Thinking Anglicans

Nigeria

Updated

Mark Harris has drawn attention to the latest pronouncements of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

The original documents are: PASTORAL LETTER TO THE CHURCH which includes:

…We also took considerable time to reflect on the context and application of the theme. We came under the conviction that whatever we do to replace the supremacy of God, He would destroy. We also discerned afresh that the voice of the people is not always the voice of God since, as in the case of the Israelites and the golden calf, the voice of the people can actually be rebellion. The serious implication for us is that when our culture, tradition and disposition go against the Word of God, we must choose to be on the Lord’s side. The time-tested and inerrant rule of life must remain the written Word of God. To toy with these in the name of cultural accommodation or contextualization can only lead to worship of pseudo gods and the inevitable attendant confusion and disharmony, as in the case in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

… As part of our growing mission emphasis, we have also sought to understand better ways of understanding and evangelizing our neighbors in other faiths, particularly the Islam in the context of growing worldwide concerns. It is apparent that there is a worldwide Islamic agenda which has the political domination of every nation in view. Considering the negative consequences of this development, it is therefore imperative for Christians to be properly informed about what Islam stands for and dialogue with Muslims only when it is done on equal terms…

and MESSAGE TO THE NATION which includes:

Human Sexuality
The Church affirms our commitment to the total rejection of the evil of homosexuality which is a perversion of human dignity and encourages the National Assembly to ratify the Bill prohibiting the legality of homosexuality since it is incongruent with the teachings of the Bible, Quran and the basic African traditional values.

Mark Harris’s comments are at The Church of Nigeria Standing Committee Speaks. Who speaks back? and also at Pearls of Great Price from The Church of Nigeria (Anglican)

In case you forgot what “Bill” they are talking about, Political Spaghetti has a full explanation here. Or ask CANA. The latest letter from their Missionary Bishop can be found here.

Update Monday
Jim Naughton has chimed in about this too.

Update Tuesday
Matt Thompson has another go in What kind of black eye are Minns and the ACN hoping for?

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Merseymike
Guest

I’d really love to know where ‘listening’ could ever be part of this approach!

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Lord help us. Reliance on the scriptures would be wonderful – let’s see them restore the missing books e.g. Susanna. On the Muslims, God help us, these people want a holy war, and by George, they’ll provoke one if they have to. I just pray the Muslims have seen enough to recognise their provocations and not allow themselves to be drawn into it. (It so reminds me of two neighbouring villages with a few testosterone youth in each village wanting to spar off. Hopefully both villages’ leaders have enough wisdom to recognise excessive testosterone and not allow the whole villages… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has clearly separated itself from Lambeth 1.10, the Windsor Report and the Dromantine Communiqué and in failing to support both the “letter and spirit” of these must now be seen to have “walked apart” from the rest of the Anglican Communion.

David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)
Guest
David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)

++ Abuja says:
The time-tested and inerrant rule of life must remain the written Word of God. To toy with these in the name of cultural accommodation or contextualization can only lead to worship of pseudo gods and the inevitable attendant confusion and disharmony

Well, I never thought that the move towards a Christian version of Sharia law would come from within Anglicanism. Terrifying stuff, don’t you think? But it’s nice to know that the Nigerian Church is prepared to learn from other faith traditions.

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Wrote David Rowett: “I never thought that the move towards a Christian version of Sharia law would come from within Anglicanism.” Too bad ++Peter Abuja didn’t attend Pope Benedict XVI’s recent lecture at the University of Regensburg, where Professor Ratzinger taught systematic theology from 1967-1977. Yes, Muslims are offended, but His Holiness was right on the mark, pointing out the difference between fundamentalism (whether Muslim or Christian) and Orthodox, Catholic biblical exegesis. Commenting on the Greek text of John 1:1, the scholarly Pope pointed out that in NT Greek LOGOS means both Word and Reason. In true Christian teaching the… Read more »

laurence roberts
Guest
laurence roberts

‘..the Bill prohibiting the legality of homosexuality since it is incongruent with the teachings of the Bible, Quran and the basic African traditional values.’
(Statement from Church of Nigeria)

I see that AFTERALL, the Bible is not the sole authority in these matters. This is a hugely important admission / concession.
Some of us make different choices of what books and tradtions we find useful, valid, inspiring and helpful, and put alongside the Bible.

