Thinking Anglicans

Ruth Gledhill interviews Archbishop Akinola

In The Times tomorrow Ruth Gledhill interviews Peter Akinola.

The main newspaper article is titled For God’s sake.

There is also African bishops ready to boycott conference in row over gay clergy.

And there are two items on Ruth’s blog that expand on this:
Peter Akinola: ‘Unity will never be at the expense of truth’ and
Akinola on Lambeth, Canterbury, Islam and ritual sacrifice.

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Leonardo Ricardo
14 years ago

The BIG CHILL…fear and hate mongering all dressed up by Akinola and Ruth as sane/reasonable reporting with no place to go to save even one of the tortured LGBT souls they so “breathlessly” demean and destroy!

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
14 years ago

This does seem a remarkably ‘soft’ interview. Whether it was conducted before the events reported in the Nigerian ‘Sun’ newspaper I don’t know – but the defence of northern Nigerian Christians which raises its head in Ruth’s interview was an area on which ++Abuja was explicitly criticised as being ineffective by fellow Nigerian Christians.

Neil
Neil
14 years ago

I am not surprised about +Akinola’s ignorance re the ‘ex gay conversion’ discredited bandwagon, and clearly some others who comment on this site have no idea that the idea of heterosexual sex is as repulsive to gay people as the reverse, but I am surprised in Ruth Gledill’s piece not to encounter language that is not uncommon in Nigeria. About possession and exorcism and evil and devils which need exorcising etc. As happened disastrously in North London a few years ago,

Malcolm+
14 years ago

As I noted to the comments section following Ruth’s brief hagiography: Two observations: 1. Despite the overblown rhetoric from this proud prelate, nobody in the Anglican Communion is forcing anything on Nigeria or on any of the other so-called Global South bishops. No one is requiring them to ordain homosexuals. No one is requiring them to bless same sex unions. The Church is the West (to its shame) has even been silent in the face of Akinola’s horrible legislation which would make it a criminal offence to state publicly the belief that homosexual acts should not be criminal offences. 2.… Read more »

Fr Joseph O'Leary
14 years ago

Ruth comes across as a fan of Akinola. Perhaps she was overawed by the big man when meeting him in his palace.

But it is not impossible that a man who uses holy language and describes himself as raised up by God could be a deeply destructive person, acting out an agenda of intolerance and ignorance. Ruth should do some reflection on her advocacy.

Pluralist
14 years ago

>Dr. Akinola was thoroughly trounced, and replaced by the Roman Catholic Primate.< That’s the giveaway, regarding recent behaviour. I notice in the interview he is said to have said: _Who were once homosexual but who are now changed to heterosexual._ This is just pathetic, pathetic also for those who subject themselves to this sort of self illusion. It would not so much matter (except some human rights issues, which can be ained at the Nigerian State) if he were not interfering in the United States, he assuming that The Episcopal Church is not an episcopal Church with his selective literalism.… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Lapinbizarre
14 years ago

The archbishop struck gold in Miss Ruth, for sure. His every word taken at face value and passed on verbatim for Gledhill’s readers. No attempt to place Akinola and his actions in broader, objective context (if Gledhill is even a quarter-way doing her job, she must know about last Sunday’s piece in the Daily Sun). A completely uncritical, awe-struck, whitewash job, from the header down. But no surprise to those of us who regard Gledhill a third-rater.

NP
NP
14 years ago

Malcolm – firstly, CAN election is not relevant to the ISSUES we face in the AC; – secondly, ++Akinola is not in a tiny minority is disagreeing with you the AC ISSUES we face; – thirdly, you say “, nobody in the Anglican Communion is forcing anything on Nigeria”…….really?? I think you will find that we have had strong responses from the AC to TEC since its 2003 actions precisely because TEC is trying to foce the AC to accept its decisions and allow it to stay in the AC even though its decisions contradict past and present agreed AC… Read more »

Stephen Roberts
Stephen Roberts
14 years ago

From Ruth’s interview: “we have the scripture. We have our traditions. We have our Lambeth Conference resolution. We have the Primates communique. We have not broken the law. It is your churches breaking the law. You are the ones breaking rules not we. You are the ones who are doing what we said should not be done, with impunity. You are the ones breaking the law.” Very scary indeed. Peter Akionla’s repeated use of “we have” with the clear implication that those who disagree aren’t orthodox. The repeated assertion that “you are breaking”, ignoring the repeated cross-boundary transgressions which the… Read more »

