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Abp of Nigeria scolds “authorities in Canterbury”

Abp of Nigeria scolds “authorities in Canterbury”

In a letter written on the Ides of March, Archbishop Okoh, Primate of Nigeria “we regret our inability to attend the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka.”

In his letter he expresses unhappiness the Primate Bishop Curry and Bishop Tengatenga, president of the ACC. The most discontent is expressed in his description of #Primates2016:

In spite of the hollow restrictions placed on The Episcopal Church, the Presiding Bishop of TEC and the Chairman, Anglican Consultative Council, have avowed that the Primates had no authority to take that decision. During the Canterbury meeting itself, the way and manner in which those who hold the orthodox view of human sexuality and marriage were spoken of by the authorities, and denounced as “homophobic”, left no one in doubt that we were in the wrong place. In fact, the authorities believe that patience was being exercised to enable the communion to bring up the scripture-believers gradually to embrace the homosexual doctrine. Thus, the Anglican Communion’s journey is very uncertain for the orthodox. They are walking into a well-rehearsed scheme to gradually apply persuasion, subtle blackmail, coercion on any group still standing with the Scriptural Provision as we know it, to join the straight jacket of the revisionists and be politically correct. Somehow, they are succeeding!

Read the letter here.

Addendum. Okoh continues (emphasis in the original),

At this point we find great wisdom in the attitude of the British Government in relation to the European Union. It has not joined the Euro Zone; it did not join the Schengen conglomerate. Now the British Prime Minister is asking for a “Special Status” in the European Union for the United Kingdom.

The Anglican Communion should begin to think in that direction for those Provinces that may never, for obvious reasons, embrace the sexual culture being promoted by some Provinces of the Church over and against the Bible as we received it. We need a “Special Status”.

Okoh is asking for a looser relationship with the Anglican Communion, just as the British Prime Minister is asking for a further loosening of Britain’s relationship with the EU. Or is he? There are echoes here of Lambeth’s trial balloon, leading up to #Primates2016, suggesting a looser Anglican Communion which would operate as a confederation.

Nigeria has already broken communion with The Episcopal Church and The Anglican Church of Canada. Does Nigeria hold some fear that it will be excluded from the communion if it does not adopt the marriage doctrine of The Episcopal Church? GAFCON has stated the Anglican Communion can exist apart from the Archbishop of Canterbury. If so, why the fear?

Oddly, Peter Jensen, General Secretary of GAFCON, says he thinks the Primates gathering was a success. (Contrary to persist rumors he was urging the GAFCON primates to walk out because he believed The Episcopal Church got off easy). This by Jensen posted at the GAFCON dated March 10:

Since the Primates gathering in January I have been trying to assess its significance for the Anglican Communion.

I am not alone in thinking that the GAFCON movement and its Primates played an important role in the outcome….


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Sean Storm

First of all why does GAFCON think the Anglican Communion can exist without His Grace in Canterbury? Now the Global South and all the rest of the Continuing Anglican Churches I still consider Anglican, but only those in communion with the See of Canterbury can be called members of the Anglican Communion. I still don’t understand. One of the truths about Anglicanism is each individual Church in the Anglican family is authority unto itself. This was established to ensure no one man or See would take over, like the Bishop of Rome. But we each love and care for each other as a family does, and we each hold the same liturgies, the same Book of Common Prayer. We are all reformed Catholics following along the traditions of the British Church. So if one Church changes it’s laws, really who can say no?

Jeremy Bates

The provinces of the Communion do not share the same prayer book!

Carolyn Peet

Cynthia, please be assured that absolutely nothing you do “yanks my chain”. Please also know that I am in full agreement that you and all members of the human race are Children of God created equally in Image of God. Your use of the words “entitled” and “denial” offend me. You seem to be fully entitled to your understanding of God’s will, but I am not. Not sure why that seems to be the prevailing belief here.

So I will refrain from engaging in these discussions, since my understandings are dismissed as invalid from the get-go.

JC Fisher

“You seem to be fully entitled to your understanding of God’s will, but I am not. Not sure why that seems to be the prevailing belief here.”

Carolyn, I *believe* that the “prevailing belief here” is that we’re ALL entitled to our varying understandings of God’s will—but that no one is entitled to prohibit someone else’s marriage [and I don’t hear anyone trying to prohibit yours].

Gwen Palmer

Carolyn, Speaking only for myself – I’m only trying to understand your understandings. If individuals in TEC are free to decide yea or nay whether to perform, or, obviously, to participate in, gay marriages, does that not affirm that we are entitled to have different understandings of God’s will? If it does, then what about it needs to change?

Martin Reynolds

I am not sure I really get this discussion.
The Primate of Nigeria is saying his advocacy (the church actually helped draft the statute) of laws imprisoning gay people and their supporters was described as homophobic at a recent gathering of Anglican leaders.
Are we not to report or discuss this on this progressive blog.
By the way, many Christians use the word “progressive” as a curse too…….