David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)
Guest
David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)

laurence roberts observed “I see that AFTER ALL, the Bible is not the sole authority in these matters. This is a hugely important admission / concession.” Perhaps – it’s some 30 years since a sea change was noted in ‘fundamentalism’ which represented a significant change of tack. Until the immediate post-war period, the Bible was ‘true’ because the Bible was true: ie a faith statement of non-negotiable sort. An apologetic development which we can see in such things as ‘The Bible as History’ (Keller, ca 1960) was a radical departure from this dogmatic base to ‘the Bible is true because… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

Martin Reynolds is exactly right — I have been saying for ages that the Windsor illusion of dialogue has never had a chance since the Akinolists have always said that there is nothing to talk about! The ABC’s pretence that there is still a Communion that needs to sort through this question of gay & lesbian issues indicates that he is either wildly out of touch with reality (as a don, this is possible) or extremely Machiavellian (spinning things out as long as possible will likely keep the moderates with those aligned with Canterbury rather than the schismatics). BTW —… Read more »

Richard III
Guest
Richard III

What a perverse lot we have in the WWAC. Do we really wish to get behind the likes of a Peter Akinola by not speaking out forcefully against his vision and version of the truth. It will be a real shame if the Primates of the Communion don’t come down on this and denounce it for what it is. Maybe this is what they feel they have to do to get along in Africa but what about the rest of the civilized world?

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Lambeth 1998 1.10 gets cited as final, not because it helps make straight people any better than they ever were, but because it aids in defining LGBTQ folks as worse, far worse, than we actually know them to be. Besides, the pastoral care, listening, and putting the social-legal brakes on violence that this same Lambeth also highly commends is never, ever, ever cited as anything like an equally final doctrine. That African bishops tilt against the factual news of queer folks’ human competence is sad news in itself, but denial and willful ignorance of controversial data cannot be disguised, let… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Are people deliberately misunderstanding??

It seems pretty obvious that rather than any authority being given to books other than the Bible, the Church of Nigeria’s statement was merely pointing out that nearly all Nigerians (including those of other faiths) would agree with their stance.

Very nice and respectful of them, right?!

David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)
Guest
David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)

NP asked: Are people deliberately misunderstanding?? I think not — rather there are two issues (to my mind). One is the slightly abstruse one about the dogmatic appeal to biblical authority vs. the pragmatic ‘everyone agrees’ (which somewhat contradicts an earlier Nigerian line about truth not necessarily being a majority opinion). The other is the implicit double think, that ‘African Values’ are given weight in the equation (while ‘Western Values’ are not — a clear example of cultural imperialism) and that the Quran — while being castigated most of the time by hardline Christians — is to be venerated when… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

looks like people are looking for excuses to get upset by the nasty conservatives

in our society, atheists, religious people, all faiths would agree that wife-beating is a bad thing…..I find no problem in saying that I agree as a Christian and that nearly everybody else in society agrees too (faith and reason at work??)

David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)
Guest
David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)

NP commented: ‘looks like people are looking for excuses to get upset by the nasty conservatives in our society, atheists, religious people, all faiths would agree that wife-beating is a bad thing…..I find no problem in saying that I agree as a Christian and that nearly everybody else in society agrees too (faith and reason at work??)’ DR contends But once we admit the validity of African values, it is illogical/disingenuous to disallow consideration of Western values; similarly, granting authority to the Quran necessitates granting authority to other non-Christian texts, including those on psychology and the like. Nigeria has chosen… Read more »

Tunde
Guest
Tunde

Amazing that there is so much hatred of the man Akinola, reminds one of John 7:7? Why would a Christian get annoyed with a Priest who demands dialogue on EQUAL TERMS with Muslims. Should we prefer the inequality? While we are busy inviting their leaders to our Cathedrals how many of ours have ever been allowed to speak in the smallest mosque? While they flood foreign lands and build their mosques, how many of those commenting here have ever succeeded in building a church in a Muslim dominated area. Islam rewards anyone that converts from it with death. Even in… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

NP In principle what you are saying is true, but in practice the church has been known to keep women in abusive relationships. I have personally been told by church leaders that I must submit to my husband – even if that meant he lost all my superannuation and redundancy monies – and that I had no right to say no. If the ship went down, I was to go down with it. And I’ve had ministers tell me that I must want secretly want to be abused by my father, or else my prayers for it to stop would… Read more »

Matt
Guest

NP: wife-beating is not morally equivalent to a consensual, non-violent, same-sex relationship; furthermore, making violence between spouses illegal is in no way equivalent to silencing the voice of a minority. You’re splitting hairs for trivial rhetorical advantage.

