Thinking Anglicans

Archbishop of Uganda to boycott next Primates Meeting

Updated

The BBC reports: Unity and division as Justin Welby visits Africa

…Throughout his visit, Mr Welby has been accompanied by the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Reverend Stanley Ntagali. On the issue of refugees, the suffering of displaced persons and the desperate plight of South Sudan, there is complete unanimity. But there are other issues that are troubling their relationship.

Mr Ntagali is a leading conservative evangelical, whose province in Uganda is continuing to grow in Christian converts.

But he was angered by the American Episcopal Church’s decision to endorse same-sex relationships and walked out of a global gathering of archbishops in Canterbury last year.

He issued a statement saying that he would not be returning until “godly order” had been restored and the Bible returned to what he said is its rightful place “as the authority for our faith and morals”.

Since then, the Canadian and Scottish Episcopal Churches have formally voted to endorse same-sex marriage.

Mr Ntagali says the Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman – and that the growing Ugandan church will not remain in fellowship with those who support same-sex unions.

“This is the basis of our faith and it is founded in the Scriptures,” he explains.
It is a theological tussle that has the potential to pull the Anglican Communion apart – a communion that numbers no less than 80 million Christians in 166 countries.

The next gathering of archbishops will again take place in Canterbury, this coming October. But Mr Ntagali has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury explaining that he will not be attending.

Another detail is contained in this report: Anglican splits over sexuality as Uganda’s archbishop boycotts October’s Primates meeting.

The Archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, has said that he will not attend the next gathering of Anglican Primates in October because of divisions over sexuality issues.

Archbishop Ntagali was asked by the BBC’s Martin Bashir, who is traveling with the Archbishop of Canterbury to South Sudan and Uganda, whether he would attend the next Primates conference. ‘No…I made it clear I am not attending,’ replied the archbishop, before attempting to stop the interview, which he said was supposed to be about the refugee crisis in the region…

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Jeremy
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Jeremy

Perhaps this means the Primates Meeting won’t be an Instrument of Discrimination.

Susannah Clark
Guest

It’s sad. My home church has had involvement in Uganda for 50 years or more. My first priest and his wife served there. We had a faithful link missionary there. We had Ugandan priests who would come and stay with us (Anthony will remember these connections). My own middle daughter has worked in Uganda for 4 years. She is unpaid. She finances herself, with generous support from Christian friends. She is in her mid-twenties and she lives in a very poor district of Mbale, sharing a simple hut with a Ugandan woman. She is an inspiration to me. She works… Read more »

Richard Grand
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Richard Grand

Move along, folks-nothing to see here. Is this even news. He and his GAFCON friends have been threatening to boycott or have already boycotted similar gatherings. Meanwhile they receive funding from wealthy American ACNA people to when’d support to their breakaway movement and even consecrate illicit bishops. It’s amazing how an an African bishop can find himself in Illinois when summoned. I’m nt shedding any tears about this-their actions have already spoken.

Father David
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Father David

Perhaps the Primate is too “tired and emotional” to add any “Ugandan discussions” to the debate?
So, “Trebles all round” as I for one won’t be “Taking out the onion” at Stan’s absence.

JCF
Guest
JCF

I hope and pray that the Primates who *do* attend will take on the resposibilities to Ugandan LGBT (and allied) Anglicans, since they’re clearly being left in the lurch by their (putative) own Archbishop. Kyrie eleison.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

On reflection, I wonder whether he “made it clear” before the Synod meeting in York? Or after?

If before, then the bishops’ votes in York are more explicable.

If after, then the 50th anniversary statement is more so.

