Nigeria Acts, Minns Elected, things are in a pretty mess.

Well, here it is. The Church of Nigeria has been very quiet of late, but has awakened, and the Rev. Canon Martyn Minns, late of The Episcopal Church and seen at General Convention has been elected by the Church of Nigeria as a bishop for CANA. Here is the notice from the Church of Nigeria web pages.

The Rev Canon Martyn Minns of Truro Parish in Virginia, USA was also elected Bishop in the Church of Nigeria for the missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria called Convocation of Anglican Churches in North America (CANA).

I wish Canon Minns well as he leaves the Episcopal Church for duties with a church that has broken communion with The Episcopal Church. The Archbishop has made a mess, and we will have to clean up after him. CANA started out as the Convocation of Anglican Nigerians in America and has been transfigured into the Convocation of Anglican Churches in North America. By this the Church of Nigeria moved from protection of its own to become a tent for others.

Can greater confusion be far behind?


From the Living Church website, this quote from Archbishop Akanola:

“We have deliberately held back from this action until now because of our hope that The Episcopal Church USA would heed the cry of the Anglican Communion as expressed in the essential elements of the Windsor Report and the Dromantine Communiqué,” said the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria, in a press release. “The elections and actions of their 75th General Convention, however, make it clear that far from turning back they are even more committed to pursuing their unbiblical revisionist agenda.

“We believe we are continuing the tradition of missionary bishops that has always been an essential part of Anglicanism and which the Church of Nigeria has embraced in response to the 1988 Lambeth Conference Call for a Decade of Evangelism.”

The planning for all this has been going on for some time, just as was the immediate stepping away of the Network following passage of B033 and the end of Convention, just as was the ratched up statements of the Network and the AAC. The immediate (within twenty-four hours) meeting of standing committees in Pittsburgh and San Joaquin following the Archbishop's "reflections" means the network folk were just waiting for the right moment, and vola, here it is.

And Nigeria and Minns are doing what was in many places predicted (including this site). They have been planning for some time to elect bishops for the US CANA project. The same gang that worships the Windsor Report will now worship the Archbishop's good, but not great, reflections. Idolatry is on the march. But the walls will not come tumblin' down, 'cause these folks are not tooting the horn of Joshua, or shouting the Lord's song.

Will the Archbishop of Canterbury ever tell Nigeria to stop? Inquiring minds and hearts want to know.

Kind of makes one want to cry. For a wonderful commentary on it all, see Fr. Jake Stops the World (as indeed he does.)


  1. This is exactly the sort of thing the ABC wrote against in his paper. How they expect to get a good result by their actions, from him, by doing what he counseled against only yesterday, and by trying to change things on the ground prior to the groundwork being laid, is illogical. I hope Williams now sees the error of giving Nigeria and others so much slack.

  2. I suspect there is a role for Minns in Tobias Haller's cast of King Lear. Have to think a minute of what that should be.


  3. why don't we just stop shilly-shallying around. Pittsburgh and the other diocese's have effectively removed themselves from the jurisdictional oversight of the TEC and their request to ABC will go no-where right now, so their alternative will be to seek oversight from Nigeria and I'm sure most of the parishes in those diocese's are not going to be happy being under the roof of that meglomaniac, many parishes will continue with the TEC and these bombastic idiots will end up with their own little kingdoms

  4. Time to start up the presentments!

  5. Here we go, hosing down the Church with testosterone.

    A Californian take:

    The Earthquake Begins

  6. What this all really shows is that BO33 and the associated violations of legitimate process were all in vain. It did not accomplish even what the proposers hoped it would. Better to have stuck with our rejection of A161. BO33 should have been ruled out of order, and the deputies should not have succumbed to attempts at manipulation. That said, I believe that Bishop Katharine is entitled to make mistakes. I likewise will not allow PB Griswold's role in this and his other mistakes to obscure the many positive things he has done. We all have strengths and weaknesses and we all make mistakes.

