Thinking Anglicans

Pastoral letter from Archbishop Akinola

The Standing Committee meeting on which previous reports have been made, has yielded a further document Standing Committee Meeting:Pastoral Letter signed by Archbishop Peter Akinola. It concludes:

We are especially concerned about those who are using large sums of money to lure our youth to see homosexuality and lesbianism as normative. We must consistently and faithfully teach about God’s commands on this ungodly practice and help those with such orientation to seek deliverance and pastoral counsel.

It was also our great delight to welcome to our meeting, the Rt. Rev Bob Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh in the USA, and Moderator of the Common Cause Partnership which is a fellowship of about 11 Anglican groups that are determined to maintain the Biblical and historic convictions of our faith, including CANA (also represented at this meeting by our own Bishop Martyn Minns). We have declared ourselves to be in full communion with the emerging province of the Anglican Church of North America, praying that they will remain solidly rooted in the foundations of our faith.

We have expressed our grave concerns over the relentless aggression against Christians in the North of Nigeria and have again drawn the attention of our governments to this unhappy scenario. We are calling for a national conference of all stakeholders to deal with the issue of religious intolerance and guarantee a peaceful and just future for our beloved country. We especially call on our members in the National Assembly to keep alert to this threat to our corporate existence. Most of all we call on our churches to pray earnestly about the future of our nation.

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Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
11 years ago

Any chance that the archbishop would produce evidence of this “luring” going on and the “large sums of money” be spent on it? No? Didn’t think so.

Oh, and I think our Lord and Savior would find imprisonment a pretty odd way of providing “deliverance and pastoral counsel”.

dodgey_vicar
dodgey_vicar
11 years ago

I would be glad if the Archbishop would seek deliverance from his messiah complex, but I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon.

JCF
JCF
11 years ago

“Pastoral letter from Archbishop Akinola”

Behold the oxymoron! Lord have mercy…

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

“We are calling for a national conference of all stakeholders to deal with the issue of religious intolerance and guarantee a peaceful and just future for our beloved country.” – Abp Akinola –

Not that the LGBT community in Nigeria would possibly notice! Legislation against this entity hardly witnesses to this statement by the Abp.

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
11 years ago

What about trying to sort out Nigeria…its such an awful place to live… I notice thousands of Nigerians want to emigrate to the liberal USA.>

Dallas Bob
Dallas Bob
11 years ago

“..deal with the issue of religious intolerance”

Look in the mirror and be careful what you wish for.

John
John
11 years ago

I think Archbishop Akinola should read the New Testament again. Perhaps he would discover Jesus’ teaching on self-righteousness!

Martin Reynolds
Martin Reynolds
11 years ago

I was very wrong to give the impression that the new Nigerian draft legislation was a fabulous victory over Akinola and his chums. In fact the last part of the legislation leaves the definition of “gay marriage” so loose as to represent a serious threat to civil/human rights in Nigeria. Friends who are experienced lawyers tell me that such all inclusive vagueness, if left in place, is a charter for the police to do great harm to both the gay community and any other group this wish to harass. A jurist with experience of several African legal systems said he… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
choirboyfromhell
11 years ago

“see of homosexuality”-is that anywhere near the Bay of Bigotry?. Martin Reynolds is right; our faith is being perverted in an evil way. Rumors abound in the states about Queen Elisabeth II (Elizabeth?) being increasingly irritated with ++RW, perhaps it’s time for retirement with a new appointment who will not be afraid of standing up to this thug.

Rev L Roberts
Rev L Roberts
11 years ago

Its odd how the *self denominated* conservatives do not see those whom they declare to be liberal(s) as Christians. While I struggle increasingly to see Them as Christians ! With my commitment to freedom of religion I tend to berate myself (oh god I must be a liberal after all!) for this. Yet I really do agree with choirboyfrom… that Christianity in general and Anglicanism in partic are being ‘perverted’ and undermined. It makesthe word ‘Christian’ a very ambiguous word in the UK. Whereas when I was a child it was synonymous with being British, being decent and the aspiration… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

a new appointment who will not be afraid of standing up to this thug.

I raised this with a senior cleric, whose reply was that no-one wanted to dignify ++Abuja’s outburst by replying to it. I have to say I was underwhelmed by this response.

