July 4, 2006

Dear Rowan, No Thanks

Word has now come from the Nigerian Synod that should be abundantly clear to the Archbishop of Canterbury. This is, if I'm not mistaken, the third strike.

In this communiqué the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) gives reality to its new name, and new significance to the parentheses. The Church of Nigeria is to be the ultimate arbiter of the Anglican Communion. The Lambeth Conference is described as risking having outlived its usefulness, and an alternative all-Anglican all-Bishops conference, in the "age-long tradition" (well, at least from 1867) of decennial gatherings will take its place, under the careful organizational oversight of this new regime — if things don't go the way the Nigerian pontificators think they should.

Archbishop Rowan, what part of this do you not understand? Who, exactly, is tearing the fabric of the Communion at this point? Who are the "super-apostles" who puff themselves up, trumpeting their delight in recognition by Time and declaring other parts of the body to be "cancerous lumps" worthy of excision? These pronouncements from Nigeria are more than unhelpful. It is time to recognize the nature of pride, and real "unilateral" action against other members of the church when it is proposed or taken. This is not the spirit of interdependence, but something else entirely.

&mdash Tobias S Haller BSG

Excerpts from the statement:

1. CONGRATULATIONS

Synod notes with satisfaction the efforts of the Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), His Grace, The Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola, in giving the Church of Nigeria, (CAPA and Global South) a purposeful and effective leadership. It further expresses its approval of his actions and pronouncements against errors of revisionist ideologies. With much delight and enthusiasm, Synod received his citing by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 persons that shaped the World in 2005, and encouraged him not to relent in his efforts in exercising his ministry.

2. THE ANGLICAN COVENANT

Synod is satisfied with the move by the Global South to continue with its veritable project of defending the faith committed to us against present onslaught from ECUSA, Canada, England and their allies. The need therefore, to redefine and/or re-determine those who are truly Anglicans becomes urgent, imperative and compelling. Synod therefore empowers the leadership of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) to give assent to the Anglican Covenant.

3. THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE

The Lambeth Conference which is one of the accepted organs of unity in the Anglican Communion is due for another meeting in 2008. The Synod, after reviewing some recent major events in the Communion, especially the effects of the ?revisionists? theology?, which is now making wave in America, Canada and England, observed with dismay the inability of the Church in the afore­mentioned areas to see reason for repentance from the harm and stress they have caused this communion since 1988 culminating in the consecration of Gene Robinson, a practicing homosexual in 2003 as a bishop in ECUSA. Synod also regrets the inability of the See of Canterbury to prevent further impairment of the unity of the Church. It therefore, believes strongly that the moral justification for the proposed Lambeth Conference of 2008 is questionable in view of the fact that by promoting teachings and practices that are alien and inimical to the historic formularies of the Church, the Bishops of ECUSA, Canada and parts of Britain have abandoned the Biblical faith of our fathers.

4. GLOBAL SOUTH CONFERENCE

Synod underlines the need for maintaining the age-long tradition of a ten-yearly Conference of Bishops in the Anglican Communion for discussing issues affecting the Church. It therefore calls on the leadership of the Global South and Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) to do everything necessary to put in place a Conference of all Anglican Bishops to hold in 2008 should all efforts to get the apostles of ?revisionist agenda? to repent and retrace their steps fail.


8 comments:

John said...

Their statement reads to me like the Church of Nigeria wants to walk alone. If they don't even accept that Lambeth has "moral justification", I don't see how they can meet with everyone else!

Still, at least their schismatic mindset is now absolutely clear.

pax et bonum

Anonymous said...

It is a shame. Frankly, it smacks of a power grab. As you so aptly point out, the schismatic issue seems to be pushed as heavily on his end as allegeldy on anyone else's. I wonder if in some sense the new found focus (and deserved) on the third world and the good Bishop has not caused him to lose sight of the purpose of the Communion. Attempting to bully Canterbury (etc) appears rather less about Christian faith and more about power politics.

