Fluttering in the dovecotes of ACNA/GAFCON

Nigeria’s archbishop to ACNA: no such thing as “Gay Christian”

Nigeria’s archbishop to ACNA: no such thing as “Gay Christian”

The Archbishop of Nigeria has issued a statement saying ACNA is following the path of The Episcopal Church in welcoming LGBTQ persons. Adding to the significance of the dispute, the Archbishop of ACNA, Foley Beach, is also the chairman of Gafcon.

ACNA, the Anglican Church in North American, is the affiliation of churches that broke away from the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church and are therefore not members of the Anglican Communion.

Gafcon, the Global Anglican Fellowship Conference, is comprised of groups like ACNA and several conservative provinces of the Anglican Communion alienated from provinces like The Episcopal Church that accept the full and equal rights of LGBTQ persons.

The Church of Nigeria takes issue with the recent pastoral statement from ACNA regarding “the toleration of same-sex persons within their fold.” (See, the Episcopal Café: ACNA: Adjective gay modifying Christian is “problematic”, January 21, 2021.)

The Church of Nigeria further takes aim at a letter which for a time appeared on ACNA’s website that “recruited” LGBTQ persons.

Some quotes from the statement by Archbishop Henry C. Ndukuba:

“These decisions by ACNA bishops tantamount to a subtle capitulation to recognize and promote same -sex relations among its members, exactly the same route of argument adopted by The Episcopal Church (TEC). Its appeal to subsidiarity is another trick not to submit to the clear authority of Scripture on homosexuality.”

“A Gay is a Gay, they cannot be rightly described otherwise. In the same vein, we cannot describe people as ‘Christian Murderer’, ‘Christian Adulterer’ and ‘Christian terrorist’; neither should we even have ‘Gay Christian’ or ‘Gay Anglican’.”

“The deadly ‘virus’ of homosexuality has infiltrated ACNA. This is likened to a Yeast that should be urgently and radically expunged and excised lest it affects the whole dough (Luke 13:20-21; Gal. 5:9).”

“It is more serious that the Archbishop of ACNA, Archbishop Foley Beach is also the current Chairman of GAFCON. Therefore, his actions or inactions and that of his Province have serious implications for GAFCON leadership.”

“We therefore call upon the Archbishop and the College of Bishops of ACNA to make definite, unambiguous statement condemning the actions taken by the Gay activists in their midst, denounce their action, dissociate ACNA from the group, discipline the erring bishops, priests and laity who signed the offensive Pro-Gay letter and reaffirm ACNA’s commitment to all the fundamentals of orthodox Christian faith….”

_________________________________________________________________

This article, referencing the Archbishop of Nigeria’s response to ACNA’s ‘toleration’ of Gay Christians; will no doubt cause a degree of angst in the ACNA fold in the U.S.A. and Canada, whose own Archbishop Foley Beech is actually the Chair of the GAFCON sodality (whose strictly conservative provinces are mainly domiciled in Africa, Sydney and other parts of the Global South).

The irony here is that both GAFCON and ACNA (which latter church was brought into being through Gafcon’s active encouragement) have moved away from the worldwide Anglican Communion on the specific grounds of different views about Gender and Sexuality. With the Global South GAFCON Primates initiating schism by Anglicans in North America and Canada and the U.K. (and, recently, New Zealand) on these specific grounds – citing the inadmissability of LGTB+ people claiming to be part of the Christian Church – their foster child ACNA has just affirmed (in response to the call of a prospective ordination candidate in ACNA) that one can be a Christian and Gay. (This is actually now the officiasl stance of the Mother Church of England – that one CAN be both LGBT+ and Christian).

With the U.S. government just having passed a law to protect the LGBTQI+ community in America from discrimination; the pressure is on ACNA and its Presiding Bishop Foley Beech to conform to the legal understanding of Americans that Gays will no longer suffer legal discrimination in the U.S.

The big problem here is that Archbishop Foley Beech(ACNA) is also the Chair of the mainly Global-South Churches of the GAFCON, whose constitution also contains the presence of the Anglican Province of Nigeria, with Archbishop Ndukuba, whose statement criticising the ACNA Achbishop is currently causing concern within both GAFCON and ACNA, whose views on gender and sexuality were formerly seen to be identical.

One of the ‘missionary’ outreaches of the GAFCON sodality has been the formation, here in Aotearoa/ New Zealand of a rival ‘Anglican Church’, when Archbishop Foley Beech (ACNA/GAFCON) presided at the ordination of the first bishop of FCANZ – a collection of dissident parishes formerly part of the Anglican Church of ACANZP. Present at that episcopal ordination were also bishops from Australia, Africa (and even New Zealand – whose loyalty to ACANZP could thereby be questioned!)

As instigators of Schism within the Anglican Communion; when the Leaders of GAFCON and ACNA come to blows on the very contentious issue that brought them into being as conservative parts of the Anglican Churches around the world in gthe first place, one has to wonder just how long this burgeoning conservative alliance will last?

It has been said that ‘Schism only fosters further acts of Schism’. This may be as true today as it ever was at the time of the original Protestant Reformation.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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