Fr John E. Harris-White
Guest
Fr John E. Harris-White

Very interesting watching this interview on the TV. The Archbishop of Uganda quite set in his aim of talking about refugees, and very strong that he would not be coming to the Primates meeting. On the other hand the Archbishop of Canterbury looked like a startled rabbit caught in the headlights. Very uncomfortable sitting on the fence with such sharp spikes. For the sake of the Church of England which he is supposed to guide, speak as he is; a westerner,

Fr John Emlyn

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Susannah,
will your daughter’s work be threatened by this? I’m never quite clear to what extent the bravado at the top really has an impact on the ground?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Perhaps we should all be aware of the fact that Archbishop Ntgali might already be aware that the majority of Primates in the world’s Anglican Communion would not give in to refusal to include homosexuals in his province of the Church, preferring them to be subject to civil criminal proceedings. This would cause acute embarrassment for him to attend the next Primates’ Conference. Whether his decision will affect the attendence of other Gafcon Primates is yet to be seen, No doubt he will hope it does. It should obvious by now, that Ntgali (aided and abetted by former Archbishop Peter… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

I wrote this on TA on 1 January 2014 as a comment on a Christmas Message. “I have met ++Stanley Ntagali and respect his ministry hugely but he is allowing his dioceses to be distracted by second order issues.” It is hugely pejorative to suggest this, but I really feel a person, group, or other influence, is pulling his strings. The cost to mission in Uganda and elsewhere is incalculable. But maybe it needed at least one province to declare UDI, on a continent where UDI has been much studied in the last. This all has implications for how the… Read more »

Savi Hensman
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Savi Hensman

Thanks, Susannah, an important point. I think governments often try to distract people from society’s problems by stigmatising a set of people – ethnic minorities or LGBTI people, asylum-seekers or disabled people and so forth – and churches sometimes play along.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

re Anthony Archer’s message:

There can be little doubt about the Sydney Anglican influence – as well as that of moneyed fundamentalists in North America – have a lot to do with Ntagali’s movement towards severance from the more liberal Canterbury/Lambeth alliance

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Yawn

Richard Grand
Guest
Richard Grand

@Savi and Susannah: distracting people by stigmatizing a specific group was done in Hitler’s Germany. Now it’s being done to immigrants, transgendered people, people of co,our, and others by Trump in the U.S.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Ntagali’s got one ace in the hole: the Uganda Martyrs, converts executed in the 19th century for refusing to have sex with their king. Over on Ian Paul’s blog*, this special pleading appeared to work on ‘Guardian’ writer Andrew Brown (I asked him to clarify, but he’d left the discussion by that point). It’s a potent weapon to deploy against progressives terrified of showing cultural insensitivity to indigenous cultures. Wouldn’t be surprised if it’s deployed here. A natural-born bossman, Ntagali’s got serious game, and if it’s not matched, he may well succeed in imposing his agenda on the wider communion.… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Interesting reflections being shared in this thread. To be fair, I think we need to acknowledge profound cultural differences between Uganda and the UK, which is precisely why a one-size-fits-all Covenant-style imposed uniformity is a blunt instrument that simply can’t work. It’s also why polity in the Church of England should not be developed as a Communion-wide solution: our Archbishops are Archbishops of the Church of ENGLAND and they need to embrace and address English cultural concerns. Conversely, and to be fair, I am not trying to demonise and ‘other’ Stanley Ngatali. He is faithful, he is on Anthony’s reporting… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali understands that fake outrage, when timed with Archbishop Welby and BBC in tow, will get media attention. Its a double whammy, he gets attention in the UK and slams the ABC all in one move.

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“It is hugely pejorative to suggest this, but I really feel a person, group, or other influence, is pulling his strings.” Perhaps unintentionally, that is somewhere between the racism of low expectations and a more benign intellectual colonialism. When Christian Concern start threatening the CofE with legal and procedural havoc over same-sex marriage, no-one (or at least, no-one on TA) starts arguing that Andrea Minichiello Williams is basically decent but is having her strings pulled to distract her from her basically decent purposes. They, rightly, assume she’s a homophobic bigot with time on her hands, pursuing her idee fixee with… Read more »

