Polygamy and an African Archbishop

Jun 15, 2017 by

Letter to the Church of England Newspaper June 15
Jayne Ozanne on mainstream TV and on Facebook has alleged that Archbishop David Gitari of Kenya was himself polygamous ( later withdrawn) and supported polygamy. May we quote from his own autobiography, Troubled but not Destroyed (ISAAC Publishing, 2014 p 157-158):
“I appealed ( to the 1988 Lambeth Conference) to revisit the decision of the 1888 Lambeth Conference, which had resolved that “persons living in polygamy be not admitted to baptism, but that they be kept under Christian instruction until such a time as they shall be in a position to accept the law of Christ.” The conference agreed to review the resolution and resolved that people who were polygamists before becoming Christians should be baptised with their wives and children after further instruction. Putting away all wives except one should not be a condition for baptism. (See further  David M. Gitari “The Church and Polygamy”, Transformation Magazine, Vol 1. No. 1. January – March 1984, Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, www.ocms.ac.uk)”
Reducing theological Issues to ad hominem comments exposes an unwillingness to discuss the theological, moral, health, social science and scientific issues in the debate about human sexuality and marriage.  African bishops are thousands of miles away from the TV studios, or, in Archbishop Gitari’s case, dead, where these allegations are made and have more important things to do than respond to Facebook posts making unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations about them. This current form of debate is no way for those claiming to be leaders of communities of interest to behave.
Yours sincerely
Vinay Samuel Canon, St Paul’s Cathedral Embu, Kenya
Chris Sugden, Canon, St Luke’s Cathedral, Jos, Nigeria and St Anselm’s Cathedral, Sunyani, Ghana.

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