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
11 years ago

Hi L Roberts Like every other word in the dictionary (unless we are to be deceitful Humpty Dumptys), ‘Christian’ has a very precise, and circumscribed, range of meanings. Like with every other word, the number of the things it does *not* mean is ten million times greater than the number of the things it *does* mean. At no date has it meant being good, British and decent. And at no date has its meaning had to do with fanaticism, rage and hatred. It means being a follower of Jesus and/or part of the body of Christ. Words don’t mean either… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
11 years ago

Christopher:

You are correct; and as Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits.” Tell me, do the actions of the Nigerian church toward its gay brethren seem at all to be the actions Christ would have taken in the same circumstances?

Not to me.

Göran Koch-Swahne
11 years ago

Now, that sounds positively post-modern…

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
11 years ago

“at no date has its meaning had to do with fanaticism, rage and hatred.” It might not have been written in a dictionary, Christopher, but I think if you look back over the past 1500 years or so, you’ll see that the practical definition of Christianity has meant exactly that: Crusades, destruction of indigenous culture, support for wars, and on and on. Fanaticism, rage, and hatred are certainly major parts of most people’s working definition of Christianity. If you haven’t experienced that, you need to associate more with ordinary people. But you also talk about the antipathy of the World… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
11 years ago

Christopher, from afrik.com, linked to in the thread immediately above this one, and entitled “What has Africa Done to Organized Religion to Deserve This?:

“One would think that the Catholic Church has drawn enough lessons from its hard-line advocacies of the past which saw the near annihilation of Indian populations, its involvement in African slavery while insisting that Africans had no soul, its inaction during the holocaust…”

You don’t think this is only about RCs, surely.

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

Christopher,
Christianity ? OR – “Christ crucified; to the Jews an obstacle that they cannot get over, to the pagans madness, but to those who have been called, whether they are Jews or Greeks, a Christ who is the power and wisdom of God.” – 1Cor.1:23f

It seems to me that ‘Christ crucified’ is the more important standard by which we are judged. And I think that Christ is being metaphorically *crucified* again whenever ‘Christians’ want to resurrect the old shibboleth of LAW over LOVE.

Göran Koch-Swahne
11 years ago

Mynsterpreost wrote: “… whose reply was that no-one wanted to dignify ++Abuja’s outburst by replying to it.”

Have they forgotten about Bishop Bell?

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
11 years ago

The word ‘Christian’ never has denoted, and never will denote, any of those things. It has *connoted* these things to various people at various times, for all kinds of reasons, some justified and others unjustified. The hypocrisy thing I doubt. Supposing a nonChristian accused Christians of being hypocrites. Quite aside from this being a massive generalisation about 2 billion people, and therefore not worthy of serious attention, their accusation would boil down to ‘They, unlike me, are hypocrites’. Which would be about as hypocritical as one could get. In other words, to condemn hypocrisy is (unless one is Jesus and… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
11 years ago

Christopher:

The hypocrisy cited is not necessarily a personal flaw, but an institutional one. Look at the history of the Christian churches (all of them, with the possible exception of the Quakers) and you see a line of bad examples for following Christ’s two great commandments.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
11 years ago

“it seems likely that practically all of us are hypocritical to a certain degree (not always necessarily a very high one)” Seems? To a certain degree? Of course we are, Christopher, and not only to a certain degree. It’s a product of the Fall. Now, enough distraction, let’s get back to the business at hand: society more and more hates the Church, with good reason, and by seeking to dissemble and not address it you are adding to the problem, just as you do by spreading pseudoscientific propaganda about gay people, which makes you, and by extension all of us,… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

“We are especially concerned about those who are using large sums of money to lure our youth to see homosexuality and lesbianism as normative. We must consistently and faithfully teach about God’s commands on this ungodly practice and help those with such orientation to seek deliverance and pastoral counsel.” – Archbishop Akinola – The opening remarks of His Grace ABP. Akinola in his recent diatribe betray, most succinctly, his absolute ignorance on the process of what he calls *deliverance* of the LGBT community from their given sexual orientation. To say that such people are guilty of *ungodly practice* is to… Read more »

Joseph O'Leary
Joseph O'Leary
11 years ago

Akinola is a horror. But what is most depressing to think about is that people like him are the product of two millennia of false teaching, of a horrific indoctrination that is still going on. Many little Akinolas are being produced in Christian and Muslim educational institutions all over the world.

