“The English Archbishops of York and Canterbury have fired the equivalent of a broadside into the respective Anglican Provinces of Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria, and naturally it has to do with the Western hot button issue of homosexuality. …
When the head, nominal though he be, of the Anglican Communion lectures and cautions any Province, the implications and threat cannot be missed. It is odd that this lecture and caution would be directed toward the orthodox Anglicans of the Communion and not against the heterodox Anglicans both in North America and indeed within the Church of England itself…”
– Bishop David Anderson, President of the American Anglican Council, looks at the extraordinary intervention during the week.
This week, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York sought to remind the leadership of the Anglican Communion and the Presidents of Nigeria and Uganda of the importance of friendship and care for homosexual people.
Christians should always show particular care for those who are vulnerable, but this cannot be separated from the whole fabric of biblical moral teaching in which the nature of marriage and family occupy a central place.
The Dromantine Communiqué from which the Archbishops quote also affirmed (Clause 17) the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 which states that ‘homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture’ and that the conference ‘cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions’.
Yet earlier this week, the English College of Bishops accepted the recommendation of the Pilling Report for two years of ‘facilitated conversation’ because at least some of the bishops could not accept the historic teaching of the Church as reaffirmed in the Lambeth resolution.
Indeed, in making the case for such a debate, the Pilling Report observes ‘In the House of Lords debate on same sex marriage, the Archbishop of York commended that the Church needed to think about the anomalies in a situation where it is willing to bless a tree or a sheep, but not a faithful human relationship.’ The anomaly only exists of course if it really is the case that a committed homosexual union can also be Christian.
The good advice of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York would carry much more weight if they were able to affirm that they hold, personally, as well as in virtue of their office, to the collegial mind of the Anglican Communion. At the moment I fear that we cannot be sure.
Regrettably, their intervention has served to encourage those who want to normalize homosexual lifestyles in Africa and has fuelled prejudice against African Anglicans. We are committed to biblical sexual morality and to biblical pastoral care, so we wholeheartedly stand by the assurance given in the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution that those who experience same sex attraction are ‘loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.’
May God in his mercy grant that we may hold to the fullness of his truth and the fullness of his grace.
The Most Rev’d Dr Eliud Wabukala
Archbishop, Anglican Church of Kenya
and Chairman, GAFCON Primates Council.
30th January 2014
“There is urgency about the gospel and it must be proclaimed in word and deed, in season and out of season and it is the same gospel, whether in strife torn nations such as South Sudan or in the affluent but morally disorientated nations of the developed world.
We cannot therefore allow our time and energy to be sapped by debating that which God has already clearly revealed in the Scriptures…”
– Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, has released a pastoral letter to members of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.
We are united in welcoming and affirming the presence and ministry within the Church of gay and lesbian people, both lay and ordained. We are united in acknowledging the need for the Church to repent for the homophobic attitudes it has sometimes failed to rebuke and affirming the need to stand firmly against homophobia wherever and whenever it is to be found. …”
And from Anglican Mainstream’s Andrew Symes –
“This re-states an important recommendation of the Pilling Report. Its major weakness is that “affirming the ministry of gay people” is not explained or qualified. It suggests that the church does not distinguish between welcoming someone’s presence within the church, endorsement of their lifestyle, an assumption of Christian fellowship, and affirming their ministry. “
The Pilling Report can be found here (PDF).
“The retired Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Peter Akinola, has called on members of a criminal gang that attacked him recently to turn a new leaf. He appealed to the criminals to register with his foundation to learn skills that they could use for legal businesses.
Mr. Akinola was robbed of his vehicle and briefly kidnapped on Christmas Eve of 2013…”
– Story from The Premium Times, Nigeria.
Archbishop Dr Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop of Kenya and Chairman of GAFCON has released this statement after the unexpected death of the Primate of West Africa, Archbishop Dr Solomon Tilewa Johnson. Read more
“The easy thing for us to do, in the current climate, would be to respond to our culture’s normalising of homosexual practice by re-thinking the Church’s historic opposition to it. Many people, and especially the younger generation, now feel that there is nothing wrong with same-sex attraction or behaviour, so it seems obvious to many that to attract them we must soften our stance on this issue at some level.
The riskier, more radical and more difficult thing to do is to hold on to what the Holy Spirit teaches us in his word about what it means to be holy, and what kind of lifestyle is pleasing to him. Will we take that risk, and pay the cost of discipleship, for the sake of Jesus and the clarity of his gospel call to ‘Repent and believe the good news’?”
– In the latest issue of Crossway, Church Society Director Lee Gatiss responds to The Pilling Report. PDF file.
“The archbishop of Canterbury means well and there is no doubt that his heart is with GAFCON in many ways. He told the delegates that he wants its aims to be those of the Communion as a whole and there is no reason not to believe him. But if he is going to occupy the place that the Anglican Communion assigns to him and exercise the kind of influence for good that he undoubtedly wants to, he will have to get with the programme, as the Americans say.
GAFCON is not just one more Anglican organisation, like the Mothers’ Union, that can be flattered and pacified by an occasional nod from the hierarchy. It is a renewal movement that wants to make its agenda that of the church as a whole, and it will expect Justin Welby to nail his colours to the mast. It is a wonderful opportunity for him to assume the leadership of the Communion and use the GAFCON base to bring about the kinds of changes that he wants to see, but will he take it?”
– In the Editorial of the latest issue of Churchman, Gerald Bray writes about GAFCON, the Anglican Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury. PDF file – direct link.