Thursday, September 29, 2005

And so it begins

The Anglican Church in Nigeria has chosen to eliminate all references to the "mother church" of Anglicanism, represented by the Archbishop of Canterbury (link to article in title). This is the saddest news I've heard as an Anglican in my lifetime.

Archbishop Peter Akinola has been the vocal leader of conservative factions in the Anglican Communion, especially in the southern hemisphere. He is also looked to as a leader by some of the traditionalist churches in the northern hemisphere as well. While I respectful the views of the tradtionalists I must admit that some of the comments of the Archbishop have disturbed me. Within the last year he has referred to homosexuals as "dogs" a statement for which I can find no Christian theological basis.

It was only a few months ago that ++Akinola assured everyone that there was not a split in Anglicanism coming. Yet surely this move, which the Nigerian church acknowledges allows them to "set up missions outside Nigeria", something that would be against the unwritten rules of the Communion. It appears that this "new" Anglican church will be very different from the worldwide Communion it seems to want to replace.
These are my expectations of that new church (and mine alone):
1: Greater central authority - expect to see some version of an Anglican 'pope' with power to mandate dogma and doctrine.
2: Ongoing disputes on what that dogma and doctrine may look like. U.S. bishops who may support female clergy but oppose same sex marriage may find their stay in this new church uncomfortable at best.
3: That further dividing of the anglican tradition churches will continue as more litmus tests are advanced by differing groups.

I'll be honest and say that personally I am angered by what appears to my eyes to be a power grab. The effort put into trying to find a way forward together seems to be for appearances sake only. That anger could easily lead me to say things that I would regret later so I'll return to my initial thought.

This is the saddest news I've ever heard as an Anglican.


1 comment:

Caelius said...

In Deuteronomy 23:18, the Hebrew slang word used for a male prostitute is "dog." I suspect this is where Akinola gets this particular usage. It provides interesting insight on the Archbishop's views, doesn't it?