 comments:

  1. So, Nigeria is leaving the Anglican communion. I am confident that those who joined it explicitly to be in a hollier than TEC community that was a part of the Anglican Communion will find it as easy to leave as they found it leaving TEC. ;;sigh;;

    Once a community sucumbs to the fallacy of confesionalism, it must either go papal or schism. Our hollier than God evangelical wing is making that choice. It is all very sad.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  2. It is very sad indeed! I always thought of the Anglican/Episcopal Church as being one in which people walked together, even when they didn't agree. That there was room for everyone and open discussion concerning the Bible, Theology, etc. That what we were joined by was the joining together at the table of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Nigeria sure has a "different" concept of Anglicanism than I read
    about in the writings of Paul Avis, Urban T. Holmes, etc.

    John+

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  3. Well, the Global South has never really been on board with Windsor (which was about inadequate consultation -- not Biblical inerrancy) -- so this really is not surprising.

    As I said earlier -- I think some of this is resentment against the United States (& fair enough) -- but without becoming fundamentalists & excluding the GBLTQ community, there is nothing that TEC could do to stay with Nigeria.

    Whereas the C of E is largely where TEC is (just more hypocritical about it -- partly a matter of establishment & partly a matter of being English, I suppose -- or American naivete, if you prefer the English perspective).

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  4. I think that's wishful thinking, Mark. Do we need to go through the whole chronology again? All the Anglican Instruments of Unity (as well as the House of Bishop's own theology committee) asked that the Episcopal Church not consecrate a gay man living in a partnered relationship. The Episcopal Church went ahead and did it any way. The Archbishop of Canterbury called an emergency meeting of the Anglican Communion primates and put together the Lambeth Commission. The Lambeth Commission issued the Windsor Report to the Primates. The Primates accepted the report with their clarifications in Ireland. The Episcopal Church was requested to withdraw, from participating in Anglican organizations, including the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) which continues. The Windsor Report requested a moratorium on the blessing of same sex unions and the consecrating of any more homosexuals in partnered relationships until a consensus had been reached at the Anglican Communion level. The Episcopal Church told the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates that the only way for this to be accomplished was through General Convention. The General Convention failed to endorse either a moratorium on non-celibate gay bishops or the blessing of same sex unions (and in the final hour of the General Convention actually passed a resolution commending same sex unions). Now that General Convention has spoken, the Primates meet in February to decide the next steps.

    It is clear by the actions of the National Church, especially in their interventions in the affairs of dioceses and to exert an authoritarian role over the dioceses, that there is a hardline now coming from the Episcopal Church.

    The Episcopal Church believes that the Spirit is doing a new thing and it would be against the conscience of the leadership of the Episcopal Church to go against that sincere belief that the Spirit is doing a new thing in permitting activities that scripture teaches are unholy and that they are now holy. It is framed in a context of "inclusion" and "justice" so to try to make a counter-argument on biblical grounds is to be condemned as "non-inclusive" or "unjust." To appeal to the traditional Anglican authorities of scripture or to the Anglican tradition, or to the faith as received in the Communion around the world has proved fruitless.

    It is not Nigeria that is walking away. It is not England that is walking away. It is not Australia or the vast majority of Africa that is walking away. It is not even the thousands and thousands of Anglicans in the United States who are walking away.

    I want to stay in the Anglican Communion. I don't want to walk apart. It is the Episcopal Church that is walking away from the Anglican Communion, it's teachings, the faith of the Apostles, the faith that cost Ridley, Cranmer, and Latimer their lives. And I will be frank, it breaks my heart even now to see this happening. I didn't go to five General Conventions and twelve Diocesan Councils to see this happen, Mark.

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  5. Christopher13/1/07 12:07 PM

    It is a strange and disturbing notion indeed that one cannot be in relationship or fellowship with those with whom one disagrees over non-core issues of doctrine and ecclesiology. Which parish, church, or, for that matter, family could survive if people of different convictions could not remain in constructive relationship with each other? And how would the world look then? The quest of some for a cherry-picked sense of enforced confessional purity, as we are experiencing it at present, is nothing but a recipe for division and malice. The ends of such a quest will not be good for anyone. Rather, the work of the Holy Spirit is done through our ongoing discourse in relationship; what is right and true will emerge over time at the intersection of Scripture, Tradition and Reason - not through the imposition of one group's views.

