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Archbishop Idowu-Fearon offers challenging message at Missioner’s commissioning

Archbishop Idowu-Fearon offers challenging message at Missioner’s commissioning

From the ACNS:

The Rt Revd Dr Graham Kings was commissioned as Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion at a service in Canterbury Cathedral last week.

Bishop Kings’s role to connect theologians in the Communion, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and stimulate and publish their work would not be an easy one, Archbishop Idowu-Fearon stated at a commissioning service at Canterbury Cathedral on 13 September conducted by Dean Robert Willis. …

“There will be those who will hate what you are doing.” The Secretary General said that his fervent prayer for the new Mission Theologian echoed Paul’s request that the believers in Rome pray that his service might be “acceptable to the saints”.

The Most Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon took time in his sermon to outline and counter some myths about African Christianity that he finds prevalent in the church.

One of these myths is that of church growth, he said. In a numerical sense, it may be the case that the churches in Africa are growing but there are no credible statistics to support most of these claims, he noted.

With regard to the reported vibrancy of the churches in Africa, the Archbishop said the question must be asked whether there is a depth of maturity, whether church members are “full of goodness, filled with knowledge and able to instruct one another” as Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans (15.14). He commented that when there is a crisis, most African Christians would more often seek out a traditional native healer or self-styled prophets rather than the priest or clergy.

The Secretary General said that another common myth is that the Church in Africa is unified, while there is a divide between churches in the Global North and South. The Communion in Africa is not uniform, he asserted, but contains evangelical, charismatic, low-church, high-church and many other streams. The “unity” found in Africa is “servile unity”, where voices that are different are silenced and leadership is stifled.

Kings should expect to find “timid and scared” theologians waiting to be liberated, Idowu-Fearon is reported as saying.

He also told the Mission Theologian that contextualisation would be a major challenge, to get African and Asian theologians who had been trained in the West to translate theology into their different contexts without altering the truth,

adding that

his prayer was “for a new culture of respect from the various parts of our Communion”.

Find the rest of the article including more of Archbishop Idowu-Fearon’s comments here.

Photo: The Rt Revd Dr Graham Kings, via ACNS

 

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Martin Reynolds

I think it rather amusing that one of those from the Fulcrum/ACI group of men who did so much damage to the instruments of communions and undermined the work of the ACO should now be charged with finding a fix.
Graham Kings is a supporter of the breakaway bishop of South Carolina ….
Here is an essay written a few years ago spelling out what he sees as alternative futures for our Communion. While events have overtaken some of what he says and discussion of the Covenant has all but fizzled out, it still gives a flavour of the brew emerging from the ACO ….. and it is somewhat different to that we knew when Kearon and Cameron were in charge.

Philip B. Spivey

Yikes! What a brandishing Most Rev. Josiah has thrown at the African Church. It reminds me of similar comments made by Bshp. Spong some years about the African prelates — comments for which he was roundly excoriated.

Quoting Paul is a travesty here: Who among us in any part of the Anglican Communion are “full of goodness, filled with knowledge and able to instruct one another.” [Been to church lately?] Who among us can tout this kind of spiritual maturity and why—for heaven’s sake—must the African Anglicans carry that burden.

“Servile unity”? That’s what the Canterbury is asking of TEC.

“Get African and Asian theologians…to translate theology into their different contexts without ALTERING THE TRUTH.” What truth and whose truth? In my years in TEC, I’ve never heard the term truth used in matters of theology. What is a ‘true’ theology? And who owns it? In my circles, we talk about a shared faith and shared beliefs.

The add-on at the end is a real kicker: Archbishop Idowu-Feron prays “..for a new culture of respect from various parts of the Communion.”

I pray we will be witnesses to that kind of respect in another sermon on another day.

June Butler

“One of these myths is that of church growth, he said. In a numerical sense, it may be the case that the churches in Africa are growing but there are no credible statistics to support most of these claims, he noted.”

May we hope Abp. Justin Welby will take note?

Chris Harwood

As regards Welby, probably not. They still outnumber TEC 10 to 1 even with credible numbers and even though the amount of their growth is uncertain, the shrinking of Western Christianity is not.

David Allen

Great numbers don’t really matter whether they are accurate or not when we are hearing from the horse’s mouth that their’s isn’t the bedrock Christian faith we’ve been lead to believe it was. Instead it’s a superstitious syncretism of fundamentalism and animism/nativist cults. Folks who blame children and old women for their misfortune due to natural catastrophe & weather and stone them and burn them alive. Not any Anglicanism/Christianity that I want to follow.

Bro David

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