    The Episcopal Church will never embrace an Anglican Covenant that will satisfy the hardliners. We have rejected, rightly, their attempts to use world Anglicanism to further their sinister domestic agenda, which includes destroying the mainline Church. With a couple of regrettable exceptions, we have remained true to our discernment in 2003. No binding response to Windsor was passed. Nothing has changed on the ground. We may see a consent or two withheld, but even this will prove fruitless. Eventually and probably sooner than we think, moderates will come to realize that these people can't be appeased.

    What we should do in the next triennium is to define what we can and cannot do, given our discernment of the kind of Church God is calling us to be. We should maintain personal relationships where possible, but not yield on questions of principle. The broad center seems to be unwilling to give the hardliners what they want. It is not yet fully gay friendly, but it is at least tolerant and not willing to take major steps backward. The liberal wing of the Church showed surprising strength at a GC where everyone was fearing a very conservative deputation. Without ideological right wingers, the Episcopal Church will make the transition that mainstream U.S. culture is already making to full acceptance of all people regardless of sexual orientation and partnered status. We will be accused of accomodation, but the reply is that the other side has accomodated itself to homophobic culture that is inconsistent with our understanding fo the Gospel. Those who feel they must leave should be encouraged to leave with God's blessing. Property issues should be settled out of court where possible. We should not try to stop Nigerian Anglicans and others from planting churches here, even if they use former Episcopal priests as clergy. We should focus on becoming an inclusive, welcoming Church with a coherent vision of the Gospel. We have bumped up on the limits of pluralism here. Contrary visions of the Gospel cannot be pursued by different groups at the same time. I believe that some who don't like our direction can remain at the table with us. Others can't. There are plenty of "conservative" Episcopalians who would be horrified by the authoritarian primate of Nigeria. We are people who are used to following our conscience and who don't want a magisterium telling us what to think, even if we don't agree. Those who can't accept this will never be happy, no matter what we do.

  7. Hey Bill Carroll, your replies are well-thought out positions from the left. I am part of the broad center. But I don't think those on the left know how to operate theologically anymore.

    Rights based talk has taken over the arguments of the left. Your final comment of following conscience, while of course undeniably admirable and necessary at times, seems to have no place for ecclesiastical authority. Nor does it ever care to give an account of biblical authority. (On liberal episcoblogs the bible is routinely mocked).

    ECUSA liberals are whistling past the graveyard or should I say "to the graveyard". Memerbership is crashing and graying. It has a reputation for being practically Unitarian and culturally appeasing to secularism. The church does little evangelism nor does it have much appeal to those interested in God. Youth are gone seeing no point of belonging to a church that can only offer "acceptance" and "tolerance" that the culture doesn't really need. The church is asking nothing of its members or the culture beyond what the Democrats(I am one) ask of their members.

    ECUSA liberals seem to preach a Jesus that is simply the reflection of themselves instead of an apocalyptic prophet who should be strange and challenging to us (and creates a group of people who are as well). H. Richard Niebuhr's indictment of liberalism stands "a God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross".

    Conservatives are equally to blame in their accomodation in many ways, yet they are dedicated to the tradition and the Scriptures in a way that provides hope that in 50 years they or their children will "come around" and still be worshipping the triune God. I can not say that for most liberals. (I would love to see stats on the worshipping habits of the adult children of liberals and conservatives.)

    The diocese of Newark's (who have fully emodied liberalism for ECUSA) confession on their website of their irrelevance, embarrassment at sharing their faith, their extreme loss of members over 20 years, and their current incompetence to stem the decline is an honest expression of the fruit of lazy liberalism. It by definition can not be the "future" of Anglicanism.

    The evidence that liberals don't "get it" is when they repeatedly say we should not be arguing about "genitalia usage" and should get on with more important issues which of course are pressing needs of humanity around the globe. But these issues are being adressed by the secular powers and further are beyond our ability to cure beyond "moral support". They are widely endorsed anyway within the church so it is hard not to see this as a further example of ECUSA's desire to be seen as "with it".

