Comments: Communique from the Church of Nigeria

What's Gafcon's position on Nigerian roads and power supplies?

Posted by Richard Ashby at Sunday, 4 October 2015 at 7:39pm BST

" to continue to resist the foreign pressure to make it rescind its stand on same-sex marriage."

What pressure is there on Nigeria to legalize gay marriage???

The issue at hand is brutal oppression of LGBTQ people in Nigeria, and there needs be pressure to make that stop. The church should be a leader for human rights, not a perpetrator of abuses.

Posted by Cynthia at Sunday, 4 October 2015 at 7:56pm BST

"On its part, the Federal Government is further enjoined to continue to resist the foreign pressure to make it rescind its stand on same-sex marriage."

FALSE. The foreign pressure is not over marriage equality. It is over government facilitated inhumane treatment of homosexuals.

Posted by John B. Chilton at Sunday, 4 October 2015 at 8:25pm BST

Both the Nigeria Anglican and Catholics Bishops leadership are slowing changing language to say our problem is same sex marriage. But the law that they support only has heading of same sex marriage prohibition act, the real elements of the law actually criminalize Nigeria homosexuals, their friends , allies or anyone who provide services to them. The continued supporting of that law as it stand shows that the bishops are not ready to repent, it’s like only when they see the corpses of LGBT people on their table will they see the damage they are causing.

Posted by Davis Mac-Iyalla at Sunday, 4 October 2015 at 8:50pm BST

".. the Standing Committee (Anglican Church of Nigeria) calls the leadership of the Anglican Communion to repentance and renewed faith in Christ as expressed in the bible, the articles of religion and the Jerusalem Declaration, and further reaffirms our commitment on these as the basis of our relationship with other parts of the communion"
- Declaration of the A.C. of Nigeria -

Does not the Primate of All Nigeria understand that the Anglican Communion has never accepted GAFCON's 'Jerusalem Declaration' as definitive doctrine for all Provinces of the Communion?

This chutzpah on the part of the A.C. of Nigeria needs to be responded to immediately by theABC; ACC and other Instruments of the Communion, before is gets out of hand, and the presumptuous J.D. becomes de rigeur for all Provinces of the world-wide Anglican Communion

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 4 October 2015 at 9:47pm BST

Business as usual.

Nobody's gonna change their minds. Only question is, do Western churches stay until they're pushed, or make a clean break? If Nigeria keeps this up, it can but speed the arrival of that blessed divorce.

Posted by James Byron at Sunday, 4 October 2015 at 10:02pm BST

Interesting ... the 'Jerusalem Declaration' is now on a par with the Bible and the 39 Articles.

Posted by Concerned Anglican at Sunday, 4 October 2015 at 10:17pm BST

Never mind the Jerusalem Declaration, I'm rather amazed that the Nigerians apparently believe other churches of the Communion are committed to the Thirty-Nine Articles - of which I, a relatively orthodox Anglo-Catholic, whole-heartedly endorse exactly eleven.(A party game among the regulars of an Oxbridge College chapel I once knew was to go through the Articles of Religion in turn and drink a shot for each one to which you objected. Scandalous drunkenness ensued well before we ever got to On Predestination and Election).

What about the creeds? What about the traditions of English and Catholic Christianity? What about the global Anglican vision of mission? If the Bible, the 39 Sodding Articles and the Jerusalem Declaration are all that's holding us together then the most we can do is politely acknowledge each other as fellow Christians and leave it at that.

Posted by rjb at Monday, 5 October 2015 at 4:23am BST

While I resonate with rjb's comments, what truly strkes me as odd is a reliance on the 39 articles on an issues such as "same-sex marriage" (though, of course, that is not really what the Nigerian law is about at base). The articles clearly state that marriage is not a sacrament, but lacks "any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God" (25) and that "every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, Ceremonies of Rites of the Church ordained only by man's authority" (34) and further that it is "lawful for... Christian men to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness." (32)

For their purposes the Jerusalem Declaration is a far better cane to lean upon.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Monday, 5 October 2015 at 2:32pm BST

While noting the purported foreign intervention in behalf of same-sex marriage, no mention is made of the more considerable foreign intervention -- by churches and church-related organizations -- in favor of violent and vicious (Christian?) suppression of all things related to homosexuality, from its existence to AIDS health care.

Posted by John Clifford at Monday, 5 October 2015 at 3:05pm BST

On the subject of the 39 Articles, one might note that they do have their place, for example, in the Churches of England and Australia. However, this year marks the 150th anniversary of the passing of the UK law which ended the requirement of subscription to everything in the Articles and the Prayer Book. This followed a long campaign to abolish subscription which is clearly described in Dean Stanley's still useful and interesting Essays of Church and State. Subscription was replaced by a general, never legally, defined "assent", still a requirement of clergy in Australia but replaced now by a different form in England.

