Primates, Pushback and Preaching the Gospel

Oct 21, 2017 by

by Canon Phil Ashey, AAC:

This has been a very interesting week in the life of the Anglican Communion and the life of the Anglican Church in North America.  I have been hearing from many people who are disappointed by the outcome of the Canterbury Primates meeting just concluded and its Communique.  As I wrote recently, the final Communique of the Canterbury Primates Meeting raised still unanswered questions about who actually wrote the Communique, whether it was in fact the perspective of all the Primates present, and why none of them actually signed it! The Chairman of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), the Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh (Nigeria) has responded with a letter blistering the Communique for claiming that the Primates are “walking together” when in fact over half of all Anglicans worldwide were NOT represented at the Primates gathering due to the absence of Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda and others.  The Chairman’s letter is a must read.

He also admonishes the Archbishop of Canterbury for giving the back-hand of fellowship to Anglicans in North America—thereby repeating the error of his immediate predecessor.  Archbishop Okoh also points to the story beneath the story—the media interview in which the Archbishop of Canterbury could not answer a direct question posed to him about human sexuality.  Archbishop Welby neither referred to the Bible, nor to any Christian vision of wholeness rooted in the Scriptures, not to Jesus Christ, nor to the teaching on the limits of sexual expression contained in Lambeth Resolution I.10 (1998) upholding sexual expression between a man and a woman in marriage and abstinence otherwise. It seems the Archbishop of Canterbury has more confidence in his own skills to manage and resolve conflict than he does in the clarity and authority of the Bible and two thousand years of Christian teaching.  As Archbishop Okoh concludes, Canterbury’s leadership and inability to publicly articulate a vision of the wholeness of life in Christ should be an embarrassment to all Anglicans worldwide.

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