Colin Coward
14 years ago

“The bigger the Church gets, the fewer conflicts Christians will face.” Size is everything? Bigger churches in Nigeria will resolve all conflicts between Christians and Moslems? The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) now has nearly 20 million members. Last year it was 17 million, so it is indeed growing fast (if the figures are authentic). Size is everything, and the size of the Nigerian church proves their attitude to homosexuality is right and those holding different views, even with integrity, are wrong. “He wore a clerical shirt with no collar, a cross around his neck. His feet were bare. The… Read more »

Fr Joseph O&apos;Leary
14 years ago

NP has a point: if the Anglican Communion accepts the blessing of same-sex unions, then Anglicans in Nigeria are weakened in proclaiming that same-sex unions are immoral. But has this kind of thing not happened many times before? When the Archbishop of Canterbury gave the green light to legalizing abortion back in the 1950s there must have been many Anglicans worldwide who disagree with him and who felt their witness was undermined.

Andrew Innes
Andrew Innes
14 years ago

Bishop Akinola, and others in the GS, take great pride in the fact that their churches are growing by leaps and bounds while our churches in the West are shrinking. Why is that? Could it be because their secular states are “failing”,(to meet the basic needs of their people), while our’s, for the most part,are not.

Colin Coward
14 years ago

‘All this stuff about power. It is not me. My motto of life is, the simpler the better. You can ask my colleagues, my bishops, how I operate. Some people say I do embarrass them with my humility.”’ At the White Sands Hotel in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, in the course of the Primates meeting, Archbishop Akinola joined his colleagues Martyn Minns, David Anderson and Chris Sugden several times in their upper room. Those of us observing them speculated that they were plotting, preparing documents either for Peter Akinola’s use or for submission to the Primates, drafts and revisions to… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Hugh of Lincoln
14 years ago

Ruth does the best interviews. First Richard Dawkins, now Peter Akinola. I hope she visits Gene Robinson next. You can just imagine the three gentlemen in conversation together – charming, intelligent chaps, two Christians and a Humanist, or two liberals and a conservative (depending on your point of view), all getting along rather famously, as long as the taboo subjects – sex, religion and politics – are off the agenda. Getting inside the shoes of somone, seeing how they tick, is always a bonus, a must in investigative journalism. Can’t knock Ruth for that. And here we have, verbatim, what… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

“The bigger the Church gets, the fewer conflicts Christians will face.” This comment scares me. The more the gestapo controlled the population and had rounded up the Jews and the dissidents, the less the conflicts the authorised church faced. The bible is clear that it despises churches that become prepared to sacrifice to idols, so there is not problem with the title of one of the articles. Yet one contemplation in the last few days is that if souls are deprived a legacy in Jesse’s son, they also have the right to walk away e.g. 1 Kings 12:13-24; and Jesus’… Read more »

Fr Joseph O&apos;Leary
14 years ago

Why is Akinola wasting so many people’s time. His remarks on ex-gays show he is a profoundly ignorant man, and his ignorance is cemented by arrogance and stubbornness. The Nigerians have seen through him. Why are we still debating his views? Why is Ruth Gledhill serving them up in the Times as if they were hot news? Why not interview the Taliban on their enlightened policies towards women and gays? Meanwhile the secessionists who have pinned their colours to Akinola’s mast are drifting toward shipwreck. The dialectic of history does not favour stupid leaders, no matter how wily their tactics… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

One thing that has struck me in since making the last posting is what defines friendship. In the first of the TA threads of the last posting, there were souls who stood up for me. They were souls who do not know me personally, having nothing to gain from a relationship with me, whose careers are not enhanced yet alone advanced by either knowing or advocating on my behalf. Yet they did. If love is unconditional, they manifested it. Far better than the CoE minister, who when I was 14 told me that I must “desire” being sexually abused by… Read more »

ettu
ettu
14 years ago

What is all this hoooey or malarkey about large churches being best? In that case the Middle Ages in Europe were ideal and the Protestant Reformation horrible – strange words indeed to come from the mouth of an Anglican Primate. The concept that there will be fewer areas of discord with a LARGE CHURCH is downright bone-chilling and speaks of “mind control” and I am quite certain I do not want my mind – or my outward conformity – controlled by Akinolites.

NP
NP
14 years ago

Nothing wrong with large churches…..we have lots of charismatic and conservative large churches in the CofE.

