Sunday, 18 March 2012

Church of Nigeria reacts to Archbishop of Canterbury's Resignation

from the website of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

Church of Nigeria reacts to Archbishop of Canterbury’s Resignation

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt. Hon. Dr. Rowan Williams took over the leadership of the Anglican Communion in 2002 when it was a happy family. Unfortunately, he is leaving behind a Communion in tatters: highly polarized, bitterly factionalized, with issues of revisionist interpretation of the Holy Scriptures and human sexuality as stumbling blocks to oneness, evangelism and mission all around the Anglican world.

It might not have been entirely his own making, but certainly “crucified under Pontius Pilate”. The lowest ebb of this degeneration came in 2008, when there were, so to say, two “Lambeth” Conferences one in the UK, and an alternative one, GAFCON in Jerusalem. The trend continued recently when many Global South Primates decided not to attend the last Primates’ meeting in Dublin, Ireland.

Since Dr. Rowan Williams did not resign in 2008, over the split Lambeth Conference, one would have expected him to stay on in office, and work assiduously to ‘mend the net’ or repair the breach, before bowing out of office. The only attempt, the covenant proposal, was doomed to fail from the start, as “two cannot walk together unless they have agreed”.

For us, the announcement does not present any opportunity for excitement. It is not good news here, until whoever comes as the next leader pulls back the Communion from the edge of total destruction. To this end, we commit our Church, the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) to serious fasting and prayers that God will do “a new thing”, in the Communion.

Nevertheless, we join others to continue in prayer for Dr. Rowan Williams and his family for a more fruitful endeavour in their post – Canterbury life.

+Nicholas D. Okoh
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 3:58pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Good grief!

Does the Archbishop of Nigeria, Nicolas Okoh, know how to say anything nice? Is he capable of looking inward and the taking of ANY responsibility for his OWN actions or the words that come out of his mouth? Blaming anyone/everyone that gets in the way of his all-around righteousness, and Selective Scriptural outcasting of ¨differently oriented¨ people at Church seems to be the operational standard for prentending that he, and mostly people only like him, represent God, the Anglican Communion and Good News in general, he knows all there is to being a holy and wise Primate and much, much more...what a bore!

I suggest, the Archbishop(s) of Nigeria, look within and take a much more active role in healing the vertically corrupt country of Nigeria and THEMSELVES!

Let us leave more wholesome efforts to ¨love one another¨ (all one anothers including LGBT, Muslims/others) to those who have a better/recent track record of TRYING to do so, on the subject...that would include Dr. Rowan Williams, who has bent over backwards to clean up +Akinolas and Lord Carey of Cliftons Anglican Communion and Lambeth Conference mess.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 4:28pm GMT

Sheer nastiness.

Posted by: sjh on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 4:57pm GMT

'It might not have been entirely his own making, but certainly “crucified under Pontius Pilate”'

Was his grace trying for a sentence here? Or does he just think the allusion he's trying to make is so à propos it doesn't even bear making explicit (say, with a verb)? Either way it's not landing for me.

Posted by: Geoff on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 4:57pm GMT

"Dr. Rowan Williams took over the leadership of the Anglican Communion in 2002 when it was a happy family. Unfortunately, he is leaving behind a Communion in tatters: highly polarized, bitterly factionalized ...." Talk about chutzpah!!! On the bright side, crystal clear indication to those responsible for the selection of Dr Williams' successor, that any attempt to appease these people is doomed to failure.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 5:04pm GMT

I'm struggling a bit to get outraged by the Church of Nigeria statement.

It seems to me that those getting outraged have been trying to deny reality for some time.

Yes, the communion really is as fractured as it appears to be from this and it needs new ideas and new ways of finding ideas to help mend what can be mended and let be those things which can't.

It really is far too simplistic to paint Archbishop Rowan as the great victim in all of this. Yes, this is a rude statement about him. However, he has never had to face anything much worse than rudeness. Some people have paid a far higher price in these battles.

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 5:33pm GMT

For clarity, excellent. It's succinctness almost makes it a "bill of indictment" or a "summons/warrant" issued by a Judge or Magistrate. Clear and direct, short and "indicting." The realignment and refocus elsewhere, painful at times, will continue.

