Thinking Anglicans

Archbishop Akinola talks to the press

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) website carries this: Press briefing by Archbishop Peter Akinola on Sunday 13th May at the end of the Abuja Diocesan Synod.

In addition to various comments on Nigerian matters, he also gives his views on legislative developments in the USA and on the Hereford tribunal case in the UK:

Many people look to the USA as a Christian country and its leaders often assume the role of moral leaders for the world who are ready to point the finger at problems around the globe and yet we must not forget that there is another side to their story. The present generation of Americans would do well to remember their own history. While they and their forebears claim their nation to be a gift from God it is in truth a land forcefully taken with no respect for the human rights of the despised and dispossessed Indians – it is also a land where a great deal of its early economic foundation was built on the sweat and blood of de-humanized African slaves.

Americans seem to have forgotten the same LORD in whom they say “In God we trust”. Deuteronomy 7 and 8 are relevant biblical passages

“And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth” 8:18a

“Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.” 8: 19

The God who has blessed so abundantly is also a jealous God who requires obedience and holy living. But instead of calling for obedience to the Word of God we now have the situation where those who call for faithfulness in holy matrimony or abstinence outside of it risk being accused of hate speech. The breakdown in marriages in the USA is a scandal. It is causing a massive crisis in their own society and the rest of the world. But instead of admitting the problem and finding creative ways to strengthen traditional families we see a relentless promotion and protection of so called ‘alternative lifestyles.’ Recent legislative bill H.R. 1592 (Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007) passed in the House on May 3rd 2007, and the H.R 2015 (Employment Non-Discrimination Act.) being discussed are worthy of note. God will not be mocked.

We see a similar crisis in the UK. The decline in marriages and the breakdown in families has become an epidemic. But instead of encouraging holy living and strengthening family life we read of a bishop of the Church of England called before tribunal to explain his refusal to hire a certain youth worker. His offence was ‘discrimination’, we were told because the job seeker in this case was a self-confessed homosexual and who said he had just ended a five-year homosexual relationship. Surely the Church has an obligation to promote holy living not apologise for it!

  • Where is the Christian voice in all these?
  • Why are Church leaders not concerned about this breakdown in society?
  • Why are they ashamed of promoting holy living?
  • Why have they lost their confidence in the Word of God?

We are very much aware of the challenges that face us today in Nigeria. Many of these we addressed in our Synod and continue to do so day by day. Our hope is in the Lord – the maker of heaven and earth – and in His Holy Word.

We call on Christians worldwide to rise to the challenge of protecting our Christian: –

  • Freedom to read the Bible privately and in public
  • Freedom to preach from the Bible, and declare uncompromisingly the total oracles of the Lord
  • Freedom to shield ourselves, and our children, from what we believe our God says is immoral and abominable.
  • Freedom to seek to help those willing to escape Satan’s deceitful traps.
  • Freedom to live holy and acceptable lives in the sight of God

The issue here is not about homophobia. We are concerned about defending the right to existence of Biblical Christianity. It is about allowing the Spirit of God to transform people rather than deceive them that there is nothing wrong in their unholy practices. It is about rejecting a world system that wants to curtail our freedom to live as our Saviour taught us to. It is simply trying our best to live and encourage others to live to be HOLY as our GOD IS HOLY.

May the Lord keep us Holy.

hat tip Jim Naughton who comments here.

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choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

“The God who has blessed so abundantly is also a jealous God…..”

That says it all. Let the new inquisition begin.

May God Have Mercy on us all.

Davis d'Ambly
Guest
Davis d'Ambly

So everything is just hunky-dory in Nigeria – it’s the US which is to blame for all the ills of the world, especially those darned queers.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Freedom to shield ourselves, and our children, from what we believe our God says is immoral and abominable.”

Sounds straight out of the Third Reich. Who gets locked up—or much, much WORSE—while Akinola is building his “shield”?

