Thinking Anglicans

An African Perspective

Bishop Ben Kwashi, Bishop of Jos in Northern Nigeria, chairman of SOMA (Sharing of Ministries Abroad) and co-ordinating Bishop of CANA (The Convocation of Anglicans in North America) spoke at the Anglican Mainstream Fringe meeting at the General Synod of the Church of England held in York on 9th July 2007.

Read the full text of his remarks here.

Update
Changing Attitude has a press release: Davis Mac-Iyalla meets Bishop Ben Kwashie at Church of England General Synod, York.

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Hugh of Lincoln
Hugh of Lincoln
14 years ago

“Amongst ordinary church members, there is surprise and some bewilderment that homosexuality should be the cause of so much trouble and they cannot see why it should have assumed such prime importance that it threatens to stop the growth and mission of the church.”

Quite so.

Whose “extraordinary obsession” is this? Not ordinary church members’ apparently.

Fr Joseph O'Leary
14 years ago

The Nigerian Church has not dealt with the issue of homosexuality — just as many of our own churches did not until very recently. Indeed, most have not yet done so. But Akinola, whose unpopularity in Nigeria is now known, and others prompted by USA rightwing funders, have cultivated this extraordinary obsession with no regard for the needs of their flock.

Prior Aelred
14 years ago

Is “irony” a word used in Nigerian English?

I am reminded of the story of the lad who murdered his parents & asked clemency of the court because he was an orphan.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

“…prompted by USA rightwing funders…”

Thank you. While I fight against falling into the “we’re being persecuted” camp in this respect, we DO need to keep pointing this out as much as possible. Conservatives need to accept that, their continual denial of this fact makes them look underhanded and casts suspicion on them, their motives, and their message.

Pluralist
14 years ago

History of the Oxford Movement: _In the nineteenth century in England there was the Oxford movement in some areas which eventually led to argument and controversies over elaborate vestments and ceremonies. Even without TV and the internet, news of this reached Crowther in Nigeria. In his charge to his clergy in Lokoja in 1869 Crowther said: “Not only in the missionary fields do we witness…[the] attempts of Satan to gain back those who had forsaken his service… but he makes his approach in more subtle form, in a mask, to corrupt vital religion under the revival of rituals. “ (Duke… Read more »

L Roberts
L Roberts
14 years ago

I think it is highly appropriate that the Anglican Churches should come to grief on the issue of the very important issue of same-sex relationships.

It is poetic justice on a hypocritical organisation that has refused countless opportunities to engage with gay folks, down the years.

ruidh
ruidh
14 years ago

I have to tell you that, to an American ear, Anglican Mainstream Fringe sounds like an oxymoron. I understand fringe is used differently here to denote a kind of meeting. In the US, fringe binds more strongly to the kind of group. One is either a mainstream group or a fringe group.

MJ
MJ
14 years ago

“Not only in the missionary fields do we witness…[the] attempts of Satan to gain back those who had forsaken his service… but he makes his approach in more subtle form, in a mask, to corrupt vital religion under the revival of rituals.”

So +Kwashi is implying that the Oxford Movement was the work of Satan?!

Malcolm+
14 years ago

Of course, it isn’t about homosexuality, really. It’s about wedge issues. It is analogous to the way that the US Republicans worked to get “protection of marriage” referenda on the ballot in various states in the last presidential election. “Traditional marriage” wasn’t in need of protection in most of those states. Those calling for same sex unions (even if not called marriage) were a wilderness minority. But the issue was effective in mobilizing the social conservative base of the republican Party. They’d go out to vote in order to “protect” marriage. And while they were there, they’d vote for President… Read more »

Charlotte
Charlotte
14 years ago

Bishop Kwashi appears to refer to the Oxford Movement as the work of Satan. This also concerns me, and might concern other Anglo-Catholics, whether inclusive or not: “It pains us when the essential truth of the gospel appears to be compromised in any way. In the nineteenth century in England there was the Oxford movement in some areas which eventually led to argument and controversies over elaborate vestments and ceremonies. Even without TV and the internet, news of this reached Crowther in Nigeria. In his charge to his clergy in Lokoja in 1869 Crowther said: “Not only in the missionary… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
14 years ago