Posted by: Donald Philip Veitch on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 5:58pm GMT

The Communion was nowhere near united and happy in 2002 - there had been severe grief at Lambeth 1998! This mitred muppet has a selective memory as well as a self-absolving denier. If the Communion is in a mess it is because everyone the USA and Nigeria included has contributed to the current disfunction. Frankly I'm no longer bothered if I'm in Communion with Nigeria - they can paddle their own canoe and god can sort it out after the parousia!

Posted by: fr dougal on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 6:04pm GMT

I think this particularly nasty epistle shows why Rowan Williams was so wrong to bend to them in his Advent Letter of 2007.

Posted by: Pluralist on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 6:54pm GMT

The Nigerian Church has always been consistent about all of this (which is why the Proposed Anglican Covenant has always been pointless).

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 8:03pm GMT

The communion was deeply divided long before Rowan Williams became Archbishop of Canterbury. In fact, it came close to falling apart in 1988 when the bishops said the consecration of women would be church dividing. The conflict led to the formation of the Eames Commission which produced the Virginia report whose recommendations were rejected by all provinces that considered them. This did not prevent the same recommendations reappearing in the covenant proposals. Things have certainly got worse, and if you want to understand why simply reread this nasty, ungracious, uncharitable letter. The claim, clearly expressed here, that everybody has to agree to the imposition of one perspective in a complex debate is not one that could be a basis for unity.

Posted by: Eric Beresford on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 8:15pm GMT

Well, I'm so happy to read that the Church of Nigeria will be fasting and praying that God will do a "new thing" in the Communion. Wonder what +Okoh will think if that "new thing" is just the thing he does not want(as in a movement in the direction of inclusion for the LGBT community)? I'm sure he'll rail against it just the way he has been doing all along. What a bore.

Posted by: Susan on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 8:16pm GMT

"'The only attempt, the covenant proposal, was doomed to fail from the start, as “two cannot walk together unless they have agreed'."

A happy family since 2002? Fr. Dougal says we've been arguing since 1998? I was under the impression we've been arguing since 1534. +Rowan attempts to appease the Nigerian church were the start of much of the current events. This statement is brash, rude, petty, Unanglican, and hits unChristian rather hard as well. I'm thankful the members of the Church of Nigeria with whom I've been acquainted have not mirrored this attitude.

Posted by: Allie on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 8:21pm GMT

Like Fr Dougal, I was especially surprised by the Archbishop's claim that in 2002 the Anglican Communion was "a happy family." That's certainly not how I remember it, though it's a popular claim in some quarters. Lord Carey of Clifton, for example, is fond of saying that "when I left office at the end of 2002 I felt the Anglican Communion was in good heart," the barely-unspoken implication being that the rot set in under the tenure of his successor. This is arrant nonsense, of course, and if the rifts in the church are perhaps more visible a decade later it doesn't follow that the issues at stake are significantly different from what they were in 2002. Indeed, the problem with Rowan Williams is how little real change he has been able to effect over the last decade. The Anglican Church was hurtling towards disaster in 1998, and the worst that can be said for the ABC is that, despite his best efforts, he hasn't been able to change its direction.

Posted by: rjb on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 8:37pm GMT

By 2002, we were all able to write here as a family though with some differences. Now, as fr Dougal indicated above, it soon became evident we may need different canoes because there is a big difference between the LGBT god and God who created the universe. No one asked for appeasement. We only asked that we all should serve God on HIS terms. The Holy Bible tells us of a transforming New Birth to reach Eternal Life. Jesus still saves!

Posted by: Tunde on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 9:11pm GMT

Eric Beresford is correct in every respect.

"we've been arguing since 1534" Yes!
In fact the English Church has been going at it for centuries before that too!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 9:18pm GMT

The comments by The Archbishop of All Nigeria are mean and quite extreme. Shameful, really. Disenfranchisement of the glbt members of the Church seems to be his goal and this is why he is dangerous. It is not acceptable to devalue other human beings for any reason. There will always be rifts and disagreements in the institutional Church but it hardly spells the end of what we call the Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 9:42pm GMT

You couldn't make it up, or could you?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 9:43pm GMT

It seems convenient for him that the alternate Lambeth Council was somehow the ABC's fault. Not... like, any of the participating bishops or anything. Obviously.

Posted by: Joel on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 9:50pm GMT

Indeed, The Holy Spirit has been doing a "new thing" in the Communion..." come and see "..

Posted by: David Ross Lyon on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 10:25pm GMT

"Two cannot walk together unless they have agreed..."