    But most importantly it misses the fact this discussion is not about genitalia only but about theology and the gospel, the very life of the church. After all the hungry are fed, we would like to still have a community that knows how to worship its God. One gets the feeling liberals won't see the reason to anymore should MDG's be met.

    None of this is to blame the acceptance of homosexual bishops or blessing unions directly, but rather the justification, or lack thereof, of such practices.


  8. All of this underlines an essential dishonesty in the Windsor Report that has carried over into the reflections from the ABC. They both pretend that the problem is not gays refusing to stay in the closet, but rather that a part of the Communion (i.e., an independent church folowing its own canonical due process) acted without sufficient consultation (whatever that is supposed to mean).

    CAPA & the Network have never bought into that nonsense -- they have always said that their objection concerned Biblical teaching.

    The proposed solution that ignores the actual situation really has no chance of improving things (IMHO).

  9. "I am part of the broad center."

    And yet you repeat all the standard rightist talking points, one after the other.


  10. Anon,
    Maybe broad center is a misnomer. Most of the broad center doesn't care and doesn't take any of the faith overly seriously. They are individualistic and think sex is strictly a private matter. I'm not part of that.

    I just meant that I'm for gay inclusion in every way (I think it is helpful to distinguish gay unions as different not less than marriage). But at the same time I am actually committed to the church and the practice of theology. I use the Bible and the tradition, not John Locke or Democrat talking points.

    Liberals are just insufficiently marked by their Christian identity in my opinion. They don't understand what the church is. They just seem to want to be 'spiritual' Americans. That will make me sound conservative in a liberal (non-pejorative) society in which the church looks like a useless sectarian body.

  11. I would have thought the conservative talking points would be to quote Romans 1 at you or some normative church tradition. I am questioning the grammar of the argument, the methodology. It glosses over these matters in brings in a foreign from of discourse. This is something like what Windsor was saying : Please justify your position in a language we understand to be Christian. It can be done! But you have to care and actually occasionally practice the 'language'. I see little will on the left to do this. Thus the state of ECUSA and its questionable future.

  12. David Wilkerson--

    You might enjoy haligweorc's Christian Identity Carnival

  13. Inclusion of the Gentiles, with a relatively adequate biblical hermeneutic, is all the theological justification we need. I think this case has been made, perhaps in some cases the reasoning has not been made explicit in some dioceses and parishes, either because they have a different hermeneutic or because the clergy are scared to touch the hot potato.

    I think to set our hope on Christ was a more than adequate response to this request of the Windsor Report. The problem is that we have different discernments and different theological criteria for discernment. I do think that sometimes theology can only explain an established practice. Justification is retroactive. Theological proposals are often controversial and always contestable.

  14. David,

    Your sweeping statements about "liberals" caused me to not be able to read your comments any farther than the first generalization. It is pretty obvious that you live in a bubble which does not contain many liberals. I assure you, we are as diverse as any other group, and the majority that I know have a passionate love for God and say the creed without crossing our fingers.

    I'd suggest you not buy the propaganda being offered by the extremists, and get to know a few more "liberals" on a personal level.

    Regarding civil rights, did you notice that Central Florida used the Episcopal Church's support for civil rights for GLBTs as one of their reasons to call for ALPO (Alternative Primatial Oversight)?

    It appears that if you sincerely do support civil rights for all, you are going to run into problems among the extreme conservatives.

  15. Fr. Jake Stops the Word. How appropriate.

  16. OK Brad.. got me there. It is Fr. Jake Stops the World..

    Working at the computer too long...

    Hope you are well.