William R. Coats
Guest
William R. Coats

What is one to say!! First, the irony. it has been the Left in America which has been most dismayed at our genocidal past and about slavery and racism. It is has been the conservatives who continually bypass this past. Is Akinola now with the Left? Second, the breakdown in marriages. this breakdown, had he set aside his moralism for a moment, is caused by a whole series of social factors – most having to do with the shape of a capitalist society. His screed against our immorality is set within the threat that “God will not be mocked”. Is… Read more »

Steven
Guest
Steven

Hmmm. OK, I’d like to see a list of specific points that ++Akinola makes that are objectionable and why they are objectionable. Please, no self-serving redundancy and ranting. The list should also interpret the language used by AB Akinola in its normal and usual sense without projecting assumed meanings onto the words used. Keep it clear, keep it simple, restrict yourself to the actual words on the page. I’m curious what you’ll find to object to here if you restrict yourself to what is actually set forth in this excerpt WITHOUT attempting to introduce what is–as we say in the… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

The Puritan of Nigeria has his eyes firmly set on the USA and the UK. Not only does he give selective lines of history regarding the USA, but makes some sweeping statements about Western Church leaders being not concerned, ashamed and having lost confidence. The difference is that these do not promote some sort of bigoted biblical Christianity but rather think about who is suffering pain and who, through applied Christian principles, might find ways to better faithful living. Furthermore, as for the bishop in a tribunal, it is because he, like everyone else, has to obey the law, and… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

It simply sums up why this sort of person is not someone who any of us should want to be in Communion with.

He is so incredibly out of touch. That sort of homophobia might be all very well amongst the superstitious of premodernity, but its well past its sell by here

This sums up very well why an international communion is no longer a reality or something which we should even desire.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

In a recent visit to Brazil, the Pope was told by the leaders that he has no right to impose the morality that applies to part of the population on all of the population. I have no problem with Akinola and his camps of being honest and upfront about their theology. I have no problem with them telling us who they will and won’t service and setting up their churches. If they don’t want to eat at the same table as some us, that’s fine by me. But they don’t have the right to invade our homes and steal our… Read more »

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Well said, pluralist. I find ++Abuja’s assumption that my discipleship and that of a mojority of people at St. Mary’s is an insult to God to be so breathtakingly – well, words fail me, they really, really do. And that mentality will get nowhere in this parish, be it ‘biblical’ or no. Here I stand, as a fellow protestant once said…..

Counterlight
Guest
Counterlight

Contrary to the Archbishop of Abuja, this issue IS about homophobia; else he (and his American followers) would not be so enthusiastic about using state power against it. The other thing that drives his passions is anti-Americanism; that lazy way of thinking that paints all Americans with the same brush as our arrogant and stupid leadership, and the trash-culture that is produced for the world’s consumption by our corporate owners for their own profit. His is a double bigotry. If the message of the Gospel is the call to live a perfectly HOLY life, then the Gospel is not good… Read more »

badman
Guest
badman

So, God is mocked by laws against hate crimes? God is mocked by laws against discrimination in employment?

No wonder Minns and co didn’t let Akinola speak at press conferences during his ill fated “installation” trip to the USA.

The man is an embarrassment to put it mildly. A disgrace, to put it less so.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Why do you not go first, Steven?

And yes, I would be particularly interested in hearing your take on this.

But then, I don’t suspect we use the same dictionary…

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

This isn’t going to go down too well in USA. In his first paragraph, Akinola implies Americans are hypocrites for moralising about the rest of the world, when native Americans were robbed of their homelands and the nation’s economic success was built on the proceeds of slavery. He conveniently makes no mention of US foreign policy or global Capitalism. No, the most pressing moral issue on his agenda, the breakdown of marriage in USA, he blames, of course, on the promotion of “alternative lifestyles”. Quite how this is causing “a massive crisis…in the rest of the world” is not made… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

Akinola is one of the very best sources of blind fear, ignorance and “hooligan” thinking…his behind-the-scenes political manipulating will possible generate “hate crimes” and international ill-will against LGBT human beings…all for the sake of a ego running riot.

Reverend Ref
Guest

“The breakdown in marriages in the USA is a scandal. It is causing a massive crisis in their own society and the rest of the world. But instead of admitting the problem and finding creative ways to strengthen traditional families we see a relentless promotion and protection of so called ‘alternative lifestyles.’” As I see it, the breakdown in marriage has nothing to do with “alternative lifestyles.” It has more to do with a societal tide of, “Well, if it doesn’t work out we can always get divorced.” For this married and very-straight guy, the presence of “alternative lifestyles” has… Read more »

Terence Dear
Guest
Terence Dear

What the neo-conservatists and fundamentalists like Akinola seem unable or unwilling to do is to prove why it is necessary to discriminate against and persecute some members of society in order to protect the institution of marriage.