And here I thought we all had agreed that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. Anything beyond that--especially comparatively little things like opinions about sexuality--is on a par with families not agreeing about what to serve for dinner.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 10:26pm GMT

What price the Covenant's much-vaunted 'bonds of affection'?

Posted by: Hannah on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 10:51pm GMT

Such an ungraciously dismissive attack on the current Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury! This is the hallmark of the Primates of GAFCON, who took upon themselves the task of trying to high-jack the Anglican Communion with their Conference of dissident Anglicans in Jerusalem, in 2008, from which issued the invidious ‘Jerusalem Declaration‘, intended to replace the ‘Instruments of Unity‘ of the world-wide Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 10:54pm GMT

Why not simply let these ignorant premodern bigots go? Unity is really nothing to welcome or to be commended in itself.

Posted by: Merseymike on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 11:30pm GMT

Lapinbizarre has it exactly right. Chutzpah indeed. Creating dissension and discord and then complaining about the lack of unity. Seeming to declare that only you have the True Vision of Jesus and the Gospels, then becoming confused and upset when everyone doesn't agree with you. Giving tacit or explicit approval to nasty legislation, or depictions of GLBT people, then wondering why people call you names.
Fr. Dougal also has it right. Lambeth 1.10 was literally Godawful.

Posted by: peterpi - Peter Gross on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 11:59pm GMT

Those in the C of E still to vote on the Covenant, please note. These are the people whom this fiasco is supposed to keep on side.

Posted by: abbeymouse on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 12:04am GMT

The language of fear and desperation. He may be surprised to find that the next Archbishop of Canterbury will not have the same patience with him.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 1:00am GMT

What kind of troglodytes in remotissimo loco could have with bold face termed "the Anglican Communion in 2002 ... a happy family"? They seem to be oblivious to all that transpired between Limuru in 1973, and 2002 -- a 29-year nap in the cave perhaps? But who can take such a statement seriously?

Posted by: William Tighe on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 1:23am GMT

"The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt. Hon. Dr. Rowan Williams took over the leadership of the Anglican Communion in 2002 when it was a happy family."

Ah, yes. Because there was only singing&dancing re Lambeth '98! O_o


Abuja deigns to look towards Cantuar (which he'd sworn off), ONLY to sneer.

Sad to say, as soon as there's an OFFICIAL break in the Anglican Communion (w/ Okoh outside it, and Nigeria---esp. Nigerian LGBTs---a mission field for the Gospel that their "Anglican" church has denied them), the better.

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 1:27am GMT

"there is a big difference between the LGBT god and God who created the universe"


Kyrie eleison!

[@ Tunde. Today in my TEC parish, we buried an elderly priest...who happened to have been gay (He'd been w/ his partner many decades). He had touched so many lives w/ the Love of Christ: a holier man you could never meet. I will ask *his* intercessory prayers for you, and the Church of Nigeria.]

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 1:48am GMT

The Anglican Church of Nigeria is currently still involved in a financial scandal on account of one of their Bishops selling "knighthoods" to guileless people in New York State.

Given that, I wouldn't be half surprised if the Primate's next note didn't come by email and end with urging us to send money to a London lawyer so we can get our share of a certain amount of money.

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 2:01am GMT

Hark! A voice from the past! I see Bishop Tunde is still mopping up after the Primate(s) of Nigeria.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 4:42am GMT

As Matthew Arnold wrote in 1832 - "The Church of England as it now stands no human power can save." For the Church of England read - "The Anglican Communion".

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 7:30am GMT

@Randal, have I been missing anything from Nigeria just reading your comment “ The Anglican Church of Nigeria is currently still involved in a financial scandal on account of one of their Bishops selling "knighthoods" to guileless people in New York Stat”

Bishop Tunde, there is only one God of the church and universe. LGBTI people don’t have a different God. The reaction from the Church of Nigeria is too uncharitable to Canterbury who in the past was playing softly, softly to their aggressive demands.
One God, one people
All one is Christ Jesus
One God, one people
All one in Christ Jesus

Posted by: Davis Mac-Iyalla on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 8:23am GMT

An interesting statement, both for its polished and nuanced content and even more so for its timing.

He is possibly writing as a reaction not to the announcement but to the generous tributes being paid to Rowan Williams from all quarters in the UK, including those who are theologically opposed to him. This has clearly got under someone's skin, but I would have thought the timing was too neat for the impetus for this to have come anywhere other than from the UK or the USA.