  17. " I assure you, we are as diverse as any other group, and the majority that I know have a passionate love for God and say the creed without crossing our fingers. "

    If more of the public voices on the Christian left would go on the record and distance themselves from Spong's 12 theses, and make it clear that they aren't reparsing the creed as does Marcus Borg, I for one would have an easier time believing this.

  18. Likewise, if more voices among the "reasserters" would distance themselves from bigots like David Virtue and crackpots like Pat Robertson, I would be less inclined to consider them hateful fundamentalists.

  19. I would have to know what Spong's twelve thesis were before I could disavow any of them. I get my theology from other sources and have never read Spong, other than an occasional column or forwarded e-mail. I suspect that we would be allies on many social questions but not on many theological ones. I'm always intrigued by the power that conservatives wish to attribute to Spong.

  20. For the 12 theses, see:


    For a sample:

    #7) Resurrection is an action of God, who raised Jesus into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring inside human history.

    {Could someone explain to me how this follows, logically?}

    At least in some quarters of the ECUSA, Spong is very influential. Apparently the new presiding bishop thinks highly of him (she invited him to do his clergy conference in Nevada). Locally, our rector periodically supplies us with opinion pieces he write for beliefnet.

    I don't recall that +Iker or +Duncan invited Pat Robertson to do anything for their dioceses. What they think of David Virtue I have no idea, but I will say that Virtue is pretty awful.

    BTW I don't have major issues with the election of +Robinson and the general inclusion of GLBT people in the church. My concern is there will be shortly no place in the ECUSA for those who would describe themselves as 'Mere Christians', in the CS Lewis sense.

  21. I'm against #7. I'll check the others out. I don't believe that the Bible is free from error, but I do believe the basic story line and that Jesus did the kinds of things attributed to him in the Gospels. It is precisely because of the kind of things Jesus said and did, that I think we need to become a fully inclusive Church (and move beyond inclusion).

    I don't think that Spong can stop the Word. Not even Fr. Jake can do that. I feel about thesis 7 pretty much the same as I feel about the Da Vinci Code. It's not true, but not a real threat. Jesus is risen, as he said.

    When I taught Christology, we used Gerald O'Collins, SJ, who believes in the historical veracity of both the appearance and empty tomb traditions. So do I.

    I think that Spong's theology may be attractive to some of those who are beat up by the self-proclaimed orthodox. Why not embrace a liberating orthodoxy instead? I agree with Spong's critics that much of his teaching is false. I just don't see the utility in heresy hunting. The truth can take care of itself.

  22. I don't recall that +Iker or +Duncan invited Pat Robertson to do anything for their dioceses.

    John Howe, Bishop of Central Florida, is one of his bestest buddies.

    In fact, Howe even participated in a "re-ordination" ceremony for Robertson. (Odes that mean that Robertson is now an Episcopal priest?)

  23. Anonymous, all I know of +Spong, and all I need to know, is that he still presents himself to the Table of the Lord in his local Episcopal Church (Note: he doesn't rule over that Table in ANY EC. He's retired!). Whereas a number of diocesan bishops in TEC, I'm not sure you can still say that about... *cough* ALPO *cough* :-(

    David W., re

    stats on the worshipping habits of the adult children of liberals

    As a cradle Episcopalian, I count in that "stat" . . . and surprise, I'm also evangelical, who has brought several people into TEC! What Jake said: get to know us, huh? If there's anything that unites us, it's seeing TEC as that part of the Body of Christ to which we are *committed*. No glooming&dooming---from within the States *or* from abroad---is going to discourage us from "pressing on for the goal/keeping the faith"!

  24. I have watched the membership of the Episcopal Church steadily wither for thirty years, even as other Protestant sects have soared. The impending schism over approved homosexuality completely explains, for me, why the rise of the Religious Left in the Episcopal Church during the past generation will effectively shrink the future Church into being a mere cult, known for its 'toleration' and politically-correct, miniscule congregations.