Good interview – it comes over very clearly that all ++Akinola is doing is defending the agreed positions of the AC from those who would change it without proving their case from scripture to more than a minority in the AC

Kurt
Kurt
14 years ago

“Bishop Akinola, and others in the GS, take great pride in the fact that their churches are growing by leaps and bounds while our churches in the West are shrinking. Why is that? Could it be because their secular states are “failing”, (to meet the basic needs of their people), while our’s, for the most part, are not.”—Andrew Innes As long-time readers of this site know, this is exactly the point that I have made time and time again. Nigeria is close to being a failed state, despite (perhaps because of) its oil revenues. The rapid growth of Christian fundamentalism… Read more »

paigeb
paigeb
14 years ago

Davis Mac-Iyalla has a great explanation for the numbers that +Akinola throws out. Because of the way records are kept in the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Davis himself is counted as a member in at least 4 different parishes. Suddenly that 17-20 million figure seems a LOT smaller… And I find it alternately amusing and annoying that people like +Akinola and NP think numbers is what it’s all about. Hint: WITNESS is what it’s all about. And that is exactly what we in TEC are doing: witnessing to the radical love and inclusiveness (Samaritans, Canaanites, women, Romans, lepers, etc., etc.,… Read more »

Ian Montgomery
Ian Montgomery
14 years ago

If my memory serves me correctly this is the second favorable article from Ruth with respect to ++Akinola. I acknowledge my bias in favour of the godly archbishop. I wonder if it is impossible – given the tenor of the criticisms and ad hominems in the above comments if it is ever possible in this new world of Anglican division for him to be given a fair hearing or to be respected for what he has (under God) achieved on his home turf. I regard Ruth’s writing as generally fair and reasonable as while she has her personal biases these… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Lapinbizarre
14 years ago

“Good interview”. Wouldn’t go quite that far, NP, but it does demonstrate that there are advantages to be had from writing or speaking in complete sentences, and from proof-reading.

badman
badman
14 years ago

Akinola withdrew from what he calls “the Communion” when he refused to take Communion with his fellow primates at Dromantine in 2003 and then again at Dar in 2007. He took Communion with the see of Canterbury out of his church Constitution in 2005. He made it clear he wasn’t coming to Lambeth in “the Road to Lambeth” except on impossible terms, and he said it again when Minns wasn’t invited earlier this year. If I had a biscuit for every time Akinola said he was leaving and he didn’t need Canterbury, and for every time Ruth Gledhill wrote that… Read more »

Stephen Roberts
Stephen Roberts
14 years ago

NP – What a curious definition of “defending” you must be using.

The Windsor process agreed to restraint from *both* “sides”. The TEC has refrained from further consecrations, the response of the Global South churches has been to install a group of flying bishops in direct opposition to the AC norms of polity. If the TEC started the tear in the fabric, then it is the Global South that continues to pull the material apart.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
14 years ago

Cheryl,
I’m touched by your words. I think I missed the conversation about your experience you talk about, I was offline for about 3 weeks recently. It sounds truly terrible and I am appalled that you also experienced condemnation from people who clearly haven’t a clue!

Pluralist
14 years ago

Cheryl. I’m organising a little room for us in the Dissidents’ Ghetto down in hell. It won’t be good living but there might be a few worthwhile challenges and the odd conversation worth having. I’m not much interested in NPs large numbers floating in his heavenly ideal nothingness. Anyway, we will have better central heating.

NP
NP
14 years ago

Colin – I think Simon has said ad hominem attacks are not allowed on TA…..even on ++Akinola, I assume.

Lapinbizarre
Lapinbizarre
14 years ago

As memory serves, Ruth Gledhill did not attend the Dar es Salaam primates’ meeting, a major religious news event, for budgetary reasons. Now, suddenly, she shows up in Abuja, giving a very great deal (four separate pieces) of uncritical coverage to Archbishop Akinola. Be interesting to know who bankrolled this one, and why.

Brian MacIntyre
Brian MacIntyre
14 years ago

“…all ++Akinola is doing is defending the agreed positions of the AC from those who would change it without proving their case from scripture to more than a minority in the AC” Let’s try to unpack the doublespeak here… The “agreed positions of the AC” – agreed, that is, except by all who disagree. “Without proving their case from scripture” – in fact, neither side has proved their case from scripture, because if either had, the debate would be closed, wouldn’t it? Both sides are quite confident that their own interpretations of scripture (and their own interpretations of rightful and… Read more »

Terence Dear
Terence Dear
14 years ago

I get the impression that, just as bishops of the Early Church stepped into the power vacuum left by the failed civic functions of the Roman Empire, so in some ways Nigerian bishops have replaced the tribal chieftains of their failing State.

