(Lambeth Palace) Response to the Church of Nigeria on Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury's attention has been drawn to a statement forwarded to him from the Office of the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, on the above subject. This statement was first posted on the Church of Nigeria website April 30, 2015.

The appointment of the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) is made by the Chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) with the approval of the President of the Standing Committee, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of NigeriaGlobal South Churches & Primates* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

9 Comments
Posted June 26, 2015 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Tory wrote:

It is important, even necessary, for Lambeth to speak in Bishop Josiah’s defense because it shows that he (and not Gafcon) are fully reconciled to the teaching of the Anglican Communion on this matter. 

Much more could be said about this matter, but this is sufficient for now.

June 26, 11:05 am | [comment link]
2. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

he (and not Gafcon) are fully reconciled to the teaching of the Anglican Communion

In that breathtakingly arrogant comment are you authorised to speak for the Archbishop of Canterbury as well as the ACNA?

Gafcon

Firstly it is GAFCON, and secondly the statement came from the Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion] not GAFCON.  The statement is not given on behalf of GAFCON and does not claim to be a statement of their views.

As to criminalisation, I have seen no evidence that GAFCON supports criminalisation of homosexuality.  Many members have said the exact opposite. What GAFCON and the other Global South churches have all said is that Lambeth 1:10 and particularly as stated in the Communique of the Primates at Dar-es-Salaam represents the teaching of the Anglican Communion, and themselves.

As for the Church of Nigeria, they will have to speak for themselves, but I would note from what I have read that in many parts of Africa the term homosexuality is a term used to include many non-consensual homosexual offences involving the young and the vulnerable, which of course remain offenses in the US and other Western countries.

Moving on to deal with with the actual substance of what is said on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s website:

1. The statement from the Anglican Church of Nigeria says that the

The Church of Nigeria’s attention has been drawn to the information posted on the Anglican Communion Website by George Conger

Lambeth Palace says

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s attention has been drawn to a statement forwarded to him from the Office of the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, on the above subject. This statement was first posted on the Church of Nigeria website April 30, 2015

Not the most effective communication strategy. 

2. The statement from CoN deals with firstly the lack of communication with them and stresses that the bishop is at odds with the doctrine of the Church of Nigeria.  Lambeth Palace instead talks about the appointment process.

3. The Lambeth Palace statement is curiously carefully crafted.  It asserts a number of things about the appointment process, but does not go so far as to assert that the Archbishop of Canterbury did not lobby for or involve himself in the appointment of the bishop.  It is strange, and one would have thought it would have cut through a lot of this to just make a statement that the Archbishop of Canterbury was not involved in the process.  If words are carefully chosen to avoid that then one wonders why?  Welby has apparently not been prepared to give a Clintonesque assertion along the lines of “I did not inhale” or “I did not have sex with that woman.”  He has not been prepared to say “I did not involve myself in the appointment process.”  Why is that?

June 26, 12:23 pm | [comment link]
3. Tory wrote:

So are you saying there are no Gafcon primates promoting the criminalization of the gay community?  Or are you saying the criminalization of gays is consistent with Lambeth 1.10? It was the Nigerian church, in their differentiation from Bp Josiah’s position on gays, that brought up their relation to Gafcon, not me.

I just happen to think Bp Josiah’s position is closer to Lambeth 1.10 than what the Nigerian church’s position is, as reflected in their recent press release.  If I am mis-reading the Nigerian church’s position, and they are icloser to Josiah’s position than their press release suggests, than I very am grateful.  The orthodox need to embrace all of Lambeth 1.10 and not cherry pick it with speciously sophisticated eisegesis.

BTW, I don’t speak for Lambeth.  As this article demonstrates, they can speak for themselves.

Blessings on your day PM.

June 26, 2:38 pm | [comment link]
4. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#3 Well, plenty of red herrings and rabbit trails to follow in your response however, dealing with the substance of your original comment:

I just happen to think Bp Josiah’s position is closer to Lambeth 1.10 than what the Nigerian church’s position is

not quite the same is it as your earlier statement:

he (and not Gafcon) are fully reconciled to the teaching of the Anglican Communion

Dealing with the red herrings and rabbit trails - I have been quite clear in what I have written and can only commend that you go back and read it.  You can find the text of Lambeth 1.10 here which presumably as an ACNA rector you are obligated to accept and support without reservation, along with the Jerusalem Declaration.

“speciously sophisticated eisegesis” - well I generally find that the merit of a phrase is inversely proportional to its prolixity, but would not want to discourage those who have received their education from the pages of the Readers Digest.

BTW, I don’t speak for Lambeth.  As this article demonstrates, they can speak for themselves

Well, I suppose it is confusing when you write with apparent authority:

It is important, even necessary, for Lambeth to speak in Bishop Josiah’s defense


In fact, most of the Lambeth Palace statement is devoted to saying “nothing to do with me Gov” as far as the involvement of Welby in Fearon’s appointment, which rather as I previously suspected was done without consultation or approval of Nigeria or its House of Bishops.

