Thinking Anglicans

Nigeria critiqued

An article appeared in last week’s Church Times:
Why Archbishop Akinola is wrong.
This was written by Francis Bridger and Graham Kings of Fulcrum.
They had originally titled it “From Communion to Association: Nigerian disconnections”. The article deserves careful reading.

Update
A letter appeared in the Church Times the following week and is now available on the Fulcrum website. The letter is from Dr Philip Giddings, Canon Dr Chris Sugden, Canon Ben Enwuchola, and Canon Martyn Minns and can be read here (scroll down a bit).

Further Update
An interesting response by Ephraim Radner to the article (and the letter) can be found here.

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Neil
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Neil

“As church leaders from the Global South gather in Cairo, they should recognise that a personal focus of unity is crucial for the Communion.”

Can anyone articulate for me why Bridger and Kings are so convinced of this?

steven
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steven

Good question Neil. Does this mean that Protestantism was wrong to focus on doctrine rather than an individual (i.e., the Pope) as a source of unity?

peter w
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peter w

Steven, it doesn’t have to be a question of focusing on doctrine rather than persons – as so often, it might help to think in terms of doctrine and persons. Meaning, Christian unity is not just adherence to the same set of propositions – it is belonging to the same people. We symbolise that corporate belonging by singling out individuals to represent it: by ordaining them bishops and priests. If the bishops and priests then teach or act in a way to effectively deny the corporate belonging they are meant to represent, then it might be right to break from… Read more »

Tunde
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Tunde

“the Nigerian decision drives a wedge through the vision and spirit of Windsor and of the Primates’ meeting in Dromantine, Northern Ireland.” It seems many forget that Windsor, Drommantine etc are all trying to mend the ‘wedge’ driven into the communion by the unilateral actions of some Provinces ‘acting constitutionally’ to defy 1998 Lambeth. “Specifically, Archbishop Akinola should consider returning to the Windsor process. “ Pity Sirs, He never left it. What the Synod did was to make sure that at the end of the process, if the initial wedge is not removed, the Nigerian Church will not be forced… Read more »

Thomas Bushnell, BSG
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Steven: Yes, Protestantism was wrong. Anglicanism is about focusing on neither doctrine nor an individual as the focus of unity, but rather on worship.

Neil
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Neil

Thank you Tunde. That is helpful.

Thomas, focusing on worship? Do you mean the Book of Common Prayer and the 39 Articles?
If so, they acknowledge the supremacy of the Scriptures. They are totally clear about their doctrinal foundation in the Scriptures. And it seems to me that that is all the Nigerians are doing, being equally clear.

J. C. Fisher
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“It seems many forget that Windsor, Drommantine etc are all trying to mend the ‘wedge’ driven into the communion by the unilateral actions of some Provinces ‘acting constitutionally’ to defy 1998 Lambeth.”

False. “1998 Lambeth”, like ALL the “Lambeths” before it, was purely *advisory* as far as the autonomous Provinces of the AC are concerned. ECUSA didn’t “defy” 1998 Lambeth, it merely *declined* it (respectfully—which is a lot more than +Akinola can claim).

John Henry
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John Henry

The Primate and Metropolitan of All Nigeria, Dr. Peter Akinola, has a giant-sized EGO and claims the right to decide who is IN and who is OUT of the Anglican Communion. Now he defines, by changing the Constitution of the Church in Nigeria, Anglicanism along confessional lines — acceptance of the Old and New Testament (how about the Apocrypha?), the 1662 Prayer Book and Ordinal and the 39 Articles of Religion. Several Anglican provinces have never followed the 1662 BCP, for example, the Episcopal Church in Scotland (its BCP being derived from the 1637 Laudian Prayer Book) and the Episcopal… Read more »

Thomas Bushnell, BSG
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Neil: of course the Scriptures are the doctrinal foundation. I’m happy with that. It is the great slander of Akinola and his ilk that I and my ilk are not paying attention to the Scriptures, or don’t care about them. This is, simply put, the Big Lie. We may disagree with Akinola and his ilk, and disagree about the correct interpretation of the Scriptures, but we have not decided to disregard them. But by worship I do not mean taking the BCP as a doctrinal formulary. I mean actual common worship together. It is perhaps symptomatic that when I refer… Read more »

ruidh
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Oh, they are doing much, much more than that. They are attempting to make their interpretation of Scripture normative. While Anglicanism does uphold the primacy of Scripture, no one interpretation of Scripture has ever been held to be a normative interpretation.

Oh, it’s quite clear that the Southern Anglican Convention is rapidly losing any idea of what it is to be Anglican and are quicly becoming something else entirely.

Dave C.
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Dave C.

The big lie is that Abp. Akinola is some megalomanic who is bent on taking over the Anglican Communion. All the Nigerians have done is to restate their beliefs in a way that does not compel them to be yoked to groups with contrary beliefs. It in no way compels others to believe as they do nor defines for others their relationship within the communion.

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Yes, Dave, it does, if those statements mean they are no longer looking towards Canterbury. That means they, and those who follow them, have moved away from being Anglicans.

Dave C.
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Dave C.

It may or may not mean they are moving away from being Anglicans. That point is debatable. But some responses seem to suggest that Nigeria’s actions in some way affect every other province’s Anglicanism as well. And it seems that those who want to say that Nigera’s actions on the one hand make them no longer Anglicans are also saying that Nigeria is redefining Anglicanism for the rest of the Anglican Communion. I also think most Western Anglicans grossly misjudge the man and his intentions. Many conservatives seem to expect him to ride in on a white horse and rescue… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

I see a puppet, with strings being pulled by interested forces outside – the benefit to him being the promise of a figurehead status.

It is this status of leadership which makes his stance have relevance outside Nigeria. Should he no longer wish to relate to Canterbury, and should he wish to lead others along the same path, then clearly his stance will have an effect upon world Anglicanism.

But as I have stated before, I do not think that Anglicanism is viable as a united force any longer, and I think that we would benefit from a split.

Tunde
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Tunde

Merseymike, who would benefit from a split? the broad and ‘all inclusive’, the straight and narrow or both? Seems we are getting close to the point where we ask “can two walk together except they agree?”

I’d say yes! If one is chained and taken along against his /her will.

Another question may be where does each want to go that the other party is preventing? Allow everyone to come and remain as they were? OR allow everyone to come and seek forgiveness plus a transformation in Christ?

Kurt
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Kurt

“But as I have stated before, I do not think that Anglicanism is viable as a united force any longer, and I think that we would benefit from a split.”–Merseymike

I agree. It’s time for the Akinolaites to go. Perhaps in 50 or 100 years they will be spiritually grown up enough to rejoin the Anglican Communion. But their departure does not keep me awake at nights.

Kat
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Kat

Does “belonging to the same people” not also mean a shared fundamental belief? Can we then say that in conscecrating an openly homosexual bishop, devising church sanctioned same sex ‘marriages’ ceremonies that take place in the church by one group while another group is vehemently opposed, could describe ECUSA and CoC as being the same people as the Nigerian Church and others like them? Or is it left to the Northern church to define the rules of the game, i.e. you’re the same with me if you agree to everything I do, but don’t ever disagree with me and act… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

I certainly don’t share the faith of the fundamentalists of Nigeria or Anglican Extreme.

What these arguments are really about are the failure of the broad-church concept. It was nice while it lasted, but….time for bed.