Archbishop Peter Akinola was interviewed by ThirdWay Magazine this week. Church Times had a summary of that interview HERE. As usual, Thinking Anglicans is the jumping off place to the links to this. Thanks to TA. The web pages of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has been giving reports on their provincial clergy conference. The latest of these is titled "VC (vice chancellor) warns against dangers of sexual perversion."
The two together give some considerable insight into the patterns of supposedly Anglican thinking in the Church of Nigeria. I have for your edification made bold several intriguing ideas
First to the ThirdWay interview.
The Archbishop said, "I wish the church had some law-enforcement agency we could encourage to arrest the arrestable, to jail the jailable, to banish the banishable; but it doesn't. All the church can do is proclaim the word, and it is doing it".
"As for the multitude in general - 'Oh, freedom, freedom, freedom!' That's what they say, isn't it? I call it 'permissiveness'. You have a culture of anything goes. You see a woman dressed so shabbily, all her chest open, you see a man by the roadside playing guitar, wearing only pants, you see - Look, parents have a duty. Parents have a duty. Teachers have a duty. That is the way it used to be. We have abdicated our responsibility. Parents, teachers, pastors have all become irresponsible. That is why things are going haywire....Don't just let - 'freedom, freedom, freedom!' Your child begins to grow up and do all sorts of things, you cannot even cane him, you cannot even reprimand him, you cannot do anything, they say it's illegal, because all sorts of laws have removed parents' control over their children. All this must change."
Later, remarking on the breakdown of relations with the Episcopal Church, the Archbishop said,
"I called my brother out, Frank Griswold, who was Primate [of the Episcopal Church in the
United States of America] at that time. I said, 'Look, please!' and I embraced him. 'You and I have come a long way. For the sake of the rest of the church, please tell your people: We will have to close shop. We will have to close all our churches in Africa, and Asia. As a family, please don't!'"
Now, just to make it clear - The Archbishop wishes he had a law-enforcement agency. Well, of course that was a preachers joke...he has instead something more - the Word. But the wish is there, at least as a friendly joke. But wait, wait. No it appears that even if that is not possible it would be really good if parents, teachers and pastors, had the policeman's truncheon, aka "the cane." Caning would take care of the policing issue, eh?
And then we have the Archbishop pleading with the mean old Primate of the Episcopal Church to stop doing awful things because "We will have to close all our churches in Africa and Asia." Back in 2003 the Church of Nigeria claimed 15-18 million members. Now it claims 20 million - twenty million in the pew on Sunday, says the Archbishop. I am at a loss to see how the Archbishop's predictions to Presiding Bishop Griswold make sense. The church in Nigeria continues to grow and the Episcopal Church continues to work out its own vocation in the wider Church and in the Anglican Communion. It would appear that the church in Africa and Asia did not have to shut down.
So wish to have a law enforcement agency for the Church to go along with the Gospel. Barring that, teach the parents, teachers and pastors to cane their children. And, just for good measure, make sure that any failures in church growth can be directed to that awful Church in the US rather than, say, at the need for better teaching, parenting and pastoring in place.
Now to turn to the instructive lecture to the clergy of the Church of Nigeria:
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Venerable Professor, ChineduNebo spoke to the assembled clergy. The article reports, "Professor Chinedu Nebo "has harped on the spiritual consequences of indulging in sexual activities that contradicts the Bible."
The harping takes on a unique ring. The article reports the following:
“It's simply regrettable that the church which is supposed to offer biblical and scriptural guidelines is possibly in a dilemma. Much of the debates in the church over the issue on human sexuality are a matter of hermeneutics. These debates have arisen because of the interpretation and use of the scripture.
“The words in the Bible stand for ever the way they are. Too much of intellectual exercise in the interpretation of the bible is unnecessary! If we adopt an objective, literal approach to understanding of the bible, rather than a sophisticated approach aimed at displaying our foolish wisdom and intelligence, then we would be better off. The Scriptures when considered objectively are neither silent nor confusing concerning homosexuality. They always treat homosexuality as a violation of the divine order.”
The article then notes that Professor Nebo, "called on Christians to be on guard lest they be carried away by the erroneous teachings of 'unprincipled' men warning that the ongoing but sad debate on human sexuality in the Church of God cannot be unconnected with the signs of end time as foretold in the Scriptures."
The Church of Nigeria seems to think it useful not to exercise the brain cells too much in the pursuit of biblical interpretation. It is unnecessary. And it makes it so much easier to realize that any sort of debate concerning the place of homosexual persons in the church "cannot be unconnected with the sings of end time as foretold in the Scriptures."
So what to do with the permissiveness of culturally warped people in Nigeria, poisoned by Western decadence? Arrest them (no, no, can't do that...no police); cane them (ah yes that's better); blame all the failures of family, church and nation on them (the permissives); and at the last remind them that they (the permissives) are bringing on the end times (which gives added joy to the caning and blame...after all if the end is coming whose fault is it?)
Remind me again just why the Lion of Africa isn't just a big pussycat of a guy, a friend of Jesus and a friend of mine?