There is, I suppose, a one liner at the end of Welby’s statement which deals not with what has been the concern over Fearon and Lambeth 1:10 - his willingness in his statements after appointment to accommodate [do a Tengatenga] with TEC.  This is notwithstanding TEC’s disobedience of Lambeth 1.10, Dar-es-Salaam, and the Windsor Report; to support indaba with them all contrary to the resolutions and doctrine of the Church of Nigeria and the statements of GAFCON.  Instead in a bait and switch a straw man which has nothing to do with GAFCON, which so far as I am aware, Lambeth 1.10, GAFCON and you and I do not support has been set up.

Lambeth Palace and its spokespersons, official and unofficial, should think very carefully before Thorntoning GAFCON and others with this sort of specious straw man - at the very least it is not going to improve Lambeth Palace’s communication problem with Global South Provinces, although it may be playing to one gallery or other.

June 26, 4:33 pm | [comment link]
5. Tory wrote:

I support Lambeth 1.10 in its entirety, as does Bishop Josiah.  What is not clear is that all the Gafcon primates do as evidence by Nigeria’s recent press release. I’m trying to be hopeful, however.

Are you suggesting the Jerusalem Declaration will give the canonical, the authoritative reading of Lambeth 1.10?  Do you have a loaner copy?

June 26, 5:27 pm | [comment link]
6. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

Are you suggesting the Jerusalem Declaration will give the canonical, the authoritative reading of Lambeth 1.10?

Please read what I wrote carefully.

Do you have a loaner copy?

I expect you can get a copy and perhaps a commentary on it on the GAFCON website or from the ACNA website

I support Lambeth 1.10 in its entirety, as does Bishop Josiah.  What is not clear is that all the Gafcon primates do as evidence by Nigeria’s recent press release

I can only suggest as an ACNA Rector that you seek clarification from your church’s Dean of International Affairs, Bishop Bill Atwood, who deals with GAFCON matters for the ACNA.

If Lambeth Palace seeks any clarification from the Church of Nigeria, they can send a note via Mr George Conger which will no doubt receive a response in due course.

June 26, 5:47 pm | [comment link]
7. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

Interestingly, Tory+, your bishops have just answered your question today in their Statement: “From the Beginning”: God’s Design for Marriage - A Statement from the Anglican Church in North America - from pages 1 and 5:

Bearing Witness to Holy Matrimony
The following statement is intended to make clear the position of the Anglican Church in North America with regard to the nature of marriage.
-
THE ANGLICAN CHURCH IN NORTH AMERICA BEARS WITNESS
The Anglican Church in North America bears witness to the biblical and traditional teaching concerning marriage in its Constitution and Canons (2012) and in its Catechism (2014). This teaching is in agreement with the historic Anglican tradition of the Book of Common Prayer (1662), the Lambeth Conferences of Anglican Bishops, and the Jerusalem Declaration of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (2008).

and from pages 8 & 9:

THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE OF ANGLICAN BISHOPS BEARS WITNESS
The Lambeth Conference of Bishops has borne witness consistently on the subject of marriage at its decennial meetings over the past 150 years. Several examples of this teaching are as follows:
-
1998 [Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10]
This Conference:
• in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage.
• recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ;
• while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex;
• cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions. (Resolution I.10)

THE GLOBAL FELLOWSHIP OF CONFESSING ANGLICANS BEARS WITNESS
In June 2008, 280 Anglican bishops held a special “Global Anglican Future Conference” in Jerusalem. This Conference adopted the Jerusalem Declaration, which reaffirms the biblical and historic standards of Anglicanism and states:

We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married. (Clause 8)

The Conference led to the formation of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, to which the Anglican Church in North America was admitted in 2009 as a full member.

June 26, 8:49 pm | [comment link]
8. Tory wrote:

Yes, and “criminalization of gays” is not consistent with this teaching. Bishop Josiah understands this, spent a lifetime defending the dignity of human beings and the sacred institution that creates them. 

The church, especially in the west, has no missional future unless it does both.

June 27, 9:09 am | [comment link]
9. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

I see that there has been a response from Nigeria via George Conger

A spokesman for the Church of Nigeria was not available to comment on the announcement. However a senior church leader, who asked not to be named as he was not authorized by the church to speak on its behalf, said the announcement would do little to repair the strained relations with the African churches, and in his view was somewhat “petty”

Your last comment has been dealt with in the comments above, but instead of continue to grandstand from your high horse, but why not add some clarity to the situation by telling us the response of Bishop David Anderson to your enquiry?

Are you a spokesperson for Bishop Josiah Fearon as well as for ACNA and Lambeth Palace?

June 27, 9:35 am | [comment link]
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