Saturday, February 1, 2014

The arrogance, hypocrisy, and sheer hubris of Canterbury and York

Bishop David Anderson of the American Anglican Council well describes the recent communique on homosexuality from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Provinces of Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria as "spiritual bullying." The two top clerics of the Mother Church have literally scaled new heights (or, perhaps better stated, sunk to new depths) of arrogance, hypocrisy, and sheer hubris in presuming to lecture the three largest provinces of the Anglican Communion on the subject of human sexuality while, within their own house, they have failed miserably and scandalously to uphold the biblical teaching concerning the same.

Bishop Anderson pulls no punches, also pointing out other failures of the Mother Church's ostensible leadership.
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. While this subject seems to be causing the implosion of Anglican Provinces in America, Canada, England, Wales, and Scotland, the English Archbishops, rather than stand their Biblical ground against unnatural acts between individuals, choose rather to lecture and caution the three largest Anglican Provinces on the laws their civil governments are enacting.

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. It seems that the Pilling Report may define the path that the Church of England will actually take. The Anglican Communion will soon have to face the prospect of a Mother Church which is spiritually unable to lead the worldwide flock of Anglicans. Interestingly, both the Archbishop of Kenya and now Uganda have responded to this English broadside and, commendably, they understand exactly the kind of spiritual bullying that is being directed toward them.

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda, reminds the English Archbishops that, “….as they lead their own church through the “facilitated conversations” recommended by the Pilling Report, that the teaching of the Anglican Communion from the 1998 Lambeth Conference, from Resolution 1.10, still stands. It states that “homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture,” and the conference “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.” And then, in a direct and clear statement Ntagali says, “We sincerely hope the Archbishops and governing bodies of the Church of England will step back from the path they have set themselves on so the Church of Uganda will be able to maintain communion with our own Mother Church.”

I would not be surprised if the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, doesn’t respond as well. These three Anglican Provinces are the largest in the Anglican Communion, with a combined total of some 40 million, and these are people they can actually find on Sunday. I think it is fair to note that no longer should the mice dictate to the elephants on matters ecclesial.

There you have it. The primus inter pares, the Archbishop of Canterbury can no longer convene a full Primates Meeting, or a successful Lambeth Conference, and the orthodox Anglican Primates of GAFCON can convene two Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans conferences, in 2008 and 2013, and see a huge turnout and success. As additional responses to Canterbury surface we will post them.

One final thought. To be clear, the American Anglican Council does not support any law that unjustly targets people based only on sexual orientation. We agree with the 2008 resolution of the Ugandan House of Bishops to the effect that the church should offer “counseling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual disorientation” and that the church should be a safe place for anyone seeking help and healing.

Many westerners tend to use public pressure and media outlets to influence governments, churches and other groups. Those tactics don’t always work. If we have differences with our brothers and sisters in Christ, private, respectful but direct conversations are called for more often than not.
Also notable is the response from Archbishop Wabukala, who is not only Primate of Kenya but also chairman of GAFCON.
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.’
We anxiously await Nigeria's response.