Martin Reynolds
Martin Reynolds
11 years ago

A terrible thought, but a timely reminder Fr Joe ……

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
11 years ago

What depresses, and angers, me, is that there are so many conservative “Christians” who don’t seem to care a whit that he is supporting a move to oppress gay people in his own country. As long as he foams at the mouth against the Evil Hell Bound Liberal Revisionists, he could skewer young babies when in his cups and they would still call him a saint. So much for “hate the sin, love the sinner”. This is all about terrified conservatives in North America and Britain grasping at anything and anyone, no matter how evil, in a desparate attempt to… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
11 years ago

I’ve mentioned many times that each of us cannot help holding to the principle ‘hate the sin, love the fellow-sinner’ since no viable alternative exists – of if it does exist, it needs to be stated. This is the principle we apply with ourselves, with our loved ones, with our children. The more we love someone, the more we hate anything that is oriented to destroy or hurt them. So hatred of sin and loving the fellow-sinner are directly proportional. Although I am not familiar with all the details of the Nigerian attitude and legislation, it is not in every… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
11 years ago

“The more we love someone, the more we hate anything that is oriented to destroy or hurt them.” Not an attitude expressed in the following: “Although I am not familiar with all the details of the Nigerian attitude and legislation, it is not in every respect something I approve of, nor in every respect something I disapprove of.” Where is the love for gay people in evident in your refusal to condemn the Nigerian Church’s actions? Oh, you clarify: “be oriented towards , in terms of peace, social stability and the maturing process.” So, it’s OK to subject some people… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
11 years ago

Oh, back to basics, Christopher. Would you agree that it is unjust to imprison gay people just for being gay? If not, why not?

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

“it must be a principle in lawmaking that laws be oriented towards the best overall outcome for the most people” – Christopher Shell – This may be the popular ‘democratic’ view, but not necessarily meeting the Gospel requirement of a bias towards the poor, the disenfranchised, and, all minority groups – including the LGBT community. So, in essence, although what you say here seems like ‘common justice’, it may not be specifically ‘Christian’. Who, here, determines what is ‘good’ for the majority? Where does authentic diversity come in? For instance, for Abp. Akinola and the Law-makers of Nigeria to agree… Read more »

Joseph O'Leary
Joseph O'Leary
11 years ago

I am happy that the Vatican for the first time on Dec 19, 2008, declared its opposition to the imprisonment of anyone for adult consensual sexual acts. Ch. Shell writes that laws should “be oriented towards the best overall outcome for the most people, in terms of peace, social stability and the maturing process.” Yes, I remember the arguments put up to stop the decriminalization of homosexuality in Ireland — “broken kettle” ones, including the false claim that the law was a dead letter, never applied, so we need not worry about it. Shell’s arguments could have been used to… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
11 years ago

Hi Ford- Would it be right to imprison gay people for being gay?- (1) Why assume people are going to accept the terms in which the question is couched: i.e. that there’s a sector of the population that’s intrinsically/endemically ‘gay’? That is precisely the point at debate (genetics/environment), and as I’ve mentioned often it seems provisionally likely from current stats both that both play a part and that environment is the larger factor. (2) ‘Homosexual’/’gay’ is a vague term – does it refer to desires/actions/both? What people have traditionally been opposed to (rightly, I think) is less ‘homosexuality’ than sodomy… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

“the evangelicals have you in a cocked hat over John 7.53-8.11.” – Christopher Shell – Christopher, I should be the very last person to use what the Evos call ‘proof texts’, but then, one does need to take the tenor of what the scriptures have to say on particular subjects. But mostly, ‘thinking’ Christians are more likely to quote the reported sayings of Jesus, than they are the writings of the O.T. – simply because Jesus did himself take the trouble to define, more clearly, what the essence of human behaviour towards one another ought to be. This he said… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
11 years ago

Hi Fr Ron- The thing I’m not sure about is why you drag the OT into it, since as you see (3 times) I was talking only about the NT. The balanced NT view is summarised by this passage itslf: ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and do not sin again.’. Evangelicals acknowledge both sides of this saying; what they object to in their opponents is the apparent ‘cherry-picking’ that emphasises one side and de-emphasises the other. One can say that the NT is diverse and contradictory (which is in itself an extreme ideological generalisation), but, when it comes to… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
Rev L Roberts
11 years ago

NO !

Forgives precedes repentence.