Matt
Guest

Tunde is back! I, for one, bear no hatred for Akinola. None at all. As you know, I have been arguing on the facts since the beginning. If you, Tunde, and your Church, wish to call for legislation that removes the civil rights of a minority, so be it. But don’t expect support for this endorsement to last long outside of Nigeria. The bill represents horrific malpractice of the law: gay marriage is not recognized in Nigeria, and sodomy is already illegal; why bar your own people from participating in civil discourse on their own behalf? Are you scared of… Read more »

David Chillman
Guest
David Chillman

“Amazing that there is so much hatred of the man Akinola, reminds one of John 7:7?”

Tunde,

Are you really trying to equate Akinola with Christ? Is this the “official” line of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)?

NP
Guest
NP

Matt – are you sure I am splitting hairs???

Going back to the original story….I am merely saying that just because a “conservative” church makes a statement which is not really offensive to anyone (ie they pointed out that muslim and traditional religion Nigerians agree with their position) it is absurd that people who oppose them on certain issues jump on it and make out their is some great significance or flaw in what they say.

Anyway, if people enjoy demonising “opponents” and being demonised by them, carry on….but it is a sad waste of time.

Christopher Calderhead
Guest
Christopher Calderhead

Tunde, I’m not sure the primary objections here are about Akinola’s approach to Christian-Muslim relations. I think the anger (I don’t think it usually rises to ‘hatred’ on these pages) has more to do with other things. Those of us who disapprove of his actions have noted that he’s called some of us ‘lower than animals’; that he denies our Christian faith (we’re not just fallible or mistaken–we follow a ‘different religion’); and he is working for the expulsion of the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion. In the meantime, he and his allies are actively disrupting the governing structures… Read more »

Matt
Guest

NP: The Nigerian Constitution itself spells out the very rights that this bill would violate. There is no room for nuance here — it’s simple and clear that the bill would take away the speech rights of a vocal minority.

Fighting this bill (since it has nothing to do with gay marriage at all) is hardly a waste of time.

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Difficulties for gay people today don’t come from God or Jesus, but from human beings who are repelled by homosexuality for a host of reasons. Because there is no historical basis for viewing Jesus as a vilifier of people sexually attracted to others of their own sex, his life and teachings are good news for gays. He cannot be added to the list of shrill denouncers a la ++Abuja. On sexual relations between males and between females, Jesus – as recorded in the Bible – is entirely silent, BUT with one possible exception (Mt. 5:22). The very word used for… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

NP wrote (again) “is not really offensive to anyone…” So there must be a lot of no bodies – that is no body would be really offended. This is apartheid culture – of being blind to the humanity of “the other”. One of the shames of the Nigerian legislation is that it enforces silence of “the other”, so that officially “the other” does not exist. Therefore the officials can publicly state that they have no homosexuality in Nigeria, and there is no public record to the contrary, because any documentation leads to a criminal indicement. I feel like shouting from… Read more »

Lois Keen
Guest
Lois Keen

This all, thanks to Cheryl’s last comment, reminds me of a town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where my husband once served on a board dedicated to getting a homeless shelter built. When my husband became part of the board, the board was several years old, and had gotten nowhere. The reason? The town council said “We don’t have any homeless; we don’t need a shelter!” Now if a person drove around the area at the right time of night or morning, they could see all sorts of people living under bridges and in parks. But that town had… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Cheryl – pls read my comment in context.

What I said is that the statement was not offensive to anybody in saying that most of Nigerian society would not disagree with the CoN….that is just a fact.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

NP The context is what is written. The inference that no one is offended parallels the debate the world is watching over the Pope’s faux pas and Muslims. This article came out the recent Kyoto Assembly of World Religions for peace http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=21060 It talks about reconciliation, it talks about the need for healing to begin with the victim, it points out that reconciliation needs to begin with the victim, and not the oppressor. And that to simply ask for forgiveness is to ask them to perpetuate being a victim. Many Muslims have been victims of wasteful shepherds and machevellian global… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Tunde, For once I somewhat agree with you! Western liberals seem to downplay the kinds of things you are talking about in Islam, and to ignore these things as factors Nigerian Christians must face. I have said for some time that it is not us who will lay down our lives for the blessing of gay unions, and if we are to do it, we should be ready to cross the ocean and defend your churches. Trouble is, if I were to do that, you’d have me thrown in jail, me being gay and all. That said, it does not… Read more »

laurence roberts
Guest
laurence roberts

NP
NParralels / ‘only connect’ ( EM Forster)

Most did not lift a finger to help European Jewry. Doesn’t make it right. It was theculmination of centuries of Christian / Church lies, deceit, ghettoes and Pogroms.
Oh ! those jews !….