David Allen

It’s a bit like referring to people who disagree with you as being revisionists, heretics and non-Christians.

David Allen

I have pointed out that it occurs on both sides of the issue, it isn’t just the “liberals,” folks who identify as “traditional” or “orthodox” are equally guilty.

David Allen

So if we all shoplift from time to time then we’re all equally guilty, so it’s basically okay.

No, I am beginning to believe that you wish to be purposely obtuse in the simple thing I tried to point out. “Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

Helen Kromm

Your definition of homophobe is both narrow and inaccurate. Words have meanings. And by any definition, Okoh is a homophobe.

Meriam-Webster defines homophobe as: “a person who hates or is afraid of homosexuals or treats them badly”.

And homophobic: “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals”

Okoh supports discrimination against gays. He in fact supports their incarceration. I think that position would easily rise to the dictionary definition of “treats them badly”. It is, in the most overt and flagrant sense, “discrimination”.

I would agree with you that being labeled a “homophobe” is not complimentary. Perhaps incendiary. But what else can you label this? You have a Bishop who’s public positions and pronouncements fit the dictionary description of homophobia to a tee.

Disagreements with church doctrine have nothing to do with this. Disagreements aside, his pronouncements and positions are homophobic.

If the shoe fits…

And I have to wonder how anyone can possibly disagree with this. Here is a Bishop, who by every definition (to include the dictionary definition) is homophobic. It is what it is. And there is a feeling this is incendiary or not polite?

There should be no reluctance to label this for what it is. It’s clear what it is. It could not be more clear.

Cynthia Katsarelis

Carolyn, could you please step back and try to see this differently.

There are 2 issues at stake here:
1. Criminalization of gay people is a human rights violation according to the UN and Jesus Christ. The Nigerian Church is completely complicit in this abuse of human dignity. The reasons for this are irrational, thus it is indeed a phobia. The primates denounced this practice, which challenges the Nigerian Church.

In this case, we are applying the term homophobic to people who are very actively homophobic, not to disagreeing about anything.

2. The issue of governance in the Anglican Communion is being discussed. There has never been a central body telling all the provinces what to believe.

The mind of TEC is overwhelmingly in favor of inclusive marriage but we allow priests and congregations to decide what is right for them (in addition to bishop opt outs). So we are respecting the conscience of individuals without letting them oppress the rest of us, who are clearly the overwhelming majority.

A lot of great theological work and discernment has been done on marriage and it is worth considering.

I’m sorry that my extreme happiness and the wholeness that I have found in my marriage to my spouse (24 years) somehow yanks your chain. But your “disagreement” is not neutral. It attacks my very being as a Child of God created equally in the Image of God. Your “disagreement” hurts me and leads many, especially LGBTQI teens, to the brink and over the brink of despair. Why you feel so entitled to that is a mystery to me. I strongly suspect that there’s a real sense of denial that it does harm, but the data is against that view.

Carolyn Peet

So if we all shoplift from time to time then we’re all equally guilty, so it’s basically okay.

Also, “homophobe” means a fear of same. A person opposed to re-writing church doctrine regarding Holy Matrimony is not necessarily in fear of “same”. They are more likely in fear of the consequences of rebellion against God.

Carolyn Peet

So it’s justified, then? Tu quoque?

Carolyn Peet

I think it would be a nice, Christian, gesture to stop referring to those who disagree with you on Church doctrine as “gay-haters” and “homophobes”.
You say you don’t like to be called denigrating names. No one else does, either.

Gwen Palmer

I’m not fond of the term “gay-haters,” but I think “homophobe” is accurate and useful, and am not sure it should be considered a pejorative.

Those who oppose gay sexual relationships, and oppose legitimizing them with marriage rites: do they *not* think it incurs God’s wrath, and fear it for those who accept, legalize, and participate in gay marriage? If not, why oppose it?

If it needs to be said, I’m describing views of others, views I don’t hold. Which is why I’m asking these things.

Cynthia Katsarelis

Carolyn, Helen has explained it well. Okoh strongly advocates for human rights abuses against LGBT people, and those abuses are not hypothetical. Gays are sentenced to 14 years in jail. Imagine what hell holes those are for gay people.

Being a human rights abuser qualifies as homophobic and gay hating.

Would you care to condemn the horrific violence and abuses done to LGBT people in Africa? Because I have yet to see someone on the conservative side advocate for human rights and dignity of gay people and call for an end to the abuse. You appear to be either naive or unconcerned about the violations.

Helen Kromm

Archbishop Okoh has publicly supported the criminalization and incarceration of homosexuals. He has risen to the defense of Nigerian laws that criminalize gays.

In light of that, I don’t think attaching the label “homophobic” to him or his beliefs is unreasonable. That he protests that description is the part that is unreasonable.

I would apply that definition to anyone who holds similar beliefs. Most reasonable people would.

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