    In any event, the Lambeth Quadrilateral - long since adopted throughout the Anglican Communion - establishes quite clearly which are the core issues of unity for Anglicans. Recent attempts to impose particular biblical interpretations above and beyond the Creeds and the central affirmation that the Holy Scriptures contain all things necessary for salvation are an attempt to enforce a level of uniformity that bears little resemblance to traditional Anglicanism. If there are some who will accept nothing less - and there appear to be - then our fellowship is indeed threatened. In fact, it doesn't seem to be much of a stretch to say it is under siege.

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  6. jb -

    the actual history:
    1) The 1978 Lambeth requested that the provinces of the AC study the issue of homosexuality, including not only scripture, but science and medicine. Almost nobody did this except for the US and a few others.

    2) The 1988 Lambeth reaffirmed the 1978 Lambeth request. Specifically said that we must consider biological, genetic, and psychological research. Almost nobody did this except the US and a few others.

    3) the 1998 Lambeth said that homosexuality was incompatible w/ Scripture (even though almost none of the provinces did the work that the previous Lambeth conferences asked for). THe 1998 Lambeth also said that we must listen to the experience of gays and lesbians. Almost nobody did the second part of this except the US and a few others.

    4) For years afterwards, Frank Griswold tried to get the AC to follow the second part of Lambeth 98.

    5) Having been one of the only provinces to have actually studied this issue as Lambeth had been requesting for 30 years and having been ignored in its efforts to have a Communion-wide listening process, the US went ahead and moved on.

    -UTS

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  7. Akinola represents the wave of the future. It is global. It is rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. It presents a powerful alternative to the cultural looseness that has been dominating Western civilization for at least the last quarter century.Those who oppose him are largely the wooden horses of status quo.
    -- D. Farrell

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  8. Christopher, what is even more interesting is *which* issue has brought about all this talk of separation.

    Divorce is rampant among the "reasserters" and few (though there are some exceptions) seem to see any problem with this. Not a few leaders of the "orthodox" are themselves living in adulterous relationships. One "classical Anglican" priest, who pulled his congregation out of TEC in order to avoid homocooties, is fond of telling his congregation that his most recent marriage represents God giving him a second chance. (This same priest was in charge of the Network's campaign to "defend the sanctity of marriage" last summer. Who says irony is dead?)

    Remarriage after divorce is a key part of church teaching on sexuality, so it's not like this is some minor matter, like whether to wear chasubles, and both scripture and church tradition forbid remarriage after divorce, but the "orthodox," who apparently lie awake nights worrying about what the queers might be up to, seem not to care much about this issue.

    When they return to scripture and tradition on this issue, then I will believe that they care about those things. Until then, they just look like hypocrites trying to dress up their hatreds with theological window dressing.

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  9. jb,

    'The Episcopal Church believes that the Spirit is doing a new thing and it would be against the conscience of the leadership of the Episcopal Church to go against that sincere belief that the Spirit is doing a new thing in permitting activities that scripture teaches are unholy and that they are now holy. It is framed in a context of "inclusion" and "justice" so to try to make a counter-argument on biblical grounds is to be condemned as "non-inclusive" or "unjust."'

    to a casual reader, Scripture does indeed teach that (gasp!!) homosexual sex is unholy. it also teaches that slavery and violence against women are tolerable, if not holy. we know the latter has got to be untrue, because of who God is. having seen the lives and testimonies of (gasp!!) homosexual Christians, perhaps the prohibitions against (gasp!!) homosexuality need to be revisited.

    perhaps this isn't a new thing. perhaps it should have been this way from the very start, just as we should have repudiated slavery and treated women as equals from the very start.

    either way, why are we so hung up about homosexuality? I put the (gasp!!)s in for comic effect, but if you've read about Abp Akinola's reaction to Louie Crew, this is exactly what was going through his mind, and God knows who else's minds. why, for God's sake? ok, so the Bible says to put men who sleep with men to death, but it also says to put children who disrespect their parents to death.

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  10. jb, there's a difference, IMHO, between what the bible says and what it teaches. It teaches love for each other at the same level of Jesus's love for his disciples. It teaches that God's law can be summarized in two great commandments; on them hang *all* the law and the prophets.