Questions

Why were there thousands & thousands of Quakers & Welsh speakers throughout Wales in the seventeenth century ?
Oh, those Quakers…

Why are there under a thousand Quakers in Wales today, most of whom now speak a different tongue ?
Oh! those welsh….

Destruction of a people & their culture takes many forms. Marginalisation, displacement, banishment and murder stand out in my mind.

NP
Guest
NP

I thought you all were into “listening”

Did I say the majority is right?

Did I defend any persecution…of anybody…ever?

Just trying to get some balance in your criticism of Nigeria….pointing out that making storms in teacups (eg trying to claim the CoN is giving similar authority to traditional relgions etc) might amuse some readers but it does not persuade anybody outside your circle….those you say you want to listen need stronger arguments

Cheryl Clough
Guest

“People outside our circles are not being persuaded…” Don’t let jihadists or pax imperalists fool you. Things are changing at the deep level and the world will be a more balanced place. The puritans, religious right and pro-violence people will still exist – but they will be balanced by a pluralistic inclusive left and peace makers. The wind is starting to blow the sails of the flotilla. For example: the swinging steel magnolias http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion/erbeblog/archive/060918/irs_and_religious_left_tread_o.htm and http://news.google.com/news?ie=utf8&oe=utf8&persist=1&hl=en&client=google&ncl=http://washingtontimes.com/national/20060918-105756-8448r.htm As an aside, we squeal when a woman has acid thrown in her face for not wearing suitable clothing, but do we squeal when… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Cheryl says, “As an aside, we squeal when a woman has acid thrown in her face for not wearing suitable clothing, but do we squeal when the acid of words or ostracisation are done by arch-conservative Christians? “ That is because not the whole world has fallen for the post-modern, politically-correct silliness which would equate throwing acid in someone’s face and saying, “Sorry, I disagree with you and I am not prepared to believe that two opposing views are both right.” I hate violence but I love free speech – we all need to protect that right and not shut… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

NP wrote: “What I said is that the statement was not offensive to anybody is saying that most of Nigerian society would not disagree with the CoN….that is just a fact.” The point dear NP, is not whether Politicians, Muslims and Pagans, if be, would wholeheartedly agree with the proposed Nigerian legislation, but that the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) along with its North American partners, to stay in the Anglican Communion, that is to adhere to resolution 10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference (not to mention the other 14 resolutions), the Windsor Report and the Dromantine communiqué, must speak… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Goran – show me where I said the majority is right??

Also, note that I did not say I support the Nigerian legislation….

Anyway, I am bored with all this now. If people want to hate and jump on “nasty conservative” clergy and their statements, that is your right….even if it is getting you nowehere

Tunde
Guest
Tunde

Matt, Yes I am back but not for long, seems most of my kind have been chased off this site. Call me a coward because I encourage people to flee from what I believe is SIN. It is okay. David, Can any human be equated to the LORD of LORDS? I won’t dare it. Christopher, For the umpteen time, Abp. Akinola never referred to you as ‘lower than animals.’ Your friends twisted his words to imply so, maybe drawing inspiration from Mugabe who used the words ‘dogs and cats’. Your anger is therefore misdirected. Ford, YES! If you’d cross the… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

NP said: That is because not the whole world has fallen for the post-modern, politically-correct silliness which would equate throwing acid in someone’s face and saying, “Sorry, I disagree with you and I am not prepared to believe that two opposing views are both right.” Also, NP, not the whole world has bought into the postmodern, Conservative view that “I disagree with you” is no different from “You are subhuman and ought at least to be in jail, but preferrably dead.” I have no problem with those who disagree with me. We are not talking about disagreement here, but about… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Tunde
What do you mean by “chased off” please?