The Nigerian Church's move is unanglican. The Anglican church in the past has been so good about managing a balance between the various factions. That sort of respect for diversity is important as a concept for holding together such a group.

I am amazed that we (those in the Church) can talk seemingly so easily about depriving other Christians of their liberty in Christ simply because of gender or orientation. If we substituted the word "black" for women (etc), people would be justifiably outraged. What happeend to 'there is neither male nor female in Christ'.

The logic is fascinating and absurd. To assert that someone like Peter Gomes (assuming the following is true) who is the author of The Good Book and holder of a Chair at one of the Ivy League Colleges , who is sold out for Christ, shares the love of the gospel, ordained African American, and so on but is also a homosexual will be sent to the fires of hell is bizarre. At judgement he will apparently be told "You did a great job, cared for those poor in spirit, brought people to the love of Christ but on the homosexual thing you got it wrong --- depart from me into the everlasting fires of hell". On the other hand (theoretically), you could have a good conservative Anglican priest who was small minded, unkind, power hungry, and any number of other sins who simply repented prior to death. He would get "Well done thou good and faithful servant".

As funny as the above seems, I know people who believe like that. ECUSA, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Church of England, should not allow themselves to be bullied into deviating from what they consider to be the ethical Christian stance that demonstrates the love of Christ and seems to be following the intent of the Gospel. Pray for the Communion.

Mark said...

I find the whole situation saddening.

Both Canterbury and Nigeria are examples of the same problem: attempting to unilaterally dictate a solution. It does not work.

Tobias said...

Yes, I think this is a good example of invoking the Lambeth Unilateral.
— Tobias+

The Anglican Scotist said...

"Lambeth Unilateral"! I love it!!

I still appreciate "the Wilderness Report" from a few posts back.

What more can Rowan possibly hand over to Akinola et al? Have we neared the end of Rowan's patience? Will he finally find his inner Churchill?

Anonymous said...

This communique, the recent comments about Rowan Williams' supposed 'liberal' or 'post-modern' slant, and the violent comment that the Episcopal Church is a "cancerous lump" -- them's fighting words. Coming as I do from a centrist perspective, and often accused as I am of being in the mushy middle -- let me be clear: "Nigeria is Off Base, Outside the Fold of Graciousness, and Angling for Control." These and the many comments from Nigeria are welcome to me -- because they clearly define exactly who and what I mean when I talk about the 'far right' or the 'extreme conservatives' or the "jack booted fascists of the Anglican Communion." It is this kind of talk that has NO PLACE in the Anglican way -- except as a precursor for somebody leaving the Anglican way. It reminds me of the kinds of things said by folks who left Canterbury for Geneva or Rome in centuries gone by. I suppose the only difference now, between this brand of ignorant pseudo-orthodox savagery and the 17th century kind, is well ... what is the difference?
-- Greg Jones

Anonymous said...

Please read my history of the shocking actions of the Church of Nigeria since 2004 at www.fatherjones.com
-- Greg Jones, The Anglican Centrist

Mark Hinckley said...

It is interesting to note that Rick Warren. the evangelical pastor who was asked by Time magazine to write its blurb on ++Peter Akinola for the "100 Most Influential" issue, is, like the Nigerian Archbishop, an ecclesiastical empire builder. Mr. Warren's own website [www.purposedrivenlife.com] states that he has brought churches in 162 countries into something called the "Purpose Driven Network", which apparently consists of nothing more than church leaders agreeing to subscribe to Mr. Warren's "Ministry Toolbox" weekly newsletter.
This newsletter tells its subscribers exactly how to turn their own churches into the sort of 20,000-member mega-church Mr. Warren has in California.
Thus, the paean in Time to Abp. Akinola is merely one "do-it-my-way-or-get-out" minister telling another "do-it-my-way-or-get-out" minister "Hey, I think you're cool." Which doesn't seem very Anglican to me.