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Untangling the Anglican Mess: Welby Cherry Picks Lambeth Resolution 1:10

Untangling the Anglican Mess: Welby Cherry Picks Lambeth Resolution 1:10

COMMENTARY

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
March 7, 2021

There must be something in the English blood that brilliantly parses the obvious, aligns with the dubious and comes out smelling like a wilted rose.

One has only to watch episodes of "Yes Minister" to see how it is done.
Poor Prime Minister James Hacker hasn't got a prayer in dealing with his Permanent Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby. He is stifled at every turn by the clever bureaucrat, who manages to get nothing done while telling the PM that he is achieving his goals to make England a better place. It is all smoke and mirrors, of course, but it is brilliantly done. I gather Mrs. Thatcher loved the show.

The same thing is happening now in the Anglican Communion. Archbishop Justin Welby in a sleight of hand, has now formally recognized that Lambeth Resolution 1:10, exists, but cherry picks parts he agrees with, while remaining silent about the central thrust of the resolution. (That thrust of no sodomy please, we're Anglicans, is lost on him). It's a cunning play worthy of a three-card monte dealer, or an episode of "Yes Archbishop", starring Josiah Idowu-Fearon as the devious consigliere advisor, loyal to his master, but, in truth, out to devour GAFCON, the Anglican Communion's loyal, evangelical foot soldiers.

Thou shalt not sodomize thy neighbor nor thy neighbor's cow nor anything that is thy neighbors, (a loose rendition of Leviticus & Deuteronomy.) Butt (if you'll pardon the pun), you may feel the pain of those who believe they should be allowed to sodomize whomever. If thou dost protest, thou shalt be called homophobic...at a very minimum and cast into outer Anglican darkness. (The ACNA is not recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury).

It is a scenario that is now playing out globally on the Anglican stage before our eyes.

First, it started with a statement put out by the Anglican Church in North America's College of Bishops offering reassurance that those struggling with same-sex attractions were welcomed and loved, but their behavior would not be, as it went against clear scriptural teaching that prohibited homosexual behavior. It was a generous, irenic statement to those struggling with same-sex attractions in a denomination that had been labelled homophobic by liberal Episcopalians.

It should have ended there. Nothing more needed to have been said.

But then along comes an aggrieved ACNA homosexual layman (Peter Valk) who wasn't satisfied with what the bishops wrote and he wrote a 'Dear Gay Anglican' note. The note Valk wrote garnered support from a number of clergy, saying in effect that the bishops did not fully understand what people like himself experience at the hands of heterosexuals. It excoriated, without evidence, reparative therapy, even though such therapy has been shown to work, and that sexuality is not necessarily a static thing. "Our desires at one stage of development may not be the same at another," wrote Sam Allberry, himself a same-sex attracted man... (see my review of Is God anti-Gay? Here: https://virtueonline.org/god-anti-gay).

A couple of ACNA bishops weighed in on the side of Mr. Valk and all hell broke loose. One statement came from Todd Hunter, Bishop of Churches for the Sake of Others (C4SO) supporting Valk's claim. You can read my piece about that here: https://virtueonline.org/acnas-c4so-diocese-might-be-too-trendy-many-anglicans

Valk later withdrew his letter, which he said had received provincial approval when it did not. You can read it here: https://virtueonline.org/acna-college-bishops-pastoral-statement-sexual-identity-comes-under-challenge

A couple of Nigerian Anglican bishops in North America, one out West and the other in Western Canada fired a couple of bazookas at the ACNA bishops' statement. Then came the big gun himself.

The Anglican Primate of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba launched a blistering broadside against the ACNA College of Bishops, accusing them of "tolerating" homosexuals. He said that it mirrored the route taken by The Episcopal Church (TEC) before it moved to fully embrace same-sex unions, including among ordained clergy.

"ACNA was formed by GAFCON, as a safe haven for faithful Christians who reject the apostasy and rebellion in TEC. They should not now find in ACNA the aberrations which drove them from TEC," Ndukuba roared. His statement threatened to tear GAFCON apart.

Ndukuba further threatened Archbishop Foley Beach, saying that "his actions and inactions had serious implications for GAFCON leadership."

Archbishop Beach and his bishops chose the wisest course and decided not to respond to the Nigerian primate. You don't mess with the biggest, gnarliest lion in the Anglican jungle who has more constituent teeth than you do.

The Nigerian primate said homosexuality was a "deadly virus" and continued saying, "[homosexuality] is likened to a Yeast that should be urgently and radically expunged and excised lest it affects the whole dough". He also stated that "secular governments are adopting aggressive campaigns for global homosexual culture." (sic)

Clearly stung by his words, the Archmuppet of Canterbury launched a broadside at Archbishop Ndukuba, blasting his comments, by citing certain sections of Lambeth Resolution 1:10.

"I completely disagree with and condemn this language. It is unacceptable. It dehumanizes those human beings of whom the statement speaks," Welby proclaimed.

Welby said he had written privately to His Grace the Archbishop to make clear that this language is incompatible with the agreed teaching of the Anglican Communion (expressed most clearly, albeit in unsuitable language for today, in paragraphs c and d of resolution I.10 of the Lambeth Conference 1998). This resolution both restated a traditional view of Christian marriage and was clear in its condemnation of homophobic actions or words.

Welby said The Anglican Communion continues to seek to walk together amidst much difference and through many struggles. Actually, the communion is not "walking together." GAFCON and the Lambeth Conference are two very separate entities held loosely together by the word "Anglican" in name only.

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell weighed in against the Nigerian Primate and said he welcomed and supported the Archbishop of Canterbury's clear condemnation of the language used by Archbishop Ndukuba. "I share his sorrow that LGBTI+ people across the world will feel less safe as a result." One wonders if murderers of Christians would feel "safe" if they had the support of Cottrell.

Bishop Felix Orji, who leads the Anglican Diocese of the West and is Coordinating Bishop of CONNAM, had no compunction in telling us how he felt. He roared that The Archbishop of Canterbury had sold out to theological Liberals long ago. "Welby has been a proponent of the homosexual agenda since his appointment and has been defending the homosexual agenda to corrupt North American Anglicanism."

"He won't weigh in when he should especially when TEC and other immoral rascals are running amok on moral issues in the Anglican Communion. Now he weighs in because he sees the Church of Nigeria as a threat to his global agenda to normalize homosexuality in the Anglican Communion. Sexual perversion, especially homosexuality, has infected the world. We need to exercise extreme caution lest our children become infected".

The only question now is who will blink first. Is this the beginning of the end of the Anglican Communion as we know it? Did the actions of the ACNA College of Bishops light a fire that Ndukuba fanned and Welby thinks he has the ability to put out? Or will it all just fade away? Time will tell.

One thing is for sure; If Welby thinks he can somehow "discipline" or charm the Nigerian Primate with his letter, he is mistaken. From the days of Peter Akinola through Nicholas Okoh and now Henry Ndukuba, the message from the Nigerian Province has been the same. No compromise. Not now, not ever.

END

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