Why is marriage such a weak and vulnerable institution that it is put at risk by my relationship with my Civil Partner?

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Counterlight One of the blessings of the 2004 SE Asian Tsunami was that it gave the citizens of the US (and other affluent nations) a wake up call of how they were perceived by the rest of the world. I remember someone commenting shortly afterwards that people overseas didn’t hate US citizens because they were the holiest nation on the world, but because they were the most inconsiderate. Similarly, Katrina, Rita & Wilma exposed flaws in the US system. In particular how far the economy has disaggregated. In Australia, over half of marriages break down due to financial hardships. When… Read more »

Tim
Guest

The funny thing is, he has almost got a point with the colonization of America at the expense of the… well let’s be correct and call them Native Americans please, shall we?

Pity it all goes to hell in a handbasket thereafter. Fallacy heaped upon fallacy. I don’t recall anyone talking about *faithfulness* in marriage at all. In fact, that’s one of the things on which I thought all agreed; it’s bigotry on grounds of what-sexes-are-involved-in-marriage that constitutes grounds of separation.

“The issue here is not about homophobia. “

Bull.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

I say, if you’re against gay marriage, don’t marry a gay person!

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Try this!

God is mocked by hate laws.

Christ is mocked by hate laws.

The Holy Gost is mocked by hate laws.

The Gospel is mocked by hate laws.

Feel any better ;=)

Peter
Guest
Peter

Archbishops who live in glasses shouldn’t throw stones.

Logic and history do not appear to be ++Akinola’s strong suits.

Tom Downs
Guest
Tom Downs

“The breakdown in marriages in the USA is a scandal. It is causing a massive crisis in their own society and the rest of the world.”

Do you know what is truly curious about this “scandal”? The sections of our country in which evangelicals reign supreme and fundamentalism is the rule have the highest rate of divorce and pregnancies out of wedlock. This has been a problem for generations in these areas.
But their working harder on pre-marital preparation isn’t helping because some of their so-called “bible based” teaching has unintended and unfortunate consequences which just contribute to the problem.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

I find it objectionable that Abp Akinola has not spoken out more against Nigerian injustices; but I can’t find anything not to agree with in his words in the present post. I would therefore find it immensely helpful if someone would tell me what (if anything), in their view, I am missing.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“One solution to the marriage problem would be to take seriously pre-marriage prep classes.” Another would be to stop seeing all ended marriages as failure for which someone must be to blame. Relationships can have very long and very successful periods, but can come to an end for a variety of reasons. The happy couple promising to stay together for life (WITH THE HELP OF GOD, we will – not from our own strength!) does not know if they can whether the storms of life together. Serious illness, the death of children, addictions, other major desasters all take a toll… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I hasten to clarify that I used Reverend Ref’s comment as an entry for my own. I agree with what he/she says and my comment was not meant to be a criticism!

Steven
Guest
Steven

Hi Goran: As far as I could tell when I posted I was first–nothing else had been put up yet at that point. However, my post works either way. I was primarily curious to see whether anyone was capable of reacting to, and would react to, the excerpt by taking what was written at face value without interpreting most of what was said as a kind of code, full of innuendo and references to evil fascistic intentions. No one did. In making this request, I was thinking of Screwtape’s admiring words spoken to his nephew about one of the best… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

I spotted an evasion, Steven. And your second, 221 words, post confirmed that evasion.

(What, by the way, is “Screwtape”)

C.B.
Guest
C.B.