RevDave
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RevDave

“Mr Ntagali says the Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman – and that the growing Ugandan church will not remain in fellowship with those who support same-sex unions. “This is the basis of our faith and it is founded in the Scriptures,” he explains.” Archbishop Ntagali is correct, of course… what’s more it isn’t just “the Bible” but *Jesus Himself* (quoting from Genesis 1 and 2) who defines marriage as a male-female union: “Haven’t you read,” [Jesus] replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

I agree that Ntagali’s responsible for his own actions, Interested Observer. Western conservatives have, however, been heavily involved in whipping up, well, let’s just say an extremely unforgiving attitude to homosexuality in Uganda.* I’ve previously said that culture’s no excuse when someone’s as well-educated and well-traveled as Ntagali, but I may’ve given insufficient weight to the cultural ramparts he must conquer if he’s to ever revise his opinion of LGBT people. From birth, he’s taken it as given that homosexuality’s against God’s will. Disagree as vehemently as I do, I can’t be at all confident that I’d break through that… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

“…why is the Archbishop not within his rights?” Stanley is within his rights to believe whatever his conscience tells him… what he is not within his rights to do, is impose his conscience on other people, other Christians, who have other views, also conscientiously believed. There is no uniformity in the Anglican Communion on human sexuality – and anyway, each Anglican province is independent and operates within its own cultural setting. So Stanley needs to come to terms with the fact – that he’s not going to get his way, and demand other Anglicans all believe the same as him.… Read more »

David Rowett
Guest
David Rowett

Re: RevDave: But (apologies for an old argument) Jesus’ words also assume the Davidic authorship of the Psalms, a tricky one when it comes to the ones fashioned in the exile. Or does that somehow become a second order matter? There’s some rigour missing here which concerns me, and it feels as though there’s an inconsistency of hermeneutic. Or am I (quite genuinely) missing something? I do know that the Matthew 22 passage has been used as a proof text in the past to ‘prove’ the necessity of believing the Psalms to be Davidic. Has that now been dropped? And… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Ntagali’s got one ace in the hole: the Uganda Martyrs…for refusing to have sex”

Any ordained minister who can’t see the *difference* between consensual sexual relations and RAPE is not (as the Brits say) “fit for purpose”. I am DONE w/ this conflation!

JCF
Guest
JCF

Jesus is ***talking about divorce*** RevDave. And I strongly suspect you know that. (Who’s “repudiating Jesus” here?)

Jo
Guest
Jo

@RevDave: you’re engaging in circular reasoning. You have to make a passage about the permanent nature of marriage and the consequent command against divorce do a lot of work to read it as Jesus defining marriage in all contexts for all time. If you (and +Stanley) want to go after people for repudiating Christ’s teaching in that passage, go after the remarried divorcees, not the faithfully married same sex couples.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Interestingly, in the midst of this latter conversation; the ‘Marriage Feast of The Lamb”has nothing at all to do with gender or sexuality – and is yet called a marriage feast. This marriage has more to do with our commonality together with one another in Christ.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Couldn’t agree more, JCF, and I made exactly that point below the line on the Psephizo piece linked earlier.

The martyrs argument did, however, appear to impress a liberal journalist from the ‘Guardian’ newspaper. It’s contemptible, but it shouldn’t be underestimated.

RevDave
Guest
RevDave

David (Rowett) I expect Jesus in Matt 22 says “David calls him ‘Lord,’” because He is referring to Psalm 110 and verse 1 of Psalm 110 says “Of David. A psalm.” (in the Hebrew)… JCF and Jo, Jesus was defining marriage *in order* to explain why “unmarrying” (divorce) is against God’s will. So Jesus *was* defining marriage… and He referred *twice* to it being a male-female relationship! Susannah and others: The only thing that counts is not what I believe, or what you believe, but what God believes. He makes us male or female biological creatures – and, objectively, that… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“The only thing that counts is not what I believe, or what you believe, but what God believes.”

No true Christian should presume to know “what God believes….”

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

God out on the golf course when intersex people are born, RevDave?

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“He makes us male or female biological creatures – and, objectively, that is what we.”