That is the Gospel I have recieved and seek to transmit …

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
11 years ago

Hi L Roberts Nonsense, IMHO! (1) You are confusing 2 different aspects of forgiveness: forgiveness offered and forgiveness received. You are speaking as though forgiveness were merely an action. It is more than that: it is a 2-way transaction. (2) Among those who intend to receive it, you must logically admit that some will see it as licence to sin more; others will be humbly grateful. Neither Scripture nor logic even remotely classifies the former instance as Christian repentance/forgiveness. Suppose the woman caught in adultery had *genuinely accepted* the offer of forgiveness with a sarcastic: ‘Cool, Jesus baby’ and then… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
11 years ago

“Suppose the woman caught in adultery had *genuinely accepted* the offer of forgiveness with a sarcastic: ‘Cool, Jesus baby’ and then rushed off to do more of the same. She likes the forgiveness for one reason only: she perceives that it will let her off the hook. The real situation, and her actual response, was very different.”

What was her response, Christopher?

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
11 years ago

Meekness, from the look of it. The key is the way she addresses Jesus as ‘sir’ or ‘Lord’ (kurie).

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
11 years ago

That she addresses him politely isn’t the question – he just saved her life, after all!

Where does she express remorse before Jesus forgives her?
Where does it say that she didn’t think she’d been let off the hook?
Where does it say that she never sinned again?

You are free to interpret those things into the story, that’s what engaging with the bible is about after all, it is not proof texting.
But L Roberts is just as free to interpret differently.

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
11 years ago

(1) Where does it say that she didn’t think she’d been let off the hook? – Which hook? She has been let off hook A (impending death): i.e. her life has been spared. She has not been ‘let off’ ‘hook’ B (need to live a chaste/faithful life). From hearing Jesus’s own words alone (and indeed from the entire culture which she inhabits and has always inhabited), she knows that she has not been let off, and is not going to be let off, hook B. There was never any question of that in such a culture. Her words show respect… Read more »

erika baker
erika baker
11 years ago

Christopher I agree, we don’t know! I agree, it is necessary to be agnostic on the question. This is precisely what caused me difficulty with your earlier post where you say: “but, when it comes to our present topic, the pattern that forgiveness comes *only* and *always* to the repentant is a pattern never broken in the entire NT to my knowledge.” And you cite this particular story in evidence. And yet, in this story we have no idea when the woman repented, whether she truly repented or was just grateful to have had her life saved, and whether she… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
11 years ago

(1) If forgiveness is offered, but not received repentantly, forgiveness does not take place. Forgiveness is not just an action, but a transaction. (2) To deny that repentance is necessary would be to deny something central to the NT. Jesus proclaims the kingdom Mk 1.15: ‘repent and believe’. Peter preaches Ac.2: ‘repent and be baptised’. Jesus praises John the Baptist’s repentance ministry as his necessary precursor. Why do they say these things? For us today, in corporate or private prayer, repentance needs to come first. (Repentance, of course, is partly an action word, and is not the same as regret.… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
11 years ago

Christopher You give me a good summary of your theology. But that is not how we started out. You said that there is not a single instance in the NT where forgiveness is offered before repentance, and that the pattern is never (!) broken to your knowledge, and that “If there are exceptions to this rule, then the matter is up for debate, but not otherwise.” All I’ve done is to give you one exception. As for “go and sin no more”… you do know that this story is the only one where he says this. In all other stories… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
11 years ago

You misquote me! I said that repentance precedes forgiveness, not precedes the offer of forgiveness, which (as I mentioned twice) is only one half of the transaction. However, I think your overall view fails to explain where exactly repentance (something emphasised by Jesus and his followers) fits in.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
11 years ago

Christopher
I’m not misquoting anyone, I’m merely looking at the story.
We have ascertained that the woman is polite.
We have no idea whether she repented or when.
We do know that Jesus said “your sins are forgiven”.

I do not interpret the story.
I merely state that it is highly ambiguous and does not allow any pat interpretation.

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
11 years ago

From the comments above, one can see that you did undeniably misquote me. I said: ‘forgiveness comes only and always to the repentant’; You misquoted that as: ‘there is not a single instance in the NT where forgiveness is offered before repentance’. The difference is the verb. ‘Comes’ is obviously a different thing from ‘is offered’. To ‘offer’ is an initial gesture; to ‘come’ is for the deal to be sealed. I can only think off the top of my head of five instances where we can see Jesus at work forgiving sinners, all except Mark 2 from comparatively late-dating… Read more »

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