Updated Monday and Wednesday
A letter from Archbishop Bernard Malango to his provincial bishops about the election of Nicholas Henderson has been published. A copy is below the fold. (The confusing second headline was in the copy as received.)
Updated again The Living Church has published a report on this, Archbishop Malango Postpones Consecration of English Bishop-Elect which contains details of other correspondence between the archbishop and the bishop-elect. This other letter includes the following passage:
The documents such as the Nicene Creed and the Thirty-Nine Articles are not simply theological photographs snapped at a moment in history; they are foundation stones which must be affirmed. Are you willing to state clearly and without equivocation that you fully accept, believe and practice the faith described in the classic Anglican formularies including the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Creeds, and the Ordinal? To be clear, I am not asking if you affirm that they are part of our history. You should know that they represent a standard of ministry and theology which is the practice and the norm of this province. If you were to come here with a different faith, it would be not only difficult; it would be the cause of disastrous conflict in the diocese and the Province. Are you able to affirm and commit to the faith as described in them without exception?
Interestingly, although this other letter also contains detailed questions relating to human sexuality, it does not even mention Lambeth I.10 despite the reference to it in the text below.
Further update In addition to the earlier news reports of this matter I can now link to last week’s Church Times report by Pat Ashworth Malawi’s ‘modern churchman’ bishop. (This week’s Church Times report is available only to subscribers.)
Ruth Gledhill in The Times had Questions about lodger confront a new bishop. In this, Bishop Pete Broadbent says:
“There is no witch to be hunted here. It is unfair for someone to be vilified in this way. As Nicholas’s bishop I understand he has given assurances on all the issues raised by Archbishop Malango. He has given assurances on the primary authority of Scripture, the Creeds and on the matter of his own life being consonant with the Gospel. It is a matter for Dr Malango as the consecrating Archbishop what he does about that.”
Reuters has a report from Blantyre Malawians oppose bishop in Anglican gay split.
The references here to “Presbyterian” suggest the writer is not quite on top of his subject.
CENTRAL AFRICA: Archbishop Malango Postpones Court of Confirmation
ELECTION OF BISHOP OF LAKE MALAWI TO WAIT
24th August 2005
Dear my Brothers,
Mercy, Love and Peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord be yours in abundance.
I should have written to you long before this about the Election of Bishop of Lake Malawi. The delay has been because of receiving letters of protest from local and oversees people.
The Reverend Nicholas Henderson is said to be or was the Chairman of Modern Church people’s Union. The Liberalism of the MCU is well known and although often vigorously contested in debates fall within the broad limits of theological diversity of the Church of England. The appointment of a leading MCU member as bishop of an English diocese would be controversial and possibly opposed in some parishes.
I have just written to Nicholas that as the Archbishop who will be performing the consecration I will need, as for any candidate assurance on three points:
1. That the Bishop Elect accepts the controlling Authority of Holy Scriptures i.e. that it is the Authority, not just an ‘authority’ among others.
2. That the Bishop Elect accepts and will preach and teach wholesome on doctrine which consonant with the Holy Scriptures, and in particular with regard to marriage and family life, Resolution 1:10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference.
3. That the Bishop Elect fashions his own life and of his household according to the doctrine of Christ. (This is contained in the ordination charge).
Because of the complexity of the matter I am postponing the Court of Confirmation which was scheduled on the 3rd September and the Consecration which was scheduled on 9th October 2005. This will help to avoid further misunderstandings and litigations in the Province.
I think you have already received the correspondence that I have sent to Nicholas Henderson and to his Bishop in London.
Please continue praying for your Archbishop and the Diocese of Lake Malawi.
Dr Bernard Amos Malango
ARCHBISHOP & PRIMATE