In point of objective, scientific fact, RevDave, there are intersex people.

See https://unfe.org/system/unfe-65-Intersex_Factsheet_ENGLISH.pdf

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re: several posts above on Jesus and divorce, and the notion of, from God’s mouth to Jesus’ ear arguments, such an approach is contestable for sure. Note the earliest reference in Mark 10, are these the actual words of Jesus? See, just for example, the note on Mark 10:12 in the REB Oxford study edition, ” The verse probably reflects a Gentile environment, since Jewish law provided only for divorce initiated by the husband.” In some ways, Jesus may be offering a better deal to women in a patriarchal context by limiting the ability of men to throw away their… Read more »

Jo
Guest
Jo

Is Jesus defining? Or is Jesus describing what his listeners assumed to be true, in order to make his point?

Richard Grand
Guest
Richard Grand

@RevDave: “Objective facts” are not necessarily either objective or a fact. What we may perceive as a fact is often coloured by the culture and context we impose or by what we wish to see. Your best male friend (or female one) may have a life or identity that they present to you or that you assume, but their reality may be quite different. People may confor to society’s expectations, but are not what they seem.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Well said, Rod. As RevDave surely knows, the Gospels aren’t verbatim reports, they’re collections of sayings, passed down, edited, and sometimes invented by the early church. Even if they were verbatim, they’re translated into Greek from Aramaic, and translation’s interpretation. But let’s say, for sake of argument, that we possessed Aramaic originals of Jesus’ own words. Even the orthodox position holds that, whatever else he was, Jesus of Nazareth was fully human: meaning that he was a man of his time, shaped by his own culture, and as capable as error as any of us. If Jesus did ban divorce… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“translation’s interpretation.”

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Brecht_HUAC_hearing_(1947-10-30)_transcript

Brecht is asked “whether or not he wrote, a poem, a song rather entitled “Forward, We’ve Not Forgotten”.”

He demurs, and asks for it to be read.

A poem is read.

“No, uh I wrote a German poem, but that is very different (Audience Laughter) from this thing.”

RevDave
Guest
RevDave

Thanks Rod, Jo, James et al. I think this highlights the serious differences within the CofE over the authority of our Scriptures and the person and teachings of Jesus. If Jesus is “the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;” then it is impossible that Jesus could be wrong. And rejecting His word is an act of rejection of who He is. Hence Jesus says: “The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a… Read more »

RevDave
Guest
RevDave

Regarding intersex, the NHS website says: “Disorders of sex development (DSDs) are a group of rare conditions where the reproductive organs and genitals don’t develop as expected.”. The various intersex conditions are caused by genetic / developmental *disorders* – they are not normative.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re: RevDave “…then it is impossible that Jesus could be wrong. And rejecting His word is an act of rejection of who He is.” Several problems here (1) its a tautology and it begs the question (2) could Jesus be wrong? Wrong about what? There is a good argument he was wrong about the imminence of the end time for instance. (3) One cannot argue that Jesus the man was all knowing based on the notion that God is all knowing, to do so goes well beyond the “bible truth” you seek to advance (4) you must continue to finish… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

RevDave, you have missed the point. It is not about “serious differences within the CofE over the authority of our Scriptures and the person and teachings of Jesus,” it’s about people with enormous integrity who have come to the conclusion that Scripture does not say what you want it to say. Jesus told us not to judge, but you feel qualified to misinterpret a passage from Jesus about divorce to “prove” your point of view. Jesus told us to love our neighbor and do to the “least of these,” while you feel qualified to exclude LGBTQI people. It would be… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

I think we should be very, very careful about arguments which consist of “Broad Sweeping Claim; here’s an exception; that’s not normative so it doesn’t count”. At a human level, it is grossly excluding: this isn’t the place for the debate about Caster Semenya, Dutee Chand and the nuanced definition of “female” for the purposes of athletics, but dismissing or trivialising the issue as “not normative” is hugely unhelpful. At an intellectual level it’s dishonest: so far as we know, all even integers greater than two are the sum of two primes (the Goldbach conjecture) but its near three hundred-year… Read more »