Steven – You act like Akinola was inviting a broad based discussion of the issues confronting Western Civilization, the causes for those issues, and a systematic approach to addressing them. He is not. He is merely buttressing his fundamentalist outlook on a chaotic world by laying the evils of society at the feet of gays. Conservative Christians in America have been assailing American culture for decades with the same diagnosis and miracle cure. Do you think there is something to engage Falwell about (when he was alive)? Robinson? How about Dodson? or Fred Phelps? It’s nothing but a buncha self-promoting… Read more »

counterlight
Guest
counterlight

Dear Cheryl, I am relieved that us Yanks are finally no longer obliged to carry the burden of blame for a leadership that most of us did NOT choose, and a lot of us consider illegitimate. Indeed, in this country too, most marriages break apart over money issues rather than over infidelity. And, as Tom Downs points out above, most of the divorce rate is in the Southeast and Midwest. Those 2 regions are not only dominated by conservative evangelical Christianity, but they also have a disproportionately high population of the poor. Most of those who are not poor are… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Let me hlp Christopher Shell: To repeat: he is saying that Western Church leaders are not concerned, are ashamed and have lost confidence. No they have not. They do not agree with him or his view of biblical Christianity. He talks about a bishop in a tribunal. This bishop should be in a tribunal – he is answerable. On top of this, Akinola is acting in other countries to undermine other Anglican Churches with which he disagrees. He decides that he is right, others are wrong, and he is going to do something about it invasively. His view is that… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

You don’t imagine that his +Minns wrote this shabby/shapeless stuff do you? Certainly Minns is more shrewd than to write this outpouring of D- sensationalism?

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Steven As the child from a very clever covert violent father, I challenge your smugness. My mother, sister and I were experts at hearing our father talk about how much he loved at whilst at one of his friend’s homes, whilst knowing that meant we were going to get thrashed when we got home behind closed doors. Even a dog can recognise a cruel master. Some of the words and sentiments are beautiful. One of the pities is that he has pitched his stakes in the camps of those who would perpetuate slavery, and against those who genuinely seek to… Read more »

dave paisley
Guest

Hmm, you’d think someone (a “leader”. no less) from a country with a 5% HIV infection rate would have other things to worry about.

Reverend Ref
Guest

Erika, no offense taken. My comment about pre-marriage prep stems from my own experiences with both good and bad prep sessions. I mandate six sessions with the couple and we discuss basic personal histories, finances, children, sexuality, and spirituality. The last session is for planning the service. Knowing that there are couples out there for whom marriage is not a good idea, I also let them know that I’m available for a personal meeting if they are having any undue concerns. I’m more than willing to be the bad guy. In at least one instance I know of, had the… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Pluralist-
But I had already said that I do not commend his human rights record. As for his ‘stance’ on the content of Christianity it is historically orthodox, normal and typical. If others have shifted, how is that his fault?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Christopher Shell’s claim of “historically orthodox, normal and typical” is rather interesting, considering that there is hardly any testimony to that effect.

Before, say 1978, there is Dr Bailey’s 1955 Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition and very little else.

Indeed what was discussed (rarely) before that was Gnosticist ideas on the Spilling of Semen for non procreative purposes; Masturbation, the 3rd of the 7 Deadly Sins, cf the New Catholic Encyclopaedia entry on Masturbation (no such entry in the old Catholic Encyclopaedia ;=)

I would be glad to stand corrected…

Steven
Guest
Steven

Goran: Not sure what you mean by the “evasion” comment–Me or Akinola?–you’ll have to be more direct. PS-Screwtape = Senior Tempter (Demonic) from “The Screwtape Letters” by C. S. Lewis. C.B. My only point was that neither side takes statements from the other at face value. Everything is interpreted through the lens of paranoi. Of course, as the old adage goes, it’s not paranoi if they REALLY ARE out to get you! Stll, both sides feel this way as well. The whole thing is symptomatic of the breach and the fact that dialog will not make a cure–we merely talk… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

No Steven, you have to be more direct. This is what you wrote in your first post: “Hmmm. OK, I’d like to see a list of specific points that ++Akinola makes that are objectionable and why they are objectionable. Please, no self-serving redundancy and ranting. The list should also interpret the language used by AB Akinola in its normal and usual sense without projecting assumed meanings onto the words used. Keep it clear, keep it simple, restrict yourself to the actual words on the page. I’m curious what you’ll find to object to here if you restrict yourself to what… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

I think you’ll find that Christianity has been a broad and diverse animal since, about, er, its first day.