No corrective was needed or looked for at this stage within the church; he is writing on behalf of a dissident community which has more to do with the UK and the USA than his own church, I judge, and the intention is to obtain purchase for this contrary position in the western and the UK media. This is symptomatic of how the battle for Canterbury will be played out, with UK based factions cuing in content from around the world to order. Both - all - sides will be up to this kind of thing.

*opens popcorn

Posted by: Toadpipe on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 9:32am GMT

Dear Father was actually Matthew's Dad Thomas ( Headmaster of Rugby) and the context was the Dissenters backing the new Whig government which TA thought would bring down Establishment.......but you are right, the Anglican Comm as now is,is finished. They say the Abp's job is impossible but I dont think being Primate of All England is an impossible job...its the Anglican Communion dimension that makes it impossible. I hope the Crown Appointment Commission will chose first and foremost a Primate for the National Church...those Provinces which wish to be in communion with the See of Canterbury can continue to do so, the rest can sort something out amongst themselves.I imagine all will be revealed at the next enthronement...all the Primates will be invited ( inc ++US and Canada..) It will be interesting to see who turns up.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 9:34am GMT

Dear Perry, Thank you for that correction - I took the quotation and given author from the current York Course with its most appropriate title in the present circumstances "Handing on the Torch" (page 14). Always wise to check the sources! I agree with your comment entirely - The cartoon in the Times on the day after Rowan's announcement also seems to agree as it shewed Rowan as the bridge arching between the Liberal and Traditional wings of the Church and above him was the single word - "SNAP".

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 1:46pm GMT

"Revisionist interpretation of Holy Scriptures"?? Is he KIDDING? Does he really think revision of interpretation of the bible is something new--or more importantly--undesirable?


Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 7:01pm GMT

Actually, I doubt very much that the Anglican Communion is finished. The claim that the Anglican Communion was disintegrating always had to contend with the contrary evidence provided by the health and vibrancy of most of the bilateral diocesan partnership. What is threatened at this time is not the communion, but the instruments of unity that were intended to give expression to and further that communion but which have become instead soapboxes for polemic. It is perhaps good to remember that the ACC is the only instrument with any authority and it dates to 1967. The primates only began to meet regularly following the tensions on women in the episcopate following Lambeth 1988. With regard to the Lambeth conference, it's role was fellowship, consultation, and advice, a role it sought to step beyond several times but most notably in 1998. This legislative misdirection was an error which has contributed significantly to our woes and was largely engineered by ABp. Carey. It was st his insistence, against the recommendations of the subgroup that a motion on sexuality went to the plenary at Lambeth. Those who insist on citing (parts) of that motion, as if it were Holy Writ, or a ruling of the magisterium, would be well advised to also read the report that the subsection produced. Then again, one could conclude that this is all a monstrous waste of time and decide instead to get on with the mission of the church in communion with any person of Good will who will join us. the only interest in Abp. Okoh's letter is that it communicates his desire to be counted out. Not surprising perhaps, but good to be clear as we look into the future of the Communion of those from all over the world, including Africa, who will very much want to be a part of the future of the communion.

Posted by: Eric Beresford on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 8:18pm GMT

Its sad that a Church with leadership like this has 18 million members. That the Anglican Communion was a happy family before Rowan is utter drivel.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 9:06pm GMT

Again I am agreeing with Eric Beresford! Indeed if mixed judiciously with the back-row-of-the-cinema reflection from Toadpipe, you almost have it all!!

But those provinces who have taken the Covenant into their lives HAVE recognised and empowered the other instruments. It is, after all, one of the major changes wrought by the Covenant - the Covenant that does nothing - that supposedly leaves everything just as it was!

I think that in no small way the rejection of the Covenant is a rejection of these "soapboxes for polemic" along with those like Fulcrum and their foreign allies who have flogged them so tediously.

How the powers that be unpick what has happened will be fun to watch.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 10:05pm GMT

I think Eric Beresford is quite correct, except that I do believe GAFCON will decide to "walk apart." The notion that the CofE (& the society in which it is set) was more akin to the African (etc.) churches than to the North Americans never had any credibility. I don't think that there is anything that anyone could have done at this time to prevent this situation, any more than successive Roman emperors could really reconcile the Latins & Greeks & non-Chalcedonians.