    It also describes OT holiness codes, two separate ones for same-sex behavior, BTW, only one calling for death. But by those same codes, my shrimp scampi was an abomination. And, would it be acceptable today for General Casey to deliver 100 Muslim foreskins to Pres. Bush after the latest battle?

    IMO, ++Akinola has his sights on becoming the next ABC and recasting the AC in his image: confessional, curial, inerrant, exclusive. Peeling TEC off is the first step, but only the first. If he is permitted to do this, then the AC will no longer be Anglican nor a communion; it will have been destroyed by one of its own leaders. If +++Rowan is unable or unwilling to challenge Peter and unwilling to deal with what is transpiring, he will have enabled this destruction. We should continue to press +++Rowan to lead instead of appease, if we have any interest in being part of a larger community, at this point.

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  11. It's clear from these responses that what really seems to offend certain Episcopalians about someone like Akinola is that he affirms the falsity of someone else's viewpoint. It seems to them like the reasonable (and Episcopal) thing to avoid affirming that some viewpoint is simply wrong. They suppose that truth is subjective.
    But you don't have to affirm the authority of Scripture to see the logical problem there. Socrates exploded the fallacy of subjectivity for all time with the following question in the Theaetetus: "Since he grants that the opinions of all men are true, then would he not be conceding that his own opinion is false, if he grants that the opinion of those who think he is in error is true?"
    Self-refuting ideas don't last as long in environments where the average person is surrounded by the urgent realities of survival.
    -- Dan Farrell

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  12. Texas Episcopalian14/1/07 2:37 PM

    "Akinola represents the wave of the future. It is global. It is rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. It presents a powerful alternative to the cultural looseness that has been dominating Western civilization for at least the last quarter century.Those who oppose him are largely the wooden horses of status quo.
    -- D. Farrell "

    Rooted and grounded in the love of Christ? Give me a break. If that is Christ-like, I will just convert to Judaism.

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  13. what really seems to offend certain Episcopalians about someone like Akinola is that he affirms the falsity of someone else's viewpoint.

    I can't speak for anyone else, but what offends me about Akinola is that he woke up one morning and decided to declare himself my new pope.

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  14. "Those who oppose him are largely the wooden horses of status quo."
    - D. Farrell

    Wooden horses of status quo? The intrepid bowler of Plymouth Hoe? Computer poets blogging to and fro? Old fashioned Maoists used to talk like that with their 'paper tigers' and their 'running dogs'. It all meant very little back then - tho it had a beat.

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  15. I take Texas Episcopalian's opinion very seriously.

    Too many Christians, I belive, forget that the Enlightenment sensibilities melting away in the postliberal era were born in an era of atrocity, of Religious War to be exact, with Christians slaughtering Christians.

    Archbishop Akinola's eager embrace of religious intolerance is an atavism, a hideous rebirth of a monstrous christianism parched for human blood, starving for human flesh, a beast never really done away with completely by the Enlightenment, a beast now gathering strength to shake off its chains and emerge with the help of fellow travellers in Virginia, Pittburgh, and elsewhere eager to reenact the Rites of Spring and usher in the darkness of a new old era of what is really nothing more than pagan human sacrifice cross dressing as Christianity.

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  16. Anglican Scotist:

    I have never had a cold shiver down my spine from a blog posting. Until reading that last one you posted.

    A religion parched for human blood. Good Lord, it is the hideous world view of the 30 years war, and it lives in our communion.

    I fear the ties between violence and those who are so sure of themselves and the rightness of their faith more than I fear many, many things in this world.

    I have hope for modernity and toleration, but sometimes, when I think about it I remember that we are talking about humans here.

    The machetes of Rwanda, the ethnic cleansings in Bosnia and Serbia and the horrors of Cambodia 30 years ago. There is a darkness in human hearts.

    I hope and pray that liberal, tolerant progressive religion sweeps all intolerant and bigoted creeds away and that the blood and hate doesn't return, but seeing how easily somewhat educated people can turn and lecture on the need for the non-orthodox to burn forever (even on Anglican blogs) I have my doubts.

    God have mercy.