The irony is that Akinola cannot see that it is his brand of Christianity that is deeply encultured, highly political and driven by the need for self-survival. In the West, in contrast, the churches have a more prophetic ministry that seeks to challenge the economic, social and political standards of the age.

drdanfee
drdanfee
14 years ago

NP Says: Nothing wrong with large churches – well , yes and no. Good thinking point, maybe. If the point of being a large parish is to exert pressures to close down thinking and inquiry, I cannot agree as a modern educated person. My life has personally been saved and rescued from legacy errors and blessed to overflowing – by how God has often used thinking and inquiry and openness in my life so far, as we all seek to follow Jesus of Nazareth. The opposite is also true: My life has literally been threatened – more than once I… Read more »

James
James
14 years ago

I am a gay man. After reading this interview, I realize I have more in common with Bishop Akinola than Bishop Robinson. My faith is more like the search for truth that Bishop Akinola talks about. I find myself always frustrated with Bishop Robinson’s and Bishop Schori’s “touchy-feely, new-agey” ambiguity. I think Bishop Akinola is wrong about certain things, but we approach things the same way, starting with a high view of Scripture. My opinion is that the words used to describe homosexual behavior in Scripture are not the same as those which came about in the 19th century and… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

On homosexuality: “We see it as a problem that can be treated.” “When you have chosen a particular way of life, a particular orientation” “They are sick or tired of normal heterosexual relationships?” Does NP still want to claim that people on the right “have listened and are not convinced”? Such ignorance would have been dispelled had he listened. He is making arguments based on lies and ignorance, despite his more than ample education, and backing them up with Scripture. The last quote just underscores this. “The demand from the West that his Church liberalise he sees as a gross… Read more »

Columba Gilliss
Columba Gilliss
14 years ago

Has anyone else noticed that all the bishops being ordained/consecrated for mission in the US are white despite the original contention that they were to serve congregations who had immigrated from Nigeria, etc.?
Columba Gillis

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

“WITNESS is what it’s all about” No, no, no, no, no! Obedience is what it’s all about. We must tell people that they have to obey the letter of the Law. Jesus died for our sins, but that doesn’t count if we don’t obey. We can violate the spirit of that Law as much as we like, just as long as we make sure everybody is well aware that the God who loves us so much that He would not only condescend to become part of his Creation, not only become a helpless child and a homeless refugee for our… Read more »

Giles Fraser
Giles Fraser
14 years ago

Does Archbishop Akinola fit the profile that evangelicals often use to determine early onset homosexuality? No father. Lack of positive male role models. Early abuse. Imagine if this were true: it could explain a lot. Could he be a gay man, hiding in a deeply homophobic culture, desperate to prove himself by being more anti-gay than the straight boys? Is his desire to split the communion the work of a man who protesteth way too much? I wonder …

Malcolm+
14 years ago

NP, could you please provide me with the following figures:

– the number of same sex unions that Archbishop Akinola has been forced to bless;
– the number of “practicing” homosexuals that Archbishop Akinola has been forced to ordain?

I’m quite confident that the answer, in each case, is zero. Therefore, your claim that the Episcopal Church has “forced” anything upon him is, to put it kindly, a complete and utter canard.

IT
IT
14 years ago

I think James has a point, in promoting a standard of sexual ethics for gays that is the same as that expected for straights. I think it is tacitly done already, but not explicit enough, perhaps.

However, I think James is wrong to think that this will make a shred of difference to the anti-gay conservative contingent. The moderates might get it. The Akinolas etc are never, ever going to change their minds.

Brian MacIntyre
Brian MacIntyre
14 years ago

“Colin – I think Simon has said ad hominem attacks are not allowed on TA…..even on ++Akinola, I assume” I think it’s quite appropriate for someone to comment on a character piece by suggesting that it’s inaccurate. Colin was being sarcastic, certainly, but this is not what is “ad hominem” means. “Ad hominem” refers to any attempt to refute someone’s argument by referring to their character, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., but not to the content of the arguments themselves. “John Boswell’s arguments in Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality can be dismissed, given the the author is himself a homosexual”… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

“the oppressed dissenting minority in EC, USA” Oh, please! They don’t get to redefine Anglicanism as a congregationalist confession. They don’t get to close the doors to their bishop when he won’t make a blanket statement condemning all non-Christians to Hell. Ooooh! How awful! Tell you what, when they are driven from their homes for being Evangelical schismatics and are forced to prostitute themselves just to survive like their attitudes do to a darn good many gay kids, then I’ll buy it. I will not claim oppression because the Church won’t marry me, I will not acknowledge it in comfortable… Read more »