GoSane
Guest
GoSane

Steven “. . .neither side takes statements from the other at face value. Everything is interpreted through the lens of paranoi.” Your second sentence explains the first. Indeed, everything is interpreted. Certainly every statement written or uttered must be “interpreted” through some kind of lens. Whether through the “lens of paranoi” is arguable. Thus, it is really almost impossible to take “statement from the other at face value.” You will, of course, interpret my interpretation of your comment. Secondly, “. . .dialog will not make a cure–we merely talk past each other.” I agree. There must be some shared frame-of-reference… Read more »

MishMich
Guest
MishMich

Reactions to the statement will get us wound up and have no effect on Aki or the ABC. We need to take his words apart using rigorous critical and analytic tools at our disposal. Challenge not what he says, but the way he says it – reveal the underlying style for what it is, disrobe him linguistically and expose him as an empty vessel. He engages people’s concern with the rapid social changes in the western world, such as failing marriages. He couples this to a story from the UK about a discriminatory Bishop who fell foul of UK law… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

I have left many places, and the time to leave is when there is a significant difference and the probability of change is exhausted in any meaningful time scale. This is not the situation here. Akinola in his invasive imperialism and attitude will meet considerable resistance. He has his supporters, of course, and there are entryist events, but they have a chip on the shoulder and there is still something like an inferiority complex from some of their comments. I just think it is important that those who tolerate difference, who have a liberal view of some kind, are prepared… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Re: What is Akinola saying, really? Have so few on the right spectrums of believers ever taken a class in rhetoric or textual hermeneutic studies? Fact: Most of Akinola’s comments claim to be based in a worldview which is repeatedly tagged – biblical. Looking further into the tag, one finds that supposedly there is claimed to be an exclusive, objective conservative reading of scripture. Examining that objective claim leads one to surmise that this special cons reading is significantly functioning in ways which we are supposed to presume as ahistorical, transcontextual. A corollary is that such a reading is closed,… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Mish Mich – congratulations for taking the same step I did 18 months ago.

I too will not be returning until there is a split and we can be rid of these abhorrent homophobes and their conservative theological beliefs.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Pluralist said,
“I think you’ll find that Christianity has been a broad and diverse animal since, about, er, its first day.”

Yes there have always been heretics in the Church.

And someone is a heretic today. God would not split his people by telling them two conflicting messages about Himself, His Son, His Word and His call on our lives.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Drdanfee wrote: “… such a reading is closed, and likely to great extent impervious to any, any, any criticism that matters from any, any, any outside or alternative framework/hermeneutic. As the sheer word of God revealed, its meanings can speak to anybody, anything, any view; but the rest may not speak back, and especially, the rest may not ask questions that have to be answered, with dignity, respect, or sensitivity, or care.” I think you are spot on with this analysis, but I would turn your initial question around and conclude that Rhetoric is precisely what this is about –… Read more »

Steven
Guest
Steven

GoSane: Thanks for an excellent response. In large part I agree. I think my primary point of interest was the fact that, absent specific references to current events, the rest of the Akinola excerpt could have come out of the mouth of almost any leader in Christendom, including that of a liberal. It is for the most part, and with no particular disrespect intended, pious “prophetic” boilerplate and subject to completely different and divergent interpretations depending on the source and the listener. If, for example, the PB had voiced these same sentiments they would have been interpreted in a completely… Read more »

Frank E Kajfes
Guest
Frank E Kajfes

Akinola and company should be make themselves aware of the following: “An Acceptable Sacrifice? The answer is simple: No. It is not acceptable for us to discriminate against our brothers and sisters on the basis of sexual orientation just as it was not acceptable for discrimination to exist on the basis of skin colour under Apartheid.” Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu The Lord our God has told us what is good and what is required of us: to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with (our) God. (Micah 6:8) Paul declared that, there is not longer Jew… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

Akinola and company are not interested in making themselves aware of anything that they do not already know, Frank. This is not about religion, it is about POWER.

Chris
Guest
Chris

“This is not about religion, it is about POWER.” I used to think this was a canard. But it’s true. All of this is about the power of the Spirit. Do we think the Spirit had the power to inspire Truth in the OT and NT writers. Do we think the Spirit has the power to help modern Christians interpret and apply the Truth in the world today? But the really scary question is do we think the Spirit has the power to change us? Do we take Jesus at his word that the Spirit can sanctify us? The more… Read more »