Bishop Kwashi takes the typical African stance, denying that homosexuality has anything to do with the spread of HIV in his country. Those who view the situation without bias, including Western aid workers, say otherwise. The problem in Africa began, and continues, with men who indulge in homosexual sex in secret and then pass on their infection to their wives. It is the shame of homosexuality that contributes greatly to the AIDS epidemic in the bishop’s nation and throughout the continent, according to those who have studied the problem. It is this same shame that leads to the anti-gay paranoia… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
14 years ago

There is hardly any major stated theme of gospel continuity that Bishop Kwashi summarizes in his talk that cannot be readily agreed by most prog-lib believers, in either TEC or the rest of the Anglican provinces. What cannot pass without critical scrutiny is the underlying subtext or context enacted by the likes of Anglican Mainstream and the realignment campaign believers, i.e., that they alone are faithful, careful, caring, and so forth. Who are these realignment campaign believers, who are so often called to show their extreme love of the rest of us – by the ways they unthinkingly trash talk… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Lapinbizarre
14 years ago

Off topic, but of interest, the American Psychological Association is to review its policy on counseling gays and lesbians, “a step that gay-rights activists hope will end with a denunciation of any attempt by therapists to change sexual orientation”.

Far more at this site: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20070710/gays-psychologists/

Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Prior Thanks for the orphan laugh. This article demonstrates why they are looking for a new covenant. If they had an enforcable covenant they could have prevented Davis from even entering the building, let alone asking a question, let alone be acknowledged in a public forum. Their covenant is an attempt to close their temple doors and cast outside all those who refuse to surrender their children, cousins, aunts/uncles and friends. Their conduct demonstrates that their theology is no more pure or less repressive than earlier incarnations of Christianity. By their conduct, they demonstrate that they approve of the removal… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

“What cannot pass without critical scrutiny is the underlying subtext or context enacted by the likes of Anglican Mainstream and the realignment campaign believers, i.e., that they alone are faithful, careful, caring, and so forth.” I went through and cut bits that confirm this, then I read your post. The worst part is that, generally, he does not come out and say explicitly : “Those who disagree with us have no faith.” He clearly feels no need to be that bald. His comments obviously come from a long held assumption of Western faithlessness which he sees no need to claim… Read more »

Maduka
Maduka
14 years ago

“Bishop Kwashi appears to refer to the Oxford Movement as the work of Satan. This also concerns me, and might concern other Anglo-Catholics, whether inclusive or not:”

I think we are nit picking here. I read his address and I doubt that was what he meant. I also think many people are reading his address with tinted spectacles.

David Walker
David Walker
14 years ago

Cheryl wrote: If they had an enforcable covenant they could have prevented Davis from even entering the building, let alone asking a question, let alone be acknowledged in a public forum. I was a guest at the event where Davis and the Bishop of Jos met. I also met Davis on other occasions during Synod – it was good to see him and welcome him. I had wondered what reception he would get at an event arranged by Anglican Mainstream and had feared it might be confrontational or frosty, but both Davis and the bishop treated each other warmly and… Read more »

L Roberts
L Roberts
14 years ago

Anglican Mainstream’s courtesy on this occasion can not cloak their anti-gay stance and praxis. We have seen courtesy and homophobia go hand in hand in the C of E for decades.

Pluralist
14 years ago

Maduka: his predecessor saw it as the work of Satan, but he still goes on about vital religion of which vestments etc. are irrelevant. My point was that the Church of England was changed throughout by the Oxford Movement, which his predecessor called the work of Satan and he probably thinks is unimportant. What he thinks is important is likely to be just as narrow, excluding and aggressive, however, for those who find Christianity broad and multi-sourced in what they do.