Posted by John Bunyan at Monday, 5 October 2015 at 9:23pm BST

If only a bit more self-awareness was involved. This isn't about the Bible or 39 Articles or any declaration. It's about hormones. Some people feel disgusted by the thought of gay sex. Others don't. Whether it's nature or nurture, we differ. My view is that there's a spectrum by nature, but rural societies have always had more pro-baby ethical systems than urban societies, and I thank God for providing such a sensible feedback system.

Posted by Jonathan Clatworthy at Monday, 5 October 2015 at 10:29pm BST

For those Churches of the GAFCON, like Nigeria, it ought be noted (as indicated by Fr. Tobias Haller - above-quoted) that Marriage is NOT accountable as a 'Sacrament ordained of Christ' in the XXIX Articles.

Here is the text from Art.XXV:
'Of the Sacraments':

"Matrimony (is) not be counted for (a) Sacrament of the Gospel, being such as (has) grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly (a) state of life allowed in the scriptures; but yet (has) not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism and the Lord's Supper, FOR THAT (IT HAS) NOT ANY VISIBLE SIGN OR CEREMONY ORDAINED OF GOD".

If the GAFCON Primates really do accept the XXXIX Articles; then Marriage has not the sacramental valuation they would attribute to it; having other interpretations for its use.

Many Anglicans in the modern world no longer put our faith in the totality of the XXIX Articles; seeing them rather as 39 artifacts, only some of which are acceptable in today's Church & World.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 6 October 2015 at 12:42am BST

So they only have relations with other members of the Anglican communion on the basis of the Jerusalem declaration. Does that mean that they've officially declared that they don't have relations with Anglican churches that haven't signed up to the Jerusalem declaration? If so, the Church of Nigeria is no longer part of any communion involving the Church of England and they won't even be able to sign up to the loser union proposed by Justin Welby.

In which case everyone can stop trying to hold the Anglican communion together and get on with preaching our respective gospels.

Posted by Leon Clarke at Tuesday, 6 October 2015 at 12:12pm BST

Jonathan, homophobia in many is undoubtedly visceral.

Others, however, are driven not by disgust, but by a belief in biblical authority. (Including the gay men on livingout.org) It can be just as emotional, but the root cause is different. Their beliefs are homophobic, but personally, they're not.

Since this disapproval isn't driven by disgust, it'll be a lot harder to counter. Many who hold these opinions have LGBT friends and family, and don't fear or hate them: but they honestly and devoutly believe that their "lifestyle" is a sin.

I suspect that, for many in the Church of Nigeria, both kinds of homophobia apply.

Posted by James Byron at Tuesday, 6 October 2015 at 4:55pm BST

“On the subject of the 39 Articles, one might note that they do have their place”

Yes, John, they do. In America we keep them in a section at the back of the Prayer Book called “Historical Documents of the Church. “ But for many Anglicans, in America, Scotland, etc. the 39 Articles have never been terribly important to us. The modified Articles of Religion were not adopted in the American Episcopal Church until 1801, and do not appear in American Prayer Books until after about 1808.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by Kurt Hill at Wednesday, 7 October 2015 at 3:17pm BST

And in Scotland they're more a symbol of oppression than an instrument of unity - they were removed as soon as the statute requiring them was repealed.

Posted by Jo at Wednesday, 7 October 2015 at 6:08pm BST

In agreement with Kurt, in his last comment on T.A. I think the 39 Articles of Faith should now be re-named the 39 Artifacts - in view of the historical context, and the fact that they are no longer totally relevant to Anglican Church polity (with special reference to my comment above, re Art.XXV, on the 'non-sacramentality' of Matrimony).

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 8 October 2015 at 12:39am BST

To Davis Mac-Iyalla: the corpses you mention would have no effect except for the Righteous Ones to declare that such victims brought it on themselves: the wages of sin is death and so on.

Righteousness of this type has never, I think, been noted for unconditional love or compassion, but has always been long on law and judgement. The Gospel is quite unselfconsciously excluded.

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Thursday, 8 October 2015 at 11:58pm BST

It keeps occuring to me that the Holy Spirit works, and has always been working, amongst LGBTI Anglicans as well as Heterosexual Anglicans. I believe, yes, I do believe, the Holy Spirit is a blessing for people like me as well as it is for people like the Gafcon excluders of equality at Church...the Holy Spirit will not be ignored and LGBTI Christians/others won't be either.
The Holy Spirit is with us for the LONG haul!

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Sunday, 11 October 2015 at 8:06pm BST
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