Anglican Mainstream has published the following comment in response to the LGCM advertisement in this week’s Church Times:
From Canon Ben Enwuchola, Chaplain to the Nigerian Community and Canon Dr Chris Sugden. Member of General Synod and Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream
The Lesbian Gay Christian Movement has a full page advertisement in the Church Times this week linking the church’s dilemma over engagement in the slave trade with its current dilemma on issues of human sexuality. It states: “Should it (the Anglican communion) support the end to the slave trade? Some said ‘no’ and turned to the Bible for justification. But just as the Church was able to search its soul and overcome this to support the abolition of slavery, it ought to be able to support justice and inclusion for lesbian and gay people.” The advert also makes a number of allegations about the Archbishop of Nigeria, the Most Rev Peter Akinola.
The following should be noted.
1. The very people who were set free from slavery, which was a powerful global expression of western culture at the time, do not wish to come in bondage to that culture again in the form of its sexual licence.
2. Those who cited the Bible to justify their views on supporting slavery based their views actually on economic theory, not on the Bible.
3. When he met a representative of Changing Attitude Nigeria in Tanzania in February, Archbishop Akinola treated him with courtesy. Those of us who know Archbishop Akinola and have discussed these matters with him know that none of the imputations of this advert have any basis in his thinking or action. He is committed to the human rights of all the oppressed, including those who feel they are oppressed because of their sexuality. He is seeking in his context which is characterised by militancy on this issue to operationalise that decision. He needs our prayers and support.
What the advertisement says about Archbishop Akinola is this:
Shamefully the Anglican Primate of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, has promoted this legislation, condemned by UN officials as “an absolutely unjustified intrusion of individuals’ right to privacy” which goes against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In Archbishop Akinola’s view, “homosexuality is flagrant disobedience to God”, and an “acquired aberration” which “does violence to nature”.
These quotations all come directly from an article Why I object to homosexuality written by Archbishop Akinola for the Church Times and published originally on 4 July 2003, during the campaign against the appointment of Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading:
…Our argument is that, if homosexuals see themselves as deviants who have gone astray, the Christian spirit would plead for patience and prayers to make room for their repentance. When scripture says something is wrong and some people say that it is right, such people make God a liar. We argue that it is a blatant lie against Almighty God that homosexuality is their God-given urge and inclination. For us, it is better seen as an acquired aberration.
THE ISSUE is such an important one, such a defining one, with the potential of splitting the Communion, because it has become a chronic aberration, which is being defended and promoted in the Church of God. On the authority of the word of God, we see homosexuality as a rebellion against God, like that typified by Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. A rebellion cannot be relative.
Moreover, homosexuality is flagrant disobedience to God, which enables people to pervert God’s ordained sexual expression with the opposite sex. In this way, homosexuals have missed the mark; they have shown themselves to be trespassers of God’s divine laws.
Protagonists of homosexuality try to elevate this aberration, unknown even in animal relationships, beyond divine scrutiny, while church leaders, who are called to proclaim the undiluted word of God like the prophets of old, are unashamedly looking the other way.
The practice of homosexuality, in our understanding of scripture, is the enthronement of self-will and human weakness, and a rejection of God’s order and will. This cannot be treated with levity; otherwise the Church, and the God she preaches, will be badly deformed and diminished.
Homosexuality does violence to nature. As someone puts it: “It contradicts the very light and law of nature….”
Indeed in the same article Archbishop Akinola wrote:
Homosexuality or lesbianism or bestiality is to us a form of slavery…