The Church of Uganda Archbishop Henry Orombi has written an essay in FIRST THINGS, titled "What is Anglicanism?" Again, as with Bishop Benjamin Kwashi, whose article I commented on yesterday, Archbishop Orombi gives a very helpful understanding of Anglicanism as seen from a receiver's perspective. In particular his description of the relationship between the evangelicalism contained in the reformation notion, "sola scriptura" and the evangelical experience of the East Africa Revival is important.
The Archbishop closes, however, with this: (I have printed in color those passages particularly of interest to me.)
"The current crisis presents us with an opportunity to mature into a global communion that represents not just historic bonds of affection but also an advancing mission force for the Kingdom of God that Jesus inaugurated. For this to happen, our instruments of communion may also have to become instruments of discipline. As a member of the primates’ standing committee, I was invited to come to the United States in September 2007 to attend the meeting of the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops. But I recently wrote the archbishop of Canterbury and informed him that I could not participate.
Among my reasons is this: In February 2007, the primates of the Anglican Communion met in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and made certain requests of the Episcopal church. It is my conviction that our Dar es Salaam communiqué did not envision interference in the American House of Bishops while they are considering our requests. For me to violate our hard-won agreement in Dar es Salaam would be another case of undermining our instruments of communion. My decision to uphold our Dar es Salaam communiqué is intended to strengthen our instruments of communion so we will be able to mature into an even more effective global communion of the Church of Jesus Christ than in the past.
In December 2006, the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda unanimously adopted “The Road to Lambeth,” a statement drafted for a council of African provinces. Among other things, it stated, “We will definitely not attend any Lambeth Conference to which the violators of the Lambeth Resolution [1.10] are also invited as participants or observers.” Accordingly, if the present invitations to the Lambeth Conference stand, I do not expect the Ugandan bishops to attend.
It is important that this decision not be misunderstood as withdrawing from the instruments of communion. On the contrary, our decision reflects the critical importance of the Lambeth Conference: Its value as an instrument of communion is greatly diminished when the persistent violators of its resolutions are invited. If our resolutions as a council of bishops do not have moral authority among ourselves, how can we expect our statements on world affairs to carry weight in the world’s forums? An instrument of communion must also be an instrument of discipline in order to effectively facilitate meaningful communion among its autonomous provinces.
The Church of Uganda takes its Anglican identity and the future prospects of the global Anglican Communion very seriously. Our thoughtfulness in how we participate in the instruments of communion reflects our fundamental loyalty to our Anglican heritage. Likewise, our devotion to the Word of God—expressed through our martyrs, revival, and the historic episcopate—reflects our commitment to the ongoing place of the Church of Uganda as a province of the Anglican Communion."
The whole essay stands on its own, but I believe its last few paragraphs tell us something of significance: (i) The Archbishop will not join others in meeting with The Episcopal Church House of Bishops. The time for hearing out what our bishops might have to say or their hearing what the Archbishop of Canterbury, or anyone else, might have to say is over. (ii) If the ABC's invitation list holds Ugandan bishops are not coming to Lambeth, as per the "Road to Lambeth," (iii) What is taking place concerns discipline. The Episcopal Church should be disciplined for its seeming refusal to abide by the Word of God in Holy Scripture. "...what is important to us is the power of the Word of God precisely as the Word of God—written to bring transformation in our lives, our families, our communities, and our culture." We are to be disciplined for not confusing the Word of God (the scriptures written and translated) for "the Word of God."
There is much more to be said on all this. The Archbishop writes eloquently of matters of the spiritual heart but then turns and passes by.
He has set out to ordain a bishop for work in the United States and continues in his outspoken criticism and reviling of gay and lesbian persons. From a recent article,
"People have abandoned relationships with the opposite sex. One wonders whether God was stupid to create Eve for Adam. Why isn't Eve beautiful any more? Eve is going out with Eve and Adam with Adam," Archbishop Orombi lamented.
Archbishop Orombi, also the Bishop of Kampala, decried the rise of homosexual activity in Uganda to the point where homosexuals have begun to demand special constitutional rights. Orombi cautioned audiences that just as God punished the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah - destroyed by fire and brimstone for the sexual immorality of its inhabitants - he would not let this sin go unpunished either."
No wonder he isn't coming to the US to meet with our bishops. Who wants to be around those who are smelling of fire and brimstone? On the other hand, how dare this man first claim the martyrs of Uganda as his own, who were burned with fire, and then wish that fire down on others? I presume the Archbishop understands just where the pejorative use of the word "Fag" came from?
Just what we need: An Archbishop who wants to discipline and whose terms of such discipline are truly scriptural and repugnant.