MJ
MJ
14 years ago

It appears Bp Kwashi has little time or appreciation for any non-evangelicals. Here is his ‘numerical’ take on non-evangelical spirituality and seminaries (http://www.thegospeltruthministry.com/bishop_kawashi.htm). Easy, if you know the math! “I am convinced and I have had it, and I have read it, that no congregation can ever rise in its own spirituality above that of its priests. If this is right then most congregations would be operating at 50 percent of its spirituality of their priests, and this only when they are doing very well. This is where good teaching of the word of God is found, where good fellowship… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

David Thank you for your honorable defense of Anglican Mainstream, and for confirming that it was a courteous encounter. Would that all parts of the communion were as civilised as AM. For example, there are others who have lobbied for draconian legislation to silence or remove the evidence of GLBTs. So draconian that not only active sexuality of GLBTs, but also conversations about them or advocating on their behalf would be criminal offences. I wonder how they would have treated Abraham? Abraham who had the temerity to ask if there was any way that God would show clemency for the… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
14 years ago

Archbishop Akinola was courteous to Davis when he met him in Dar Es Salaam. That didn’t stop him from wanting to introduce draconian legislation that would put Davis in prison. His church has not retracted the slanderous allegations which have resulted in death threats against Davis.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

Maduka, Read his piece as though he were a Western bishop, one of many who had spoken repeatedly of the faithlessness of African Christians. Do you now see how it would be very easy to read dismissal of the faith of those “on the other side”? He mentions the puzzlement some Nigerians have that this issue should be so divisive. May I suggest that this is a direct result of the failure of conservatives to listen, in direct disobedience of the very Lambeth dictates he and others accuse the West of disobeying. If he and others HAD listened, they would… Read more »

JCF
JCF
14 years ago

*LOL*, MJ!

[No wonder I’m a bad Christian, I always stunk at math! ;-p]

Malcolm+
14 years ago

Surely 50% of 25% is 12.5% and not 11.5%.

My own take is that his theology is about on par with his arithmetic.

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

Re: Bp Kwashi’s belief that the spirituality of the clergy is axiomatically superior to that of the rest of the people of God, I quote Chaucer: “…and shame it is, if a prest take keep, a shiten shepherd and a clene sheep.” (Canterbury Tales, the prologue,ll. 503-4) Clearly in England in C14 it was thought that the clergy could be inferior in virtue to their people, and one might argue from Aquinas’ Summa that the deficiencies of the clergy were well-known and yet did not necessarily reduce their people to beneath their own level. Bp. Kwashi reveals a deep ignorance/rejection… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

“Am I allowed to excommunicate him? ;-)” First of all, he’s clergy, so it’s in his best interest to consider himself spiritually superior to his flock. The cultural difference is that, I imagine, his flock would see nothing remarkable in such a statement, whereas in the West, most would consider it a rather arrogant statement, and it might even be met with guffahs at how church leaders haven’t learned anything about how to behave, even after the last 40+ years of ordinary people affirming that respect must be earned, it isn’t just automatically granted when one takes a position of… Read more »

NP
NP
14 years ago

Ford – I think you will find in the NT and the OT that the integrity of the faith is to be maintained by leaders…..exercising discipline is not abuse of authority, it is a responsibility
(but there I go again, thinking that those old scriptures have some authority for the church!)

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

“exercising discipline is not abuse of authority” No, indeed. But can you honestly claim that our leaders, of whatever stripe, have behaved in any way like Christians throughout our history? You can’t deny sexual abuse, cultural destruction, physical abuse, political machinations, murder, genocide, direct involvement in government policies that ensure the very kind of economic and social injustice we are supposed to be opposing, and on and on. The world sees this very well, even though you close your eyes to it. His being a bishop is not a plus for most people. It means he has to work harder… Read more »

NP
NP
14 years ago

Ford says “But can you honestly claim that our leaders, of whatever stripe, have behaved in any way like Christians throughout our history? “

– again, Ford, I can agree there has always been hypocrisy but that is no reason to tolerate it now, is it?

I don’t buy the view that being tolerant is a virtue in itself…..the cross itself is not a symbol of tolerance but love, mercy and propitiation

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

“I can agree there has always been hypocrisy but that is no reason to tolerate it now, is it?” So why do you? Or do you seriously believe that your behaviour and that of your Evangelical heroes actually conforms to the Gospel? Opposition to homosexuality doesn’t excuse oppression of God’s children, NP, and it certainly doesn’t excuse lack of the love of our neighbours that is the Second Great Commandment, and that is so sadly absent in the most vocal on “your side”. Can you really claim that the conservatives are behaving in accord with the Gospel in this? Do… Read more »

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