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 10:35pm GMT

Perhaps an appropriate first-move for the next ABC would be for him to invite All provincial Archbishops to A Eucharistic Congress at Lambeth.
The constituency of the Anglican Communion could well then be decided on who accepted the invitation and took part in the Eucharistic con-Celebration.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 at 4:11am GMT

Prior Aelred writes that he believes GAFCON will decide to "walk apart."

I'm in Kenya at the moment, working with Kenyan Anglicans, lay and ordained, LGBTI and straight, meeting and listening and helping them form an active Changing Attitude presence.

I've also met bishops and retired Archbishop David Gitari. One bishop alone was hostile and prejudiced, and in truth, very abusive. The others, including David Gitari, have been open and welcoming and have already moved a long way from the closed mind rhetoric of GAFCON as exemplified by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh.

One bishop told me they are committed to GAFCON, and my heart began to sink. But not as a political force, he continued, we are not seeking schism. GAFCON remains as a source of spiritual energy and inspiration. The same bishop had attended the Jerusalem conference, but later, challenged by his people, admitted he had been wrong to go there and not to Lambeth.

My impression from Kenya is of an Anglican Church deeply committed to the Communion and beginning to organise actively for change. Nigeria is a spent force and GAFCON is not going to "walk apart." Reports of my experience in Kenya can be found on the Changing Attitude blog

Posted by: Colin Coward on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 at 4:37am GMT

It seems a bit of an understatement to say he doesn't seem to understand the process very well

Posted by: Michelle C. Jackson on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 at 5:11am GMT

Just how unhappy a family the Anglican Communion was in 2002 is vividly described by Richard Holloway in his book ‘Leaving Alexandria’ and his account of Lambeth 1998. He describes the Anglican Communion falling apart at that time, a falling apart that ‘the saintly scholar’ who followed Carey was never going to be able to put back together. His account of Lambeth 1998 tallies with the description of that conference given us by our then diocesan bishop, who said that the experience had been awful.

Posted by: Nigel LLoyd on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 at 7:56am GMT

Picking up Nigel Lloyd's point, there was an illuminating article written by Andrew Brown about Lambeth '98 - I think it was part-published in the Church Times. It's fair to say that it doesn't reflect a happy family having a jolly together. And my former diocesan was similarly underwhelmed by some of the nonsense he had to endure.

Posted by: david rowett on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 at 8:58am GMT

Okoh might also do well to read Stephen Bates' 'A Church at War' which takes the story way back and lays the blame squarely at the door of th e Evangelical wing of the Church for using the issue as their touchstone of orthodoxy. By the time of Lambeth 1998 things were really nasty and by 2002 things were even worse. Only someone ignorant of the facts or with rose tinted glasses could believe otherwise

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 at 9:56am GMT

@ Colin Coward -- I am most happy to hear what you say about GAFCON. My supposition was based on the reality that in terms of the "Instruments of Communion," the leadership already has. Perhaps Mother Kaeton's reports on the state of Anglicanism in SE Asia have misled me.

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 at 10:12am GMT

All of this reinforces the point that what the Anglican Communion needs now is a period without initiatives, appeals or cajoling.

It will be best if the new Archbishop of Canterbury does nothing very much at all.

This is an argument for an older candidate and a relatively short-term appointment during which the new incumbent announces (no doubt to everyone's relief) that the next Lambeth Conference will be deferred for two or more years in order to save money and allow for reflection. His successor will then still have plenty of time to prepare.

In the meantime everyone, even the Nigerians, remains more or less in full communion and the Anglican genius works its magic through old fashioned contact and dialogue without any agenda.

Consequently, Lambeth 2021 or perhaps as late as 2022 could be one of the best for decades as most of the old antagonists will have retired or be making up in the next world.

Posted by: Concerned Anglican on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 at 8:09pm GMT

One assumes - mend the net - is in quotes because it refers back to the collection of essays presented by Drexel Gomez.

There was clearly enough of a war going on then for this booklet to be produced.

Published in 2001.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 at 8:10pm GMT

This missive is payback for the particularly virulent form of Christianity which felt it had the right to "take up the white man's burden" and convert all those poor heathens that weren't white and Christian. There has always been at least two Christianities in Anglicanism - the most tolerant sort stayed home and sent humanitarian aid, the somewhat tolerant established well-meant societies, while the "My God is Bigger Than Your God" conservatives went out to beat down the "ignorant savages."