  25. Bill Carroll,

    I find your comments interesting and I am listening. Who in the marketplace of Christian ideas is promoting a 'liberating orthodoxy' though? For example, the 'emerging paradigm' of Marcus Borg most decidely is _not_ orthodoxy, unless the meaning of that word is completely reparsed.

    I'm not interested in heresy hunting. I am, however, interested in not having to tell me child to ignore what the rector or bishop says from the pulpit, or not having to keep her out of the religious education programs because of goofy things being taught. Sure, the truth will eventually care of itself, but in the middle, a lot of damage can be done by false teaching.


  26. With regard to "liberating orthodoxy."

    I think Rowan Williams might not be a bad place to start, though many of his actions as ABC have been disappointing.

    In this country, I'd look at the work of Mark McIntosh and Kathryn Tanner. The former (esp. Mysteries of Faith) is easier to read.

    Truth be told, most Anglicans in a liberal to radical mold have been 100% credally orthodox. I'd add some classics like Gore, Temple, Ramsey, Maurice, Vida Scudder, Conrad Noel, and William Stringfellow. I'd also look at a lot of contemporary Roman Catholic and Protestant theology. Good theology is ecumenical. Anglican theology presupposes ecumenical engagement.

  27. Bill, in this country, possibly the best in terms of a 'liberating orthodoxy' might be found in Ian Markham.

    Of course, Ian is a transplant from the UK (now dean at Hartford Theo.Sem.), but my never-humble opinion ranks him as one of the best in Anglican theology today. Not to be missed.

  28. As a liberal anglican in the US (though formerly from Canada), I'd never heard of Sprong until a certain poster over on Father Jake's started bringing him up every other post as a reason why liberals were wrong.

    I've now read his 12 thesis, and I can say that I do agree with 11 and 12. But that's about it.

    And, frankly, I don't see how anyone who believes in the justification by faith (which I'm a bit too RC for, I'm afraid) can deny 11.

  29. The issue with Spong is he criticizes but never gives folks resources to construct an alternative religious understanding. I admit, I think Borg does and does it well.

    It's not that Borg is a great theologian, it's that he can be used in the churches, can be read by anyone perusing a barnes and noble. And the ideas do provide some means to make sense of the tradition.

    I'll admit, I'm a liberal Disciples of Christ member, so I'm not a creedalist. This doesn't mean I don't have a certain set of religious beliefs, its that certain creedal formulations are not binding in determing one's legitimacy as a Christian.

    I do agree that the issues of evangelism and having a good news to proclaim are key and not always evident in some places of the mainline. The concerns raised while too broad sweeping hit on something going on.

    I work in a campus ministry for the UCC and Disciples. We did have Presbyterian funding but they have eliminated funds for campus ministry in the state. While mainline churches continue to recede from university life in many places, evangelical parachurch groups are coming into to take their place.

    That's a shame because colleges are both great places for the mainline to connect to issues in a way few other religious groups can on campus and also it's the bread and butter in making the next generation of the church and even the supply of pastors and priests, etc.

    I've seen liberal churches grow individually, we've seen liberal religious movements grow (the astounding growth of Reform Judaism is a particular object lesson imho for the mainline). But I think we have some things to do to get there.

  30. the mailine churches in america are dying a slow,painful and excruciating death.the liberals need to ask themselves a few questions.who is leaving the anglican church and why?since the "reforms started in the church in the 70`s the anglican church in the u.s. has lost 1.1 million members mostly young people.in another 40 years there will be no anglican church in the u.s.

  31. when whole diocese start leaving the church is it not time to stand up and look around.how far are the liberals willing to push their agenda.what are the fruits of this agenda of theirs.they have isolated themselves from the rest of the anglican community and made the anglican church into a laughing stock of the rest of the world.what must priest now do marry two men/women while their lover sits in the pews looking on.(i refer to bisexuals).name one liberal anglican church that has experienced explosive growth because of its liberal views.now name how many conservative churches are growing because of their orthodoxy.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.