Communique from the Church of Nigeria
Although the document has yet to appear on the provincial website, the full text of a communiqué from the September meeting of the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria has been published at Episcopal Cafè and also at Anglican Mainstream. Most of the document deals with local Nigerian matters, but there are two paragraphs which may be of wider interest:
ISSUE OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
The Standing Committee unanimously resolved to continue to maintain the orthodox biblical stand on this matter. It also calls on her members to defend the orthodox biblical teaching on marriage and family. On its part, the Federal Government is further enjoined to continue to resist the foreign pressure to make it rescind its stand on same-sex marriage.
THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION WORLD
While the Anglican Communion continues to be impaired by revisionist theologies of some Anglican Provinces, the Standing Committee calls the leadership of the Anglican Communion to repentance and renewed faith in Christ as expressed in the bible, the articles of religion and the Jerusalem Declaration, and further reaffirms our commitment on these as the basis of our relationship with other parts of the communion.
This challenging Statement, made by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, will do nothing to ease the tension expected to be experienced by the Anglican Communion Primates’ Meeting called at the invitation of the ABC, to be held in Canterbury in January 2016. That is, of course, if the Nigerian Primate intends to grace the meeting with his presence.
Such a blatant accusation of ‘unorthodoxy’ on the part of Provincial Churches with whom it does not agree will do nothing to enhance the Church of Nigeria’s credibility as a viable participant in the Anglican Communion’s future.
Further, the implicit expectation of the Nigerians that the rest of the Communion Provinces should toe the line on GAFCON’s isolationist doctrinal position contained in its ‘Jerusalem Declaration’, is little short of spiritual chutzpah; requiring, surely, a reprimand from the ABC and the other Instruments of Unity in the world-wide Anglican Communion.
The day that the non-GAFCON Provinces are held to ransom by the requirement to adhere to the secessionist ‘Jerusalem Declaration’, is the day that the Communion becomes more dysfunctional than it happens to be at this present time.
With accusatory statements such as this by the Anglican Church in Nigeria, I hold out little hope of Nigeria’s willingness to take part in Primates’ Meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury in January, convened with the sole purpose of Communion Reconciliation.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand