Thinking Anglicans

More from CANA/Nigeria

Updated

The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Archbishop and Metropolitan of Abjua Primate of all Nigeria, addressed the fourth annual CANA Council on 23 July.

See earlier report boundary crossing in Virginia.

If you are at all confused about what CANA stands for, there’s a comprehensive reminder of its history in this post by Fr Jake.

His full remarks are available here.

Here’s an extract from what he said.

The Western Church led the world toward Christ for almost 2,000 years. But now it has cast aside its leadership and finds itself leaving Christ’s path and following its own road. The West, Nations and Church, are disinheriting their Christian inheritance. Perhaps this is the easiest road to take. But it is certainly not the right road.

This is the challenge faced in the Anglican Communion where the revisionist agenda has weakened a church, which for generations has been at the forefront of global evangelization and mission.

Given the speed with which we alter time-­honored theological positions some of our ecumenical friends now doubt our reliability, and suspect our fellowship. We are all vulnerable to temptation and sin, but Christ calls us to stand shoulder to shoulder and faithfully declare that ‘there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved’ [Acts 4:12].

We are Christians. We must affirm our faith and identity, while we make allowance for others to affirm theirs as part of the grace for a plural society. We must, as orthodox Anglicans, uphold and continue to defend the biblical understanding of the family and its moral implications. The clear intention of Scripture is that marriage is a monogamous, lifelong, covenantal relationship between one man and one woman. All other sexual relationships are a sad reflection of our brokenness, self-­centredness and continuing rebellion against the expressed will of the Almighty God for which we need repentance.

Let there be a change. As Americans you occupy the lofty height of the world’s civilization and material glory. But as a prophet, let me humbly encourage you to remind yourselves of the rise, the reign and the fall of one of the greatest empires the world has ever known, the Roman Empire. It will do you good, to avoid certain pitfalls, as you struggle to retain your enviable position as the world’s number one nation.

Savi Hensman has written at Cif belief about Archbishop Okoh’s earlier remarks. See her article at Bishop Okoh’s war on homosexuality.

At the same meeting, Bishop Martyn Minns delivered his Bishop’s Pastoral Call 2010 which is available in full as a PDF file here. Despite its length, it is worth reading for it gives a very comprehensive picture of CANA.

Update

Mark Harris has posted two blog articles commenting on what Martyn Minns said. See
Bishop Minns accuses The Episcopal Church leadership of bribery.
The Tide of Ecclesial Pollution: Bishop Minns reads the Anglican Oil Spill.

11 comments

  • “But as a prophet, let me humbly encourage you…”

    Oh, yes – *very* humbly…

    So the Church of Nigeria is now run on a par with the Mormons? The office of Primate brings along with it the gift of prophecy?

  • It was amazing to see +Minns highjack – and then drain of meaning – every current ecclesiastical buzzword in his address: everything from “radical inclusion” to “missional” to “generous orthodoxy.”

  • chenier1 says:

    Thank you, Simon.

    All 29 pages of it do indeed give us a very comprehensive picture of what CANA is about; for some reason the story of Dorian Gray comes to mind…

  • Pat O'Neill says:

    The acceptance of the idea that Okoh and his followers are on Christ’s path and all others have strayed reminds me of Abraham Lincoln’s comment when someone suggested that God was on the side of the Republic in the Civil War: “Let us hope, rather, that we are on His side.”

  • Minns “gives a very comprehensive picture of CANA”.

    Irony?

    In 29 pages you’d think he’d say something more about the property suit than “recent developments”. In particular, he doesn’t say that CANA lost in the Virginia Supreme Court and what that means in terms of where the cases stand now.

    Nor does he say why they lost: They lost because the Virginia Supreme Court said CANA is a branch of the Church of Nigeria [which is a finding CANA had argued _for_] but concluded that meant the statute used by the lower court was misapplied. Nor did he say that they are appealing that ruling. But he did say that newly minted CANA bishop Jones needed to be made a suffragan bishop of the Church of Nigeria. And he did say that members of CANA hold dual passports in ACNA and the CoN. CANA’s website says CANA is “a branch of the Church of Nigeria.” And Bishop Okoh said CANA is a branch of CoN.

  • peterpi says:

    “We are Christians. We must affirm our faith and identity, while we make allowance for others to affirm theirs as part of the grace for a plural society.”
    Yeah, the allowance they’re making is that they are graciously allowing us to go to Hell! Considering how boring and constrained (the word I prefer also starts out with “const”, but follows up with an “i” and a “p”, etc.) their Heaven is, I’m not sure I want to go there. All those angry, narrow-minded males … They’re all for plurality as long as you agree with them.
    Simon, thanks for the link to the Fr. Mark CANA post. These groups are so intertwined and inter-related, I think that if you unraveled them all, you’d find the same 20 people.

  • JCF says:

    “as a prophet, let me humbly encourage you”

    I confess the (typical?) Episcopalian less-than-great Biblical knowledge (memory): does anyone recall if ANY of the Biblical prophets framed their “Thus says the LORD…” with “I am a prophet” or “as a prophet”? O_o

  • drdanfee says:

    Okoh is getting his carts before his horses, I’m afraid. Again. The traditionalistic paths who scream and yell most loudly these days are almost always much less difficult than any other available modern form of intellectually-emotionally-spiritually serious scrutiny, critical thinking, education, and discernment in all its lively guises. Ditto, Minns, I guess. Don’t worry, be CANA.

    Automatic pilot orthodoxies are always easier, since you just turn yourself off to the extent required, and let whatever authority otherwise exists or obtains direct you – an idea, a rule, a law, a covenant, a culture, a tradition, a forceful leader, a top down church in power … the list of external sacred-high authorities just itching to exempt you from having to do your Anglican homework is … well, nigh endless?

    An Real Big Escape From Freedom as well as from Thinking (connoting a sidestepping of grace and what Teilhard de Chardin called a ‘divinisation of our human dependencies”?) is nearly always the essence of the traditionalistic-orthodoxist games, not to mention the spin doctoring.

    Prophetic, not so much.

  • Priscilla Cardinale says:

    I will give this to Bp. Minns and Bp. Okoh: they are very determined to create their own reality and nothing in the way of fact or observation or actual experience will sway them from their cherished beliefs. If God him(her)self came down from heaven and told them otherwise I think they would condemn him and banish him from their presence. Now that’s fortitude, er something. . . .

  • Jeremy Pemberton says:

    Interesting.

    So – in order to convince us of the “genuine” Anglicanness of CANA he bigs up the origins of the set up as a fruit of cross-border interventions.

    A direct contravention of Windsor n’est-ce pas? And therefore something that you would think would make the Church of Nigeria unable to participate in Anglican Ecumenical conversations I would have thought. After all, would the Churches of Rome and Constantinople really want to be sitting down with sheep-stealers??

  • Bookguy BaltMD says:

    Interestingly enough, as I read the Okoh’s full statement (not just the part exceprted), I don’t think many Anglicans in the US (meaning TEC as the only legitimate Anglican church in the US) would object to a good portion of his statement.

    Certainly no one I know of in TEC would disagree with the statement that for us as Christians ‘there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved’ [Acts 4:12].

    Obviously many in TEC would disagree with his statement that TEC is changing the core principals of Christianity at all; Every member of TEC that I’ve run into clearly believes very strongly that they are living out the commandments of Christ to the fullest extent in their power.

    Obviously, too, many in TEC would disagree with his supposition that their actions are weakening the church; for TEC, fully living out the implications of Christ’s message can, in the end, only strengthen the church.

    But so too, obviously, many in TEC would regret that this choice of fundamental renewal and adherence to the fundamental tenets of our faith as Christians has, without doubt, “caused some of our ecumenical friends [to} now doubt our reliability, and suspect our fellowship.” The choice between following the fundamentals of Christ’s message and the temporary discomfort that may cause some in other churches is a serious one.

    Obviously, too, the statement on marriage seems faulty from a scriptural point of view:

    “We must, as orthodox Anglicans, uphold and continue to defend the biblical understanding of the family and its moral implications. The clear intention of Scripture is that marriage is a monogamous, lifelong, covenantal relationship between one man and one woman.”

    I think many could and would point out that the scriptures describe many different forms of marriage and a steady evolution in our scriptural and moral understanding of what marriage means. even more would point out that faithful marriage is something that ante-dates even scripture and originates outside religious grounds.

    I would even suspect that, except for the limitation of marriage to one man and one woman (as opposed to any two faithfully monogamous people) even most gay Anglican’s in the US would agree with the rest of what he claims are the moral implications of marriage for Christians: “a {faithful}, monogamous, lifelong, covenantal relationship.”

    I would even go so far as to point out that most members of TEC, and particularly the more liberal members of that part of the Anglican faith, would be much more largely in agreement with Okoh’s caution that the US should be careful to avoid the issues of the imperialism (Roman or otherwise).

    It’s even more interesting to note that those Americans who are LEAST likely to agree with his comparison of empires (US and Roman) are those who are currently members of his church through CANA. Most of them seem to be die-hard George W. Bush supporters (and even members of the former administration such as Karl Rove, for example).

    It’s interesting to see how much ground of commonality there remains. How much this entire disagreement seems to be a storm in a teacup that has been manipulated by ruthless and unscrupulous social warriors for a short term political gain.

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