Jim Naughton
Guest

Hello Tunde, The news about the burning of your Cathedral in Jigawa state has just come across the wires, and I wanted to offer my condolences. It is clear to me that you are ministering in a context that I can’t really comprehend. I was troubled by some things you said in responses to Ford Elms and Goren, and I was wondering if you would clarify something for me. You said that love for God’s people would lead you to pray for Ford’s imprisonment should he come to Nigeria and spread what you believe to be an erroneous version of… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

NP I totally agree with you about not shutting each other down. But it is weird, for example this TA thread from Wed 20 Sept http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/001928.html Dialogue sometimes seems surreal. Who is attempting to shut down and exclude who? The puritans claim they are being shut down and therefore must cleanse the communion. Two of the key dioceses (Nigeria and Sydney) have demonstrated a desire for uniformity that has literally pushed ministers into other dioceses due to the pressure applied to them, and gloat on the internet about the common will of their diocese. Unstated in their glee are the… Read more »

ruidh
Guest
ruidh

Tunde, my deepest sympathies for the damage to your cathedral and diocesan properties. I pray that no one was seriously injured.

Those of us in comfortable, western cities don’t always appreciate the level of civil strife in some other parts of the world.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Tunde wrote: “GKS, As long as we are convinced homosexuality is SIN, we cannot and will not speak against any law aimed at discouraging the practice. I have been told (truth unverified) the law makers were so infuriated by the many petitions received from abroad, that they are looking for ways of ‘strengthening the law and safeguarding the lives of future generations.”

Now, dear Tunde, I would be very interested to hear what other SINs your Province would give equal special treatment?

Greed? The corruption of minors? Tax-evation? Wife-beating? Jungle-justice? Polygamy?

NP
Guest
NP

Ford – thanks for your reply but you really show what I mean about “listening” when you say,

“Also, NP, not the whole world has bought into the postmodern, Conservative view that “I disagree with you” is no different from “You are subhuman and ought at least to be in jail, but preferrably dead.””

You are reading more into, “I disagree with you” from *most* conservatives than they mean by it…..the vast majority of conservatives do not mean it at all as you take it.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

I would agree with NP’s comment that “…the vast majority of conservatives do not mean it as you take it.” The vast majority of souls did not participate in Klu Klux Klan lynchings either. The vast majority of souls go along with whatever society is doing. The problem is when the society’s ethics become moribund and/or repressive. Complacency by the citizens and collusion by the priests allows regimes to distort nations’ conduct. When we live in times such as this where we literally have sects who have both the capacity and the motivation to destroy the world if it is… Read more »

Tunde
Guest
Tunde

JIM, Dear Jim, Please do not twist my words. I said ‘… lead people…..in what I believe is SIN..’ not ‘spread erroneous Gospel’. Also, I did not say motivating factor is my love for the people, rather, I capitalised SIN. Also note my first action will be “I’d try to discourage you, but if you insist..” Jim, please let us refuse to give room to the devil bent on emphasising our differences. Misquotations and misinterpretations can only widen the gulf. Concerning opposition to State power, I’d ask what you’d do if I come to Washington to encourage paedophiles? Concerning CANA,… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Tunde, My condolences as well on the damage to your cathedral. This is the first I heard of it, I will need to find out more. This is truly horrible. My statement about us who make the decisions defending those who will suffer because of them was sincere, though idealistic. I fail to see how that could be considered to be sin. How would I have committed a sin if I had stood in the gap and tried to prevent those who would damage your cathedral? I am appalled that you feel the State should punish what the Church says… Read more »

Jim Naughton
Guest

Tunde, one of our differences seems to be that you think the state is justified in putting people who believe what I believe into prison, whereas I don’t believe the state is justified in putting people who believe what you believe into prison.

Forgive me if I find that difference rather difficult to overlook. And your unwillingness to reassure me on this point only heightens my unease.

Ford ELms
Guest
Ford ELms

NP, Sorry to carp, but scroll up to Tunde’s post of Sept. 21, in which he says that I ought to be in jail for some unspecified sin. Consider his position in this debate. He certainly speaks for a significant number of conservatives, I would say. He has not had time to clarify what sin he is talking about. I doubt he considers defending people from violence to be sinful. Is he afraid I would attempt to convert godly straight Nigerians to homosexuality? If so, this displays deep ignorance of an issue on which he presumes to speak with authority.… Read more »