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  17. Let's assume that we have a marriage of husband and wife. The husband is constantly having affairs with other women. The wife urges counselling and tries to get the husband to stop the extra-maritial sex, but he won't stop. He sees his sexual activities as expressions of love for all women - including his wife.

    When the wife files for divorce, the husband accuses her of breaking up the marriage. The husband want to know why the wife wants to "walk apart."

    I ask you - who broke up the marriage?

    YBIC,
    Phil Snyder

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  18. Old fashioned Maoists used to talk like that

    That is because modern day so-called conservatives, in their totalitarian zeal for absolute doctrinal purity and party discipline, owe more to Mao and Lenin than to Burke and Smith.

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  19. Sorry about the wooden horses of the status quo -- actually from a speech by LBJ in the Sixties.

    I'd rather quote someone else right now, Aristotle, because I'm still persuaded that the real problem here is that people are so offended that there might be an objective reality when they would much prefer the kind of tolerance that assumes everything is based on perceptions (eg the talk about Akinola as the new pope or as representing a beast etc.). He actually represents the reality of God as a loving father, the kind of fatherly love that has to speak harshly when his children are playing careless near traffic. Anyway, a word from Aristotle: "For perception is surely not of itself, but there is something else besides the perception, and that is necessarily prior to the perception." -- Dan Farrell

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  20. Phil said:

    "Let's assume that we have a marriage of husband and wife. The husband is constantly having affairs with other women. The wife urges counselling and tries to get the husband to stop the extra-maritial sex, but he won't stop. He sees his sexual activities as expressions of love for all women - including his wife.

    When the wife files for divorce, the husband accuses her of breaking up the marriage. The husband want to know why the wife wants to "walk apart."

    I ask you - who broke up the marriage?"


    This analogy doesn't make any sense to me. Believing that homosexuality is not a sin is not the same thing as cheating on your wife. It's more like a husband and wife voting for different political parties. Also, the AC is not a marriage relationship. It's not an exclusive two-people relationship. It's 38 provinces, which already breaks down your analogy, and we like to bring more peope into that relationship w/ ecumenical agreements. And each of those provinces like to bring more people into their churches. I guess you would also call evangelism cheating on one's spouse?

    Assuming that the analogy is valid, you said "cosntantly having affairs." What other "affairs" have we had? Women's ordination? Civil Rights? These were all examples were conservatives said that we were't following the Gospel, that we weren't the church because we were bending to the culture.

    -UTS

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  21. Richard III15/1/07 12:10 PM

    So Nigeria is leaving the AC, good and they can take all of their like-minded bretheren with them. They aren't anglicans in any sense of the word and not loving christians either. I don't know what Gospel any of them have been reading but Jesus wouldn't recognize them if he were here among us today. They are a bunch of fundamentalists, plain as the nose on one's face. Their actions would indeed make Jesus weep.

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  22. "It's clear from these responses that what really seems to offend certain Episcopalians about someone like Akinola is that he affirms the falsity of someone else's viewpoint. It seems to them like the reasonable (and Episcopal) thing to avoid affirming that some viewpoint is simply wrong. They suppose that truth is subjective."

    Not at all. What offends is his nastiness, his supreme lack of compassion for others, his claim that poverty is less important than his winning this argument, his support for laws that jail innocent people, his constant playing of the "imperialist" card when he himself is interfering in the affairs of other Provinces, his arrogance, and his denial of that arrogance.

    But that's not the point, really. The main problem is that his viewpoint is simply wrong.

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  23. "Let's assume that we have a marriage of husband and wife. The husband is constantly having affairs with other women."

    Two problems with this analogy. First, the husband and wife entered into a covenant relationship, each vowing faithfulness to the other. There is no covenant between TEC and the AC. Any proposed covenant that throws gays or women off the bus will never pass GC.

    Second, faithfulness in marriage and faithfulness to Scripture, to be analogous, must include definitions that are known and agreed to by both (all) parties. What does it mean to be faithful to Scripture, and whose definition should be the doctrine?

    Once we start excluding people of God for various reasons, like gender and sexual orientation, where do we stop? We might as well not ordain anybody who isn't a Jewish descendant from one tribe, because after all, that's who the ordained were back then.

    There are lots of exclusionist denominations. If you can't handle diversity, go there.

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