It's no surprise the OT God of Vengeance should be the only one worshipped in the Global South.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 at 4:12am GMT

Plenty of God of Vengeance in the NT as well, Mark! Unless you're a paid up Marcionite;-))

Posted by: david rowett on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 at 11:59am GMT

Mark - I am often puzzled by comments like this.
In what sense are the animist spirits of africa connected with Christianity. In what sense do you think the pre-incarnate or indeed post-incarnate Jesus Christ, Son of the Holy God who is love is revealed in the animists religions of africa. What Christian revealation allows you to conclude that these animists spirits are anything to do with love.

Posted by: DAvid WIlson on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 at 12:40pm GMT

"It's no surprise the OT God of Vengeance should be the only one worshipped in the Global South."

Thinking Anglicans indeed. I don't know how this gets through the 'Thinking' filter, but it is much harder to see how it gets through the 'Christian' filter -- unless we are just remaking Christianity now without any regard for heresies like 'the God of the OT' (who is of course triune by Christian confession).

Posted by: c.r.seitz on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 at 3:19pm GMT

@ Colin Coward.

I would love to hear what makes you conclude that Nigeria is a "spent force". Interestingly you make that judgment from Kenya. I know that Kenya and Nigeria are both part of Africa, but Africa is actually a continent not a country.

I actually live in Nigeria and the Nigerian Church is far from spent. In case most of you weren't paying attention, there was a flurry of anti-Christian violence in Northern Nigeria. The Church has held and held strong.

Secondly as an African who knows something about the African Church, please understand this: the Anglican Church here ceased to take spiritual direction from Canterbury/US/West at least thirty years ago. If you want to understand the trajectory of the Nigerian/Kenyan Church, look at the trajectory of the most prominent African independent evangelical congregations in those countries - they tend to be 5-10 years behind them.

Posted by: Skilbo on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 at 6:30pm GMT

Guess it got through the "Christian" filter the same way Okoh's sour-grapes exercise got through it, Dr Seitz.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer on Saturday, 24 March 2012 at 4:13pm GMT

@DavidW: the believer worships the God (Spirit, Higher Power, etc) s/he sees---not the one you don't see. You can't see through another believer's eyes.

However, you can learn from other believers [believers in other (named) gods than your own]. Then---and only then---they might be able&willing to learn something (about Jesus) from you.


@crs: there's nothing heretical (in Christian POV) about saying that people ***understood God*** differently (less completely) from the Old Testament to the New. No, there's no "Old Testament God". But there is an Old Testament understanding of God, and Jesus showed us a better Way (Truth, Life).

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 24 March 2012 at 6:55pm GMT

"Plenty of God of Vengeance in the NT as well, Mark! Unless you're a paid up Marcionite;-)"

No need to be a Marcionite to recognize a huge difference between a God who sends Samuel to hack Agag to pieces and curse Saul, who sends the Angel of Death to kill the firstborn of Egypt to punish one man whose heart he hardened, who demanded genocide of all who had previously settled in the Promised Land, and a God who says to turn the other cheek, who relents to a Syro-Phoenician woman, who forgives "70 times 7."

They are *not* the same God, because they are *not* the same writers with the same agenda, and God isn't the Scriptures. They are notes pointing to God (their sole value), who is real and is neither Vengeance nor The Great Chill-Out.

That is the root of my deep distaste for professional theologians - it isn't the self-conscious erudition and self-promotion, it's the cowardice - unwilling to admit that the documents they have aren't sufficient or absolute, which would leave relying on mere *faith*! Heaven forfend!!!! :D

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 at 4:51am BST

"Mark - I am often puzzled by comments like this."

If you are addressing me, I'm not surprised at your puzzlement.

What you've written, aside from the single word "Christian," is in no way at all related to anything I wrote, to the point that I'm honestly not certain I'm not knee-jerking and that you're responding to something by another Mark I don't see.

I can't carry on your interior monologue with you!

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 at 4:54am BST

"Thinking Anglicans indeed. I don't know how this gets through the 'Thinking' filter, but it is much harder to see how it gets through the 'Christian' filter . . . "

Bless you, Mr. Seitz, truly.

I guess it got through the filter the same way that some people slip through and become priests or archbishops, despite their hatred and cruelty, huh?

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 at 4:57am BST
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