Dan
Dan
14 years ago

(2003) A Kenyan Anglican Bishop was yesterday morning attacked in a London street by two Church of England colleagues for opposing the appointment of a homosexual bishop by the US Episcopal Church. The British clerics accused the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) of taking an uncompromising stand over the controversial appointment of Rev Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire. The two confronted Bishop Simon Oketch in London where he is attending an international seminar dubbed: “New Wine Conference”. The confrontation began with a heated argument over the appointment of Robinson and almost resulted in an exchange of blows before… Read more »

JCF
JCF
14 years ago

“I find myself always frustrated with Bishop Robinson’s and Bishop Schori’s “touchy-feely, new-agey” ambiguity.” James, you’re welcome to your opinion, but… “But Scripture does not condone hedonism or promiscuity–for gays or straights. I think that we need to articulate a clear, Scriptural homosexual ethic. In accepting homosexuality, we are not saying anything goes. Multiple partners are not ethical. Open relationships are not ethical. Gay couples must take the same vows as straight couples–forsaking all others, ’til death do us part.” …I hope you aren’t for *one second* implying that bishops ++Schori and +Robinson ARE “condoning hedonism or promiscuity”, “saying anything… Read more »

Deacon Mark
Deacon Mark
14 years ago

I am struck not by anything Biship Akinola is quoted as saying here (we’ve heard it all before haven’t we), but by the continued ugly snipping at one another that one reads here day after day. It’s like the last days of one of those tragic marriages where divorce is obviously inevitable and evident to all by the couple. If nothing that the Bishops are saying convinces you of the unbridgeable divide in the Anglican communion the remarks on here should. It is time to get on with the divorce and move on with as much dignity as we can… Read more »

James
James
14 years ago

Has Bishop Robinson or Bishop Schori ever articulated a gay sexual ethic? Have they ever said what kind of homosexual behavior is, in fact, immoral? I haven’t seen any clear-cut guidelines for gays spelled out anywhere by any bishop or group of bishops. What standards are gays held accountable to? I think that if we held gays accountable to some kind of clear sexual ethic, our conversations with the Global South would be easier. Maybe we won’t ever convince Bishop Akinola, but maybe there are others who simply need to see a clear gay sexual ethic in order to be… Read more »

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
14 years ago

Those who claim TEC has not stated standards for same-sex couples are simply wrong. In 2000 General Convention passed Resolution No. 2000-D039, which states in part: Resolved, That we acknowledge that while the issues of human sexuality are not yet resolved, there are currently couples in the Body of Christ and in this Church who are living in marriage and couples in the Body of Christ and in this Church who are living in other life-long committed relationships; and be it further Resolved, That we expect such relationships will be characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest… Read more »

Giles Goddard
Giles Goddard
14 years ago

Worth following up Giles F’s question about +Akinola; and widening it to ask to what extent the present fascination with gay relationships is a result of unresolved attitudes towards lesbian and (mainly) gay people in Africa and among conservative Evangelicals in the US and UK? The “Christian gay sexual ethic” is precisely identical to the “Christian straight sexual ethic” – i.e. sex in loving relationships as a celebration of God’s love – so perhaps there’s a connection between people who have a problem with that and people who haven’t come to terms with lesbian and gay people as ordinary members… Read more »

L Roberts
L Roberts
14 years ago

I object to the tacit assumption made here, unchallenged that diverse relationships, including open relationships are unethical. It depends upon a person’s ethical sensibilities and sense of call. Different relationships and set-ups meet the spiritual and other needs of different people, also our needs may differ across the life cycle. Love and its demands and commitments take many forms. “Different strokes for diffrent folks!” This is recognised in the lives, loves and practice(s) of straight folks. So please lets not get into make believe that most striaght people abstain from sex until they marry and then –bingo! Thats there lot… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
14 years ago

Jeffrey John certainly has, James.

And look at the thanks he got for it – stabbed in the back by a so called ‘friend’ who isn’t up to his job.

JCF
JCF
14 years ago

[If this isn’t going too far off-topic] James, I’m against a “gay sexual ethic” for the SAME reason I’m against “gay marriage”. No, I’m for the ONE sexual ethic—as I’m for the ONE marriage (Christian marriage)—for ***same- and opposite-sex couples alike***! No “heavy-lifting”, of theology or morality, has to be done here. All that’s needed, is for the Church to STOP SLAMMING THE DOORS on gay people/gay couples, to the *common sacramental life* already going on. I honestly don’t understand, James, why you see this as so complicated. :-/ [Now, if you believe that *heterosexual sexual ethics* needs further explanation—and… Read more »

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