Barry
Guest
Barry

Well said, Cynthia. It beggars belief that we can still be spending time on the question of the infallibility/limitations of Our Lord’s human knowledge which were addressed at the end of the nineteenth century, notably by Charles Gore’s lead towards a Kenotic (self-emptying) Christology. Do we still need to learn that the gospels were not written as modern-style biography? What you say illustrates yet again that until we are prepared to deal in an adult manner with the scriptures we will be brought to a standstill at every point by fundamentalists who will not budge from an irrational, unhistorical, literalist… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Thank you so much, Interested Observer. Brilliantly expressed.

Susannah Clark
Guest

I also share Barry’s point on Fundamentalism. We have seen the effects of fundamentalism – based on a literalist approach to religious text – which can drive people to terrible extremities. If we don’t approach the Bible critically (in an intelligent, literary criticism sense) then are we to believe that Noah gathered the tree frogs in then unexplored Amazonia, the koalas from Australia, the polar bears from the arctic, giant tortoises from the Galapagos (how did he get there?), penguins from Antarctica, the lemurs from Madagascar? Are we to assume that Adam had no ancestors? And that death only came… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

“I think this highlights the serious differences within the CofE” — while we commend empirical facts, this is surely one of them.

The real question is how these views disentangle and go their ways. People going on with slogans about “fundamentalism,” ignorance, the fallible Jesus etc are who they are, but at their peril they risk misundertanding the character of the struggle before the CofE with self confident dismissals. This may end up being the real hallmark of the collapse of the CofE. We-know-betterism and condescension. Straw men and straw arguments.

RevDave
Guest
RevDave

Hi Rod and Barry, we seem to be highlighting ever more the gulf between the orthodox Christian understanding and current liberal reasoning. We are not talking about whether Jesus was omniscient but whether He was *one with the Father* and *spoke the Father’s words*. Yes His teachings have historical particularity, and when the circumstances are genuinely different we may find that *the principles behind what He teaches* apply differently. But that doesn’t mean that His teaching was “wrong”. However, on this issue it is not the particular application (divorce) that we are discussing – it *is* the *principles* on which… Read more »

RevDave
Guest
RevDave

Hi Interested Observer, did I say that intersex people don’t exist or don’t count, aren’t really intersex, aren’t equal? No I did not. I was born on the intersex spectrum (just) myself. So I know from experience, and don’t feel in the least diminished by the biological facts that intersex is the exception – due to genetic or developmental disorders – not the norm.

Tobias Haller
Guest

RevDave and others should revisit the Galileo settlement: it wasn’t about what the Scripture “said” but about how it was to be interpreted. For a time the church pressed the matter that the sun running about from one end of the world to the other had to be understood literally, in spite of any real evidence to the contrary. Eventually the church was able to secure the “authority” of Scripture but accept the fact that the authority was interpretative, and that interpretation is a living phenomenon.

Barry
Guest
Barry

RevDave, I cannot speak for Rod, who will speak for himself, but I do object to a wedge being driven between “orthodox Christian understanding” and “current Liberal reasoning”. I am more than happy to recite the creeds, which should make me orthodox enough. I believe fully in the Incarnation and the Bodily Resurrection, but I do not see why that must bind me to a particular view of the scriptures or the historical Jesus. If Jesus is to be my Lord, then it will be in his Lordship as the Risen and Ascended Christ, speaking to me now. I am… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re: RevDave, “…the gulf between the orthodox Christian understanding and current liberal reasoning.” This is a political statement and a false dichotomy.

The more dogmatic tendency in this regard would be found on one of those rather apoplectic Anglican web sites that claim to be the world wide voice of some sort of “orthodoxy” or other.

I accept the nascent creedal/mythological insight, “Jesus is Lord”. In fact I am preaching on that in part the coming Sunday re Romans.

We have been around this block many times on this site. Reprise my comments on previous threads.