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By David W. Virtue, DD
August 4, 2021

Former Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams grossly underestimated former Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola.

Williams thought Akinola was a simplistic African Anglican fundamentalist (as did John Shelby Spong). Williams considers himself the learned intellectual, Affirming Catholic. He thought he was smarter and better educated and would win the culture war over sexuality in the Anglican Communion. Williams believed the Nigerian Archbishop would blink first over homosexual practice that is racing like an out-of-control virus throughout the Anglican Communion.

In a book, Peter Akinola: Who Blinks First?: Biblical Fidelity Against the Gay Agenda in the Global Anglican Communion by Gbenga Gbesan the Nigerian primate outlines their history together as Anglican leaders and the pressure each archbishop faced to compromise the Bible's clear stance over homosexuality.

Williams said Akinola would blink first, but he was wrong. AIDS dead wrong. The Nigerian leader had been inoculated by the proscriptions of Scripture on homosexuality, while Williams was prepared to fudge Scripture for a postmodern view of sexuality that a secular West was inhaling and to hell with what "uninformed" African Anglicans thought.

History, however, has borne out the truth that Akinola was right and the birth of the ACNA and later GAFCON, with 80 percent of church-going Anglicans standing firm on the 'faith once delivered' and traditional morality. Williams lost the bet. So will Justin Welby, his failing successor.

This is the thrust of a book by Nigerian journalist and media consultant Gbenga Gbesan, which outlines the decade long struggle (2000 to 2010) that the two men faced off in one venue after another, resulting in the formation of the Anglican Church in North America in 2009.

In 2005, a head-on clash took place between Evangelical Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola and then Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who challenged the Nigerian leader over attempts to normalize homosexuality; "We shall see who blinks first!" quoth Williams.

To the astonishment and dismay of the liberal Anglican leadership in the Global North, the Nigerian Archbishop led the Global South's revolt against the campaign to normalize homosexuality within the global Anglican communion. For this, he was twice recognized by Time magazine as one of the "100 Most Influential People" on earth. Williams was ignored.

As shepherd of 25-million strong evangelical Anglicans, Akinola joined arms with like-minded archbishops in Africa, Asia, and South America to insist that the church be guided by the Bible rather than culture. To this day, successive Nigerian primates including Nicholas Okoh and now Henry Ndukuba have maintained their firm biblical stance against homosexuality. They continue to watch in horror as western Anglicanism slowly dissolves like smoke from a crematorium.

The book is an historical time piece starting in 2000 through 2010, when Akinola led his province and then handed the reins over to Nicholas Okoh. It is a remarkable story that should never have been, but was necessary, with homosexuality becoming the cultural conflict issue of the 20th century and into the 21st. Previous church councils had argued over the two natures of Christ and other weighty theological issues -- this argument was over sex -- homosex to be precise.

This renegade behavior which began first in the Anglican Church of Canada, later spread to the American Episcopal Church with the elevation of a practicing homosexual to the episcopacy. It filtered throughout the western world and became the de facto cause celebre at gatherings ranging from Dromantine, Northern Ireland, Gramado, Brazil to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I was present at more than a dozen of these gatherings and watched with both dismay and hope as archbishops from north and south wrestled, argued and fought over a behavior that was killing tens of thousands of mostly men who indulged themselves in bath houses from New York City to LA and London.

At one point, believing that history was on his side, Williams, who had been enabling the "progressives" on the issue, challenged Archbishop Akinola; "We will see who blinks first?"

Williams was dead wrong. Since that day, neither Akinola nor his colleagues have blinked. With the formation of GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) and in union with biblically faithful Anglicans in the Global North, a de facto new communion has come into existence. GAFCON circumvents the Lambeth conference, brightly lit by the biblically formative Jerusalem Declaration.

Any thought that the issue would be lost over time has not happened. Lambeth Resolution 1:10 now hangs like a Damoclean sword over Justin Welby's head; as hard as he tries to ignore it, it will not go away. It may well be a hangman's noose for the next Lambeth Palace occupant.

Even as the decennial Lambeth Conference looms in the summer of 2022, the concern that "a generation that knew not Joseph" would lose track of the struggle, will find that it will not go away, despite efforts to derail the Lambeth conference with outrage over racism and climate change. COVID-19 will not cover up sodomy, it will only irrigate it a little. Dismissing Scripture doesn't dismiss the issue, it just pushes it temporarily away, only to see it reemerge another day.

Of course, most of the orthodox bishops will not be present at Lambeth next time it is held, they will be in Kigali, Rwanda at GAFCON. The few orthodox Anglicans who do attend will be too cowed and bullied into silence to raise their heads above the ramparts. How do you speak up when the opening salvo is a queer Eucharist in Canterbury before the conference has even begun!

This book is a must-read for biblically-serious Anglicans, not just for purposes of sorting out the dispute over homosexuality. It is a reminder that what is at stake is the very authority of Scripture and the integrity of the gospel that calls for changed lives and the need to promote the Great Commission.

It is also a reminder that God has chosen the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and he has chosen the weak of the world to shame the mighty. (1 Corinthians 1:27).

Peter Akinola: Who Blinks First... is an historical timepiece. It is a page turner, must-read for biblically-serious Anglicans and needs to be widely read by orthodox Anglicans who have lived (as I have) through decades of moral upheaval. Honest liberals and progressives (are there any?) who dare to read the book, will get an insight into what it means to stand for Christ and scripture. Sadly, it won't change entrenched minds, but it will demonstrate just how far apart the two irreconcilable sides have come and why a new communion might ultimately be the only way forward.

It will be interesting to see how Williams and his learned acolytes respond to this deeply researched book.

The book can be bought here from Amazon on kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Peter-Akinola-Biblical-Fidelity-Communion-ebook/dp/B088ZYLNXR/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=


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